LIVING IN A VAN | PART 4 | DON’T YOU EVER THINK, “FUCK THIS, I’M GETTING A HOUSE!”?

Probably the number one question I have received over the last four and a half years, ‘Don’t you ever think, “Fuck this, I’m getting a house!”?’

In short, no. Housing’s for quitters!

Fuck this, I'm getting a house!

Jokes aside, there have been many times where I have contemplated the age-old question What the fuck am I doing?, usually when the van is freezing cold, something crucial breaks or I have a close encounter with some kind of perceived authority. However, I think asking yourself this question from time to time is a healthy type of reflection. If you’re asking yourself weekly, though, then it’s time to take a harder look at yourself, behaviour, environment and situation.

I’ve never thought about packing in my van lifestyle in exchange for a house, though. Ever. Why would I? Let’s look at my two sparkling other options. Again, these are my views. I am not saying these are practical steps for everyone or that everyone should do this. It collapsed my reality and turned me into somewhat of a societal outcast. Imagine what it would do to you!

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The best Tiny House I think I’ve ever seen | The Cloudfoot Diaries #72

I’m going to let the pictures do the talking on this one. Their website, Shedsistence.com, is a specimen as far as self-builds go. Not only do I love the clean, minimalist look to this but the gear room! Finally, subsistencees who understand the importance of storing gear!

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No Gi Reflections #6 | The Principle of Localised Force feat. John Danaher

The legend that is John Danaher, perhaps one of THE most successful sports performance and BJJ coaches of all time, speaks again, this time about the Principle of Localised Force.

Upon reading you’ll see how the Danaher system of leg locks likes to utilise the heel hook as an area to focus on to apply force, no matter the size nor strength of the opponent.

The principle of localized force: The central feature of jiu jitsu is to use mechanical advantage to control greater strength and aggression with less. How is this possible? It is done largely through the principle of localized force. Let's say we have an opponent who can apply an average of one hundred units of strength in standard strength tests while we can only generate 50 units of strength. As a whole, he is roughly twice as strong as us overall. How is victory through grappling possible in such a case? The key is to understand that it is possible to use a very high percentage of our overall strength to attack a small percentage of my opponents overall strength at a point of his body which, if attacked successfully, will end his ability to continue the fight. If I can use the various movements of jiu jitsu to maneuver into a position where I can create a temporary LOCAL strength advantage at a critical point of my opponents body (neck or joints), I can overcome an OVERALL strength disadvantage. The whole basis of our sport is precisely to develop the skill of maneuvering into these local advantages as efficiently as possible and using that to create a threat to a critical but vulnerable body part in a way that leads to submission. A good example would be ashi garami, where a very high percentage of our overall strength – both legs, both hips, back and both arms are used to restrain an opponent's single leg and hip in a way that allows us to threaten severe damage. If a good ashi garami allows us to use 90% of our 50 units of strength against an opponent's single leg, 33% of his 100 units of strength, then we shall have a considerable local strength advantage on an opponent twice as strong as ourselves overall. This is one of the core principles of our sport and one which we must constantly keep in mind as we train and develop. Here, Gordon Ryan uses a high percentage of his total strength on the isolated leg of his opponent through a variation of ashi garami, creating a local advantage long enough to threaten a break and get a submission on his way to victory at EBI 8

A photo posted by John Danaher (@danaherjohn) on


The principle of localised force is a conerstone in any effective combat system. What I like about jiu jitsu and the world of the floor is that once grounded, strength isn’t so pinnacle as the principle of leverage, i.e. properly applied leverage can easily overcome non-calculated strength. And perhaps more so on the floor than in the standing world. So, when it comes to women, I think grappling is such a powerful asset for them to understand and delve in to, as strength is not a priority compared to localised force, leverage and strategy; facets that can be improved and mastered, regardless of gender.

Jiu jitsu, the great leveller!

Crashing a big motorbike sucks but at least I’m not dead | The Cloudfoot Diaries #71

R1 Crash

Note – this is not my motorcycle. Merely the same style bike and colour to shamefully grab your attention.

“You wait ’til your first 1000…!”
These words that had echoed in my head for a good 24 months before purchasing my first 1000cc motorcycle; the infamous carburettor’d Yamaha R1 – Japan’s fastest motorcycle which ended up being banned because of its rawness and kill count.

Living in a van has its own set of limitations but what it does allow for is being able to purchase your own weapon of a crotch rocket so that you own it, outright. No monthly payments, no loans, no interest rates. Straight up, mine.

Since May, I’ve clocked up roughly thirty hours of riding the equivalent of being strapped to 150 horses whilst they run to the moon. By my own calculations I had done quite well. In three months I wasn’t in prison and I wasn’t dead.

The statistics aren’t great for first time riders of two-wheeled 1000cc death carts. I only picked up on this fact from my own experience; 90% of everyone I told that I’d purchased a bike responded immediately with ‘Be careful and don’t kill yourself.’
Thanks for the confidence boost. Fortunately, I’m quite aware of what I had purchased and knew only too well that to disrespect a machine that powerful is to flip off the very laws of physics and still hope to win. Interesting that only 10% of people responded with something more positive, like ‘Amazing, having fun?’ or similar levels of mild encouragement. Usually those members of the minority were bikers themselves. Real recognise real, yeah?

It was only until I started riding a couple of hours a day, for consecutive days at a time that I was forced to have a word with myself, otherwise I felt strongly that I was going to get nicked. The roads open up very quickly once you’re settled into her power, with just the twist of your hand, an inverted royal wave for speed freaks and dissidents where what lays before you is yours, yours to own and conquer.
Now you can see why these things can be massive ego-traps; absolute power corrupts absolutely. Combine that with an addictive and or trigger-happpy personality and you’ve got a concoction known as Grim Reaper.

My first 25 hours had been a period of settling, essentially. Getting used to the weight and power of the bike, how she handles, when to open the throttle, and how to stay alive if you fuck it up and come into a corner scolding hot (too fast).
Beyond this, my natural progression was learning to corner. ‘Everyone can ride in a straight line,’ I was told whilst passing my test. Learning in to a corner, however, is an entirely different sensation and approach and a skill that many bikers I’ve seen on the road aren’t quite confident enough to pull off. I think it’s because more trust is needed for the increased feeling of vulnerability. An acute sense of balance is required so you don’t fall off, and most importantly, you need to know your angle and speed of approach so you can take the bend at the right speed and apply power at the right point as to travel through as fast as possible, but also cleanly. Anyone who has ridden pillion will have felt the challenging aspects of trust and balance.

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No Gi Reflections #5 | No Gi classes are still a rarity here in the UK

@brucelee @tmxofficial

A video posted by Eddie Bravo (@eddiebravo10) on

In the quest to improve my own No Gi game by breaking through a recent stagnancy phase I have been experiencing, I took to our friend, the search engine to see what classes were available to me within as smaller radius as possible.

The result? Not many! Though there are a few clubs in the Surrey county area, all of them offer only one No Gi class per week. One! I would have thought the recent boom of Mixed Martial Arts’ popularity over the last decade would have spawned more interest from the community, creating such a demand for No Gi classes that clubs would have to lay them on more frequently. Not the case.

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