Boxing Background

Before I decided to ask pro-wrestling promoter Max Crabtree how I could get started in the pro wrestling biz I joined a local weight training and bodybuilding gym, and started to work out. I must have trained hard for at least 2 years before I approached Max. Prior to this I joined the local boxing gym and trained there solid, 3 times a week, for a good 12 moths. I thought the boxing would help toughen me up. It wasn’t about winning, or beating the crap out of anyone. I wanted to test myself. Put myself under pressure. See how much pain and punishment I could take, and how to condition myself accordingly.

Sam Donnelly: Staffordshire ABA Divisional Coach
Sam Donnelly: Staffordshire ABA Divisional Coach.

The boxing club was called “Queensbery ABA” and the head coach was Sam Donnelly. Sam was, (…and still is) a cracking bloke, and a fantastic coach. A true gentleman outside of the ring. Training wise, we would begin with a run over Park Hall Hills. This was great, because Hill Sprints are fantastic for building explosive leg power …and OMG they don’t half hit your quads on the way back down!  We would do a good deal of heavy bag and pad work.

Sometimes, we would do some circuit training with free-weights and body-weight calisthenics. Then, when we were all knackered, we would have sparring sessions. One day, I forgot to take my gumsheild. Sam told me that I was still gonna be sparring and that It would teach me a lesson – not to forget it again. He was right. Sparring was a fantastic exercise, because I would always get different opponents. Some were very good skillful amateur boxers, while others were meat-head brawlers who’d whale away at you with their big haymakers. I’m not going to lie and say all of that “I could have been a contender” crap. I just kept getting back in the ring with whoever Sam wanted me to spar with.

Sore Pecs?

Hi, brother.
I have a question.
My pectoral muscles are extremely sore, and I have an intense workout today.
Is there anyway to keep this from messing up my workout? Or do I just need to grin and bear it?
I suppose some advice could help. What about heat pads or ice? Icey hot pads?
I am just wondering if there were some cheat to this. Although, I have no problem just toughening it out. Any tips are welcome, though.
Taliesin McKnight.
Dallas. Texas.

The first thing to consider is:
You WILL feel sore if you are new to bodybuilding or any other type of workout program. …Just wait until you have a good leg session! 😉
When people are pumping iron in the gym, their muscles will start to pump up and appear to increase in mass and size. They often fool themselves that this part of the process is actually building muscle mass. They often see their muscles growing as they pump up in frot of a mirror. Their eyes lie to them. It’s a myth, an illusion. In reality their muscles are filling up with blood, oxygen, and lactic acid.
In Fact: When you workout you are breaking down deep muscle fibers. You are breaking down the muscle, NOT building it up…
Building up comes with recovery, rest, and a good high protein diet. (So if you’re a vegan, sorry – you’re fu@ked!).

It’s like SOLVE (separate, or break apart) and COAGULA (join together)…
You break the muscle fibers down by working out, pumping iron, whatever… Then with rest, and the proper nutrition you heal and join together. NOW, the muscle should become bigger and stronger – catch my drift?

People have been saying for years “No Pain – No Gain”. This is where I draw a line and disagree. I say, listen to your body. You could possibly be over training. Sometimes, Less is more… It is possible to do too much, or train too often, or too heavy. …or you may not be getting enough rest, enough nutrition, enough calories.

My torn pectoral muscle. Done whilst heavy bench pressing.
My torn pectoral muscle. Done whilst heavy bench pressing.

Do a good amount of stretching out your muscles before training, after training, and between sets. Do NOT go too heavy especially on exercises like the old bench press. I know loads of bodybuilders and power lifters who’ve ripped their pecs. Iv’e had this injury too, and it put me out of action for 12 weeks! You don’t want to take a step forward, then two steps back, do you?

Here’s an example of over training. say, doing bench press twice a week. That’s ridiculous! Once a week is enough for the old bench press and other chest exercises, and here’s why… Have you ever noticed that when you’re bench pressing, the arms (triceps) give out way before your pecs do? At the very least, I’d say doing benching twice a week is over training your triceps. FACT!

Now lets say for example, you’re training in boxing or MMA. You’re gonna be burning a LOT of calories!!! So make sure you get a good diet plan that’s high calories and has good protein sources. Think of your body as a machine, like a car. You wouldn’t piss in your own cars gas tank and expect it to work like a Rolls Royce now would you?

It may be worth dumping the barbells and opting for dumbbells. With barbells you are in a very fixed position. Whereas with dumbbells you have a greater range of motion. Dumbbells are far more functional, and realistic for the boxer, wrestler, or MMA fighter because the weight is distributed to each arm, or each side of the body. They build a more balanced physique. They develop ambidextrous strength, and gives the body a better symmetrical look.

Doing push-ups with your own body-weight on the Olympic rings and/ or the TRX are great for building functional strength. They are far harder than regular push-ups. If that seems easy, add 10 or 20kg weight-vest.
I hope this advice is helpful brother, any questions?

AMS Security

I quit my old door job at The Albion, and I wasn’t out of work for more than a few minutes. I called Ada Simpson who ran a lot of door-firms in the local area. We kind of knew each each other because we had met on numerous occasions. Instantly, he offed me Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights on a door called “Flickers” and said he would find me some extra work on some other doors. In those days, If you had your doorman licence and experience you could quit a door-job and find another one somewhere else in the same evening. No problem! No need for a CV, references, or job interviews. It was like no other kind of job – where you could be days, weeks, or even moths out of work. You could literally pick and chose where you wanted to work, because doormen were in high demand. Especially if you were good at the job, and had plenty of experience dealing with dickheads.

Flickers, in Newcastle-Under-Lyme was a great door to work. The doormen, Andy and Paul were two great blokes to work with. They were always cracking jokes, and they always had your back. I remember one evening some skinny little scrote pulling a knife on Andy. Andy applied a wrist lock, but this little chav wouldn’t drop the knife. The would-be knife man was only a short arse and built like a skeleton, but the kid was strong and didn’t appear to respond to pain. I think he was on PCP or some other powerful drug. I grabbed him around the throat, and squeezed the life out of him, and shouted “DROP THE FUCKING KNIFE!!!”. I can still remember feeling his “Adams Apple” in the palm of my hands. Eventually he dropped the blade. We mauled him to the floor and secured him. Then we called the police on the radio. He was taken away in a police car. Job done! Even if you think someone has the intention of pulling a blade on you – don’t fuck about! …and if they’re off their tits on drugs – don’t try to go toe-to-toe, or grapple with them. Speaking from my own personal experience, I would say there are two methods that are a constant. One, knock them out (make sure you get the first shot in). Two, choke them out, or apply a sleeper. …and make sure you do it FAST!

One evening, we hit the town after a shift on Flickers. We went to a local nightclub called “Brassingtons”. An ex-girlfriend of mine tagged along with us, and this nonce put his hand up her skirt. I followed him into the bogs (toilets) and slapped the nut on him. By that I mean headbutted him. Planted my forehead across the bridge of his nose. He was a good 4-5 inches taller than me and built like a brick shithouse. I was a little low with my aim, but I took four of his teeth out. It’s not that I’m the jealous type. Far from it. I can’t stand men who think they can go around touching women in sexual and intimate places without consent. I hate it. It’s the lowest of the low!

One night when I was working at a club called Flares, in Hanley, just before closing I found a girl in the toilet who had been raped. It was horrible, and I really felt pity for the young girl. The very last thing she wants to see is is a male. So, I back away calmly and radio for a female door person and a female police officer… I know girls who have been rapped. Girls who’ve been kidnapped and gang rapped. That’s the truth! …and it screws them up in a myriad of different ways! It’s not just a physical attack. It harms people emotionally and mentally.

A week or two later, I was working the same door. Flares, in Hanley. It was just before closing, and this pervert was stood near the top of the stairs. He had his dick out and was wanking off in front of the young females. He didn’t give a flying fart if it distressed them. I was stood right behind him, and kicked him up the arse. He tumbled down the stairs head over heels, like a wheel – before collapsing at the bottom. I jumped down to the bottom of the stairs. Then I dragged his body to the male toilets. The floor was swimming with urine! I took this guy and decided to dispense my own justice. I grabbed his head, and his jaw, and opened his mouth. Then I forced him to bite down on the stainless steel toilet seat that everybody had shit and pissed on. My intentions was to execute a technique known as curbing. It’s when you place a persons teeth as thought they were biting down on a curb, or the edge of a step. Then you kick them in the back of the head. You can take a persons teeth right out, piece of cake. You can break someone’s jaw, it can even kill someone. …So, please don’t do it!!!
Fortunately some doormen followed me down there and stopped me from killing him. I remember telling this piece of scum that he was the luckiest person on Gods earth. …but looking back, I think I was equally as lucky, because had I have gone through with this, I would would have been looking at a long time behind bars.

I know that nothing gives me the right to be the judge, jury, and executioner, but nothing gives a man the right to rape or sexually assault anyone either. I just hate nonces, or sex offenders. …Yeah, I’ll admit my actions sound violent, but the way I saw it – I was doing a public service.

Those girls out there? Yeah there’s a lot of slags, and snakes with tits, but I also believe there are some good, loyal, decent girls and women still around. They are someone’s daughter, or someone’s sister. …and I think the police, and the so called “justice system” are far too soft on these individuals. What the Hell do you expect me to do with these parasites?!!!

The Albion, Part Two.

When you fist start working as a doorman you play an attacking game. You do want to be tested, and prove that you’re worth your salt. You find yourself wanting to earn a reputation as a fighter. Once you have gained that reputation you start playing a defending game. You have to maintain that reputation. The hunter becomes the hunted. Having that reputation works in two ways. There’s a positive and a negative side to this. On one hand, that reputation makes some people think twice about challenging you. On the other hand, it’s like painting a bulls-eye target on your back, because every wannabe hard man would love nothing better than giving you a beating, just for the bragging rights.

On many occasions you would break a up a fight and eject people from the building, and that would be an end to it. …but there were times when there would be an aftermath. Someone wanting to get even, revenge, retaliation. The evening didn’t end when the bar was closed. You could’t afford to switch off and relax. Walking back to your car, you had to stay alert and not drop your guard. You had to remain switched on and focused. It wasn’t uncommon for someone to come back with a one or two friends and hide and wait in some dark alleyway, ready to attack.

WARNING! …THIS BLOG

Having a background in different martial arts won’t make you invincible, and I was fully aware of that. You’re still human at the end of the day. There’s only so much you can do against two, three, or four people who are out for your blood. At one point I started to carry weapons. It wasn’t like I just woke up one morning with the intention of walking around armed to teeth. It happened over a period of time. The environment that I was working in was making me paranoid, and at that point in my life I don’t think my thoughts were rational.

Iv’e seen a lot of bad shit happen. Iv’e seen people pick up a pint glass, hold it in their hand, and smash it into somebody’s face. Imagine that! After something like that the victim needs to go to hospital and have their face stitched back on. Many of them have scars for rest of their life. I know of one guy who was permanently blinded in one eye because he had been “glassed”. I know people who’ve had their noses and ears bitten off during a street fight. This was a very violent reality. Is it any wonder that I carried weapons, and became paranoid? …Can you blame me under the circumstances?

I knew one doorman who had been hit with a knuckle-duster. His jaw was broken. He needed to have his jaw wired and screwed back together. He was in hospital for weeks. On a liquid diet. He lost a ton of weight. He was unable to work the doors for months. I’ll give him credit though, he was back on the door as soon as he was fit and healthy again. Right back in the saddle. Some people are never the same after something like that. …but I gotta give the guy respect for coming back. That really takes some balls!

…and NO! …I will NOT mention any names!!!

I’d keep makeshift weapons in my car, like a hammer, or a crowbar. Sometimes the police would pull me over and search the car for weapons, but they couldn’t do me for for it. Well, there’s no law against owning tools. …What can I say? I forgot to put them back in the house. It’s all well and good for the police to carry batons, CS gas, and tasers, but we weren’t allowed to? Bollocks to that! I decided from very early on that I was NOT going to be a victim!

Whenever possible we would travel to work and park our cars close together, and walk together in two’s or three’s. We would all leave the bar at the same time and walk together. Safety in numbers. One evening when the club had closed I remember walking back to my car with three other doormen, and one of the local scrotes was waiting with a little army of his mates. When people are fueled up with alcohol and have a few mates with them they suddenly get brave. They came looking for trouble, and they got it. I pulled my telescopic baton, and had no issues giving them a good working over. As soon as they saw that we weren’t intimidated the tables turned. They started to have second thoughts. They literally shit their pants and ran away. Job done! Checkmate in one, and game over without laying a finger on them. I could turn my anger, rage, and aggression on like flicking a switch. It was like psychological warfare. Hit them in their minds with the fear of God, and they’ll twice before pulling that shit again.

Did I lose any sleep over incidents like this? …Yes I did, but it wasn’t out of fear, anxiety, remorse, or anything like that. It was because of the adrenaline and the endorphin’s. I could just feel it flood through my entire body. It was like a rush of energy coursing through my veins. It was like a drug. It could take me a good couple of hours to come back down. The next day I would feel drained and exhausted, but I managed to find the energy from somewhere to go to the gym and workout, and work another night on the door.

There was always the taste of danger in the air. The atmosphere. We used to get all sorts of people who would frequent the pub. Like for example, members of the Naughty 40, or N40 as they were also known. A proper nasty firm of football hooligans – for want of a better word. They never caused any trouble. You showed them respect – they show you respect.
The same with members of biker gangs. They were a formidable entity. Dangerous, dangerous people! You wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of these individuals, because you would’t want them as your enemy.! …but, again they were never any trouble. …Thank God!
I never saw myself as a thug. I always greeted and treated the punters in the same way as I would like to be treated, and it didn’t go amiss. Do onto others as you would have them do unto you.

The main trouble maker in The Albion was a guy known as “Jaymo”. Jaymo was a business partner, a share-holder of The Albion. The only reason that he invested in the place was so that he had somewhere to go and get pissed. He had been banned from most of the nightclubs and bars in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. He was an annoying, aggravating, childish, spiteful little prick. …and that’s before he had a few pints inside of him! …The number of people who used to go out clubbing around “Castle” who used to come and tell me that Jaymo was going to send his doormen after them – it was unbelievable! I used to reassure them that I had no intention of doing his dirty work for him. It was all bullshit. I advised them to take no notice of the prick. There were times when we would grab him by the scruff of the neck and rag him out of the building. We would literally throw him out of his own pub, because he could start WW3 all by himself. Think about that! The co-owner of the place being kicked out of his own pub, by his own door-staff! …Bannish and Exile the little prick!!!

I had been working there for just a little over two years, and one evening I had enough of him. He arrived at the bar, drunk as a skunk – as usual. …and he’s had another one of his domestics with his missus. He told me not to allow her inside the pub, because she was drunk. …Look who’s talking!!! So, I kept an eye open for her, and when she arrived she was drunk. Very drunk, and very emotional. He had obviously done something to upset her …again! I told her that I wasn’t going to allow her inside. All she wanted was for Jaymo to give her the key to their house so that she could go home. He refused. Then he started being an arsehole as usual. He started dangling the keys in from of her, with a big grin on his face. I thought he was being a knob, and asked him one last time to be reasonable and give her the keys. Again he refused, and continued with more taunting. I just had enough. I let his missus come in and sort the prick out for me. She tried to get the keys out of his hands, but he just clung onto them. Eventually she did manage to get her keys back, but not before she clawed the hell out of him with her finger nails. He looked like a cat had scratched away at his face. Good! …He had it comin’ for a long time!

Instantly, he told me that I was sacked. Unemployed. …but, I had already decided, I was through working there with that prick. I took my tie off, unbuttoned my shirt, and walked up the road to ask some doormen around town for Aider Simpsons phone number. Aider ran a lot of door-firms around Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Stoke-on-Trent, and the surrounding areas. He was looking for doormen. I wasn’t out of a job for more than a few minutes.

The Albion, Part One.

I had been working as a doorman at the Highwayman for just over 2 years, and things were going from bad to worse. I was about ready to quit. One Friday afternoon an old pal and training partner called by my home and asked if I would be interested in working a shift at The Albion, in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. I wasn’t working that evening, and didn’t have anything important to do – so, I said yes. I was fed up with the way things were going at the Highwayman, and was looking for a new door to work. I thought that if I made a good impression and did a decent job, that I may just get an opportunity to get a door-job there, or make some contacts in town and maybe work on one of the other doors. As things turned out, I was right.

Newcastle-Under-Lyme was totally different to working at The Highwayman. It was a totally different entity. For one, the doormen were far more professional, and I now had people around me who I knew would watch my back, and wouldn’t shy away from danger. I was no longer working out in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of amateurs. Newcastle-Under-Lyme had loads of bars and nightclubs, and there was loads of people going from one bar to another on “pub-crawls”. All the bars were jam packed full of people. The street-life alone was very busy, and entertaining. It was a hedonistic playground of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll. …massive amounts of alcohol, and plenty of violence too! I can’t lie and say that I didn’t enjoy the lifestyle. In fact, I loved it! …and unlike average 9-5 day-jobs, I actually looked forward to going to work.

Things had stepped up a gear in comparison to The Highwayman. I was no longer dealing with the local village idiots. The Albion attracted one or two wannabe tough guys, biker gangs, football hooligans, prostitutes, and a few snakes with tits! My first night went OK. Pretty uneventful, and no real serious trouble. At the end of the evening I was asked if I wanted to work the following night. I couldn’t say no, because it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

I worked the following night, and I was tested. A doorman isn’t a doorman until he or she has been tested. …In other words put under pressure. You have to prove yourself capable of doing the job. You can attend all the door courses and seminars under the sun, but nothing beats real life experience. Having a door supervisors badge or licence won’t make you a doorman overnight. You have to be tested. It’s a kind of initiation. You had to earn your respect – so to speak.

Anyway, on my second night I was working on the front door, and the evening was coming to a close. Suddenly a fight broke out on the street. There was a man repeatedly punching a woman, and he was really laying into her. There’s just something about me that does NOT approve of a man hitting a woman, and I couldn’t stand by and let this coward continue. I was standing behind this guy, and I applied one of my favorite restraining techniques. A catch-as-catch can wrestlers chicken wing. The hold was applied quickly, and effectively! …BUT that wasn’t the end of it! …The woman got back up onto her feet. and hit him with a good three or four hard shots to the face! The guy lost his front teeth. I saw them hit the floor. and now I had a bloodstained shirt. I wasn’t too thrilled about that. The woman was restrained from doing any further damage. …That’s a shame!

To cut a very long story short, it turned out that this guy was an off duty police officer. So, unfortunately I had to let him go. I had to turn a blind eye to the situation. I didn’t want to, but I didn’t have my official Newcastle-Under-Lyme Council doorman badge/ licence, and I din’t want to draw any unwanted attention my way until I had one. As far as I was concerned that was the end of the matter.

At the end of the evening I was asked if I wanted to work Sunday night, and come Sunday I was offered a regular Job. Every week guaranteed. Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Mine for taking if I wanted it. I didn’t need to think about it. I said YES, right there, right then, in an instant. Sunday was interesting because all the doormen around Newcastle were talking about what happened the night before. News travels fast. …and most of the time it gets very exaggerated. It seemed as though they approved of my actions, and It went a long way to gaining me some respect. Sunday was rather quiet business-wise. But Sundays could go either way. They could be quiet for two or three weeks, Then bang! …I think it was because most people around Newcastle and Stoke were paid their wages monthly. So they would spend and drink, and do whatever it took to block out the depressing reality that tomorrow was going to be Monday, and it’s back to that job that they hate so much.

I called Lee Justin over the phone, and told him that I had quit working for him at The Highwayman. It was the decent thing to do. Now it was time to move forward. Serious stuff. Onward and Upward. It was time to get out of my comfort zone. I spent at the very least the two years working there, and it was a life changing experience, and that’s no no exaggeration.

The next two years were the real test, that and so much more. You were only as good as your last fight. Losing could be a sacking. You’d be dismissed from your job. Unemployed. Iv’e known doormen who’ve spent months in hospital. Iv’e known some doormen who’ve been put into a coma! …and many of them were never the same after that. Every night was sink or swim.