Tag Archives: motivation

Putting The Boot In

I WISH the military looked like this

I have been known, on many occasions to stand and take the piss out of these “military” bootcamp classes that are all the rage right now.
I find the marketing and hype far outstrips the actual quality of training, and as for any resemblance to actual military training…. Lets not even go there!
So I find it slightly embarrassing to announce that I will be running a Bootcamp of my own.

I’m not embarrassed by the training on offer, or the fact it will be an early morning group program. I’m embarrassed to call it a bootcamp, but as that is what the market wants, it’s what the market gets.

Why a Bootcamp?
One of the Wild Geese kick boxers has been asking me to give him extra conditioning training for some time now, but he could never get to any of my classes and was too busy to make a private slot. So he chatted to a few people, including other kick boxers and came up with the Bootcamp idea.
And here we are.

What to expect
Because a fighter asked for this, it is built around the fighters needs. But what does that mean for a non combat athlete?
It means, that if you are willing to work hard and push yourself, you will be trained as fighter is trained. The advantage of this is simple, you will never find a more well rounded and complete athlete, someone who is strong, powerful, explosive, enduring and agile. Someone with a body that can not only deliver devastating power, but also absorb it. A body that remains powerful even when pushed to extreme fatigue.
And because form follows function, it will look lean and powerful. It will move smoothly, cat like, ready to explode into action at a moments notice.

The 4 week program start on the 28th June, all payments must be in by the 25th (1 week from today). The camp will run on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 7am. You will be done by 8am, sometimes earlier.
The camp intensity will build to a crescendo in week 3 and then taper down in week 4 as a few of the participants have a fight booked on the 24th July.

If you wish to experience the training needed to step into a ring, or if you are looking for a serious kick up the arse with your training, then here’s what you must do:
Email me (info@wildgeesema.com), phone me (087 672 6090) or message me on facebook (www.facebook.com/wgma.dave) to register your interest.

You will then need to pay, all payments will be taken in advance, the only refund opportunity will be if you are injured, in which case you will get 100% back. If you quit or get kicked out, you get nothing.
The cost for the 4 week (12 sessions) is €147. This works out at €7 per session.
Existing, regular, Wild Geese members receive a 33% discount.
Wild Geese Fighters with a date coming up train for free.
If you are not a Wild Geese Fighter, but have an event (doesn’t have to be a fight) on the horizon and wish to add this camp to your preparation, come in and talk to me.

This is NOT a military style bootcamp.
This is a training program for highly motivated individuals.

Wild Geese is an Attitude, if you have it, you will survive, if you don’t, don’t bother showing up at all.



Are you one of the few?

Well I don’t know what you all got up to over your lunch break, but for an elite few they were down here at Wild Geese HQ sweating buckets, getting strong and earning their weekend break.

Look around your office, do you see anyone looking slightly flushed, maybe with a self-satisfied look on their face. Some one who’s buzzing, powering through their afternoons work load?

That person is the person who did something with their lunch break. While everyone else is queuing up in the canteen, running out into the cold for a smoke, stuffing themselves with bread and stodge, that person was lifting Kettlebells, performing bodyweight drills, boosting their testosterone levels, getting an endorphin rush.

Most likely they’re now eating something fresh and tasty looking, as far removed from your stodge or low-fat “health food” as imaginable.

Now take a guess, which one of you is going to feel sluggish, tired and foggy all afternoon? Thats right, not the lunchtime athlete, oh no, it’ll be you. You’ll be over at the coffee machine trying to trick you body and mind into performing, while the other guy (or girl) is on a natural buzz, sipping on water and powering ahead.

Who would you rather be?

Well many will answer, “I’m happy the way I am” They’re the same ones filing themselves full of coffee, nicotine and sugar in a vain, hopeless attempt at staying alert and productive, a self-perpetuating downward spiral.

A few of you may answer “Yeah, but I’m too tired” These are the few without the backbone to stand up and take charge of their health. They don’t realise that energy creates energy. As you body become stronger and the cardio system more efficient, you store more energy in the muscles, you absorb energy into the blood more efficiently and transport it to where it needs to be faster.

And then there’s the real minority, the “yeah, thats me” crowd. The ones every one looks at and says “I don’t know how they do it” or “Don’t they always look great”, “Where do they get the energy” usually just before the backbiting begins.

Are you ready to stand out from the crowd?
Can you stand being the envy of the office?
Can you rise above the peer pressure and backstabbing?

If you can answer yes to the above three questions, then you know where to find us and you know what to do.

If you answer no, then stay where you are.

And then there’s the even fewer.

Those that are willing to come out on a saturday and play hard. This weekend I will be back in Bushy Park at noon. If you can find the gymnastic rings, then you’ll find me.

See you there

Or maybe not

Your choice


How to Motivate Yourself for Home Based Workouts

A big part of joining a gym or sports club is the camaraderie, the corps d’esprit, the friendly competition between you and your training partners, the knowledge that if you don’t turn up someone will notice and probably ask you about it, the accountability of having people around.

The road warrior or house wife/husband, doesn’t have this.

They most likely train solo, in their house, garden or hotel room.
No body will know if they slack off or even skip a workout entirely. There’s nobody pushing them to the next level.
Plus there’s all the distractions, TV, Facebook (yes, that one gets me too), the fridge and the kettle.

So how do we motivate ourselves? How do we push ourselves? How do we keep going when we could be watching reruns of Top Gear or making another cup of tea to dunk another Hob Nob into?

We need accountability.
We need to have some way of measuring our progress, a past challenge to beat and a goal to work towards.

Most of us have been in some corporate training thing at some part. In my old life as a Duty Manager in a luxury hotel, we did dozens of these meetings (yawn!!). So you’ve probably heard the acronym SMART.

Well this bit of corporate bullsh1t is actually valid to you and me. Here’s what it means:

  • S is for Specific. The more specific your goal the more chance you have of achieving it. Maybe it’s “loose 10 pounds by the 10 August 2009” or it’s complete the 2009 Dublin Marathon in 3hrs 40mins, or it’s simply perform workout X faster or heavier than last week.
  • M is for Measurable. There must be a way of measuring your progress. Chart the changes in your waistline, record your running times and distances, the weight, sets & reps of your last workout.
  • A is for Achievable. Is a 3hrs 40 marathon realistic in the time span you’ve set? If not, what is. Can you really perform the last workout faster or add a rep or are you in need of a back week?
  • R is for Reason. Why are you doing it? My old Kenpo coach used to say, understand the why and the how will take care of itself. Having good reasons to complete a goal will compel you to follow it through to the end. The more personal the reason, the better. Why loose the weight? Vanity or Health, which gets you going the most?
  • T is for Time. When is the completion date? What date is the marathon? When do you need to loose the weight by? a wedding? birthday party? Have a specific date to work towards.

The best way to do this is to write them down. Keep them somewhere you will see them, on the fridge, beside the bed, wherever you will read them regularly.
Get yourself a notebook, this will be used to record all progress, from your workouts to your diet to how you feel. Note the music you listened to while training, time of day. Anything that may affect your performance and help you next time.

Then tell a friend.
Accountability to yourself and a written journal are great, but nothing beats having somebody else prodding you to do more. Tell your friends what your doing and why, try to talk to like minded people. Social support and accountability are quite possibly the strongest motivators.

The web is a great way of doing this if you happen to travel a lot or live somewhere isolated, twitter and facebook updates can be used to tell the world (ie your mates) what you ate, what your workout involved and even how you felt. they can reply with encouragement or advice.
Don’t take peoples comments to heart, most like to shoot you down for trying to better yourself. Ignore them and instead listen to the ones that encourage you or offer helpful advice.

Just know that if you don’t tell them, they’ll be asking why.

Join me on facebook, I’d love to hear your workout stories. Use the comments button below to post your motivational stories or even to ask for a size 10 up the rear.

The final point I’d like to make is to schedule a time. Book an appointment with yourself.
For my wife, she knows that when either I’m home she can train, or if the little fella goes for a nap she can get a quick workout done.
Even with my hectic schedule training clients and being a Dad, I’m able to schedule a timeslot to train myself. It’s just about forward thinking, look at the day ahead and say, “Right, at 3pm I’m going to do 3 sets of workout A, it’ll take 20 minutes, then shower, I’l be done and dusted by 3.40pm”. Tell the world this is your plan, and go for it!

Like I already said, drop a comment below or on facebook that way you can be accountable to me and the rest of the No Equipment readers.

http://www.wildgeesema.com/ / noequipment.blogspot.com
+353 087 672 6090
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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?


Wild Geese
+353 87 672 6090

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
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
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
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

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
any cause but our own

Mental Toughness

There is a quote in Enter the kettlebell by Federal counter-terrorist operator saying “Kettlebell Training…the closest thing you can get to a fight without throwing a punch”.

I was just out in by back garden, barefoot in a singlet starting my training today. This consisted of military press ladders followed by EDT swings with the 32kg bell.

Then came the wind, rain and hail.

As if heavy swings for 15 minutes aren’t tough enough, the weather comes in making it cold, miserable, the handle gets slippery making it even harder on the grip. All this while trying to beat the previous personal best.

I was about two thirds through when the quote came into my head. I’ve been in fights, as a martial artist and as a security operative, you need to have the mind set to carry on even when the conditions are against you, when your muscles are failing you and your lungs are on fire.
That’s just how I felt today, Legs and back screaming, forearms barely holding on, heart in my mouth and being pelted with hail.

But you carry on.

And I tell you this when your finished, you feel indestructible, but sore.

Just like a fight.

I’d recommend The Kettlebell Solution for Fat Loss and Mental Toughness DVD from Mike Mahler but it’s shot in sunny California I ought to invite Mike to my back garden in Dublin, then we’d really get tough!

For more on Kettlebells, give us a shout, we’ve just launched our new site http://www.wg-fit.com/, it’ll take a while to be finished but you’ll get the idea of what we’re about. Or visit Mike Mahler’s Site and the Dragon Door Site for some of the best info out there.

Keep training.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own