Friday, 29 August 2008

Happy Holidays

Next week Alison and I are taking a well earned break and jetting off to Spain for two weeks.

Now I've already mentioned in previous blogs how much we both enjoy the English countryside, however a friend has offered us his Villa in Spain free of charge. An offer we just couldn't refuse.

So for a short while my blog will be on hold. As for my preparations for the World Championships in Houston, I will still continue to train.

I have my faithful training partner with me and I know that we shall both be practising in the warm sunny climate, which always makes us feel good anyway.

My daughter Rachel and her partner Rob will be joining us for the second week, so it will be Yoga each morning outside in the sun next to the pool.

I am also looking forward to continuing with my healthy eating routine and a greater opportunity to follow the Mediterranean diet.

One thing that I just wanted to add, is a very big thank you to all the Instructors who are helping to keep our martial art schools running smoothly in our absence, as always your support is greatly appreciated.

Jason my son will be staying at home and looking after the house (as such) - we're just praying that he will not be having any wild parties.

So bye-for-now and I'll report back in a couple of weeks. Once again thanks for keeping up with the blog.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Training Schedule

Sorry SBN Kris - but I love this old photo of us together - brings back fond memories

Getting back to my individual training preparations for the World Championship in October. I am currently allowing myself a minimum of one hour a day practice.

Now this might not sound much like hard training, but I am slowly building and preparing much like a person who is making preparations to run a Marathon.

During this one-hour I allow myself time to go through all my of my eighteen forms or Hyungs, (including weapons forms) which takes me approximately forty-five minutes and then self-defence technique revision to finish.

It is recommended by our Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh that when practicing Kuk Sool forms/hyungs, each one should be individually practiced in four directions.

For myself this will consists in me performing seventy-two forms in straight succession without stopping and will take around two hours to complete. Now thats a workout.

As I've mentioned, this is something I intend to gradually be building up to over the next few weeks and will have completed it several times before I leave for Houston in October.

Purpose Built Training Hall (Dojang)

I consider myself as being very lucky as I have my own purpose built martial art training hall (Dojang) to practice in.

A place that I can quietly train on my own without being disturbed, as well as running my classes from during the evenings.

The hall was initially built twenty years ago by a handful of willing students who at the time had nowhere to practice.

We had outgrown our existing facilities due to a sudden increase in membership and couldn't find anywhere else suitable to rent.

With a little help from our district council and some private sponsorship we erected our own timber framed building on a piece of land provided by a local organization.

Over the years it has been called, a hut, a shed, a boy scout hall, but to the people who regularly use it, including myself it's our Dojang and we love it.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Finished Decorating

After nearly two weeks of decorating, thankfully it's finally finished.

During this period I have been painting, plastering, wallpapering, and have also taken out and re-fitted a new fireplace.

I have to say it looks fabulous and am very pleased with the outcome.

Now it's up to Alison to provide the finishing touches and I can now concentrate fully on my training.


Sunday, 24 August 2008

Kuk Sool Won - 50th Anniversary

With our flight tickets already booked, Alison and I will begin making our preparations to attend the 50th anniversary of Kuk Sool Won, held in Houston Texas, October 2008.

Over the weekend of the 11th & 12th October the World Kuk Sool Championships & Masters Exhibition will also be held, with competitors and practitioners attending from all around the globe.

As i've already mentioned this year is a special year as it also incorporates the 50th anniversary of Kuk Sool Won, which was individually founded by Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh back in 1958.

Begining this morning I officially started my training for this event. Although I'm not competing I will be expected to referee and participate in the Masters Exhibition as well as maybe performing a final test for my 6th degree Black belt.

Over the last few weeks I have started slowly to improve my overall fitness levels by cycling and running, now it's time to get down to serious business with the martial arts.

I recently heard someone say that Kuk Sool Won Black Belts wear flashy uniforms but don't really train that hard. - Interesting perception!

I have to admit, the 'Generals Uniforms' that we do wear for demo purposes do look fantastic don't they.

As for training - of course when I'm totally focused on a goal or a desired outcome, I become very obsessed with practising.

In-turn when my own energy level rises, that also naturally follows into my martial art schools as well. So watch out everyone KJN is returning back to his very best, (or worst.) depending on how you view things.

Follow my blog over the next few weeks and I will highlight some of my training routines and preparations for the World Championships.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Midlife Crisis

What's the definition of a midlife crisis?

Bye-the-way this is not a joke that I'm about to tell, but something I personally feel that I might be experiencing at this particular time in my life. - Let me explain further.

You see for that past two weeks, for no particular reason, I want to purchase myself a motorbike - not just any old motorbike I might add - it's got to be a big meaty Harley Davidson.

Having initially passed my motorbike test when I was seventeen, I had been a 'biker' for many years, owning a variety of different machines.

I eventually left the world of bikes after losing three very close friends in tragic accidents, which was something hard for me to take.

Although I have not had the urge to ride a bike for over nearly thirty years, I suddenly now have this desire to get out and ride again? I ask myself - am I having a midlife crisis?

I suppose the answer is a definite - Yes!

Midlife crisis ~ what is it?

Some health experts still suggest that midlife crisis syndrome does not exist, thankfully there are many other doctors and psychologists that do recognise it is a genuine condition.

A midlife crisis can often be triggered by either physical or hormonal reasons, some of which I have listed below.

Redundancy or divorce

Children leaving home

Death of a close relative or friend

Decline in testosterone levels

Stress and other physical ailments

Symptoms of a midlife crisis include:

Discontented with life

Feeling bored with things

Confused about who you are

Confused about where your life is going

Feeling adventurous

Lack of self-esteem

Feelings of depression

Loss of power, purpose & passion

Lack of libido

Fatigue & lethargy


Weight gain

Although I'm not experiencing all of the above symptoms there are specific ones I can relate too; such as loss of purpose, passion and general direction in life.

I recognise that many of the above symptoms can usually be brought on with age, with general decrease in testosterone levels. However there are also psychological factors that have also contributed to the way I'm currently feeling, such as the death of my father and my daughter leaving home.

As I gain more understanding about this particular condition I will regularly update this particular post, with suggestions and possible remedies etc.

If anyone has any suggestions - I'd like to hear them.

(P.S. I know some of my 'biker' friends will suggest - 'what the heck - just go for the bike anyway'.)

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Lead The Field

I've been thinking recently, what is it that separates the 'winners' from the losers, especially at this particular time when Olympic positions are being fought over?

For myself learning to become a 'winner' as such was something that I accidentally discovered around ten years ago. A philosophy I stumbled upon by pure accident, something that was to eventually shape and change my life forever.

Being involved in plenty of martial art competitions over the years, I often asked myself what could I do to separate my students and myself away from the rest of the group? I later discovered my answer to this question quite unexpectedly.

One day out-of-the-blue a strange looking package was delivered to my front door by the postman. I hadn't ordered anything in particular and still don't know to this day how this parcel had come my way.

Looking inside the package I discovered a set of six tapes in-cased within a folder, which were appropriately labelled 'Lead the Field'.

The author was a gentleman named Earl Nightingale. I later discovered that Earl had been described as 'the Dean of personal development' and part responsible for the Nightingale Conant corporation.

Following on from this, I had a 30 day free trial period to listen to these tapes. If I didn't like what I heard I was able to return them with no obligation to pay.

During this time I studied the material and before the thirty days was over I was hooked and decided to purchase the product immediately.

Today, this tape-set is considered as one of the all-time classic motivational programmes and basically outlines a specific set of commonsense principles that anyone can follow.

I eventually started to apply this material over a period of time, which in turn slowly began to change my whole outlook and direction in life.

Looking back, I believe that it was the single most important thing that I did, nothing more would have a greater influence on me than those tapes had done.

Suddenly winning started to become second nature, for both myself and my team. At the same time many positive opportunities began opening up in my life as well.

For many years now people have often asked me about the secret to my success? ( I think that's a great question to ask someone). At first I wasn't sure myself - it just seemed 'too good to be true'.

Eventually I came to realise that it was not luck or coincidence. I started to understand that if I followed certain outlined principles contained within the tapes I would ultimately gain the results - It was as simple as that.

To complete this particular post, you might be asking yourself - what has all this got to do with fighting-fit-at-fifty.

Well, you see, without sounding too-much of a know-it-all, I discovered some very basic truths, which I believe are common place for any level of success.

Whether it's just shedding a few pounds and wanting to feel good about yourself by the age of fifty, or becoming an Olympic Champion - the common principles are basically the same.

As Earl says on the tapes,
its all to do with attitude; develop a great attitude, expect great results, have an average attitude = average results, poor attitude, well of course poor results.

This probably all sounds a little too simple, but don't let the simplicity deceive you. Ask any top coach or instructor, If a student has a poor attitude, there's not much you can do to help them in the way of progress.

On the the other hand if an individual has an outstanding attitude - well who knows - watch them very closely - you never know, one day you might find them standing on the winners rostrum 'leading the field'.

Proud To Be British!

I have just been watching the Olympics on TV and feel very proud of the achievements of Team GB.

Great Britain are currently 3rd in the overall medals table, which is an absolutely fantastic achievement.

Today (Sunday 17th) our competitors won four gold medals, making it a total of 17 medals altogether over the weekend.

The gold medals came in the cycling, rowing, sailing and the swimming.

When I watch the British athletes receiving there individual medals and hearing the national anthem it makes me feel so proud to be British.

Congratulations also to all the GB competitors who didn't quite make the rostrum, you still did yourselves and your country proud.

Here's to London 2012 - Bring it on!!

Friday, 15 August 2008

Top Ten Amazing Things

My own picture of the Empire State building taken from the Rockafella Centre, New York

Having thought about the things that I would like to do in the future (in my previous post.) It got me thinking about what I've already achieved in my life so far.

I have to admit and upon reflection
I've been pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to do some pretty amazing things.

I just want to add, that I'm truly grateful for the opportunities that have come about in my life so far and I hope that there are many more to come.

So here they are my
'Top Ten Amazing Things' that I've achieved so far. (In no particular order of preference.)

1/ Enjoying an evening meal on a boat trip along the river Seine in Paris, celebrating my wife's birthday. (My most romantic gesture so far)

2/ Crossing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco at 1am in the morning. (it's big and it's long)

3/ Visiting the top of the Empire State Building in New York - (breathtaking views)

4/ Staying in the same hotel with the Manchester United football team. (An awesome experience meeting Sir Alex Ferguson)

5/ Performing a martial art demo for David Beckham and VIP guests at his home in Hertfordshire. (I had to pinch myself to see if it was real)

6/ Staying in a Buddhist Monastery located four miles up in the mountains in South Korea (peaceful & beautiful)

7/ Walking around the outside of the White House in Washington. (Lots of snipers hidden in trees)

8/ Crashing the Space Shuttle on a simulator in Houston Space Centre, Texas and meeting some real life Astronauts.

9/ Watching both my kids being born. (Nearly missed one due to the fact I was feeling rather faint.)

10/ Sharing a shuttle train ride with Sir Richard Branson at Heathrow Airport London. (He's my favourite man I'd most like to work for)

* One additional ~ marrying my wife Ali - 24 years ago. (She's gorgeous)

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Motivation & Goals

What motivates you? - What makes you get out of bed early in the morning, feeling totally inspired?

Well anyone who has ever been successful will tell you - it's usually about having a worthy goal or destination to aim toward.

Much has been written and talked about concerning motivation / goal setting and of course there have been many books and Cd's on the subject as well.

From a personal perspective I'm the most happiest when I've got something to aim for, when I've got something to get my teeth stuck into.

I know there is a certain philosophy that's suggest that people like myself are 'always striving - but never arriving', but you see - having a specific goal to aim for is what gets me out of bed early and keeps me up late at night, without ever feeling tired.

I have to be honest I'm inspired when writing this blog, as I can spend hours at the computer and not even notice the time fly-by. (By the way If you're still reading this particular post - thanks I appreciate it. )

You've probably realised if you're a regular visitor to my blog - my long term goal is to be fit and healthy by the time I reach fifty. (Hence the opening title.)

However in the meantime I want to share with you some of my goals I would like to achieve before I reach this particular milestone or maybe even afterwards.

I know some of my listed goals below might seem a seem a little ordinary and some a little strange, never-the-less - here they are.

1/ I desire to play somekind of musical instrument.

2/ I would like to write an interesting magazine article for a top notch magazine.

3/ I am capable of running 3 miles in under 30 minutes on my treadmill.

4/ I want to swim regularly as a valuable way of keeping fit.

5/ I would really like to learn how to play golf - properly. (I can hit the ball straight - however I have trouble getting it in the hole.)

6/ I'd love to be able to cook a variety of nutritious meals for my wife Ali and daughter Rachey(or anyone else who will dare eat them.)

7/ I am able to complete the art /drawing course I recently started.

8/ I desire to laugh a lot more (but not at myself - Although I've heard this can be very therapeutic.)

9/ To climb Ben Nevis or any large hill or mountain.

10/ To swim with Sharks (no - just kidding on this one - but it makes a change to dolphins)

11/ To visit Italy/Rome or any romantic place in Europe with my wife Ali.

12/ To learn how to ski or snowboard (unfortunately I hate the cold weather- but what the heck I'll do it anyway.)

13/ To watch a Premiership soccer match or visit the new Wembley stadium.
(My daughter went last Sunday to watch the Community Shield match and I was envious, being a life-long follower of Man Utd.)

14/ I wish to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle

15/ To play as an extra in a movie! (maybe Jackie Chan's stunt double?)

16/To learn how to speak a different language, maybe French or Spanish?

17/ I aim to live in a lovely property next to the sea.

18/ I would like to have my own dog to take for walks.

19/ I really would like to see a UFO or visit a crop circle (again)

20/ To become more environmentally aware.

Let me ask - what excites you? What is you would like to do?

Monday, 11 August 2008

Decorating The Living Room

Well can you believe it, with all the extra energy that I have gained in the past few weeks through exercising and eating well - my wife Ali has got me decorating the living room. (Something that hasn't been done for the last ten years.)

So my daughter Rachel, telephones me lunchtime today and says, "haven't added much to your blog recently dad" - well the reason - I've been decorating.

But I have to say, I had forgotten how much hard work decorating can be as this was something I used to do as an occupation before teaching full-time in the martial arts.

Oh well, one more week and it will all be over and the living room will be looking fabulous and then it will be back to writing my blog and regular morning exercise.

Friday, 8 August 2008


Having had my health-check results returned last week I was interested to discover that my Peak Flow rate was exceptionally high indeed for my age, so much so that Dr. Paul wants to carry out some further advanced tests on me.

During my examination, I was asked to exhale quickly in to a tube-like device that is used to measure how well your lungs are functioning and is often used in cases like asthma.

As I've already mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my particular reading was 790, which if you look at the chart above you can see that my measurement is not even on the scale.

I believe that without a shadow of a doubt my extended lung capacity is specifically down to my martial art training and the special breathing exercises that I have done within Kuk Sool over the past thirty years.

So if anyone wants conclusive evidence - here it is.

Martial arts can seriously improve your health.


In my younger days I used to love eating Chinese food, unfortunately I have come to realise that most of this delicious tasting food contains an additive called MSG, which certainly does not agree with me.

In fact I have experienced some very bad reactions after eating out at Chinese restaurants, but with all fairness the problem doesn't just exist in these type of restaurants alone.

I've also discovered that eating in many high-class restaurants and hotels give me a similar reaction as well.

So what exactly is MSG or Monosodium Glutamate? Well basically as I have already mentioned it’s a food additive used as a flavouring enhancer (E621).

MSG is not only discovered in Chinese food but can also be found in a variety of processed foods including cheese, meat, soups, and sauces and is often used to improve texture and taste.

Experts claim that MSG is absolutely harmless to the majority of the population. Certain evidence suggests that consuming normal amounts of glutamate causes no-ill effects, however my own personal reaction say’s otherwise.

There are many reported symptoms of MSG intolerance, but here’s what happens to me every time I eat-out at a place that dishes it up.

The first thing that I notice, apart from the very distinctive taste, is that after about half-an-hour I become very thirsty and the inside of my mouth really starts to burn.

Next, I start to become very hyperactive (almost childlike) and my concentration starts to wander, which is often followed on by a very mild headache.

This is usually just the beginning and happens while I’m still in the restaurant. The next phase is at home.

My thirst increases to an even greater degree and my headache worsens. After drinking gallons of water and feeling rather tired I generally then go to bed.

I am usually able to get sleep quite easily but I always awake at around 4.00am. I call this my ‘monosodium time’ and I usually have to get out of bed and go do something.

To be honest - it’s not always a negative reaction, because during this time some of my best ideas and inspirational moments have come to me.

Maybe it’s because my brain is so stimulated? I have to admit I often feel like Einstein or Thomas Edison having a eureka moment.

Of course with every high there is also a low period too. After returning back to bed after one-or two hours, I awake the next day feeling like ----, similar to having a hangover.

I feel moody, miserable and depressed and almost unbearable to live with. (I suppose it’s the price you have to pay in becoming a temporary genius).

So that’s my experience when consuming MSG.

Please let me know if you are also affected in any similar way. I’ll be interested in hearing about your reactions.

Also check out the following website. It will scare you!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Green Tea

I've just read on the MSN Health & Fitness website that drinking Green Tea is great way of not only boosting your metabolism but also providing you with antioxidants to help prevent cancer. It also contains other specific properties that help reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

That's really good news because I'm currently sitting here writing this particular post with a cup of green tea sitting next to me.

In fact I'm addicted to the stuff, I even take my own tea bags with me when I go out visiting family and friends just in case I'm offered ordinary tea or coffee.

Several years ago I was drinking a lot of normal tea and was suffering with lots of headaches, the amount of caffeine was the problem. Instead of switching to de-caf tea I just decided to try out Green Tea instead and have kept with it ever since.

Yes there is caffeine contained within green tea but the amounts are significantly less than coffee or ordinary tea and I can drink approximately 8-10 cups a day without the hint of a headache.

Monday, 4 August 2008

Results Of Health Check

Well here they are - the results of my health check.

Height = 180cm (5ft 11ins)

Weight = 87.2 Kg (13stone 10lbs)

Waist = 98cm (35")

BMI = 26.9 (25 Norm)

Pulse Rate = 60 (normal 70- 80 bpm)

Blood pressure 118/80 (Normal for my age approx 140/90)

Peak Flow = 790 (Norm for my age approx 655)

Urine = No protein, glucose or blood

Cholesterol = Low

Iron = 103

So what does this basically tell me? - Well after looking at these results it seems, thankfully I'm healthier than I thought I was for my age, however I could do with losing a little weight, maybe about 7 - 8lbs to bring my BMI down a little.

So thats my goal for the near future.

Keep watching regular updates to see how I'm doing!

Eating Healthy

When my daughter returns home with her partner Rob from West Sussex, we always like to prepare extra healthy meals together.

This weekend we went shopping at Marks & Spencer in Norwich to find some really healthy food options. We always believe that this store offers a great selection of choice and quality.

Generally my wife Ali and I eat very well and also very healthily, however because Rachel's culinary expertise from her food blog Duckeys Health Corner, goes beyond the norm she always adds that little bit more to the presentation and comes up with some very creative ideas, such as the skewed King Prawns below:

Rachel also proves that not all delicious desserts have to be unhealthy, this meringue is only 50 calories below and filled with some fresh M&S strawberries and low fat cream it compliments a perfect al fresco meal in the garden.

You can find her recipe for her special strawberry Mini Vanilla Meringues on her blog.

A special thanks to the two special girls in my life, Ali and Rachey, (seen above) for providing us with an excellent meal on Saturday evening, thankfully the rain cleared so that we could enjoy eating outside.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Kuk Sool Won - Traditional Korean Martial Art

You're probably wondering why I haven't mentioned much about martial arts in my blog so far, especially if you're interested in Kuk Sool Won.

Well having practiced Kuk Sool religiously myself for over thirty years and dedicated over two thirds of my life to the art, I thought I would try and stay clear a little of what it is that I do for my living.

Of course I'm still passionate about practising and teaching Kuk Sool, but I really feel that it is a good project for me to write about something slightly different. Lets face it I've probably got enough stories and experiences to write several books on martial arts alone.

Obviously Kuk Sool training does contribute enormously to the overall picture of what it is that I'm trying to achieve in becoming fighting fit, but I have to admit that I'm finding it rather refreshing to discover alternative ways of keeping fit, such as walking, cycling, running and swimming; before you know it I'll be entering a triathlon.