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From Bullied to Black Belt, a true story of overcoming fear, adversity and the horrors of violence to achieve our goals. AMA about fear, dealing with it and stopping violence and bullying in our lives and how this story would be a box office hit!

Simon Paul Morrell
Apr 13, 2018

Spending my life under the domain of fear did not appeal to me. Beaten, battered and bloodied by childhood bullies and violent adults, I set about creating my own personal fortress. It was tough, I don't mind saying as I was a timid, terrified youth but I did it, becoming one of the UK’s leading fighters in the world of Martial Arts (6th Dan Black Belt, three-time Hall of Fame Winner) and penned my journey in the book From Bullied to Black Belt. We are now actively seeking a film producer to bring the story, called the UK’s Rocky Balboa by the Film Agency for Wales, to the big screen by way of a feature film. Are you the person for the job, then get in touch via info@simonmorrell.com In the meantime if anyone has any questions or worries about fears, rational, irrational or otherwise then please ask away. I was titled an authority on Fear Control by BAFTA winner Geoff Thompson so I may be able to help! 

Film people...what are you waiting for, send me your questions on how we can make this a box office hit!

View the trailer for From Bullied to Black Belt here

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Conversation (70)

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What would be your definition of Bullying? How has the bullying affected who you are today?
Apr 19, 2:01PM EDT0

 My definition of bullying is a stronger (physically & mentally) person causing an unwilling participant conflict when they have done nothing to bring said conflict on. People fall out, boys fight boys, girls fight girls etc, it goes on but when one person (male or female, child or adult) clearly has done nothing to encourages a sustained, abusive act against themselves, violent or mentally upsetting, then that my friend, is bullying.

Apr 20, 3:31AM EDT0
Do you think the current laws are effective against bullying or not? Why?
Apr 19, 3:27AM EDT0

I have read in today’s press that new laws have/are being bought in in terms of couples and domestic violence, and they seem well worded but I don’t know if they are going to apply to bullies as such. They cover intimidation, threats, humiliation, assaults etc and these are traits that bullies outside a domestic relationship show/use so I would like to see those laws extend outside the relationship situation. However, that said I question whether bullies/violent people would adhere or be bothered by these laws and if they even exists. For example, as a youth I had a guy, what I would term ‘stalk me’. He was a very violent individual who had no respect for law and had a string of convictions. He would turn up at my house with my family threaten me with violence and offer that same violence to my family should they intervene. Would this individual even care about laws? I think not. He was confronted by my father and simply told him that when I was 18 (and of age) he was going to kill me. He just wasn’t bothered. However, it’s nice to see that authorities are at least making efforts, its a start.

Apr 19, 9:56AM EDT0
Do you think there are now more laws to protect people against bullying or has bullies just become more creative?
Apr 18, 5:34PM EDT0

I think it depends on country and continent. To be ho est here is the U.K. there are anti-stalking laws and of course standard assault and harrassment laws but I have yet to see a prosecution against actual bullying and I’m not sure we ever will unless the laws change specifically. I defiently think laws should be bought in though.

Apr 18, 6:29PM EDT0
Have you considered working with organizations to combat violence?
Apr 17, 9:56AM EDT0

I have worked locally with groups along the same line but I’d really like to make it a national/international affair. If I was approached by the right organisation I’d love to do it and think I’d bring something good to the table with the experiences I’ve had. The problem seems to be making the right connections but if they came along then definitely. Great question!

Apr 18, 6:27PM EDT0
Have you considered working with organizations to fight against violence and bullying?
Apr 16, 10:23AM EDT0

 I have worked locally with groups along the same line but I’d really like to make it a national/international affair. If I was approached by the right organisation I’d love to do it and think I’d bring something good to the table with the experiences I’ve had. The problem seems to be making the right connections but if they came along then definitely. Great question!

Apr 16, 10:45AM EDT0
Show all 3 replies
Why is it important to you to see a movie made about your life? What message do you want to send?
Apr 16, 6:07AM EDT0

I want people to see that there is hope, redemption and a way out of a life seemingly set for failure. I genuinely think this story needs to be bought to the big screen for a wider audience and I really want it to inspire others who may have their own personal battles, whatever they may be.

Last edited @ Apr 16, 8:08AM EDT.
Apr 16, 8:07AM EDT0
Do you think violent people should get punished or get helped?
Apr 15, 4:57PM EDT0

I think the first stage is definetly punishment . If you are willing to strike someone with out justification, or use a weapon, gun, knife etc then you must accept punishment. If you are the genuinely remorsefall then I am all for helping people as well.

Apr 16, 8:06AM EDT0
What are the mental and spirtual effects of MMA if there is any?
Apr 15, 12:50PM EDT0

People do claim to experience a feeling of spirituality, inner peace etc but truthfully I have never done so. I take confidence from Martial Arts and I suppose mental strength but as for spiritual feelings, personally no.

Apr 16, 8:04AM EDT0
What is the differnce bewteen UFC and MMA? Who is your inspiration in the MMA world?
Apr 14, 10:08PM EDT0

U.F.C. is Ultimate Fighting Chapionship, a brand or title for M.M.A. fighters so there really isn’t any difference. As for my influences, by far in the world of Martial Arts it has to be Geoff Thompson. The man bought so many people into the spotlight with his unselfish ways and helping people. I’m not really a fan of U.F.C. as such but Charlie the Spaniard is also another great fighter who is a total gentleman. Thanks for asking, great question.

Apr 15, 6:47AM EDT0
Who do you consider as the greatest martial artist of all time?
Apr 14, 12:55PM EDT0

I have to say Geoff Thompson. People call Bruce Lee and that’s fair enough but in terms of putting us all to all range fighting, fear control, expanding, it has to be Geoff Thompson. The guy was so much more than hitting things.

Apr 14, 1:54PM EDT0
Going back to your childhood times, when did you first become a victim of bullying? What forms did the bullying take?
Apr 14, 7:12AM EDT0

The first time I was bullied. I was about six years old. People say you don’t remember things from back then but it was so vivd. A kid in the line spat on me, called me a spaz then starting throwing punches. Stays with me forever but I came good in the end, as every kid and adult can, where there is courage , there is hope.

Apr 14, 9:21AM EDT0
Who do you think is the best British fighter in the UFC at the moment?
Apr 14, 6:05AM EDT0

I have to be really honest, I don’t follow UFC. My interest nowadays lies more in the Self Protection side of Martial Arts, mainly Krav Maga and whilst teaching and writing for a living is something I love, when I am away from it I tend to stay away from watching UFC type events. I did a lot of judging at Cage Fights and have a massive respect for those who enter any arena, it’s just I’d rather spend my spare time with my family, listening to music and reading. Many thanks for the question though. Enjoy your UFC!

Apr 14, 6:13AM EDT0
Have the way one is bullied changed much from when you were a kid?
Apr 14, 1:02AM EDT0

You know that’s a really brilliant question. My initial reaction was to say, yes it’s changed as there is now a massive knife crime problem but then I realised/remember being a 16 year old frightened  kid and my biggest bully chased me as he brandished a large knife. I was told later on he would have stabbed me as he already had a criminal record for stabbings.

I would say what has changed is the social media factor. It’s so easy for idiots to pick up a keyboard and make threats. They don’t seem to realise it’s real, their words effect people. They also don’t seem to realise it’s an offence. They ring out the same excuse; “Oh it’s only Facebook, it doesn’t matter who sees it, who gets afraid, who gets upset.” But it does matter, someone is sitting in their room somewhere, reading online how some thug is going to smash them. Thankfully, there’re seems to be more laws in place to deal with this.

Last edited @ Apr 14, 6:22AM EDT.
Apr 14, 5:43AM EDT0
What should a parent or school watch out for in a child’s behaviour that might be a warning sign?
Apr 13, 5:28PM EDT0

I think a big sign is when a child becomes withdrawn. I spent many of my days as a youth sat in my room when most kids were out with friends. It was an incredibly lonely time. When a kid of 13, 14, 15 and so on is spending most of his/her time indoors then that’s a big sign things aren’t good. Also, the obvious; bruising, cuts etc. They don’t come from nowhere.

Apr 14, 5:33AM EDT0
What do you think in the moments before the fight, in the warm-up area, or in the locker room, walking into the stage, and before the initial bell?
Apr 13, 4:23PM EDT0

How did I get here, what the hell am I doing?! Ha ha. Truthfully sometimes just before my name was called, or I was told I was next, that would be the moment. How did I get here? I think most fighters, not matter what their arena question if they really want it, but personally, once I realised it was what I do and was good at it (sorry if that sounds conceited, not meant to) I always knew I loved it, despite my fears.

www.simonmorrell.com

Apr 14, 5:26AM EDT0
What progress have you made in martial arts so far? How has your style changed over the years?
Apr 13, 11:35AM EDT0

Great question. I am lucky to have had some great teachers who me to explore all ranges and make what worked for me my own. I started in Shotokan Karate at the age of 15, competing and having some good successes, eventually obtaining Advance Grade before leaving Martial Arts for a while due to ill health.

I returned via Shukokai Karate, starting again from white belt but progressing to Advance Grade before realising that I enjoyed the more aggressive style of Fighting that Kickboxing had (then Freestyle Karate). I graded to First Dan under Alfie Lewis but came across the British Combat Association., Geoff Thompson and Peter Consterdine.

I was awarded my Instructor’s Certificate by them, then graded to 2nd Fan under Geoff and later 3rd Dan under Peter. Along the way I was encouraged by them to explore all systems and styles relevant to what I wanted so I boxed, kickboxed and eventually started grappling, becoming a Freestyle Olympic Wrestling Coach under the B.A.W.A.

I trained regularly at Coventry as well as seminars at the Salford Wrestling Academy (Mr Matt Clempner ) and local door supervisor courses with legendary Gary Spiers.

Close Protection and Defensive Tactics followed and eventually attend one of the first Krav Maga seminars ever held in Europe by Mr Eyal Yanilov. Some years later I would be come the first Krav Maga Black Belt in Wales, I.K.I and would eventually Grade to 6th Dan putting all these systems/styles into the grading, under Alfie Lewis.

I became a Senior Self Protection Instructor with the B.C.A. and have been with them 25 years now, being told that next year I am to be awarded my 7th Dan.

Hope this answers your questions but shoot away if there are more or visit www.simonmorrell.com

Last edited @ Apr 13, 12:00PM EDT.
Apr 13, 11:58AM EDT0
What do you think it is that will have people eager to watch the upcoming feature film on your life's journey before many of them have even seen it?
Apr 13, 9:06AM EDT0

I think because it is an honest, passionate and emotional story of adversity, failure, triumph, love and hope. I think on opposite poles these are emotions we all feel in a negative form (the former) and in the latter, something we all adhere and desire.

I also think that there is an underdog in all of us and we all want that underdog to come good. From Bullied to Black Belt is a perfect example of that. One of the biggest honours the story has received was when the Film Agency for Wales, U.K. called it ‘The British, true Rocky Balboa story!’ I couldn’t ask for a bigger quote and it sums up how we, at our organisation feel about it.

You can see the trailer here https://youtu.be/iIg072_rzHA

Apr 13, 9:16AM EDT0
Have you seen any connection between parents who were bullied as a kid having bullied kids? Does the cycle repeat?
Apr 13, 7:26AM EDT0

Personally I haven’t seen any significant connection. It may exist but not to an extent that its what I would call a massive impact factor. Perhaps a mild mannered person is more likely to produce mild mannered offspring and that certainly isn’t a criticism, and I do see violent father’s produce violent kids (monkey see, monkey do I believe was the old Chinese saying) but my honest answer is no, I haven’t seen a connection.

Saying that, my own children took my lead as it was later in life. One daughter, two sons, they all started training at the age of three and each year were given the option of stopping. I wouldn’t force it on them, I just didn’t want them following the path of my younger self.

Although my eldest son no longer trains, he obtained 2nd Dan Black Belt at the age of 19. My daughter still trains and is 3rd Dan and a national champion and my youngest is junior Black Belt and a national champion. I know at some point in separate matters, all three of them have stopped violence and people being bullied.

Apr 13, 7:57AM EDT0
How much responsibility do you feel parents should have in this realm? Aren’t they a bit responsible for the behaviour of their children?
Apr 13, 7:20AM EDT0

Absolutely they are and a great and intelligent question. From both sides of the coin I think. If a parent finds out their child is bullying others, they must stop it. Obtain the full facts first, of course but if the fault lies in your child then act upon it.

I saw a great video on Social Media of a father who found out his son was a horrific bullied. He absolutely gave the kid a dressing down and for a week, made him run 4 mile to school whilst he followed in his car. Some may say a bit extreme but the end result was the kid learnt the error of his ways and wholeheartedly apologised to the kid he had tormented.

Likewise if a child is being bullied, the parent must not turn a blind eye to it (it happens). Be constructive in building your child’s trust and confidence. Teach them, take them to confidence building classes such as Martial Arts, Fitness, etc. Don’t go over the top and wrap them in cotton wall (although this is every parent’s natural instinct) as it may have a set detrimental effect but show empathy and support.

Apr 13, 8:04AM EDT0
When you were bullied as a child in the form of physical violence, did you ever thought of contacting police?
Apr 13, 5:51AM EDT0

Only once were the Police involved and it was via an informal visit to a thug by a family friend who was a Policeman. It made no difference, the bully carried on regardless. I had a father who thought he was a big shot in town, a hard man and for the most, my problem was kept from him.

Possibly my shame or maybe the mentality of not “showing him” up made my mother keep it away from him. Years later, upon the release of From Bullied to Black Belt, my mother denied any of it had happened refused to read the book. By this time my shoulders had grown bigger (so to speak) and it washed over me.

If they chose to deny then that was on them, not me. So police, authorities and teachers etc were not an option, I bore the brunt myself.

Apr 13, 6:13AM EDT0
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