Fighting to get to Rio

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Part 1 – I hope to post a series of stories about the trip to Rio and what it means to us all, hopefully this will stop me completely boring the life of you all and at least you have the choice not to read on rather than suffering my waffle face to face….

Fight for Peace is an organisation I have been almost dreaming of working with for the last two years or so. When the opportunity actually arrived I was excited and almost in awe of what was about to happen. So many questions, why my wee gym, were we good enough, am I good enough to represent them? Well I am going to try and post a few write-ups explaining the mad journey, the emotional events of my trip and what it all means for our Future.

Almost 2 years ago I spoke to a guy called James Baderman, he was inspiring and really keen to come and see what we did. Being the cynic I doubted a lot of what was said and actually thought it all seemed to good to be true. I was wrong thankfully. From that first phone call, there then followed loads of questions, emails, more questions almost interview type phone-calls which culminated in James and his colleague Marigold from the London Acadamy arriving on these shores just before Christmas 2013.  Jesus this is getting real…was my only thought. On arrival I arranged some meetings for them with Chris Quinn of the Northern Ireland Youth Forum, Barney Thomson of Seaview Enterprises and Steven Corr in the Falls Council.  I actually forgot to leave time to tell James and Marigold about our own organisation…in fact worse than that after escorting them all around Belfast for more than 12 hours I had to rush back up to the Dojo to dress up as an Elf for our kids Christmas party…strangely enough this actually impressed James and Marigold, so maybe my disorganisation was fateful!

The next day I met the guys to take them up to the airport and drop into the Dojo on the way…I think I freaked them out a bit by wearing one of my work suits..I do clean up ok and I think the suit completely threw them but it does most people who only know me through the gym. The conversations then got serious, I got the feeling they loved the contacts they met, loved the country and even better loved The Dojo and all it stood for.  Hopefully it was successful and we were moving a step closer to becoming part of this wonderful organisation.  There was to be another trip back to Belfast arranged in June and hopefully it was then that we would be confirmed as part of the contingent to travel to Rio and into the Favelas to train and work.

In Part 2 I will attempt to describe the absolute trip from hell to get to Rio..near death experience, a tour of Europe and 56 hours wearing the same underwear! Landing in Lisbon Portugal at 4am in the morning…I ain’t smiling!

Plane to Portugal