Manu at the Women´s Self Defense Seminar. Here is her story….
Sunday the 3rd of May was a day of which I’ll cherish the memory for the rest of my life. I had waited for an opportunity like this since I heard about the first self-defence seminar in 2013 and when I found out it was happening again I already knew nothing would stop me from going.
I arrived at Egan’s gym stupidly early so I waited outside for a while, until Egan himself passed by and noticing my t-shirt from his website said “Nice t-shirt”. I only could mumble a shy thank you and thought, “Good God, if Egan has this effect on me what’s going to happen when I meet Alex”. Anyways I went inside and after quite a few of the participants arrived, this tall bearded guy dressed with black shorts and a black t-shirt suddenly appeared and my heart leapt when I realised it was the MAN himself.
Let me tell you right now that he is even more gorgeous in person than on the screen. Alex looks younger and more boyish than McG, his features are softer and more relaxed. He smiles a lot, cracks jokes all the time and he genuinely seems to have a good time. And if anybody still had any doubts, his eyes are blue! Not plain blue though, but that sort of bright piercing blue that kind of hypnotize you like a beam of light. It makes you feel like your brain is not in charge anymore and your heart is going to skip most of the beats it is supposed to have for you to survive.
First the introductions from Egan’s wife, during which Alex made sure that everybody had an equal amount of attention and praise, because there he was just Alex the teacher guy, not the actor or the VIP. Then we started the seminar with the “how to get free if someone grabs your arm” technique, AKA “the goofy dance” since it doesn’t always works the way it should.
My partner was Monica, a nice German lady. I remember Alex coming over to us once to help in perfecting the technique. The left arm was tricky so he explained that we had to lock our arm and don’t move to fast to make it work better. He was decisive but kind and I already started to feel more at ease in his presence. And then there was the first test! Yep, Egan told us that Alex would test us while we were all in a big circle and one by one we were thrown in the “lion’s den” (pun shamefully intended).
No pressure, just me in the middle of a circle of 20 plus people doing a test with the man I had dreamt of for the past 3 and a half years. Let me tell you, the man didn’t hold back in grabbing us! Righteously so he wanted to make the exercise as realistic as possible. But boy, he has a strong grip and proof of that were the bruises I found on my wrists the day after. Thank God all gone by the time I came home to my hubby 🙂
Alex made it proper but fun as well, role playing the “raper”, as he called himself, in many different ways. Now you might ask how we managed to fake escaping from him when in reality all I wanted to do was to give him a big hug and never let him go. But you have to remember that we were surrounded by MMA and jujitsu champions so misbehaving wasn’t probably the wisest course of action.
So when my turn came to be thrown in the middle, he comes towards me and with a mischievous smile says, “Hi, I like your t-shirt” and grabs my left wrist at which point I reluctantly pull away then bump against him with my shoulder (as per technique) and roll against his back to free myself (idiot). This first time (yes because I was the nut job that did both session of the seminar) was a bit formal, while then second time, feeling more at ease and confident because of the events. I will explain later.
The second session, I decided to play with him a little and when I entered the ring he announced to everybody “This one is dangerous, she is Italian” and he a reached to grab my wrist, I quickly pulled my arm away, so he reaches for the other one and I pull away again, so eventually he grabs my ankle instead making me lose my balance (incidentally I had to lean onto him to regain it) and finally he grabs my wrists and we ended the game with the proper “get away” technique.
You might have understood that the chronology of my story is not going to be linear so bear with me. So at the end of the first seminar we gather for the pictures and since at that time I was still a good girl, I only had the one with both Egan and Alex, even though I wanted one with just Alex as well. At least I managed to tell him, “I came all the way from Italy for this” (yes I know technically England, but I didn’t have the time to tell him the full story of my life so I kept it simple) and he seemed very surprised and asked, “Where in Italy? ” Also I told him that I had a couple of things to give him and he said, “Sure, what about before the next seminar starts”?
Another thing I really like of Alex is that he pays attention to what one says to him and he remembers afterwards and his memory seems to be really good. The time in between the two seminars was the best ever. First the poor guy, who had been training before the seminar and hadn’t yet had his lunch, needed to eat something so together with Anne (aka Miek), my partner in crime for the second seminar, who had in the meantime arrived, we waited outside the room where he was having his break. Egan’s wife, not wanting us to bother him tried to persuade us to leave the gifts with her, but I really wanted to see Alex’s face with two of my gifts, so I told Marcia that Alex had already agreed.
Thing is, I needed the loo before the second seminar would start, so I went to the changing room to put my shoes on and go to the outside restroom when I suddenly heard HIS voice talking to Anne, so I shot out again to not miss him. Now this might shock you but Alex is in fact human and said, “I have to go to the toilet”. He must have seen something like, “Dude me too but I have been waiting for you” in the expression of my face, because then he said, “Urgent business I’ll be back soon”.
Call me crazy but him being so human and direct makes me love him even more. Finally he came back and I showed him my first gift, two key ring ornaments, one a seal with a navy cap (yes, a ‘Navy-seal’ 😉 ) and a Pac-Man in cargo pants. When he saw the seal he said “Oh I get it”. But about the other he seemed perplexed and asked, “Why am I a Pac-Man?”. So I explained about Danno calling Steve that and it made him laugh, which is a wonderful view and sound. He said “They are brilliant did you make them”? I wanted to lie and say yes, but it didn’t seem right so I gave credit to my friend Francis that actually made them.
Then I gave him my second gift, mostly for the kids, a talking toy hamster that repeats all that one says. Of course being in the presence of Mr. O’Hotness created a bit of brain scrambling and I forgot to turn the toy on and was wondering why it wasn’t working. Alex being the practical no-nonsense Aussie that he is took it from my trembling hand, turned it over and turned it on (yes he has that effect on toys too) and the thing started repeating everything loudly. Alex said, “I love it, but let’s turn it off now before I kill it”. I had more prezzies in the bag, but I didn’t want to take over all his spare time, so I didn’t show them.
Time comes then for the second seminar and this time Anne and I didn’t get to be taught by Alex on the first move, apart from the test that I talked about before. The second move was some sort of hip throw, which to be honest I struggled to perform. So, while Anne and I were struggling on the floor with the exercise, Alex passed by and asked, “Who can’t still do it?”
And of course the meaning of Carpe Diem never seemed so appealing and I said something like, “I still don’t know what to do with my legs” So he observed my very shabby technique and said, “Your hips are not in the right position” and he laid on the floor on his side and said, “It has to be like when you are sleeping in bed, show me!”. At that request I turned towards him and since I was laying on the floor too, I got to stare into those mind boggling eyes from as close as it could ever get and froze for a few seconds, but since we were surrounded by at least 8 people watching, I reluctantly had to turn the other way and finally managed to perform the technique in a way that was satisfactory to him.
He is such a good teacher, he perfectly understood where my issue was and worked on it, until it was clear to me what I was supposed to be doing. Then something funny happened, he wanted Anne to show the technique as well, but she was being silly and wouldn’t let me “in” to “attack her“. So I turned towards Alex and as naughty as it sounds. I said, “She won’t open her legs”. He was amused and told me that he couldn’t ask her to do that, but we could ask her to “Let me into her space”. It was a little wonderfully embarrassing moment.
Showing another exercise I remember him saying, “Watch my body”, which of course was not too much of an effort for us. 😛 He is very athletic, light on his feet and with great body balance. At the end of the second seminar we took pictures again, but this time I was much more relaxed and I asked if I could have my pic just with Alex and I enveloped him in a tight koala hug.
Then not yet happy I asked if I could have another pic all together with him, me, Egan and Anne, and they very kindly agreed.
Finally before getting away, now that my cheeky self was completely unleashed, I turned to Alex again and said “Hey don’t forget your bag” (my prezzies) and he assured me saying “Don’t worry, I won’t. Where is it ? ” So I showed him and finally walked away, as happy as ever to have had this amazing opportunity to get to meet and know Alex the man, a bit better. Funny, friendly, caring, the most genuine person you could ever imagine.
After the seminar he signed our certificates and stayed without rushing at all to go away.
A big Thank You to Manu for allowing us to share her pictures and her wonderful ‘double’ experience of Alex, with everyone.
All labeled pictures are courtesy of Kelli Bullock Photography