“I’ve NEVER been as exhausted as when I trained with the Team GB Badminton squad; within 50 minutes I was a heaving, quivering, sobbing wreck. Same goes for the day I spent with the Premier League referees,” says SIM7’s creative director and former journalist Simeon de la Torre.
“Elite athletes can literally run rings around a journalist. Who knew?”
“And how’s this for another spoiler: kung-fu masters can punch you hard enough to throw you across a room. I know, because that’s exactly what happened when I interviewed the renowned martial artist, Chris Crudelli, for Men’s Fitness magazine. Chris had trained for years in China and, in the early 2000s, was the presenter of the BBC’s wildly successful programme, Mind Body and Kick Ass Moves.
“I’d been invited to TV Centre to get the scoop on the new series. Chris was fun and nothing like the brooding ninja I was expecting, and when he and his manager invited me up to the roof to see some, er, kick ass moves, I didn’t think anything of it.
“I didn’t really think much of it when Chris asked me to hold a phone book to my chest, either.
“He announced that he was going to show me a one-inch punch – Bruce Lee’s famed blow that was said to deliver explosive power from a tiny movement – and I was coolly cynical about the whole deal. I mean, how powerful can a punch from a couple of centimetres away really be?
“I grasped the book and readied myself as Chris stood in front of me, side on and almost crouching, with a loose fist almost touching my chest. Meanwhile, his manager took up a position a few metres behind me.
“SNAP! The martial artist appeared to do nothing but violently tense his body. And as quickly as I could register that almost imperceptible movement, I was also aware that I was flying backwards away from him. Not stumbling or tripping or falling – I was being cartoonishly thrown through the air, my arms flailing. His manager caught me and I slumped to the ground, winded, while the pair of them laughed at the stunt.
“And that was it. We all had a good chuckle about what had just happened, I asked the remainder of my questions and the story didn’t even make it into my copy because that wasn’t part of the commission.
“Meanwhile, I started preparing for my next job – a day’s training with the English National Ballet. And that was a much more painful experience.”