With Christmas now behind us, I am back into my normal routine and it feels good!

I always enjoy Christmas. For me it’s a time to reflect over the past year, absorb the lessons, relax and catch up on lots of reading. As long as I can remember I have always been a ferocious reader. As my life has become busier, I choose my reading material wisely. For me, reading fulfils many of my needs. It empowers, inspires, balances and elucidates.

Only last night I sat in my kitchen (the view from the window inspires me) looking out at the waves caressing the beach within arm’s reach of my window, whilst sipping coffee, reading the aptly titled “Walking on Ripples.” One sitting – 159 pages! Lots of coffee, it was a late night!

I enjoyed it immensely. The enjoyment was enhanced by knowing I didn’t have an early start, no rushing, sitting in (hard earned) comfort, making sure the door was closed, to muffle the sound of the kettle. The rolling bubbles and the snapping of the off switch is amplified at 2am in a cottage! My wife is sleeping close by.

More delectation envelops me knowing I will be joining her shortly… just a few more pages. But no rush, this is my time.

Christmas (for me) holds many good memories and unfortunately some sadness. This year does, in particular.

I digress. Christmas(for me) holds many good memories and sadly some sadness. This one In particular.

We buried our beautiful Aunt Mona. A woman I only have good memories of. It was a refreshing bittersweet time I spent talking with her husband (my uncle Gerry) and my cousins at the wake.

Beautiful people, one and all. They are a blissful reminder of their mother.

An Irish wake (almost) always involves alcohol. This one was no exception. But what was evident was the lack of power drinking. Respect for Aunt Mona, mourning her with dignity.

Balanced characters who know their limitations, even in bereavement – warriors. Aunt Mona’s passing brought us closer.

Again I digress. Forgive me… no rush!

In my experience, I would say at least from 90% of students who contact my school after an attack or altercation, alcohol was consumed by one or both parties.

I am not a pioneer, I very rarely frequent pubs. I do enjoy them but an hour or two is enough (for me).

I have spent many hours chatting in pubs while drinking pots of tea or coffee but finding a (like minded) drinking partner is difficult. If I switch to a stronger brew I will have an endless supply of drinking buddies?

Whenever I know a pub is part of the plan, I also set about making plans. I almost always drive, so no drinking.

Will I be chauffeuring? And who might I be required to get home safe?

The hardest for me is always the marathon sessions. The 3pm-5am grinds! The conversation becomes giddy (which I enjoy) and giddiness becomes gibberish.

After 6 pots of tea my teeth are turning brown, I nip out to my car for nourishment in the form of a protein shake. I sit in silence for as long as I think I won’t be missed! Generally, after 3am no one knows you’re missing, most of them don’t where they are themselves!

I sit and wonder if the bar stopped serving alcohol after 11pm, how many would still be inside. I am snapped out of my pipe-dream by two in-laws, they spot me as they come outside to glaze their lungs with nicotine “What are you at… you’re not eating again are ye?”

These are the same people who over the years I have had to step in for and extinguish threats about to escalate into fist fights. Some I divert, without them even knowing they were about to be sucker punched or ejected from a pub.

The root cause of all these negative situations is not alcohol but too much of it. People not knowing their limitations.

I am training in martial arts for over 30 years now. In that time I have grafted for many belts, working my way to the coveted black and beyond, I am not about to turn those belts white by not knowing when to stop.

Understanding my limitations.

I don’t feel the need to drink to excess to have a good time. I am normally the first person up to dance, it doesn’t bother me that I’m no John Travolta! I am (literally) always the last man standing. I will finish with a statement I begin all my seminars with….

What I’m about to teach you will be of no use if you don’t know and understand your limitations.

Stay safe….

Post by Aidan Carroll (Hard Target Founder)