Allen's Summer Holiday Reading 2010


The last time I mentioned the name of Geoff Thompson in this blog was in relation to a workshop I was running called Streetwise: How to Protect Yourself Against Aggression. Geoff is a former bouncer and self-defence expert whose autobiography Watch My Back has enjoyed tremendous success. He has now branched out into other areas of writing.

I mention him because I’ve spent the last few weeks reading two of his books:

They remind me in style of the original type of self-help books written by the likes of Samuel Smiles and Napoleon Hill, full of inspirational quotations and success stories. Unlike many books of this genre today, they don’t contain much psychological jargon or management speak. Geoff speaks out of personal experience and with a very British turn of phrase.

What is this ‘personal experience’? Geoff was someone who was depressed and stuck in a job he loathed. Now, he’s a Bafta-winning author of films and stage plays, as well as thirty-four books and hundreds of published articles. Check out his site here. Also, if you fancy seeing a few short films he’s written, try these, but I warn you, they’re not for the faint hearted!

Bouncer – a Bafta-nominated short-film staring Ray Winstone (no less)

Romans 12:20 – a multi-award winning film with Northern Ireland’s own James Ellis

From a self-defence viewpoint, Geoff’s biggest contribution is possibly ‘the fence’; this is a simple body language technique anyone can use to keep danger at bay while preparing for a strike. Watch him explain and demonstrate it in two parts here and here. His book on The Fence I can personally recommend.

I’ve enjoyed a brief correspondence with Geoff by letter and can confirm he’s a complete gentleman. Most of the gurus I wouldn’t want to meet. How refreshing for a teacher to live out his own philosophy, and to demonstrate that between true strength and humility there is no contradiction?

Geoff, if you’re listening, now about coming to Northern Ireland sometime?

Image credit: Ian Wilson.