Category Archives: martial arts

Sweep the leg. Do you have a problem with that?

It’s on TV now, I’m sat here mucking around online while the missus is sat flicking through TV channels, guess what she found, hang on it’s the final……..

……………Go on Danny Laruso!! That’s right, The Karate Kid!

Anyway back to the point, 21 years ago I was sat on the sofa, aged 10 watching this same film. Within the month I was training. I had joined the local karate school (St Martins Jnr Karate Club, under Sensei Jack Parker) and finally started something.

This had a major effect me. Karate was one of the few things I really stuck at as a kid. As I grew up, all the other lads grew out, I was a beanpole. While I cycled everywhere, I wasn’t strong. Around the time I was 16/17, Jack turned to me and said that if I wanted to continue improving to black belt standard and to stand a chance in the tournaments.

As a result I asked my mates on the school rowing squad if I could join their gym sessions, they asked their coach and a new era started.

We had two gym sessions per week, the lads obviously had other sessions out on the water, I ran and practiced karate. Plus we’d meet once or twice a week for a session on the ergo’s (what we called the concept 2 rowers, still my machine of choice)
One session was “light day” consisting of Pyramids, the other session was “Heavy day” using 3×10. The exercises were always:
Leg Press, Bench Pull, Power Cleans and bench press. I think that was all, there were certainly no isolation’s!

It’s the warm ups i really liked though. A 20 minute circuit that would make Steve Maxwell blanch, then onto the weights.

Now, I realise it wasn’t the most scientific training we could have done, but we got results!
I put on a little weight, but got much much stronger with conditioning to match, got my black belt and fought for my country. The rowing squad were in the top 15 in the country.

When I need to train up for something these days, I always look back to those days, my first gym experience. Although I know much more now, it was the heart and soul we put into the training, it was the basic exercise selection, it was the high intensity circuits.

I look around the Gym I work in and see the girlie boys spending over an hour trying to get from a b cup to a c cup while I’m in and out in less than an hour, full body done, heavy weights moved and heart in the mouth intense cardio ( I like to finish with a 4 minute tabata after a strength workout). I could never get my head around bodybuilding.

I got into training to improve my martial arts, I continue training to improve not only my martial arts but everything else I do. If strength isn’t functional can it truly be called strength?

Fuck it, the sun’s shining, the Karate Kid won his fight and I’m in the mood to get out into the garden and do some training of my own. Bodyweight only, cos I took my Kettlebells to the gym.

Lets go

Dave

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

Sweep the leg. Do you have a problem with that?

It’s on TV now, I’m sat here mucking around online while the missus is sat flicking through TV channels, guess what she found, hang on it’s the final……..

……………Go on Danny Laruso!! That’s right, The Karate Kid!

Anyway back to the point, 21 years ago I was sat on the sofa, aged 10 watching this same film. Within the month I was training. I had joined the local karate school (St Martins Jnr Karate Club, under Sensei Jack Parker) and finally started something.

This had a major effect me. Karate was one of the few things I really stuck at as a kid. As I grew up, all the other lads grew out, I was a beanpole. While I cycled everywhere, I wasn’t strong. Around the time I was 16/17, Jack turned to me and said that if I wanted to continue improving to black belt standard and to stand a chance in the tournaments.

As a result I asked my mates on the school rowing squad if I could join their gym sessions, they asked their coach and a new era started.

We had two gym sessions per week, the lads obviously had other sessions out on the water, I ran and practiced karate. Plus we’d meet once or twice a week for a session on the ergo’s (what we called the concept 2 rowers, still my machine of choice)
One session was “light day” consisting of Pyramids, the other session was “Heavy day” using 3×10. The exercises were always:
Leg Press, Bench Pull, Power Cleans and bench press. I think that was all, there were certainly no isolation’s!

It’s the warm ups i really liked though. A 20 minute circuit that would make Steve Maxwell blanch, then onto the weights.

Now, I realise it wasn’t the most scientific training we could have done, but we got results!
I put on a little weight, but got much much stronger with conditioning to match, got my black belt and fought for my country. The rowing squad were in the top 15 in the country.

When I need to train up for something these days, I always look back to those days, my first gym experience. Although I know much more now, it was the heart and soul we put into the training, it was the basic exercise selection, it was the high intensity circuits.

I look around the Gym I work in and see the girlie boys spending over an hour trying to get from a b cup to a c cup while I’m in and out in less than an hour, full body done, heavy weights moved and heart in the mouth intense cardio ( I like to finish with a 4 minute tabata after a strength workout). I could never get my head around bodybuilding.

I got into training to improve my martial arts, I continue training to improve not only my martial arts but everything else I do. If strength isn’t functional can it truly be called strength?

Fuck it, the sun’s shining, the Karate Kid won his fight and I’m in the mood to get out into the garden and do some training of my own. Bodyweight only, cos I took my Kettlebells to the gym.

Lets go

Dave

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

Big Picture

I get all sorts of students coming to learn Martial Arts/Self Defence, many of whom have experience in other arts, even if it was from many years ago. It’s amazing how their former training stays with them.
In some ways this is a blessing, as they will have many of the movements, if not the skills. In other ways this is a curse as it can mean I have to spend so much time breaking their old habits before creating new ones.

One of the biggest obstacles is the fascination with the small details, and the lack of a big picture view.
What do I mean by this? Well, say for instance I show a drill that is based around footwork and body movement (Taisabaki), I’m invariably asked about what the hands are doing, the answer nothing, it’s about the body movement.
Showing a strike, I’ll be asked about the angle of the fingers/knuckles, but never about the feet, knees, hips or shoulders.

There is a fascination with the fine details (this is fine with advanced students who have the basics) but a lack of interest in the larger, more important details.

If your feet aren’t right, your hips won’t follow through, the waist won’t turn right and the shoulder will be out of line, all before you even get to consider the angle of the wrist.

Now but this into the real world. In a real conflict situation, it’s the big picture that matters, the feet will get you out of trouble and the hips will end it for you, concentrate on the big picture and the details will fall into place. Look at footwork and body mechanics, this is how you avoid being hit and generate the power too hit.

How do people become like this? I think much of the blame lies with their former teachers. Instructors that have either misunderstood the art they’re teaching, or simply have never had to use it. Too many styles concentrate on looking pretty, rather than effectiveness. So many students are encouraged to specialise too early rather than understanding the overall art. As a result the students end up earning more of a dance than a combat art.

I ask my students to remember why they are learning martial arts, remember what the arts are designed to do and keep a big picture view of how the let the art turn them into warriors, not dancers.

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

Big Picture

I get all sorts of students coming to learn Martial Arts/Self Defence, many of whom have experience in other arts, even if it was from many years ago. It’s amazing how their former training stays with them.
In some ways this is a blessing, as they will have many of the movements, if not the skills. In other ways this is a curse as it can mean I have to spend so much time breaking their old habits before creating new ones.

One of the biggest obstacles is the fascination with the small details, and the lack of a big picture view.
What do I mean by this? Well, say for instance I show a drill that is based around footwork and body movement (Taisabaki), I’m invariably asked about what the hands are doing, the answer nothing, it’s about the body movement.
Showing a strike, I’ll be asked about the angle of the fingers/knuckles, but never about the feet, knees, hips or shoulders.

There is a fascination with the fine details (this is fine with advanced students who have the basics) but a lack of interest in the larger, more important details.

If your feet aren’t right, your hips won’t follow through, the waist won’t turn right and the shoulder will be out of line, all before you even get to consider the angle of the wrist.

Now but this into the real world. In a real conflict situation, it’s the big picture that matters, the feet will get you out of trouble and the hips will end it for you, concentrate on the big picture and the details will fall into place. Look at footwork and body mechanics, this is how you avoid being hit and generate the power too hit.

How do people become like this? I think much of the blame lies with their former teachers. Instructors that have either misunderstood the art they’re teaching, or simply have never had to use it. Too many styles concentrate on looking pretty, rather than effectiveness. So many students are encouraged to specialise too early rather than understanding the overall art. As a result the students end up earning more of a dance than a combat art.

I ask my students to remember why they are learning martial arts, remember what the arts are designed to do and keep a big picture view of how the let the art turn them into warriors, not dancers.

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

Basics, basics, basics!

I lost count of the amount of times Jack Parker would shout this at me and the other kids at St Martins Jnr Karate Club. “Without the basics” he would say “you’re advanced techniques would be worthless”

Last weekend Steve Tappin was over in Dublin showcasing his Escrima Concepts system. He advocated the same thing. “Too many styles concentrate on the flash and fancy stuff,” he said “but if you can’t do the simple stuff, you’ll never get to apply it”

Good advice as Steve teaches serious police, military and security operators around the world. People that unlike recreational martial artists and sport fighters, may have to employ this knowledge in the execution of their duties.

Steve’s Escrima Concepts and Wado Ryu Karate as taught by Jack are very different, but yet the two teachers are so similar in their outlook. This is because they’ve both been at the sharp end and know whats important and what will get you hurt.

Too man arts are so heavily influenced by the flash seen on the competition floor or the goggle box in the corner that they’re loosing their practicality, hence the suddn rise of “Reality” based martial arts. Not that I’ve anything against the good Reality systems (eg Mick Coup’s and Geoff Thompsons methods), but there are as many bad instructors in that world as there are in the “Traditional” world.

As a side note for the fitness folks, Craig Ballantyne, another guy I respect, has a new ebook on sale (I got mine free) focusing on the basic lifts any weight trainer should be doing, regardless of their goals. He calls it the Big 5 Workout (look here for more on it it’s about basics.

Whatever you do, be it Martial arts (from whatever stable), fitness training or any other pursuit, take some advice from three great instructors, Jack Parker, Steve Tappin and Craig Ballantyne.

Never forget the basics.

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

Basics, basics, basics!

I lost count of the amount of times Jack Parker would shout this at me and the other kids at St Martins Jnr Karate Club. “Without the basics” he would say “you’re advanced techniques would be worthless”

Last weekend Steve Tappin was over in Dublin showcasing his Escrima Concepts system. He advocated the same thing. “Too many styles concentrate on the flash and fancy stuff,” he said “but if you can’t do the simple stuff, you’ll never get to apply it”

Good advice as Steve teaches serious police, military and security operators around the world. People that unlike recreational martial artists and sport fighters, may have to employ this knowledge in the execution of their duties.

Steve’s Escrima Concepts and Wado Ryu Karate as taught by Jack are very different, but yet the two teachers are so similar in their outlook. This is because they’ve both been at the sharp end and know whats important and what will get you hurt.

Too man arts are so heavily influenced by the flash seen on the competition floor or the goggle box in the corner that they’re loosing their practicality, hence the suddn rise of “Reality” based martial arts. Not that I’ve anything against the good Reality systems (eg Mick Coup’s and Geoff Thompsons methods), but there are as many bad instructors in that world as there are in the “Traditional” world.

As a side note for the fitness folks, Craig Ballantyne, another guy I respect, has a new ebook on sale (I got mine free) focusing on the basic lifts any weight trainer should be doing, regardless of their goals. He calls it the Big 5 Workout (look here for more on it it’s about basics.

Whatever you do, be it Martial arts (from whatever stable), fitness training or any other pursuit, take some advice from three great instructors, Jack Parker, Steve Tappin and Craig Ballantyne.

Never forget the basics.

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

Self Defence, Blade Awareness & Security Tactics

This is the last call for anybody interested in the escrima concepts seminar this weekend at Dublin’s Martial Arts Academy, Magennis Place, Pearse St.
Right opposite the DART station.

We are starting at 11am sharp on Sat morning and will be covering weapon and knife defence, blade awareness and self defence/self protection tactics for both civilian and the security industry.

The seminar runs Sat 1100 – 1700 and Sunday 1100 – 1500.
€50/day, or €80 for both days.

We will also be asking all the Irish FMA instructors to sit down over a pint and discuss the formation of the Irish Council of Eskrima, Kali, Arnis Instructors.

See you there.

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

Self Defence, Blade Awareness & Security Tactics

This is the last call for anybody interested in the escrima concepts seminar this weekend at Dublin’s Martial Arts Academy, Magennis Place, Pearse St.
Right opposite the DART station.

We are starting at 11am sharp on Sat morning and will be covering weapon and knife defence, blade awareness and self defence/self protection tactics for both civilian and the security industry.

The seminar runs Sat 1100 – 1700 and Sunday 1100 – 1500.
€50/day, or €80 for both days.

We will also be asking all the Irish FMA instructors to sit down over a pint and discuss the formation of the Irish Council of Eskrima, Kali, Arnis Instructors.

See you there.

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

The importance of hitting things

I was covering a Kenpo class there yesterday, I wasn’t too familiar with the student as he belongs to another instructor.
The lad is dedicated and bright, but when I asked him to show me which Kenpo techniques he wanted to go over, I was frankly gobsmacked!!

One of the things that I have always loved about Kenpo, since I first came across it in 2001, was the speed, power and efficiency involved in it’s movement. I’ve always disliked the overly complex syllabus, but we can’t have it all our own way.

Now watching this lad show me a few of the techniques from the green belt, i could barely believe what I was seeing. Now just to clear this up, the lad is able and dedicated, he does what he’s been shown. So the mistakes he was making are purely down to the instruction he has received.

Here’s a fella, comes in 3-4 times a week, is in the intermediate stages of the syllabus and has no concept of body mechanics, power, moving from the hips, pushing from the ground and poor balance. How did I remedy this, simple, introduced a thing called contact.

I took the fella over to the bags, broke the techniques down to simpler combinations and had him spend about an hour repeatedly executing these combo’s with power on the bag.

The result.

1 a greater understanding of the techniques
2 the ability to balance
3 moving from the hip
4 strength delivered from the legs
5 no longer leaning away when striking
6 a big boost in confidence

This lad, like countless other around the world has suffered due to instructor laziness and lack of imagination.
Traditional martial arts already take enough of a slagging because we spend our time waving our arms in the air doing forms and kata. And to a degree it’s deserved. If you teach a class invest in some strike pads, focus mits, punch bags, whatever you have the funds and facilities for and have your students spend some time hitting things, the founders and fighters from your style/system certainly did.

Your students will thank you for it.

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

The importance of hitting things

I was covering a Kenpo class there yesterday, I wasn’t too familiar with the student as he belongs to another instructor.
The lad is dedicated and bright, but when I asked him to show me which Kenpo techniques he wanted to go over, I was frankly gobsmacked!!

One of the things that I have always loved about Kenpo, since I first came across it in 2001, was the speed, power and efficiency involved in it’s movement. I’ve always disliked the overly complex syllabus, but we can’t have it all our own way.

Now watching this lad show me a few of the techniques from the green belt, i could barely believe what I was seeing. Now just to clear this up, the lad is able and dedicated, he does what he’s been shown. So the mistakes he was making are purely down to the instruction he has received.

Here’s a fella, comes in 3-4 times a week, is in the intermediate stages of the syllabus and has no concept of body mechanics, power, moving from the hips, pushing from the ground and poor balance. How did I remedy this, simple, introduced a thing called contact.

I took the fella over to the bags, broke the techniques down to simpler combinations and had him spend about an hour repeatedly executing these combo’s with power on the bag.

The result.

1 a greater understanding of the techniques
2 the ability to balance
3 moving from the hip
4 strength delivered from the legs
5 no longer leaning away when striking
6 a big boost in confidence

This lad, like countless other around the world has suffered due to instructor laziness and lack of imagination.
Traditional martial arts already take enough of a slagging because we spend our time waving our arms in the air doing forms and kata. And to a degree it’s deserved. If you teach a class invest in some strike pads, focus mits, punch bags, whatever you have the funds and facilities for and have your students spend some time hitting things, the founders and fighters from your style/system certainly did.

Your students will thank you for it.

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