Robert Wilson - Jiu Jitsu and Me children’s book

By Hayden Moore

With the release of his book ‘The Shred Fat Program’ at the beginning of 2017, personal trainer Robert Wilson never thought that he would be releasing a children’s book 18 months later.

Although, with his daughter getting more and more interested in Jiu Jitsu, he searched for a children’s book centred around the specific martial art – but could not find one.

LIFE Robert Wilson 1

The Tallaght man, who currently lives in Saudi Arabia as the health director in the largest university in the country, is a massive fan of Jiu Jitsu and the health benefits surrounding the activity and has recently released ‘Jiu Jitsu and Me’ for children just like his daughter.

Robert caught up with The Echo last week to tell us about the process of creating a children’s book, the inspiration of Dr. Seuss and what we can expect from him next.

What is your new book called?

The new book is called ‘Jiu Jitsu and Me’. ‘Jiu Jitsu and Me’ is about a young boy named Bobby who is nervously starting a new school year.

Bobby dreads going back to school because he feels as if he is not good enough for things like sports. Bobby’s new teacher, Mr. Miller, is a jiu jitsu instructor and introduces Bobby to the sport.

After some time, Bobby begins to find his way and develops more profound respect for himself. 

What can people expect from the book?

The narrative is a story of learning to feel comfortable in one’s skin, but it also takes children through an exciting adventure as Bobby faces his fears and nervously competes in a jiu jitsu tournament.

Who is the main character, Bobby?

Bobby is an introverted child who would shy away from regular sports and who doesn’t really engage in school activities. He hasn’t many friends in school and he is always picked last in PE class.

Growing up is never easy, and children learning how to accept themselves as they are is just as hard. I wanted to give children a character who finds that one thing which inspires and provides comfort, giving them the courage to excel. 

You are a Personal Trainer in Saudi Arabia and have published an exercise book, why was a children’s book the next step?

Writing a children’s book wasn’t supposed to be the next step. I was looking at getting my daughter a Jiu Jitsu storybook and at the time I couldn’t find one, so I thought to myself why not write one.

I set to work with the help of other authors and illustrators to put together an inspiring story for young children to read.

How different is the writing process between ‘The Shred Fat Program’ and this new one?

Writing a children’s book was completely different from ‘The Shred Fat Program’. I had to make sure the book was condensed into 26 pages, to make sure the underlying message of facing your fears was evident and that the story flowed.

The trick was to keep the child’s attention on each page with the words and images; I believe I have achieved that.

I have invested a lot of time and money to make sure the book is exactly how I want it.

Who did the art for the book and how did you meet them?

Rio Shuvo did the artwork for me. He is an illustrator based in Bangladesh. I came across his work by chance by searching Google for illustrators. I tasked a number of illustrators with some projects and Rio Shuvo’s artwork was far superior to the others.

He really made my story come to life. We spent many a night refining each image to have it as I envisioned. It took a total of 16 months to have all images completed.

What was your favourite children’s book when you were younger?

Happy Birthday to you! by Dr Seuss was my favourite book when I was young. I was a Dr. Suess fanatic when I was younger. My Mam would always get me his books each Christmas.

My Mam understood the power of books. Dr Seuss’s images and stories were captivating. Unknowingly at the time that the messages in Dr Seuss’s books were so powerful that I still think about them to this day.

‘Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!’, Dr Seuss.

What's next for you? 

I want to focus more on training jiu jitsu and competing. I have had many injuries over the years, which are finally getting better so I am looking forward to that.

Where can people get their hands on your book?

Jiu Jitsu and Me is available on Amazon right now for £7.99.

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