And we’re off

I’ve been thinking of doing further study for a while now. With a significant dose of fear and anxiety born from my previous experience of education in Ireland I have decided now is the time for further study. I wasn’t a bad student, I just didn’t really get on with the approach of some of the students. You see I was, and continue to be extremely curious, so when a subject matter came up that I didn’t know much about, I wanted to read more and learn as much as possible. There just never seemed to be enough time. My classmates were more concerned about the presence of the subject matter in end of year exams so that they could plan accordingly.

I don’t remember when I came across the Masters course in Cyber Psychology, I do remember looking on line for courses and finding a myriad of options, venues and delivery mechanisms. A few courses really appealed, all were more or less focused around psychology and the application of same in real life. Over the course of my career I’ve met and worked with some incredible people and one in particular who I call my book guru. He was responsible for teaching me how to coach and he literally can recommend a book for every subject matter. So when I mentioned that I was thinking of Cyber Psychology we had a conversation that went for almost an hour and several books were mentioned 🙂

Apple II

This is a subject area that fascinates me, in fact, truth be told I’m not overly interested in having letters after my name or any other accolades, what I really want is to learn more. The first computer that I saw in real life was an Apple Mackintosh, it was in my fathers office and there was a huge “cupboard” built especially to keep it safe. I wasn’t immediately hooked, until I saw that there were games!!! Each day after school I would wait for my father to finish teaching in the university and I would play games! By the time we had a computer in our primary school we had graduated to the Acorn BBC computer which was an ugly box that attached to a TV screen. Computer time was by exception only and it was literally the teachers who used it almost exclusively. Very quickly they tired of it and it remained in the principles office under a cloth.

Acorn BBC Micro Model B + Cub Monitor & Twin Disk Drive - Computer -  Computing History
Acorn BBC Micro

Somehow, along the way it was decided that because of my “abilities” in maths that I should go to a special after school course in LOGO. I still wasn’t sold on the whole world of computing and after a few sessions I learned to hate the green turtle that I was responsible for moving around the black screen. My classmates were clearly those who would go on to become engineers and programmers and they were chewing through the course material with ease. I was not. I would come to dread the drive to the dark room with 20 screens and the shimmering green designs that my colleagues were creating. The world of programming was just not for me. In fact, any mathematical prowess I thought I had disappeared as I moved through my teenage years and it was very obvious that I was not going to follow my father into engineering. Both of us were relieved 🙂

By the time Windows had made an appearance and essays were required to be submitted in print and on a floppy drive, we had a computer in our house. It had the Intel 33 MHz processor and with a bit of upgrading you could double that. By todays standards this was ridiculously slow and regularly “lost” work, usually the night before a deadline. My love of gaming was once again reborn but again with significant limitations.

With the arrival of better internet connections, better computers, handheld devices and the likes of Myspace I was hooked. Usenet groups were a big thing back then and I loved it, I can’t estimate how many hours were spent reading and responding in forums. For sure I am an early adopter and right from the start I could see the huge value of what was to come.

In the past few years I have used the power of the internet to create interest in a martial arts week long seminar that was hosted in London. Not only was this focused on the attraction of interested people, but the booking information fed through to the procurement process and management of 500 individuals. We scheduled live sessions where a number of us talked about the plans and instructors who would be at the event. What we quickly noticed was that the page impressions of these events were over a hundred times that of text or picture features. In fact, the recordings of these sessions were some of the most popular the management team produced.

IOGKF Gasshuku with almost 200 blackbelts on the course

In the pandemic, almost all my life is based in front of a screen of some sort, I’ve had to learn to work, teach and live in a virtual world. When the UK went into lockdown almost a year ago now, I was faced with the immediate closure of my Karate dojo. My Sensei (teacher) was devastated, previous to the full lockdown I had joked I would “put her online”. Not only did we do this, we even added to the class schedule and were joined by people from all over the world. In essence, her classes increased in size. Now we are all very keen to get back to real life training but it was incredible how quickly everyone adapted. Not only that, our global association sprung into life, with travel impossible, a series of courses led by our Chief Instructor and other Senior Instructors became the highlight of the calendar.

In conclusion, choosing this course was a very easy decision for me, I could not be more excited and I’m really looking forward to meeting others on the course and learning from everyone!

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