Tag Archives: Wild Geese

Where did the week go?

Do you ever sit and wonder where the time goes?

Today is Friday, it’s almost the weekend and it feels like the last few days never happened!
However I can look at my training log and see that I have completed my scheduled training sessions on Mon and Wed, I can look at my other log books and see that I’ve had a dozen or more clients in and I can see exactly what they’ve done and on which day they did it.

So while the week feels like a blur, I can actually see the amount of work done in simple black and white.

Such is the benefit of keeping a log.

It means you never have to guess. I know that on Monday I performed a total of 21 reps in  the front squat, the time before that I hit 18. I know that today I have to hit 22+ using the same weight.
I can tell you that last friday I missed a workout, I had pain and stiffness that just would not loosen up so instead of the Deadlifts I had planned I did a mobility session.
This was all noted in my log book.

I’m going to ask you, do you keep a note of your training?

I’m guessing most of you don’t, you try to remember what it is you did on any given day. I have to tell you, if you’re looking to make improvements in performance, you’d better start writing down your results.

How else do you know if what you’re doing is working as well as you think it is?

Anyhow, this weeks saturday session:
It’s going to be a little later as I’ve clients in the morning.
So I’ll be in the Phoenix Park, by the old fort (crossing of the Military Road and Khyber Road) for 14.30.

Last week was fun, I’m already looking forward to getting out this weekend.

Every Cause But Our Own

War battered dogs are we,
Fighters in every clime;
Fillers of trench and of grave,
Mockers bemocked by time,
War-dogs hungry and grey,
Gnawing a naked bone,
Fighters in every clime..
Every cause but our own.

“With the Wild Geese” by Emily Lawless

A long time a go people were leaving Ireland to join the ranks of the Wild Geese.
They were leaving because their homeland was under attack and they were too small to put up a decent resistance, instead they’d travel and join their enemy’s enemy where they could now really make a difference.

In essecne they we’re mercenary warriors, fighting not for money, but for the good of their homeland. in the poem above this is summed up by the last line, “Every cause but our own”

We call ourselves Wild Geese. And we have just found a new cause to fight for.

Please go over to our other blog and have a read of this:




The Stability Bell

Everyone has their pet lifts, the drills and exercises that are the most fun to do.

For blokes it’s usually bench pressing and bicep curling, women it’s those daft inner thigh (adductors) machines and anything involving those paperweights called gymsticks.

And while this is fine, it does leave the question asked, could my pet lifts be improved by training other areas of the body? Or even more importantly in my book, can my main skill set be improved by working on specifics of that skill?

The answer is a resounding yes. If your in any doubt look up Louis Simmons and his legendary Westside gym. He’s famous for having his lifters work on their weakest lifts while almost ignoring their strongest.
His gym is known as being one of the strongest gyms in America.

Continue reading The Stability Bell

Steve Cotter and the Wild Geese

It’s been a long time coming but Steve Cotter, president of the International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation (www.IKFF.net) has just landed at Dublin airport. He’s in Ireland to teach his Certified Kettlebell Trainer Level 1 course. A course that since it’s launched has picked up the reputation as being the premier Kettlebell lifting certification to attend.

This is the first time it will have been run in Ireland.

  Continue reading Steve Cotter and the Wild Geese

Bring the Fun Back To Fitness

Look around the gym, how many people are smiling?
How many are getting results?
Here’s an alternative to the hamster wheel workouts we’re all getting bored with.

Gyms have become soulless places. I spent much of 2008 in a couple of gyms belonging to an Irish chain and some of my time in a privately owned “lifters” gym. Guess where I had most fun?
That’s right the lifters gym.
Why, you ask.

The atmosphere in most commercial gyms has gone the way of effective training. The free weight section is small and unkempt, machines take up more floor space than necessary and at least half the floor is made up of Treadmills, Steppers, Stationary bikes, rowing machines and those silly cross trainers.

And then there are the people that use them. IPods on, eyes glued to the many TV screens, these people look like a scene from Orwells classic novel, 1984. I think the contracts these people sign forbid them from any social interaction and frivolry within the confines of the gym.
If anyone smiles or makes eye contact, never mind conversation, they get removed and shot.
Get down to the lifters gym and you’ll see complete strangers looking out for each other, helping and encouraging each other, cracking jokes between sets and generally building camaraderie.

Which gym produces better results?
The modern Orwellian gym 101 or the old school lifters gym?
No question really, thers IS no school like the old school.

Would you be comfortable training near this guy?

Now I have an admission for you, I have never held a commercial gym membership. I prefer to train either at home, outdoors or at Wild Geese HQ. Minimal kit, no IPods, no TV screens. I always get results.

Why? Because making training fun, making it interesting, taking the chore away from it means you’re more likely to stick to it, to work hard and to make progress. And what’s the point of paying some commercial giant a small fortune if you aint going to get results. Many of you reading this may have just spent up on a new membership, if so, sit and rethink. Would you be better in a smaller place, a little of the beaten track, less shiny but with a smell of sweat and an atmosphere of determination, grit and camaraderie?
The chances are you would, plus you’d save a few quid and have more fun.
Failing that do what I do. Buy a kettlebell or two, make yourself a sandbag and learn some bodyweight drills. You may now train in your front room, back garden, the beach, the park or one of my favourites, the kid’s jungle gym.

Yes I said it, I go to kid’s playgrounds and workout. Obviously not when it’s full of kids. Sometime I take the kettlebell or sandbag, otherwise I just use bodyweight. Every time I go the workout is different, sometimes it’s simple circuit of squats, press-ups (do these with your feet elevated on the slide) and pull ups from the monkey bars. Other times are super sets of Pull ups, sandbag clean & press or dips, hanging leg raise, pistol squats.
I may use the swing set for jackknife or pike push-ups. The swing set provides a thick bar for really challenging pull ups.

The slide is for incline or decline push ups. The monkey bars are for pull ups, chin ups and all kinds of hanging abdominal work. The hopscotch gives you agility work, the fireman’s pole can be a tough no feet hand over hand climb, the bridges provide bodyweight rows and dips, benches can be jumped onto, imagination is your only limitation.
And all that is without taking any kit with you. Add sandbags and kettlebells to get really brutal.
Training outdoors, even here in rainy Ireland, is fun, the fresh air is great for you, you’re not sucking in recycled air conditioned muck and there’s never some skinny-fat twerp with an ego bigger than his biceps getting in your way.
Give it a go, bring the fun back. Even better again, get some mates together and compete a little.

Here’s an outdoor partner workout:
You need a pull up station and some markers, these may be bags, jumpers or other bits of playground kit.
Assign each marker an exercise, for example:
  • Monkey Bars – Pull ups
  • Slide – Push up
  • Swing – Jackknifes (for the abs)
  • Bench – Bodyweight squats
Here’s how it works:
  1. Partner A is on the pull ups, as soon as he starts his set partner B sprints to the first station, e.g. the slide and does 10 pushups.
  2. B then sprints back to A where they swop over and A runs to the slide. When A returns to the pull-up station, B runs to station 2, the swing. After his set of Jack knifes he returns to the pull up so A can sprint to the swing.
  3. The pull up guy must do as many as he can until the other guy runs to his station, does his set and runs back.
The obvious incentive here is for you to be as quick as possible. If B dawdles while A does pull ups, I’d say A will take his sweet time to punish B with a whole heap of pulls!!
That’s only an idea. Get out there and do something different, just enjoy it!
www.wildgeesema.com / noequipment.blogspot.com
+353 087 672 6090
subscribe to our newsletter simply send a blank email to:

Race For Life, Raising Money for Cancer Research

The following is a message from Kez Hedges.
She will be taking part in the Race For Life event to raise money for Cancer Research.
I ask you to support her, here’s what she has to say:

Thank you very much for visiting this important page – you are already a star for coming here. If you sponsor me then you are officially an angel.
My friend Liz challenged me to enter the Race for Life event with her and I just couldn’t say no. I am not the fittest person in the world and have entered late but will be doing my best to get healthier before the event. I will even give up chocolate a week beforehand!!

  1. I am taking part in Race for Life for four reasons:
    In memory of my Uncle who lost his battle to Prostate Cancer last Christmas and I miss him.
  2. For my cousin who has had cancer and currently has the all clear. I would love to think that a cure could be found when it eventually returns, which sadly it will.
  3. To raise money for more and more research into cancer.
  4. To become healthier than I am now.

I know times are tough but please dig deep and sponsor me to make a fool of myself – I even promise to wear something pink and fluffy!! Every penny you give will go directly to Cancer Research UK and help with their life saving work.

Oh, and don’t forget that if you are a UK taxpayer please tick the Gift Aid box when you donate. Do this and the charity gets even more money – an extra 25%.

So please sponsor me and help make a real difference
Thanks for you support – it means a lot :0)

As she is my sister, and she’s running on behalf of my Uncle and Cousin, I’d like to donate 50% of each sale of the eBook, No Equipment, No Excuses, to her chosen charity.

So either click on this link to sponsor her directly, or this one to buy the book and automatically donate €7.50 to her cause.

So there’s two ways you can support her.


www.wildgeesema.com / noequipment.blogspot.comi

+353 087 672 6090
subscribe to our newsletter simply send a blank email to:

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.


Wild Geese
every cause but our own
Kenpo / Eskrima / BJJ / Strength & Conditioning
www.wildgeesema.com/ wildgeesema.blogspot.com
+353 87 672 6090
Facebook / Twitter / RSS feed

Wild Geese @ The Martial Arts Academy

Wild Geese Martial Arts and our newer Personal Training and fitness wing will now be operating full time out of Dublin’s Martial Arts Academy.

At the academy we run regular Filipino Martial Arts, Anti Stab knife defence and Control & Restraint classes and courses.

We also have a selection of basic strength equipment, Barbells, plate loaded dumbells, a selection of kettlebells as well as some of the best conditioning tools ever invented, skipping ropes and punchbags.

So if you fancy training in a non conventional gym under the watchful eye of a qualified and experienced trainer using the types of methods used by fighters and old time strong men to forge physiques like stone and near legendary conditioning levels.

We offer Personal Training, Semi Private training and Supervised training.
Personal Training – You, Me and your personalised program, be it Martial Arts, Self defence, strength, weight loss and fitness. This runs at €50/hr
Semi Private – Bring a friend, up to a maximum of 6. You will then help and hinder each other to accelerate the results in the field you choose, strength, fitness or fighting. We charge €70/hr for the first 2 people with an extra €10 per person up to a max of 6.
Supervised Training – Come in and do your own training under our watchful eye for a nominal fee. Simply €10/hr or €50 per month.

You may combine packages to suit, and if you block pay for classes you can use them as you wish.
For example pay €100 and get 1 hr personal training and 1 month supervised training
Pay €100 and get 1 month supervised training and jump into 5 scheduled Wild Geese Martial Arts classes

For a map to our location click here:


We are number 19. Alternatively visit our websites listed below.


Wild Geese
any cause but our own

Old School Core Training

Old school seems to be back in vogue, crunches are on the way out and real core strength is on the way back in, hence the popularity of Kettlebells and Jim Smith’s excellent work www.CombatCore.com

Here’s an exercise that’s been around for generations in the martial arts world. Fighters need a strong core, both for generating and for absorbing power. To this end kata’s/form’s such as Seisan and Sanchin were devised, I demo seisan here:


Fans of Dragon Door will recognise the first section of the form is based around “Power Breathing”, the second section is more about releasing the pent up tension. Oh and you get to practice your fighting techniques while you’re at it, how’s that for functional training?

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