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Keep Cool

Published: Aug 13 , 2020
Author: Alan Smith

I live in the extreme south-east of England, probably as close to the coast of France as I am to London.

As such we get the best weather in the UK, assuming of course that you enjoy the sunshine and relative warmth of a hit or miss UK summer. If you enjoy cool and rain, not to mention midges, I suggest Scotland.

This week we have been suffering a hot spell. Temperatures have been above 30 degrees Celsius for 5 days so far and will remain so for the next 4 according to the forecasters. Even worse, at night the mercury has been above 20 degrees, making sleep uncomfortable, and unpleasant and creating fractious bed-sharing relationships. 

My son, when we went on holiday to France a number of years ago, developed what he calls the wet towel trick. He soaks a small wet towel in cold water then lays it across his chest as he attempts to fall asleep. Seems to work for him. Looks like an idiot mind you. Needs must!

One of the consolations of the furlough for me was the opportunity to try a few new things. For regular readers, you will recall that last week I talked about SUP (stand up paddleboarding). I also have taken up Brazilian Jujitsu. I have always enjoyed contact sports and had to give up Karate a couple of years ago following an injury.

Jujitsu is much more akin to wrestling and focus’s on groundwork, and last night in the 30-degree heat I had a lesson.

The Professor (which is what I have learned you call the Black belts in BJJ) took us through a routine, essentially escaping from a pin and taking your assailant into an arm lock.

The first few times I attempted this; I was admonished (in a very caring yet firm way) for rushing at the technique. He told me to slow down, breathe and focus on the form of the technique rather than just getting it done.

To be honest I thought that was a very good piece of advice for many things in life, such as negotiations.

When watching people who are proficient at most things, certainly in a sporting context, it surprises me how relaxed and calm they appear, especially when the fan is perilously close to the merde. (continuing the French theme). 

That, of course, comes from knowledge of what to do, the ability to select the appropriate technique, and the practice of actually doing it enough times to do it with utter ease.

You acquire that from training and repetition. Sadly, no short cuts. As I am discovering learning a brand-new set of skills.

Want to get good at something, then practice with a good coach.

If not, maybe the wet towel trick is for you.


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About the author:

Alan Smith
My background is marketing and advertising. After graduating in Economics I entered the agency world to become, at 28, MD of London's largest independent below-the-line marketing provider.

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