DIARY: Bland kicks away for a black belt and fitness down at the gymnasium

One more reason to be nice to Michael Bland. Already capable of the classy acerbic putdown - or scathing comment in his monthly column at the back of the Institute of Public Relations magazine Profile - the industry grandee has just landed a muscular blow for multi-skilling by gaining his black belt in kickboxing.

At the grand old age of 58, the test to win his latest belt involved 'five rounds of heavy sparring with a former world champion, a round against two opponents simultaneously, and a session breaking boards with head-high spinning kicks,' he says.

Despite his notoriously cerebral demeanour - he is an associate of the Institute of Physics and a member of the Scientific and Medical Network as well as being involved in the Society of Authors, the Institute of Directors and a raft of other similar bodies - he makes time to share a joke with Diary.

'While one is not supposed to use these techniques on people, I do have a couple of clients who are overdue with their fee payments and would advise them to get their chequebooks out pretty damn quick,' he quips.

As our picture shows, Bland is capable of Van Damme-esque excesses. Pay up.

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