My mate Phil!
Year 1985, I arrived in London. Spoke little English and was very wary of the bigger English boys in my new school - later to be voted the worst school in Hayes and closed down! It’s not a nice feeling to not feel confident; I was certainly out of my comfort zone. In Tehran I was popular, funny, had a lot of friends and spoke the language.
In 1986 we moved to a different area of Hayes and I, with a LOT of hesitation, stepped in the local community gym, where I “tried” to use the weights! There I met Phil. Even though he was exactly the kind of thug that would probably call me names if he saw me on a night out in places like Uxbridge, he and I got on. Training with a much bigger guy got me more muscular. Man I was skinny and with glasses, I guess it was recipe for disaster lol. People found Phil weird and scary. His opening line was usually something like “I did this wonderful Ushiro Geri kick in this guy’s face last weekend…”
Weight training stayed with me in more ways than one. You see when you train from a young age, you get muscle memory, which you can “recall” at any time during your life and get muscular fast! Even if I don’t train for a few years, when I do go to the gym, I can lift some good weights fast because of what I started with Phil. I am no muscleman but in life you need to compare yourself to your own previous self and in this case, there were huge improvements.
Other lessons that have stayed with me from my friendship with Phil are:
1. Always join the biggest guy that you get on with. This also goes for business!
2. Don’t judge people. Phil was prejudiced because he was unsociable and had not been given a chance to change his views.
3. Don’t be harsh when it comes to friendships. As long as you have 80% things in common, have some leeway for people’s shortfalls. This way you will make a lot of friends.
I don’t know what happened to Phil as I lost touch with him. I am grateful to him for helping me put the foundations of weight training, discipline and a sense of fearlessness in me. If you ever read this Phil, drop me a line and tell me who you recently beat up with a Ushiro Geri kick!