An Effective Bullshit Filter


Over the years I’ve been heard to give out the following advice when it comes to training, motivation, exercise selection, even dietary choices.

It goes a follows:

Find the “WHY” and the “HOW” will star to become clear.

If you stop and think about that it gives a powerful filter to look through.

And if you properly applied, that filter will save you from having to endure a whole load of meaningless bullshit.

Here’s a simple one to get you started:

If you understand WHY progressive overload works,then the how is to gradually do more work. Simple eh?

If you understand WHY mobility is important, then how to implement it into your day become clearer.

If you understand WHY coffee stops you hurting other people, you’ll figure out how to keep yourself topped up…..

Ok, that was three.

And the last one may not have been true.

But you get the basic idea.

So now to the inspiration behind today’s post.

Next month I’m running the 1 Day Self Defence Skills workshop, but you knew that, I mentioned it in yesterdays blog post.

Someone who’d read the post asked me about the course content, which is fair enough.
But when I explained that the course is only a toe in the water, it’s a springboard for you to go out and start training by yourself or with friends. That the emphasis on the course is on not getting into trouble in the first place but to utilise heavy impact if you do.

This seemed to put the person off.

Their argument seemed to be based on what they’ve experienced at other workshops.

ie: Faux hard man, special forces, super black belt ninja tactics.

InternetCommando

We’re talking:

  • Eye gouges
  • Arm bars
  • Wrist locks
  • Kicks to the groin
  • Pressure points
  • improvised weapons
  • and so on and so on….

I’m going to use a strength training analogy here.

That list you’ve just read is like going to a strength & conditioning workshop and learning about tricep kickbacks, pec flyes and grapevines.

Yes, these things have their place, but not in the real world of performance.

And lets face it, if you or a member of your family is being attacked you want to fucking perform!

So performance based training is based on the “big rocks” of training.

ie: multi joint exercise performed at a high intensity. Think Squat, Deadlift, Clean, Swing, Pull Up, Press, Jerk, Turkish Get Up, Lunge Variations.

So how does this relate to self defence?

Well, the “WHY” of self defence should be easy.

Why? – To get home safe and sound to have dinner with my family.

So, HOW?

  • Avoid getting into trouble in the first place, after all, if you never have to fight, you’ll never lose a fight
  • If I do end up in a fight, end it as fast as possible, best achieved through impact.
  • Do what is necessary to end the conflict, no more, no less.
    This is where things get fuzzy for most. The most efficient way to stop someone is to knock them out, the most efficient way to do this is heavy impact to the head. It’s not sexy, or tactical, or fancy. But it works and it fits our WHY

So for those of you who want to wear combat pants and boot, carry a tactical flashlight, never sit with your back to a door and learn 372 ways to hit someone in the nuts, this isn’t the course for you.

If you want a common sense, systematic approach to self defence, click here.

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

More Upcoming Events: http://wg-fit.com/2015/03/30/2-dates-to-put-in-your-diary/

email signuppages

 

Going Green or Seeing Red…….


It’s the day after Paddy’s Day (dear american friends, please note the spelling) and I expect a few of you are suffering with the after effects of over indulgence.

st-patricks-day-meme-irish-yoga

If you are, well fair play, I hope you had a fun, enjoyable and safe night out on the day the whole world turns green.

Personally, I’m no fan of Paddy’s day or other such public piss ups.

When out in public on days/nights like these I turn a very different shade of green and not the type you want to be around.

hulk

Maybe it’s just my unsociable nature or maybe it’s got something to do with my previous employment before I opened Wild Geese?

You see from the age of 18 I worked in pubs, bars and hotels.
When I came to Dublin in 2001 I started working as a doorman, a job that paid enough money for few enough hours that allowed me to train pretty much full time.

I worked the doors for over 10 years. Mostly in Dublin, but also in Arinsal, Dubai, Canberra and the Gold Coast.

Thankfully I managed to retire from that life around the time my first born came into this world nearly 7 years ago.

Over that time I saw the best and worst of people. Mostly the worst.
It seemed that the “nicer” or more “respectable” the crowd the more chance of petty violence, fist thrown over stupid reasons and all too often an innocent member of the public getting caught up in the crossfire.
Sure in the less salubrious places we had kick off’s too, but those guys took their fighting more seriously as they understood the stakes a bit better, so from my point of view it never seemed so bad.

But watching and seeing this type of behaviour, especially on public celebrations such as Paddy’s day makes me sad.
When an innocent is caught in the crossfire, or is targeted for no reason, or is targeted as a victim of crime, well that pisses me of. I get angry.

And you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

angry

So I stepped away and now deal with people who fight for sport, with referees and rules most of the time.

But I still teach self defence training for those that may have to fight without a ref, without rules.

Usually in the format of one or two day self defence workshops, or as private or small group clients.

I’m running once such event on April 19th in Wild Geese. A 1 Day Self Defence course covering the most basic and fundamental self defence skills.
Of course 1 day of training isn’t enough to become truly effective, but it is enough time to give you the start point, the tools to take away and work on, to sharpen and keep handy.

For full details of the course content and for booking information, please click on the image or link below:

selfdefence1day

Click the image or follow this link for more info: http://bit.ly/1MIVqfc

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

 

 

Join the Movement


Working on specific mobility & postural imbalances

Working on specific mobility & postural imbalances

I got moving on my mind.

Movement is the new hot topic, and rightly so.

For too long the bodybuilders ruled the training world and everybody trained like demons in order to look great while standing still.
Then we had the “functional training” craze which I’m still trying to block out from my memory.
Nowadays it’s mostly a combination of Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting and high intensity intervals. Which is cool.

If we look at most athletes and what they do, it’s usually something from Oly lifting, something from powerlifting, a but of interval work and then a shit load of their actual sport.

So the current “model” that fitness is following isn’t far from the what ought to happen.

The problem lies in that the vast majority of the training takes place purely in the saggital plane, ie front to back.
We squat, we deadlift, we snatch, we press, we pull. All in that front to back plane.
We always maintain good form, use the same routine each time we approach and set up the lift.
We are still training and moving like machines.

So this is where the rise in popularity of “Movement” comes in.

Guys like Ido Portal, Dewey Neilsen, MovNat, Primal Move, Animal Flow, GMB, Andreo Spina and the rest are encouraging you to get out of the saggital plane and into utilising all three planes at the same time.
Yes every one of the above mentioned guys still uses the saggital plane for basic strength development, and so should you. But you also need to get out of position, you need to change from one position to the next, you need to explore ranges of motion both loaded and unloaded.
You need to stimulate the central nervous system with physical conundrums. Take it places it really has to think about to get out of.
The joints thrive on challenge, take them to your safe end range under smooth control and then bring them back.
See how many ways you can get into and out of that end range.
Discover where that end range actually is. You can’t know centre until you’ve found the ends.

All this adds up.

Martial Arts guys, Gymnasts and Dancers do this already in their training. Contact sports guys like Rugby players will do a good bit of it in their sport.
But if you don’t take part in a sport like this, when will you ever explore these ranges in your daily life unless you put it into your training program.

So move.

Google the names I mentioned above, watch their videos.

Drop into WG-Fit on a Saturday morning for the Motion is Lotion class or attend one of the monthly Movement Classes hosted by the Irish movers Group.
The next one of these is in my place on Sunday 25th Jan, 1000-1200.
All are welcome.

Now, get up and move.

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

Efficiency Over Duration


The_Persistence_of_MemoryTime is sparse.

Many people say they don’t have time to exercise.

I don’t believe them.

What most people mean is they can’t be bothered training. If they just said that, I’d be fine with it, I appreciate honesty, but saying you don’t have the time? That’s poor.

What some other mean, is that they don’t know how to train in a limited space of time.
Most people think a workout must be an hour or more of sweat and grind.

But does it?

Absolutely not.

Efficiency and intensity will trump duration in every case with the exception of developing endurance.

Even still, frequent, short, intense sessions will build work capacity which can then be honed into endurance when time allows.

So how do we get a full workout in in under an hour. Scratch that, that’s too easy. How about in 20 minutes?

Lets look at the major movement patterns. I stole these from Dan John, but since he includes them in almost every article he produces, I don’t think he’ll mind…

We have:

Upper Body Push
Upper Body Pull
Hip Hinge
Squat
Everything else (ie, Gait, Core, Prehab/Rehab etc)

Pick one exercise from each category, pick a rep range and go for it.
That’s it.
I tend to use the “Everything else” category for the warm up, you may choose it for a finisher.
But a sample short sharp workout may go like:

1A: Pull Up x 5
1B: Clean & press x 5
1C: Front Squat x 10
1D: KB Snatch x 10L/R
As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes with good form.

Ensure you adhere to good form!

kb front squat Neghar

If you’re following a progressive program rather than a WOD format, then pick 1 or 2 big lifts per session.
Maybe on day 1 use Deadlifts and Presses, on day 2 it can be Front Squats and Pull Ups.
Set a stopwatch for 15 minutes and get as many reps as each done as possible in that time span.
This is so effective, Charles Staley wrote a book on it and called it Escalating Density Training or EDT.
I use it a lot with my clients, especially those looking for fast results with little time used.

2-4 short sharp sessions per week may just be enough to get you the results you need, but only if you put in the required effort.

Each day in WG-Fit we run a lunchtime session with a short sharp “WOD” written up and many people following specific training protocols developed for their needs.
Most attendees only have a 30 minute window in which to train. A few can stay longer, but all of them get in on their lunchtime and get it done.

Join them.

Click here for details

Regards
Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

If you’re interested in my classes / private training, CLICK HERE

Kettlebell Workshops, CLICK HERE

A Forgotten Viewpoint on Fitness


Fitness is an odd word.

confusedFrom time to time I ask people what their definition of the word is.

It’s a question that is often answered by a look of confusion and a drawn out, “Errrmmmm….”

Then you ask them to define “Functional Fitness” and they seem to have an easier time. Easier that is as they at least have a shit load of marketing spiel and buzzwords they can drop here.

Now without pulling out the text books and dictionaries to get the modern definition of fitness, let’s have a think about what it could mean.

One of the greatest summations of fitness comes from the oft referenced Georges Hebert.
Hebert is credited as the founder/inspiration of Parkour/Free Running and also the MovNat system.
So he’s a pretty good influence.

Georges Hebert walked the talk

Georges Hebert walked the talk

He broke fitness down as follows:

“The final goal of physical education is to make strong beings. In the purely physical sense, the Natural Method promotes the qualities of organic resistance, muscularity and speed, towards being able to walk, run, jump, move on all fours, to climb, to keep balance, to throw, lift, defend yourself and to swim.”

No mention of any specific exercises or tools, just attributes that ought to be developed.

And that to me is fitness.

It’s not about the kettlebell, the barbell, the TRX or the Bosu Ball.
It’s not about the Squat, the Deadlift, the Bench Press.
It’s not about the size of your “gunz” or the tightness of your “bunz”

It’s about being strong, mobile and enduring enough to tick all ten of his boxes.

Walking is the most fundamental of all Human movement, we practice it even before we are born and spend the first year of our lives with the sole goal of achieving bipedal locomotion.

Running, is the next step up from walking. We can jog with almost the same energy efficiency of a walk meaning we can cover serious miles. Not only that we can put in a fair turn of speed when we need to.

Moving on all fours, or crawling, is very much back in vogue with the rise of Movement type practice. But not only that being able to get low and utilise four points of contact to locomote with is exceptionally practical in rough terrain.
And there are those that tell us crawling is a reset for our system. It certainly feels good in the hips, spine and shoulders.

"The Daddy Bear is going to eat you!"

“The Daddy Bear is going to eat you!”

Climbing. Here’s an experiment, put a child next to some rocks or a tree stand back and watch. I’ll bet in no time at all there will be an outbreak of climbing. It’s like crawling but on a more vertical trajectory.

Throwing, both hands, forwards, backwards, whatever. It’s fun as well as an expression of full body explosive power.

Lift. Picking up heavy things. Obviously.

Mind Over Metal Seb

Swimming is a life skill as well as great exercise.

Defend. This is the one I was getting to.
Up to this point Heberts fitness standards would be fairly common, most people run, walk and lift. Many Climb and Swim. And pretty much all of us would throw from time to time, even if that’s just the kettlebell ballistics.
But defence. The ability to stand up for oneself and those that you care about.
The ability to give and take a punch, to be courageous in the face of danger?

Well?

Could you?

Would you?

Mick Coup explaining the punch

Mick Coup explaining the punch

The reason Heberts list speaks to me is that it was the element of Defence that got me into fitness and training in the first place.
It’s 26 years now since I walked into St Martins Junior Karate club. 21 years since I added strength work to my Karate (defence), Running and cycling. 18 years since I added climbing. And even today my training still is still directed towards being effective in self defence scenario.
It’s something I’ve spent time in as a professional, as a martial artist and more recently a coach.

This weekend I’ll be sharing genuine, tried and tested Self Defence information and training over tow days.
There are a few spots left for late comers, details can be found HERE

See you on Saturday

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com

 

The Art of Fighting Without Fighting


It’s no secret that my love for fitness training and passion for human efficiency grew out of my martial arts training.
It’s also no secret that I spent several years working as a full time Pub & Nightclub doorman.

Every now and again I run a self defence workshop, I almost always run one at the end of the year as this is when the streets go wild and the number of assaults rise as the silly season kicks in.

This year though will be a little bit different.

In my gym I have several people who work in the Social and Health services, who from time to time stay back after training to ask me questions about dealing with aggression and aggressive behaviour.

This means I have to lecture them on what we call “Non-Violent Conflict Management”

Truth!

Lets be realistic for a moment.
I’m 6′ 2″, 90kg, strong determined and trained.

Do the maths.

Do you think you could stop me without taking damage?

What if I was armed?

This is where the non-violent methods really stand.
It’s the art of preventing the assault happening in the first place. It means that the 5’5″, 65 kg female doesn’t have to deal with me throwing her around like a rag doll.

Non-Violent Conflict Management is non sexy but it very often works and not just in a professional environment.
It may be the key to preventing a situation from escalating into physical violence.

If you’ve taken one of my courses you’ll have heard me talk about the Self Defence Continuum, which is a fancy term that simply rounds up the basis of my teaching.
The continuum is:

Avoid – Evade – Confront

The first two points, Avoid & Evade are where the Non Violent  training sit, the third option, Confront is for when force becomes the only option.

fightingwithoutfighting

So this is going to make up a good section of this years course. Most of the first day to be fair.
This means on day one we’ll look into:

  • The Self-Defence continuum of Avoid-Evade-Confront
  • Non Violent Conflict Management
  • Situational Awareness
  • Body Language
  • The “Fence” concept
  • Introduction to the hard skills

Then on Day 2:

  • Quick review of day 1
  • Developing the hard skills
  • Determination drills
  • Intro to “anti-grappling”

It’ll be a busy 2 days, but valuable.
With luck I’ll have with me on day 1 an expert in the field of social services who’s worked with young offenders and the mentally ill. Her presentation alone is worth the rest of the course.

For details on booking, follow THIS LINK

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.WG-Fit.com & http://www.WildGeeseMA.com

 

 

Ask Dave: Where’s a Good Place to Do Some Meditation?


This one came from one of our Thai Boxers.
We were discussing an injury he’s been carrying and then afterwards he asked the above question.

Meditation, it's good enough for Leo....

Meditation, it’s good enough for Leo….

My answer:

At home.

Simple.

Most things usually are simple.

Meditation has been a part of the martial arts for as long as martial arts have been around, and for damn good reason.
There’s no better way of settling the mind, relaxing the body and attaining focus than spending a few minutes each day in some form of meditation.

The science community have done many studies on people in a meditative state and pretty much all agree that for brain health, it’s one of the best things we can do for ourselves. (here’s a couple to get you started: Psychology Today wrote THIS, and THIS one is from Harvard Medical School)

The problem arises when you look at all the bullshit and bollocks that’s espoused by the new age tree huggers when they wax lyrical about meditation.
They insist on having rituals and props all in place before beginning any sort of practice. They tell you to sit in a particular way, burn a particular incense, chant a particular sound bite.

Not all tree huggers are bad....

Not all tree huggers are bad….

Is any of this necessary?

No.

Do you need those DVD’s and CD’s?

No.

Whale noises?

No.

So what do you need?

Are you ready for this?

Time.

And that’s it.

How much time?

Well, how much can you spare?
5 mins? Ok
10 mins? Better.
2 mins? Hell. that’ll do
20 mins? Probably ideal, if such a thing exists.

Posture:
Anything comfortable. Sit, lie down, kneel, squat, recline, walk.

Breathing:
This is important. You must breathe deep into your abdomen,
If you’re a chest breather, your going to struggle, so for you I suggest training the breath prior to attempting to meditate, here’s how

Everything Else:
Try to ensure you won’t be disturbed. If you like music, play some. If you like incense or smelly candles, go for it.

The key is the breath and your conscious mind.

warrior meditation

This simple method of meditation is called the 100 and is the simplest place to start.
It goes like this:

Each time you exhale, count.

The “goal” is to count 100 exhales.

The word goal is in inverted commas as it’s not really a goal. The goal is to remain focussed on the task of counting the breath.
Should you lose count, so what? Simply start counting from 1 again, no stress, no panic.
If you get caught up in a thought from your busy mind, so what? As soon as you recognise the fact, start counting again from 1.

It’s that simple.
Not easy.
But simple.

It’s so simple it can be done on the bus or train as you commute.
It can be done in bed to help you sleep.
It can be done walking in the park.
It can be done anytime your mind starts racing with uncontrolled or anxious thoughts.

There are many other forms of meditation, but as a start point, this is possibly the best of them.

Try it for yourself.

Regards

Dave Hedges
http://www.Wg-Fit.com