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Avoiding the Guru

Last week's newsletter was a dive into the principles behind flexibility and mobility as it was a good follow up[ to Thomas’ question the previous week.

I hope you found it useful and provided some fuel for thoughts.

Thoughts that I’d love to hear.

In the meantime, around the same time I got Thomas, question, I also got this one in from Matt:

“Hi Dave

Avid follower since doing AiM with Chris (Sritharan) & Kendra (Toohill) , they pointed me to your Indian clubs course on Vimeo.

Anyway the question.

By buying into programs for training, you’re often sent down the path of ‘this is the way, and the only way’ and certain fitness gurus often promote this. One such example, Functional Patterns. An almost cult like following.

Is there any credence in following just one approach, or should you always mix things up - at the right time for the right reasons of course?



This is a great question.

There are a few things to unpack, lets start with the obvious…

AiM aka Anatomy in Motion, is the movement assessment training that myself and Kendra received from the concepts founder Gary Ward and his right hand man, the legend that is Chris Sritharan.

And while I have never met Kendra, I am familiar with her via talking to both Gary and Chris as well as interactions on Facebook. Kendra is a solid practitioner with a deep understanding of the body.

As for Chris, I’ve a call booked with him later this week, we meet up infrequently just to shoot the shit, and I can’t wait. This guys knowledge and experience of all things human animal is immense, plus his philosophical way of looking at what makes us tick is like a mirror to my own, which makes for some really fun interactions.

You can find both these guys on social media, they will be in my friends lists should you want to look them up.

Indian Clubs. The aforementioned video is available here: and is on the list for being added to the online course library on, I just need to either edit or re record it to flow how I want it on the new site.

What I will do though, once I get it done, any of you that have purchased the Vimeo on Demand version, send me some proof and I’ll give you access to the updated version when it goes live. We’ll deal with that when we get to it.

So, to our hero’s actual question.

Should you follow a single individual / style / system (that isn’t me…..!)

That's a question that carries a lot of nuance.

As pointed out in the question, my own approach, which follows the approach I see used by many of the highest quality coaches out there, is to be as impartial and no nonsense as possible.

If I come across new, better information, I will endeavour to adopt it, even if that mean moving away from what I’m doing currently.

I try not to be married to any specific methodology, style or system.

Yes, I specialise in movement mechanics, Kettlebell usage and Martial Arts preparation.

But those inform the training I give to non kettlebell or non martial arts folk.

For a general example, look at the Bootcamp program compared to the Lunchtime Fitness sessions that have been run in WG-Fit for well over a decade.

They couldn’t be any more different.

The Bootcamp is a structured plan that runs in cycles. It started out aimed at Kickboxers, as they were the guys that asked me to start the morning sessions, but was influenced by a group of Rugby players that joined.

It really is a great general Strength & Conditioning session for anyone, structured and progressive.

The Lunchtimes are somewhat unstructured. Much more a “Workout of the day” format.

The idea of the lunchtime was always to provide stimulus to people short on time or without a regular weekly routine.

These are kettlebell focused, some days using single bells, other days pairs.

Some days strength focussed, other days more high intensity. All full body.

Put together in such a way that if a person attends once, twice or four times per week over a long enough timeline they will receive stimulus across Strength, Mobility and Endurance.

The results of the lunchtime sessions speak for themselves, they became my personal favourite sessions to run and also my most successful.

The common factor across all these group programs was the amount of individual coaching I tried to provide. Adjusting workouts on the fly to suit the individuals within the group.

And this is what I consider to be the mark of a good coach.

A good coach will fit the training to YOU, not try to fit you to the training.

If the approach you are following is of the “my way or the highway” mindset.

Take the highway.


Find someone else.

Our Hero mentions Functional Patterns.

Now, FP are a controversial set up and one I could rant and rave about, but I will resist.

First things first, they do have some great ideas. Some of their stuff as applied, is great.

Where they fall down is their founder Mr Naudi Aguilar.

Mr Aguilar is everything that is wrong with coaching.

Despite him having some genuinely fantastic ideas, some well worth stealing, he also goes on absolute flights of fantasy as well as being the epitome of a “my way or the highway” character.

If you disagree with Aguilar, or do any method he views as inferior to his (which seems to be all of them) he goes full internet troll and uses language such as calling people out as “Beta males”

It’s actually quite funny, if utterly pathetic.

Until it impacts on the other instructors under him and even worse, the clients.

And that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

In my own experience, I’ve come across many martial arts schools that ask for this kind of blinkered loyalty. I never stayed in any as that kind of narrow mindedness doesn’t sit well with me.

Back in the “wild west” days of martial arts, yes, I can see how teaching my secrets to someone else could make me vulnerable.

If I have a particular skill set that made me a great warrior, then I don’t want my enemies learning it and either figuring out a counter or simply using it against me.

But those days are long gone. The internet being the final nail in that coffin.

Everyone has the same access to all information these days.

Yet, it takes experience to develop a good BS filter so you don’t get taken for a ride.

So to this end, it is a good idea to visit various gyms, follow various coaches on social media, read a variety of books on the topic.

Anytime I have spent time with younger, up coming coaches I always give that same advice.

I also tell them, read the coaches who you absolutely disagree with.

This nowadays extends to following them on SocMed as well.


If you read information and opinion that is diametrically opposed to your own, it provides you with a test.

Does your own info stand up against it, or does it crumble.

If it stands, then good, you’re probably on the right lines.

If your thoughts wobble, maybe their not as sound as you thought and you could do with some deeper learning.

There is a reason that most of the top coaches say much the same stuff, albeit suing different delivery systems.

It’s because when we look at the human animal, there are simple fundamental truths.

After that we look at everything else as a big Venn Diagram. The fundamental truths will obviously be in the centre, but the other cross over points are also true.

But knowing what is true for a marathon runners training isn’t quite true to a rugby players training is important.

A final point to bring up, is it can be very difficult to know if you’re on the right path or being crowbarred into someone else's path if you’re not fully in tune with your own wants, needs, past and potential future. Which is why the Force of Nature program spend the first half of the course looking into just that before we look at how to then go about achieving those wants and needs.

Now, I’ve no idea if I actually answered Matt’s question there.

Let me know if you think I did, or if you have a perspective different from mine that you’d like to offer.

And as ever, I want your questions .

Your questions are the lifeblood of this newsletter, so hit reply and ask away.

Chat soon

Dave Hedges

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