Posts Tagged ‘Geoff Thompson’
THE GREATEST STREET DEFENCE BOOK EVER!
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
Hard to believe it’s 20 years since the world’s leading expert on doormanship, Geoff Thompson, first published Watch My Back. And after those two decades, this classic book remains the greatest street defence book ever written.
In the same way military strategists study Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, and professional fighters quote from Cus Damatio’s words of wisdom, so now do self- defence instructors and practitioners quote from Geoff Thompson’s Watch My Back and his many other publications.
Today, Geoff has published 40 books, about the same amount of DVDs, he has written thousands of articles. His work has been published by The Times in England, and two of his books made The Times Best Sellers List. Geoff has penned ten screen plays – five have been produced so far. He has also written a novel (Red Mist, currently being made into a film for cinema) and three stage plays.
In the latest printing of Watch Mt Back, it states “First published in 2000”, but this landmark book was actually released in 1992. Unfortunately, Geoff doesn’t recall the actual date for the 20th anniversary.
“I don’t know the exact date, only that it was 1992,” says Thompson. “That was the first edition of Watch My Back, a much smaller version of the later edition in 2000. I then wrote two more books about my adventures, On The Door and Bouncer. In 2000, I joined them all together and put the stories into chronological order and released it again. That is the version that is still selling now.”
Geoff Thompson’s qualifications are impeccable: He had 10 year’s experience working as a bouncer at the toughest bars and nightclubs in Coventry and established a career record of over 300-0-0 in street fights.
But Geoff wasn’t always so street-capable and self-assured. He recalls in Watch My Back one Christmas morning when his older brother found him sitting in his bedroom, alone and crying, worrying about going back to school and being bullied again. “I was 12 years old and felt as though the whole world was ending. I suffered from depression even then. It seemed a curse to me at the time, but looking back the depressive nature (more specifically, me challenging my depressive nature) has been the fuel for all of my creative output. As a child, the depression overwhelmed me; as an adult, I learned to become an alchemist, and turn that hell in to heaven,” says Thompson.
Watch My Back revolutionised the way people looked at self-defence training and made martial artists question the street validity of their fighting systems – some made adjustments and others buried their heads in the safety of their dojos.
Watch My Back also revolutionised Geoff’s life. “Getting it published changed my whole reality. I went from being an uneducated kid who thought that ‘people like me’ didn’t write books (that is what I was told) to creating myriad new realities, because suddenly I knew I could,” says Thompson.
“It has taken me across the globe and around the world. So far it has sold about 100,000 copies, and is still selling strongly. It inspired my first short film (Bouncer), which was BAFTA nominated, and went into over thirty international festivals; it inspired my first feature film that had a cinematic release (Clubbed) and was nominated for BIFFA. It inspired my next film (Brown Paper Bag) which won a BAFTA. It has a cult following all over the world. And pretty much everything I do now in my life, twenty years on, has come from that one book. And the irony is I wrote the first draft whilst sitting on a toilet in the factory that hired me to sweep floors. It still has more work to do I believe. Watch this space.”
If you’re contemplating enrolling in self-defence classes, I strongly urge you to read Watch My Back before shopping around for an instructor who practices street-effective techniques rather than someone who is pushing calisthenics disguised as a realistic self-defence system.
Well, it’s 10 years since Knucklepit first had the pleasure of interviewing Geoff Thompson about Watch My Back. To read article click HERE, and it’s an honour to catch up with Geoff again to celebrate the 20-years’ success of this bestselling classic.
Geoff Thompson Goes Doorknocking
Geoff, can you recall how you felt on your way to your first night working on the door and how you felt during your first shift?
GT: I guess my first night proper was when I did a Saturday night at Busters Nightclub. I’d worked a little bit here and there before that, but nothing really permanent. Busters was my first full immersion and I was overwhelmed. It was like going straight into the big league. I was attacked, a monster with a scarred face took an instant dislike to me and it was kicking off all night. I was working with real stalwarts, very powerful doorman who knew how to work. I’d pretty much decided there and then that it wasn’t for me, but the lads said I’d done really well. I was a bit green, but I was keen and showed promise, so they asked me back. I decided to stick it out a bit longer (Just a bit). That was the start of nearly a decade of working doors.
Do you keep in touch with any of the other doormen from Watch My Back?
GT: I see them every now and then, usually at funerals or celebrations. I saw John ‘Awesome’ Anderson recently at a funeral. It was great to see him. I still consider him to be my mentor really. I love him. I have a lot of respect for John. I know that I am where I am now because of him.
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
It’s 9am Tuesday morning at the time of this interview, and Geoff Thompson is busily working in his Coventry office. “It’s been very nice summer weather and I have the sandals out again,” says Thompson.
For the world’s number one authority on doormanship, the working day is already many hours old. “I have a new book coming out called Eveything That Happens to Me Is Good. It’s a series of my philosophical articles that I’ve written over the years and I’m just doing the final polish on it. It’s going to print at the end of the week and will be published in August.”
Another project of Geoff’s, the short film Bouncer, is now up for free viewing at www.geoffthompson.com, having received international acclaim and many nominations.
“It came out about four years ago and we’ve just put it on the website for visitors to watch. It’s done the circuit – been all around the world and been at over 30 international film festivals now. It’s won a number of awards and was nominated for a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) in 2003.”
Bouncer was the predecessor to another of Geoff’s short films, Brown Paper Bag – a story about alcoholism, which won the BAFTA the following year.
And now Thompson has just finished shooting a two-million-pound (four-million-dollar) feature-length movie called Clubbed, which was inspired by Geoff’s best-selling book Watch My Back.
© Marc Wickert
photos © Geoff Thompson
Ever wish you could be the best in the world at something? Ever wish you could win the lottery and make all your dreams come true? Ever wish upon a star? Geoff Thompson is like that: He spends most of his life dreaming. What separates Geoff from most of us is that he makes his dreams come true. And he doesn’t leave anything to chance. He works and works until his dreams become reality. To Thompson, life’s stumbling blocks are merely stepping stones that need to be overturned.
Geoff’s whole life has been a series of hurdles he’s erected for himself. And every day he raises their height. When Geoff wanted to feel safe on the street and decided to stop being bullied, he took up bouncing for ten years at some of Britain’s roughest nightclubs. He wanted to become an author and has now published over thirty books and thirty videos.
“If I only set realistic goals, I would not have achieved anything in my life. I pride myself on the fact that I set goals that others would consider completely unrealistic. In fact, if I had listened to many of the people around me, all my life, I would not have even set goals in the first place, because all of the things I aimed for seemed impossibly grand, even pretentious to them. And yet, it did not stop them from happening. It did not stop the whole universe from conspiring to make my little dreams into big realities,” says Thompson.
© Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
As stated in Part One of this article, Geoff Thompson is widely acknowledged as being the world’s #1 authority on doormanship. With over thirty books, videos, documentaries, a feature film and a decade of real-life experience as a bouncer in some of Britain’s roughest nightclubs, few can dispute the accolades.
Watching Geoff Watch His Back
While working as a doorman for all those years, Geoff’s survival skills were continually being road tested. He was working six nights a week, and never experienced a night when he didn’t physically have to restrain somebody or make his own techniques work. And this was against people who were doing everything in their power, not only to stop Thompson’s techniques from working, but also to make their own work. Geoff learned very quickly what was and what wasn’t effective.
In Part Two of this article, we will be focusing in more depth on Thompson’s bestselling autobiography Watch My Back, which incidentally led to the author’s being invited to join the Royal Court Theatre writers’ group.
Nice To See You, Wherever You Are!
©Marc Wickert www.knucklepit.com
From the Source
Geoff Thompson is widely acknowledged as being the world’s #1 authority on doormanship. With over thirty books, videos, documentaries, a feature film and a decade of real-life experience as a bouncer in some of Britain’s roughest nightclubs, few can dispute the accolades.
But this wasn’t always the case for Thompson who was constantly picked on as a kid. In his debut bestseller, Watch My Back, Geoff recounts how one Christmas morning his older brother discovered him alone and crying out of fear that the beatings he’d been receiving would continue when school resumed in two weeks time. This predicament continued throughout Geoff’s childhood until he was eleven-years-old and embraced aikido.
“Like a lot of people, I got into the martial arts because I was bullied, and I thought the martial arts would be the answer. I thought if I learnt to fight, I wouldn’t be bullied. It was at the time of the Bruce Lee boom, and I wanted to be superhuman like thousands of other kids. That was my main reason, so I could learn to fight, because I thought that would be the answer. Of course later I realized it was less about fighting, it was more about having confidence, having more cerebral strength,” says Thompson.
“You become invisible. What the ninjitsu refer to as ‘invisibility’, I don’t think they’re talking necessarily about actually disappearing, but if you have a huge amount of confidence, because you’ve built up your physical ability, then you become invisible to threat. You’re not seen as a victim to people who want to attack, so the martial arts are very good in that respect. You have to do the martial arts properly and train very hard and go through a forge so you get a tempered blade. And if don’t go through the forge, then there tends to be a lot of insecurity. And being in the martial arts can actually perpetuate trouble, because if your confidence isn’t mature, people tend to go looking for situations to prove themselves.”