Saturday, 29 July 2017

The Challenge



Following on from Beside the Mountain, I’ve now decided to set myself a new challenge. A challenge, ironically, that may prove to not be all that challenging.

In Plakias, Crete, Greece I have spent the last 10 years visiting nearly every year for a prolonged summer vacation staying with my father. This is a gorgeous paradise of beaches, tavernas and women with nice bums wearing bikinis.

Nearly every day of the first few times I visited, I would get wasted. Drinking until sometimes 7 in the morning, having hangovers where I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

I have had in the past however, a huge case of what I recently found out is the shameover. The emotional side of a hangover where you feel guilty for inconsequential shite and spend the day paranoid over the most basic of human interactions.

Recently I set myself a challenge of actually completing the labour of love that was the General Instructor’s course for Krav Maga Global/ KMG.

Even though I failed the course, the experience was one that has changed me and I’m very glad I did it. Surrendering yourself to a regime of athlete-level fitness, in two chunks of 12 days. The peaks of emotion were extreme, as were the pain levels plus an ongoing battle to suppress the urge to just quit.

I made it to the end and was one of 3 from the original 15 that didn’t get the coveted Instructor T-shirt and Graduate 1 patch. One guy dropped out due to injury, me and one other failed the final test (after having passed the other two).

I flew back to London from Melbourne, two days after the course ended and three days later was in Crete. It has taken me A WEEK to recover from both the training and the travelling (four continents in one week, rock ‘n roll) and get my body to relax when I sleep to a point where I don’t wake up throwing imaginary blocks and punches.

Today I decided that I wanted a new challenge. Something less physically painful than the GIC but that would be an actual test.

I decided, in a place where alcohol has been the staple of my social life for just under a decade...to give up drinking for a month.

I posted this on Facebook and have received the predictable responses about how this will last a day at the most and that it is one of the Plakias Lies (alongside “I love you” and “I’m only staying one night”).

The irony of this challenge is that while I’ll still crave a nice cold beer (in a glass that the landlord had in the freezer just beforehand) I will be fitter, richer (a large beer is 3.50 Euros here) and bereft of hangovers, shameovers and headaches.

This is something that I believe will be a lot easier to maintain than my imagination is telling me.

I’ve survived 200 hours of Krav Maga training. Now, in the booze capital of my life, I’m not going to drink for 4 weeks.


Let’s do it.


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