by Andras Willward,
Despite being beset by all kinds of?logistical?challenges in the previous twelve months and a late (though?unrealized) threat of snow and storms, the United Kingdom and European Union FAST Defense Global Basic Instructor Certification Event – to give it its full, grandiose title – finally took place on the weekend of the 15th – 17th January in Staines, Middlesex, right next door to Heathrow Airport.
As we set foot in BIC candidate Haitham’s fantastic new matted studio, we were aware that it was a bittersweet achievement in many ways. We?were so very glad to?have finally made it to that opening circle with none other than the esteemed Mr. Bill Kipp as our lead instructor, but sad that it would be Bill’s final instructor certification after 30 years of developing, promoting and teaching FAST Defense. Still, we had Bill all to ourselves for the next 72 hours and there was nothing but a huge, excited buzz permeating the whole weekend’s proceedings.
The candidates included some very experienced martial arts and self-defense?instructor teams but, uniquely in FAST BIC history, a professional golfing coach (and former professional golfer) lead one of the teams! Not only that, we were happy to have in our midst Malcolm Jones, the very first FAST Defense instructor to have been certified by Bill in the UK nearly 15 years ago. The wonderful symbolism of his attendance at Bill’s final certification added something quite poetic to the mix (especially as he