By Dave Briggs, MSMA
I first heard of Geoff Thompson in 1992, after reading his first book, ‘Watch My Back’. I was amazed at the similarities to my own life that I found within its pages. This was the first book I had read since leaving school, and once I had started I just couldn’t put it down. I was impressed by his honesty and directness, qualities which he still holds in vast amounts today. A year or so later, after joining the British Combat Association, I got to meet Geoff in person. At that time I was at a junction in my martial arts career (and in some respects, my life in general) where I was struggling to find direction. Becoming a member of this prestigious Association, under the guidance and influence of Peter (Consterdine) and Geoff, not only led me in a positive direction with respect of my training and teaching, but has also been constructive in creating a mindset that has given seen a dramatic change in myself. The joint combination of attributes from both these two prolific figures has given the B.C.A. significant standing on the world stage with regards to REAL Self Protection.
After training with Geoff and Peter a few times I was convinced that I had found what I was looking for. I felt drawn to Geoff, his experiences and personal background were often almost identical to my own. I wasn’t on my own. You could see, whenever Geoff was discussing his view and experiences, everyone in the room hung on his every word. Over a period of time I developed quite a friendship with Geoff and I had many interesting and motivating conversations with him. Throughout all my contact with him he has remained a totally positive influence. After just the briefest conversations over the telephone I am always left feeling empowered. Geoff has guided, influenced, advised and encouraged me immensely. In short, he has had an absolute profound and positive effect on my life. I could quite easily take up all of the pages of this magazine singing this gentleman’s praises.
He has achieved much over the past several years. He has transcended the boundaries of his original existence to set a shining example for us all to follow, and I don’t just mean the martial arts community. In my eyes Geoff is a true innovator, someone who is worthy of heroic recognition. His humility goes from strength to strength and his honesty remains intact. I know that many others, who too have been touched by this great person, share my opinion.
Geoff recently allowed me the distinct honour of interviewing him on behalf of M.A.I. So, it is with the deepest respect and admiration that I bring the result. I truly hope that you enjoy it.
The Journey of an Innovator
Dave Briggs: Geoff, for the benefit of anyone new to the martial arts, or who haven’t heard of you, I believe there are some people on Mars who don’t know who you are, could you please give us a condensed version of your background and qualifications?
Geoff Thompson: I started in the martial arts about twenty-five, thirty years ago, starting with Aikido then going into Shotokan, then into Gung-Fu. Then I went on ‘the doors’ and spent nine years there. During that time I started training in lots of other systems, everything from Freestyle Wrestling to Judo, Western Boxing, just about everything really, covering all the practical arts that would offer me something.
Dave Briggs: You’ve received quite a lot of publicity over the past several years regarding your outspoken views relating to personal safety, why do you think that’s been the case?
Geoff Thompson: Because I think the truth often hurts and someone’s got to come out and say it, someone’s got to say that the king is wearing no clothes and it just happened to be me that said it. There was a lot of people that could have said it, there was a lot of people that could have taken the niche that I have, people like the great Terry O’Neil and the awesome Gary Spiers . There a lot of people out there that could have done what I’ve done, it just happens that I’m the one that grabbed it out of the air and did it first. When I first started doing the articles and the books I thought that everyone already knew this stuff, until I started getting the reactions that I got, I was really surprised. Of course I made my career on reality training and the stuff I do now is more about avoidance and escape, but I think honestly anybody could have took that niche. As for the critics, I don’t mind them, I don’t feel threatened by criticism, I totally respect everybody’s right to their own opinion, even if its that they don’t like me, if they think I’m a thug, my truth is objective, it’s my truth so it can’t be threatened. The truth doesn’t care what you think about it and I’ve also found that criticism has helped me to grow. Sometimes my critics in the early days have said things that have helped to improve the things that I was doing so I welcome it.