Tuesday, December 05, 2006


After a shaky start three or so months ago, my six year old Jackapong Tiger has got keener and keener on his Muay Thai lessons and nags me to take him as often as I can.

As a result, I spend a couple of hours a week watching kids being taught kick-boxing techniques; experience that caused me to raise a quizzical eyebrow over the weekend when I read the following in an interview with Heather Mills McCartney in the Sunday Times.

“Do you know what? The only thing that upsets me is the risk to my daughter. I’ve worked in war zones so I can deal with whatever comes at me. And as long as I’m in a healthy condition I have my martial arts. I just believe everything happens for a reason, like losing my leg . . .”

I’m sorry, did you just say martial arts? You mean in case things turn nasty? “Yeah. After George Harrison was stabbed I needed to be able to protect myself and my family. I do jujitsu and a lot of kick boxing.”

Notwithstanding the well known British idiom of something being "a much use as a one-legged man in an arse kicking contest", this has convinced me that she must be some sort of fantasist. I could quite easily believe that someone with one leg might practice a sub-set of some other style of martial art (Aikido or Wing Chun for example), but you just can't do kick boxing with one leg.

Specifically, in order to execute the Thai roundhouse kick she would have to have her good leg grounded (in order to pivot on the ball of the foot) and deliver the blow with the false leg's shin. I grant that this may well hurt the person she kicked, but it seems to me that it would also be likely to inflict such trauma on her at the point where the false leg was attached that it would either fall off or injure her stump, or both.

I can't help but conclude that she is talking nonsense.

Pete and Dud worked through a similar conundrum all those years ago:

Cook: Mr Spiggott - you are, I believe, auditioning for the part of Tarzan.
Moore: Right.
Cook: Now Mr Spiggott, I couldn't help noticing - almost at once - that you are a one-legged person.
Moore: You noticed that?
Cook: I noticed that, Mr Spiggott. When you have been in the business as long as I have, you come to notice these little things almost instinctively.

Cook: Need I say with over much emphasis that it is in the leg division that you are deficient.
Moore: The leg division?
Cook: Yes, the leg division, Mr Spiggott. You are deficient in it to the tune of one. Your right leg, I like. I like your right leg. A lovely leg for the role. That's what I said when I saw you come in. I said, "A lovely leg for the role". I've got nothing against your right leg. The trouble is - neither have you.

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