Today’s episode sees the return of prolific British author, BAFTA-winning screenwriter, and martial arts expert Geoff Thompson, whose remarkable life story and subsequent achievements make him a much loved national treasure.
Born into a working class environment, Geoff experienced many of the typical travails of that world and living the kind of life he was expected to, carrying out menial work for minimal money.
As a youngster, bullying and violence were never far away and led to Geoff taking up Karate as a boy, something he excelled at. Today he is considered without hyperbole one of the most decorated and accomplished martial artists not just in Britain but the world.
Geoff holds the rank of 8th dan black belt, and was voted the number 1 self-defence author in the world by Black Belt Magazine USA and has in the past, been invited to teach on behalf of Chuck Norris in Las Vegas.
As an author, he has penned almost 50 books that have been translated into more than 15 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. His first book “Watch My Back”, became a cult classic and went on to make the Sunday Times Bestseller list.
He has written a wide range of martial arts and self defence books including, “The Fence“, “Dead or Alive” and “The Art of Fighting without Fighting” while his life experience have inspired a number of self-help titles like “Fear: The Friend of Exceptional People”, “The Divine CEO”, and “The Elephant and the Twig – The Art of Positive Thinking”.
Geoff has also seen his work grace the big screen, and his short film Bouncer starring Ray Winstone was nominated for a BAFTA before his next project, Brown Paper Bag, went one step further by winning that same award for Best Short Film.
Of course, such remarkable accomplishments merely tell a fraction of the story. As an 11-year old boy, one of Geoff’s Aikido instructors sexually abused him, something that understandably had a profound and unimaginable impact on his life. It created a depression that Geoff describes as “a constant companion” and “perennial bully”, but also became the source of all that he has since achieved.
The unrelenting terror and anxiety that Geoff felt lay around every corner forced him to confront his fears once and for all, and navigate a way to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a writer. During this time he faced up to his biggest personal demon, a fear of violent confrontation, despite his martial arts experience. Geoff took a job working on the doors of the bars and nightclubs in his hometown Coventry back in the early 80s, and with it, experienced hundreds of violent encounters.
“In order to master your greatest fears you must systematically confront head on the things you are most scared of.”
This set in motion a journey that Geoff continues to this day, as he recounts his life and channels his experience into helping others.
Geoff’s latest book – 99 Reasons to Forgive: And Revenge Ain’t One – leans on his own incredibly harrowing personal experience of forgiving that same man who abused him and in doing so reclaiming the power over his life that had been lost for so many years.
The book is a remarkable addition to Geoff’s growing back catalogue of life affirming and spiritual guides to navigate some of the most challenging aspects of our daily lives.
“As far as practical forgiveness is concerned, my savvy was birthed in the theatre of war; I have been, and I continue to be in the field of play. My words carry with them the historicity of personal research, both as an ardent and dogmatic grudge-bearer, and later as a man of peace and redemption.”
Geoff is an enormously respected figure in the martial arts community, however, it is as an author that he has truly excelled. Geoff’s wisdom, compassion and honesty make him the perfect companion in troubling times and an inspiring figure for anyone experiencing similar struggles. I’m delighted he’s back in the London Real studio, and like all of my conversations with Geoff, it’ll be honest, raw and thought provoking.
Make sure to tune in and spread the conversation far and wide.