Monday, 12 November 2012

Don't call it a comeback...

My god, is it really that long since I wrote anything in this blog?!!!!
I got a comment on my last entry a while back from SlideyFoot. That was nice and much appreciated, so I suppose I (and you?!) have Slidey to thank for this resurrection.

Plus, there's so much that's happened and about to happen it seems appropriate to get writing again.  I've got a lot of catching up to do so will make a number of small entries on some of the main things I've been up to (seminars and the like).
But first, I guess I should explain myself, so let’s rewind. 2009 was a year when work really began to get me down – you might detect that when reading back over some of those entries, so much so that I started looking at ways I could break free from the drudgery of wage slavery. To cut a long story short, I started working on my own training and development consultancy (that’s what I do for a living). By early 2010, I felt, despite the economy, the time was right to go it alone. I’d made enough contacts to feel there was enough work out there, so in February, I left employment and set out on my own with Oracle Learning & Development.

Life was pretty good to start with as I only really needed to work a couple of days a week to get where I needed, which meant lots of time at home, dropping the kids off and picking them up from school. I was able to put things into my work that I really enjoyed, and test out ideas that I’d been thinking about for a while so I felt pretty motivated. The work I was doing was all about me and my family so had real purpose and was genuinely satisfying.
However, life is never simple, and, even when there was enough work, getting invoices paid on time was a nightmare! Then summer came and to show how bad things got, in the space of three days, £1600 worth of work got cancelled. When margins are tight, this kind of thing is not sustainable. I was incredibly lucky in that parents, in-laws, grandparents all came to the rescue and saw us through the worst times. I also did some work with super-plumber Si (mentioned in these blogs) which really helped financially and was also a great distraction from my woes. I owe a huge thanks to all those people.
All through my planning and running the business, Mrs Al had been wonderfully supportive, but the finances were really putting a strain on our lives so I had to accept that that little experiment was over and started looking for employment once again. What followed were several months of soul-destroying job-searches, interviews and dealing with those awful job-pimps, recruitment agents. Eventually, early in 2011 I landed a good job, with good money, based in the City of London and, a couple of jobs later I'm pretty settled again.
And this brings us to here, November 2012. So what of Jiu Jitsu? It’s been pretty tough with this background…
Starting and running your own business is hard – chasing new business, planning, putting together new training material and tenders takes a lot of time and I generally found that my key time for productivity was in the evenings. This had an immediate impact on my attendance at training. Then there was the money. Now, it’s not particularly expensive to train where I train, but even so, when things are tight, every penny counts (including petrol!) so that too kept me away.

Then, as things started to crumble and defeat stared me in the face, my black dog returned. Feeling anxious and depressed by the loss of my little dream of a life of freedom and flexibility and the thought of returning to employment, I lacked motivation to do much of anything.
With the relief of a new job and the financial security that comes with it, my mood brightened, but, as mentioned, my first job after self-employment was based in London which meant about and hour and a half commute each way each day, which meant that I don’t get home ‘til around 7pm (and later if the trains were fucked – which they often were). After a long and often frustrating day, pretty much all I wanted to do was get home, see my kids for an hour and the eat and then go to bed.
Net result, not much Jiu Jitsu at all for a couple of years.  I trained a few times here and there, but nothing with any consistency.  I did get to a couple of seminars – one with Roger Gracie at the opening of his new Soho Academy and another with Romolo Barros (5th Degree Rickson Blackbelt) – more about both later.

At the back end of 2011, I got a contract job based in Bromley which brought me much closer to home and so, in January of this year, I got back to regular training again 2/3 times a week.
It was great to be back, but with so little training or consistency, I sucked.  And my fitness was shocking.  I remember one session where I was so unable to do anything constructive and was so frustrated with myself that I serioulsy wanted to cry.  Like all things, this passed and my fitness built back up again and I'm back where I used to be, including my enthsiasm for Jiu Jitsu.

So, don't call it  a comeback...I've been here for years...over the following posts, I'll cover off some of the things I've been doing in an attempt to bring this all up to date, and then I have some really exciting stuff from this year and, as I write this, some great stuff still to come!

It's good to be back.



Can Sönmez said...

I am super-pleased to see this blog updating again! Your writing has been missed, Al. :)

Al said...

Cheers! :)