Published: 15:30, 24 August 2019
| Updated: 16:45, 24 August 2019
From would-be football hooligan to world champion.
Martial arts supremo Mick Gooch’s life has had as many ups and downs as his famous one-finger press-ups which won him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
His remarkable skills have been featured on national television shows from Blue Peter to Britain’s Got Talent.
But it has taken the Chatham born-and-bred athlete a stroke to find time to write his autobiography, Balancing the World on One Finger.
Mick, 62, took up martial arts in 1974 after watching Bruce Lee’s hit Enter the Dragon which started a global kung fu craze.
Mick had always been into fitness, particularly football, and as a lad was an avid Gilllingham fan and was one of the Gills Boot Boys gang occupying the Rainham End of the stadium.
It was while being a member of the hardcore supporters that he ran into trouble.
‘I believe everyone is given a gift and I found mine with the one-finger press-up’
He got into a fight with away fans and was arrested with a dart in his pocket. He was charged with breach of the peace, possessing an offensive weapon, fined £10, the equivalent of a week’s wages, and given 24 hours’ detention.
He said: “My life had reached rock bottom. A day which started with me going to see my team ended with me in a police cell facing the prospect of a criminal record.”
This was a wake-up call for Mick and it was then that he focused his efforts into karate, practising in his mum’s kitchen and friends’ garages.
He founded the Chatham Kyokushunkai Karate Club and rose to the ranks of second degree black belt, forever pushing himself to physical and mental limits.
When he had the stroke in 2015 he was told to take it easy, rest and take one step at a time or risk falling ill again.
He spent more than a year charting out his life and his friend Dave Major moulded his notes into the book.
He said: “I believe everyone is given a gift and I found mine with the one-finger press-up.
“I came from a pretty tough council estate and have made it to the top. I hope my book will be an inspiration to others.”