On Wednesday, my little club lost a great man by the name of Neil. He’d been with us for years, training primarily in NoGi before adorning a Gi and splitting his focus between the two. He was a blue belt that was light-years ahead of so many other people in the club, because of his technical understanding and approach to grappling. He was always happy to learn, and more than happy to share exactly what he was doing to fuck you up. He was very much of the opinion that grappling’s grappling. So whether it was BJJ, Sambo, Catch as Catch Can or even Freestyle Wrestling, he found the merits in each.
Neil has had a shitty time recently, falling to illness before his eventual passing on Wednesday. Back in February he had a bit of a scare with his knee, and the doctors ruled it terminal. By April, he was shuffling around the club unable to grapple at all, but still able to lift and strengthen his weakened knee, but it was too late. This man’s heart was broken. There’s only so long a broken heart can go before it gives up, and on Wednesday, that’s exactly what happened.
In all serious though Neil’s getting surgery later this year, and he’s been offered a new job in Edinburgh. So, he’ll be upping sticks and moving through. He’s not dead, but I guess to us in a way, he is. TO ME. I liked Neil a lot, but in martial arts there is no greater insult than someone leaving your club. I haven’t yet deleted him off of Facebook, but I intend to when he starts training at the wonderful Cross Combat in Edinburgh. I wish him luck in his surgery, and future grappling, but as a person he’s now dead to me.
Happy trails Neil.