I was born in High Wycombe. I grew up in High Wycombe. Between 2005 and 2009 I lived away, then I came back. Not through choice, I should add.
All my life, I’ve known about Wycombe Judo Centre. When I was a tiny child, my mum took me there to learn gymnastics. (For those who are interested, I also did contemporary dance at that age. I went on to play football, then rugby, rowing, athletics and wrestling – both amateur and American style ‘professional wrestling’).
Yet, since the day I was old enough to form the words “No mum, I don’t want to wear a leotard”, I’ve never returned. Until this week. Whereupon, what do I discover?
Not only does it do judo, as the name suggests, it also does urban gymnastics (free running and parkour) which I have loved FOREVER, it is also the training site for an American style professional wrestling federation. Something I was doing over a decade ago in this very town).
Don’t believe me? Here I am in 2004, in the middle of my school hall:
That was years into my love affair with pro-wrestling – I’d been doing it forever at that point. Granted, there is no wrestling ring in that video, but I learned the techniques ‘properly’ in a ring with British Extreme Champion Wrestling, until a guillotine chokeslam knocked me out and broke a number of my toes. At that point my parents decided they weren’t driving me to London to get beaten up any more.
I mention that because, at that point, I was still too young to drive – that’s how far back this is going! Although I’ve returned to do a Royal Rumble here or a six-man tag match there, I’ve been inactive for years.
Yet, for the last few years at least, these things have been happening under my nose, whilst I hid away in gyms and sweat-boxes, training for no particular goal or reason – other than to clear my mind and keep myself fit. And all at the Wycombe Judo Centre – that innocently named dojo in Cressex.
Perhaps it’s time I dusted off the old kit. Perhaps it’s time I remembered why I even started playing live music in the first place – because, at the heart of it all, I love to perform.