Category Archives: martial arts

An Amazing Weekend of Katori Shinto Ryu

Last weekend we had the privilege of hosting a Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō ryū seminar at Wild Geese Martial Arts.

Jeffrey Balmer (Menkyo, Shidosha) travelled all the way down to Dublin for a full weekend training program with the Dublin study group.

Beginners were introduced to iai-jutsu (sword-drawing art) and itsusu no tachi (the very first combat paired sequence in kenjutsu, sword art), the more advanced students had the chance to train and improve bōjutsu (staff art).

People had the chance to learn about the tradition of the school, the different weapons that it masters and a glimpse of the real application of the techniques hidden behind the sequence of movements called kata.

Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō Ryū includes in its martial curriculum:

  • Iai-jutsu
  • Kenjutsu
  • Bōjutsu
  • Naginata-jutsu (glaive art)
  • Jūjutsu(flexible art)
  • Shuriken-jutsu (throwing blade art)
  • Ninjutsu (espionage art)
  • Sōjutsu (spear art)
  • Senjutsu (tactics)
  • and Chikujō-jutsu (field fortification art).

Even today, the ryū retains the traditionally strict custom in which a candidate for study in the ryū is required to execute the keppan, signing, in the person’s own blood, a solemn oath to abide by the policies of the ryū.

In this way, the Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō ryū has been able to maintain the originality of its teachings, both in spirit and form, precisely as Master Iizasa Chōisai Ienao, the founder, detailed these matters over 600 years ago.

The Tenshinshō-den Katori Shintō ryū has become a well-known and much sought after traditional martial art in many countries around the world.

Regrettably, a number of people are teaching and using the name of the ryū without written authority.

A Kyōshi (teaching) license does not signify permission to teach in Katori Shintō Ryū; in fact, no one is permitted to represent in any way, or teach the techniques of this ryū without a written Shidōsha (instructor) license from Ōtake Risuke Shihan.

Thank you guys for an amazing weekend.

Giancarlo Sanchez

Katori Shinto Ryu Seminar – Free to Beginners

Good day,

I’m a student of the Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto ryu bujutsu under Menkyo Shidosha Jeffrey Balmer from Ireland. We are all students of Otake Risuke sensei.
This email is to cordially invite you to the Katori Shinto ryu seminar to take place on Friday March 20, Saturday March 21, Sunday March 22 and Monday March 23 here in Dublin.
This 4 day event is going to be free for beginners.
We will count with the presence of Menkyo Shidosha Jeffrey Balmer.
We expect to have the pleasure of welcoming you to this seminar. Find the timetable below
Schedule:
– 10:00 to 17:00 with most advanced training from 18:00 to 21:00. (Times may vary)
 
The location:
 
– Friday and Monday:   
The Liffey Trust Studios, Liffey Trust Centre, North Wall, Dublin 1.
 
– Saturday and Sunday:
 
Wild Geese Martial Arts, 14 Magennis Place, Pearse St Dublin 2.
Requirements:
– If you do posses Navy keikogi and navy/black hakama and a bokuto would be ideal, if not, comfortable clothes would do, we will provide the needed equipment.
– Confirm your booking by emailing me back saying you are interested (we have only 10 spots left).
– If you cant make it to the start of the session, tell me what days and what times you can come, do not drop without letting know first!
– Bring the best of you to this training session, leave your ego behind.
Contact Details:
Giancarlo Sanchez – 0899514362 – katoridublin@gmail.com

Strength Training & Injury Prevention Seminar

Mixed Martial Arts is the fastest growing sport in the world, it’s popularity has spawned hundreds of MMA clubs, each churning out potential fighters.

But are these fighters really ready?

Training for MMA is a new art, few coaches really have the answers. This is reflected in the rate of injury we see amongst the more experienced MMA athletes.
Knees, shoulders, backs, all damaged. Need this be the case?

Is this the future for all who take up this excellent sport?
Are all MMA fighters destined to be crippled with injury?

We believe this does not have to be the case. Fighters and coaches just need the right tools in their tool box to help prepare bodies to become resistant and resilient to the rigours of the sport. And on September 24th, we aim to provide these tools.

Wild Geese Martial Arts have lined up 4 great coaches, each with an excellent knowledge of the body and it’s workings to help provide some of this information.
We have:

  • Paul Cox
    Paul is the founder of Wild Geese, a martial artist and world champion in his own right. He currently defies the odds as he continues to train and make improvements despite a seriously arthritic hip. His doctors are befuddled at how he is able to walk, never mind Squat heavy barbells, kick heavy bags and practice takedowns in Judo.
    Paul says much of his success comes from the use of kettlebells. He will show how to keep the body strong and resilient, regardless of what happens to it.
  • Dave Hedges
    Co founder of Wild Geese, also a life long martial artist who has had his fair share of injuries. Dave has a huge knowledge of strength and conditioning techniques and hopes to show the difference between the Body Building style of training common in our gyms and an effective strength program for athletes.
    He’ll also teach some of the most effective bodyweight drills that can be used anywhere, without equipment, to forge a lean and powerful body.
     
  • Mark Sexton
    Mark is a Physiotherapist, Acupuncturist, Martial Artists and friend of Wild Geese. His insight into martial arts along with his insatiable thirst for knowledge has lead to Mark becoming one of the leading Physio’s in Ireland.
    He’s the first person we recommend when any of our members gets hurt.
    Mark will be talking about the body and how best to prevent and recuperate from injuries.
  • Anne Dempsey
    Strength and flexibility are two sides of the same coin, you can’t have one without the other and remain an athletic and an effective fighter.
    Anne is a yoga instructor with a unique teaching style. She blends Somatics, which are excellent for prehab and rehab, Pilates for core strength and Yoga for flexibility, all which she teaches and demonstrates without any of the wishy washy nonsense usually associated with the art.

All four instructors will be open for questions through the day.

What: Strength Training & Injury Prevention for MMA
Where: Wild Geese Martial Arts, Pearse St, Dublin2
When: Sat, September 24th. Time TBC
How Much: Prices to announced shortly
How to book: email info@wildgeesema.com, but do it soon, priority will be given to all who actively fight under the Wild Geese name, limited space is available for outside interest.

Regards
Wild Geese
www.wildgeesema.com
www.wg-fit.com

The Art of the Masters

Whats the most fundamental skill a martial artist must develop?
The skill that is a common thread regardless of the individuals style or syetem?

It’s what makes the master seem untouchable.
It’s why the novice is so unpredictable.

It’s the difference between effortlesly beating an opponent and being in a fight.

What is this great skill?

Timing.

At some point in out martial arts career we’ve al thought that we were a bit tasty and really put it up to our superiors in a sparring session.
More often than not we were put straight back in our box.
But if your coach is twice your age and half your size, how is it is seemingly untouchable and able to pick you off at will?
It’s his sense of timing, his ability to read the situation and move only as much as he needs and no more.

At Wild Geese, we’re all about effeciencey. You cannot be effecient without good timing.

So how do you learn this skill?
By learning to flow with a training partner. Free play and sparring are the keys to developing a keen sense of timing. Learning to move as he moves, when to exploit he openings and offering up your “openings” as a trap.

The Filipino’s use many such drills, as do Tai Chi, Wing Chun and many of the Chinese styles. BJJ players will also spend time “rolling” which is the same thing. Playing with the training partner with a predetermined level of resistance, attempting to apply various techniques while not falling victim to your opponents.
At first there should be complete cooperation between the partners so that a basic level of skill may be accomplished, then as that skill improves, the resistance should go up in response.

The end game is basically free sparring whee anything goes.

Although there is absolutely no need to rush to the anything goes stage. A degree of cooperation is necessarry in order to best develop the skills and techniques. All out sparring should be kept for special occaisions.

Add some flow into your own training and you will very quiclky see your abilities improve. You won’t have any new techniques bt you will lear when to best apply the techniques you have.

This is timing.

This is the art.

Regards

Wild Geese
every cause but our own
www.wildgeesema.com
info@wildgeesema.com
+353 87 672 6090
Newsletter-subscribe@wildgeesema.com

Total Self Defence

Go to a self defence course and you’ll usually get taught a hundred ways to damage a body.

Go to a self protection and you learn probably fewer ways to hurt people but also get a load of ways to avoid getting into trouble in the first place. Oh, and learn how to not be too upset about the ordeal afterwards.

Go to a martial arts class and you’ll get taught whatever interpretation of whatever some dead, probably Asian, guy used to defeat countless enemies.

But then take a look at the older and more esoteric systems. Particularly the Okinawan, Chinese, the lesser known Thai arts and Indian martial arts.
You’ll see a vastly different approach to what is often espoused today.

With the rise of the UFC, and “mixed martial arts” we have developed a blood sweat and tears mindset, an “if it don’t work in the ring/octagon, why bother with it” attitude.
Many non MMA’ers have turned to the so called “Reality Based” Self Defence, where the same blood sweat and tears mindset prevails. They think sports are silly and instead train for the fateful day society breaks down and we all have to wear combat pants, shave our heads and be dead ‘ard.

But there is something missing still.

The “real as it gets” MMA or the “Reality” self defence are still incomplete as self defence systems. They lack the elements made that the “old fashioned” systems complete.
Systems that these modern “warriors” seem to think are usless.

But self defence, and indeed the martial arts, are about much more than hurting people and fighting.
The term Self Defence can be defined as:

Defending oneself from harm using whatever means necessary

The word harm could be anything that would adversely affect your well being.
Not just a violent attack, but health issues, environmental issues, stress. Self Defence is about being ready and prepared to deal with anything.

Many of the more esoteric arts include support systems or training protocols that are designed keep the body and mind agile and strong, even into old age.
Meditation, Chi Gung and Yoga type programs would go hand in hand with the physical kick/punch training.
Hard would be balanced with soft.

It is these support systems that seem to have been forgotten in the quest for greater speed and knockout power. Yet if you wish to still be training well into your twilight years, it is these systems that will get you there.
The meditations and chi gungs will assist the body in recovering from the abuse of hard training, they will calm and focus the mind, they loosen and relax tense muscles and maintain a strong will and a disciplined, agile mind.

The esoteric or holistic systems start with the individual. There is no focus on anything external, be it opponents or muggers until the student has first gained mastery of themselves.

After all, are we not our own worst enemies?

Regards

Wild Geese
www.wildgeesema.com
www.noequipment.blogspot.com
+353 87 672 6090

It’s Not What You Know

It’s how well you know it.

As martial artists grow and gain experience they are often looking for the next new piece of info, the newest technique, the next drill.

In fact the opposite should be done. Strip away the excess, loose the junk and use the extra time to work on the things that really work.

Forget fancy, go for simple. Review the techniques and drills you have, are they of any use? Will they work for you in the real world? It will nearly always the things you learned when you were a white belt.
Why do we get taught fancy stuff? Usually to keep students interested, that’s not completely true. Advanced techniques are necessary, but they should build directly on the foundation of the basics, they should be ways of making the basics more effective, not replacing them.

If strength and fitness are included in your training (and why wouldn’t they be?) then the problem is compounded further. Just open a muscle magazine or look on youtube for some of the weirdest exercises ever conceived. Things that do nothing more than waste time that could be better spent on more productive endeavours.
The funniest are from the “functional fitness” people, but they will never be as functionally fit or strong as a grappler/boxer or strongman competitor who does non of the strange circus tricks often advocated (Bent over rows while balancing on a bosu ball anyone?)

Stick to the basics. Get results. End of.

PS Don’t forget, No Equipment, No Excuses – Bodyweight training for the home, office or on the road is on special offer for the next two weeks only, get it while it’s cheap!It will show you the best bodyweight only drills to complement your daily life, with progressions from beginner to advanced, with no fancy b*ll*cks.

Regards

Wild Geese
every cause but our own
Kenpo / Eskrima / BJJ / Strength & Conditioning
www.wildgeesema.com/ wildgeesema.blogspot.com
info@wildgeesema.com
+353 87 672 6090
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Do you run with the herd?

Ever watch the discovery channel? How about David Attenborough shows?

Do you notice how the predators always pick out the weakest in the heard and focus all of their attacking focus and power onto that single individual.

People aren’t much different. I have my students play games. I give them homework. I ask them that when they are on their way home, look around them and check out the herd, see if they can pick out the weakest, who would they hunt if they were the predator.

The object of the exercise is twofold. On one hand the students are learning what it is that a potential attacker looks for, while on the other it raises their awareness level in order to spot potential threats.

By putting themselves into the mind of a hunter, they can see other peoples weaknesses and learn to avoid the same mistakes that they are seeing around them.
Plus simply being more aware of those around them makes them instantly less attractive to an attacker.

Think about it, two people walking along, identical size, gender dress etc except one has their head down, earphones in and are obviously daydreaming, the other is walking tall and striding confidently.

You are looking for an easy target, which of them would you choose?

Enough said.

Separate yourself from the herd, don’t be a target.

Wild Geese
www.wildgeesema.com
www.wg-fit.com
any cause but our own

A Reductionist Approach to Fitness?

This is a guest post from fellow scotsman, martial artist and trainer Alwyn Cosgrove. Alwyn may have crossed over to the darkside by moving to the politically correct US, but he still doesn’t mind his P’s and Q’s when it comes to talking about the state of the fitness industry.

Read on…

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Reductionist Approach to Fitness?

In 1993 the ultimate fighting championship was created.

The initial concept was to determine which martial art – under a no holds barred scenario was superior.

It was karate vs judo vs wrestling vs boxing etc.

Fast forward 15 years…..

We no longer talk about martial art styles — we talk about MIXED martial arts. It’s a mainstream term.

We no longer use the term ‘style’ to describe a fighter — we say “he has good stand-up” or a “good ground game”.

Because martial arts have evolved and have embraced a totality.

Styles were a reductionist approach.

A strong guy went to wrestling. A good striker went to kickboxing etc….

But a holistic or total approach to fighting was always superior. And it’s a mixed system.

Bruce Lee advocated this (he died in 1973)……

“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless”.
“Accept no way as the way, accept no limitation as limitation”

Here we are, 35 years later and the martial arts world has embraced that ideology completely.

But the fitness world is still arguing about which method is better – powerlifting vs olympic lifting, aerobics vs bodybuilding…

We need to evolve from this reductionist approach…

–AC

www.alwyncosgrove.com

Wild Geese
www.WildGeesMA.com
www.WG-Fit.com
any cause but our own

Similar Differences

I was just reading a post on the Applied Strength Blog entitled “Contradictions and Situational Correctness”. In it Brett Jones discusses how bogged down people get when discussing training methods.

Now while Brett is discussing strength and conditioning, his comments ring true in the world of Martial Arts.

I constantly hear students talking about the differences between one style and another, but very rarely will I hear a discussion on the similarities. Take Karate for example, you’re either a Shotokan or WadoRyu man. Are you? They both developed from the same source, have mostly the same kata, same techniques and if you look at the kanji, before it is transliterated into English, the same names. But yet the two camps will not see eye to eye.

In the kenpo studio, Ed Parker’s syllabus is lengthy, but if you look at it, most of the techniques are merely variations on earlier ones. Except the counter strike is low instead of high, or you step with the left foot not the right or add this bit off that one to the end of this one. In other words, you explore the possibilities in a structured manner preparing you for the chaos of a real fight.

And yet I constantly hear students and some black belt “instructors” saying how each technique is unique and different to all the others.

I personally have attended lessons in Wing Chun, Wado Ryu, Shotokan, Tai Chi, Doce Pares Eskrima, Rapid Arnis, Balintawak Eskrima, Shaolin Kempo, Goshin Jitsu, Aikido and a few others. And you know what, it’s all the same stuff done differently. Body mechanics are body mechanics, it’s just one mans preference of how to apply them.
Be it the upright Wing Chun or the sweeping circles of Aikido, the hips generate power to either strike or snap an opponent.

Take heed of an old mantra “methods are many, principles are few”, look for the underlying principles and forget about whether your fist is held vertically or horizontally, it doesn’t matter if there’s no hip, no focus or your face is being smashed up while you try figure it out.

Wild Geese Martial Arts encourage students to think for themselves, whatever they are learning from us. If they are learning eskrima, we’ll show them differing styles of doing the same thing, if it’s kenpo we’ll encourage students to explore outside of the strict syllabus. Sure if you watch Paul and I, we even do things different to each other on an aesthetic front. The end result is the same though.

Stop getting lost in the details, as Bruce Lee said (and I hate quoting Bruce):
Before I studied the art, a punch to me was just a punch, a kick was just a kick. After I’d studied the art, a punch was no longer a punch, a kick no longer a kick. Now that I understand the art, a punch is just a punch, a kick is just a kick.

Wild Geese
http://www.wildgeesema.com/
http://www.wg-fit.com/
any cause but our own