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The martial arts trainer behind London Bridge terror hero

IT'S GOING TO BE ALRIGHT: From left - Master Lloyd, martial arts expert, student and victim of London Bridge attacks Geoff Ho and friend Steve Ray

ALTHOUGH THE memory of the horrific London Bridge terror attacks may have begun to fade in many people's minds with more recent news stories involving the deaths of Edson Da Costa and Rashan Charles after their encounters with the police, acid attacks and the devastating Grenfell Tower fire to name a few. Those involved on the fateful night in Borough have been forced to live with the memories day-to-day.

One of those who remains affected is Geoff Ho, Business Editor at the Sunday Expressnewspaper. Ho was stabbed in the throat after trying to stop the terrorists who jumped out of a white van with knives on June 3 in order to shed the blood of innocent Saturday night revellers. Ho is a brown belt and has been a student of the Fighting Fit Academy, studying Seal Lung kung fu for over five years.

His martial arts trainer, globally-respected Master Lloyd of Fighting Fit, speaks with The Voice about his conversations with Ho after the incident and the attack that inspired him to start training many years ago.

Brave journalist Ho survived the attack and caught the world's attention when he Tweeted just before happening upon the terrorists, saying:

"Don't know whether it was stupid or noble to jump in and break up the fight outside the Southwark Tavern, but two arses trying to do over the lone bouncer on the door isn't happening on my watch."


HERO: Geoff Ho being led away to receive medical treatment, left, compared with Geoff during happier moments (image credit: AP)

Speaking to his colleagues at the Sunday Express after recovering from the incident, Ho said:

"Most of my friends and the staff hid under tables but my one of my friends was frozen behind me. I knew I had to face the attackers down, they were armed and I had the best chance of delaying them until the police arrived or they’d get everyone. I had to shield my friends and the people there."

Ho relied on martial arts techniques to defend himself and other potential victims, much to the relief of his trainer Master Lloyd, a veteran in the field who has emerged to speak with The Voice about his brave student and the compelling reason behind his decision to master the ancient learnings.

"I was just about to start a class and I got a text about Geoff from one of the other coaches", says Lloyd.

"I found out what happened but I couldn't talk to Geoff straightaway. One of my students eventually told me he'd been stabbed and not to worry."

When asked if he felt like his classes contributed to Ho's response that night, Lloyd said:


THE EXPERT: Master Lloyd of Fighting Fit martial arts, left, with PR agent Nnamdi Chukwu

"Big time.

"The thing is, three days before, we actually started to learn more on knife attacks. I said to Geoff, 'Come on, go for me' and he wouldn't go hard so I said, 'I tell you what, I'll give you a fiver if you do' and he still didn't do it hard enough, then I offered him a tenner to do it and after that he performed the technique brilliantly!

"Then, four days later it happened!

"I went to the hospital to see him. He said, 'We've got to get the students to take it more seriously'.

"What happens is, they will practice a technique then say 'What's the next technique?' - we have a saying in our class - 'Do the technique until you can't get it wrong'."

Sharing what Ho told him about the ordeal itself, Lloyd revealed:

"Geoff told me these guys came with the knives, everyone else hid under chairs, but he stood firm and looked at them in the eye. They told him to get down on the ground, he said 'No way', he hit one of them then they ran off!

"When you fight back people don't want a hard fight, they want an easy thing. If Geoff hadn't got in there and done his bit they would have started on everyone else.

"It doesn't take long to learn how to defend yourself - fighting fit can teach people in six weeks -
you can change a person's life!

"With practice it becomes second nature. Geoff's always practicing, he wants to get things right and he realises that it can happen to anybody!"

Reminiscing on his own journey, Lloyd said:

"The reason I started was, I got attacked when I was nine-years-old, by an adult. He gave me a bit of a beating, I went running home crying and I remember thinking to myself that I would learn to defend myself against adults. The next day I went to the library, got out a book on judo and karate then my mother took me to a judo club, then I went to a karate club, then a martial arts club...

"I started teaching people properly when I was 15 and I've been teaching ever since.

"I've managed to travel the world teaching and learning as well, managed to go to other clubs in different countries - I introduce myself and say 'If you want I can teach you a bit of what I do and you can teach me what you do, and if you want I can teach your class and you say i'm a visiting instructor.

"I'm working out, I'm meeting lots of different people, I get to learn a bit of the language and I feel good about it - it's better than sitting on a sun lounger all day!"

DETAILS OF MASTER LLOYD'S FIGHTING FIT CLASSES:

Wimbledon, London

ATC Hall
192 Merton Road
SW19 1EG

Tuesdays and Thursdays
6pm - Children
7pm - Adults and Teenagers
8pm -Adults and Teenagers

Tooting, London

Tooting Leisure Centre
Greaves Place
SW17 0NE (off Garratt Lane)

Mondays
7pm - All ages

Saturdays
11:45am - Children
12pm - Adults and teenagers

Streatham, London

Streatham Ice and Leisure Centre
390 Streatham High Road
SW16 6HX

Wednesdays
5pm - Children

Stockwell, London

Platanos College (behind Lidl, near Stockwell station)
Clapham Road
SW9 0AL

Sundays
2pm - All ages

Cheam, Surrey

Cheam Leisure Centre
Malden Road
SM3 8EP

Mondays
7:30pm - All ages

Carshalton, Surrey

Westcroft Leisure Centre
Westcroft Road
Carshalton
SM5 2TG

Saturdays
9am - All ages

Kingston, Surrey

Kingfisher Leisure Centre
Fairfield Road
KT1 2PY

Saturdays
1pm - All ages

New Malden, Surrey

The Malden Centre
Blagdon Road
KT3 4TA

Saturdays
11am - Children

Tuesdays
5pm - Children

The Scout Hall
45-47 Green Lane
KT3 5BX

Saturdays
12pm - All ages

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