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SISU

si.su | \ si – sue \

SISU is a Finnish philosophy for how to live life. The concept of SISU has no direct translation but it is generally understood to mean an extraordinary determination, courage and resoluteness in the face of extreme adversity. It is an indomitable spirit, a stoic strength, a tenacity of purpose, bravery, grit and resilience, all while embodying the highest moral virtues of honour and integrity.

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SISU: Realise Your Extraordinary Potential

SISU Crucible is a non-stop, 12 hour extreme physical & mental challenge where participants  will undergo one of the most demanding experiences on the planet, while being taught powerful mental strength models, methods and processes to control their mind in the chaos of the crucible and persevere to achieve something extraordinary. 

Taking place between The Ironmind Institute training base in North Connemara and its rugged and wild surrounding terrain, our team of world class Crucible coaches will facilitate athletes through the SISU forge using mental strength models developed by Damian Browne in alignment with the revolutionary ‘Crucible Loop’ training process. 

The SISU Crucible is designed to deliver an experience of pure substance and unparalleled physical, mental, emotional and spiritual connection where participants will meet their true self for the first time.

In completing a
SISU Crucible you will have...

Self Control

Learned how to control the debilitating effects of fear on your mind, having discovered how to access ‘the nirvana of mental control’, the present moment and its state of ‘no mind’.

Self Awareness

Improved your ability to recognise & flag mental states that destroy physical performance, manipulate mental control and destabilise self- confidence, self-esteem and self-respect.

Self Belief

Deepened your self-belief (one of the most difficult human characteristics to truly grow) through paradigm shifting experiences of learning to control your body and mind in states of extreme doubt.

Self Realisation

Began your journey to realise your extraordinary human potential by destroying limiting beliefs you held about yourself & your life, through the immense power of your mind.

Made A Difference

You will have also made an impactful difference in the life of another through The Ironmind Meitheal fund which allows financially challenged 17 to 19 year olds the opportunity to partake in an Ironmind Crucible experience.

You vs You

From philosophy to mechanics & methodology to aspired outcome, The Ironmind Crucibles are precisely crafted, aligned and highly organised experiences that will position you against your weakest, most fragile self (the essence of truly meaningful challenge) Think through the challenges you have faced in your life that you have gained the most from. If you look deep enough, you will discover that this ‘You vs You scenario’ and how you behaved when faced with your shadow (as Jung referred to it), was at the root of the powerful rewards you gained. These specific moments of physical stress hold extraordinary opportunities for personal evolution where we can re-engineer the hardware of the brain through the software of experience. With our coach’s guidance, you will be taught how to overcome these vulnerable, debilitating, destructive mental states using a two-step process led by self-awareness and concentration, creating paradigm-shifting experiences for you, your self-belief, your self-respect and your perspective of what you are capable of achieving in your life.

Ironmind Crucibles are about You vs. You, and never you versus anyone thing or anyone else. That is a disempowered outlook and inutile mentality that will always lead to pain, failure, and disillusionment. Ironmind Crucibles are the furthest thing from the mindless ‘challenges’ that litter our Western landscape in this day and age; they are genuine challenges that hold deeply substantial and meaningful outcomes with life-altering consequences for you and those closest to you. We create these impactful outcomes by designing and structuring our Crucibles so that it is always You vs. You with all participants having their own individual targets based on their Crucible training program metrics. The challenge of an Ironmind Crucible is relative to the individual, so even if you are world-class in one or more of our Crucible disciplines, you will be purely challenged and even if you have just completed our Crucible training program before the Crucible experience, you will be purely challenged.

Ironmind Crucible Training Program

Each SISU athlete will receive an Ironmind Crucible training program to prepare them for their Crucible experience. The programs range in durations of 17, 15, 13 and 10 weeks and are designed to prepare the athlete to the highest possible physical & mental capacities to take on the demands of their SISU Crucible. The length of program an athlete receives is dependent on when they sign up to his or her Ironmind Crucible experience.

Note: The duration of your program will be based on the date you commit to your Crucible.

The Crucible Loop

A belief we hold at The Ironmind Institute is ‘the work is everything & everything is the work”. This simply means; the work (the physical action we have committed our attention and intention to) holds everything we need and want in life. Therefore based on this belief and knowledge we have designed a training process to get the most out of and maximise the considerable time, effort and energy committed by our athletes. We call it The Crucible Loop.

The Crucible Loop is a fixed timeframe that contains 4 elements aligned to the experience and outcome we want. Each element of a Loop has a specific intention that is designed to prepare the athletes to get the most out of their training (The Work).

Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment; chop wood, carry water.

– Zen Buddhist Kōan

Elements of The Crucible Loop

1. Pre-Prepare Your Awareness

Within this time period we introduce the mental model, method or process we will be specifically focusing on employing during this loop; these will include our Parameters of Adherence protocols, Rehearsal Visualisation techniques, Mental Anchor preparation, alongside applicable physical and behavioural standards.

2. Ready To Train

Athletes to be guided through our aligned 4 part ‘Ready to Train’ process of Mobilise – Move – Activate – Prime by our Crucible coaching team to ensure all athletes are prepared to physically maximise the opportunity soon to be presented to them by the stimulus of the work.

3. The Work

The most important section of each Loop; The Work is where all The Ironmind Institute’s training methodologies, process structures and the enlightening reality of extreme physical challenge come together creating the unique forging experience of The Ironmind Crucible.

4. Future Prep | Reflect | Refue

Broken into 3 segments of, 1. A physical compensation practice with a focus on the demands of the following Loop (coach led) 2. A journaling practice of reflection based upon The Ironmind Institute’s ‘What Comes Up’ process (guided) 3. Time to refuel, recharge and hydrate before the next Loop begins.

‘’A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials’’

Seneca

3 Strikes and You Are Out

Each Crucible athlete will have their own individual targets throughout the various Loops of their SISU experience that they must attain. These targets are relative only to that athlete and will be measured off their training program metrics. These targets are fundamental to creating the state we need all our athletes to experience, to therefore build the neural association between the action (mental strength method) and reward (the feeling of overcoming destabilising states of negativity).

Alongside these individual targets, it is expected that you can attain the SISU Crucible prerequisites (minimum standards) if/when tested during the experience. If an athlete does not attain their respective individual target or prerequisites they will receive a strike through a box on the back of their t-shirt. If an athlete obtains three strikes over the course of a Crucible, they will have failed the experience and will be immediately excluded from continuing.

The Full SISU Crucible Package

What You Receive

Your commitment to The Ironmind Institute’s SISU Crucibles gets you the highest standards and quality of;

SISU Training Programme

SISU Training Programme

Each SISU athlete will receive an Ironmind Crucible training program to prepare them for their Crucible experience. The programs range in durations of 17, 15, 13 and 10 weeks and are designed to prepare the athlete to the highest possible physical & mental capacities to take on the demands of their SISU Crucible. The length of program an athlete receives is dependent on when they sign up to his or her Ironmind Crucible experience.

SISU Web 'Check In' Series

SISU Web 'Check In' Series

Our group check-ins are facilitated online get-togethers for your Crucible group where you will be able to connect with your fellow Crucible athletes to learn about their training experiences, share your own training experience and ask questions of the group facilitator around your pre-Crucible training programme.

Mental Preparation Program

Mental Preparation Program

Aligning with our pre-SISU training program, each athlete will receive a mental preparation program designed and prepared by Damian Browne focusing on emotional robustness for SISU.

WhatsApp Group Membership

WhatsApp Group Membership

Membership of private SISU Crucible Community and SISU Pioneer Crucible Group on WhatsApp for peer to peer athlete support, motivation and direct communication with Ironmind coaches.

The SISU Crucible Experience

The SISU Crucible Experience

The bespoke Damian Browne designed and coached 12 Hour SISU resilience building, extreme physical endeavour, multi discipline training experience using the very best in training equipment.

Award Winning Nutrition

Award Winning Nutrition

The award winning Misunderstood Heron team create all meals throughout the course of your Crucible experience, keeping our athletes fuelled to the highest standard, quality and taste to achieve something extraordinary.

First-Rate Accommodation

First-Rate Accommodation

2 night accommodation in the magnificent Killary Lodge. Set in the raw and rugged beauty of North Connemara, the rustic yet elegant lodge is the perfect mix of isolation, class and …. for our Crucibles.

Photography & Videography

Photography & Videography

Within 48 hours of completing SISU Crucible athletes receive their personally focused ‘in action’ images taken by our professional photographer. Within 3 weeks of completing athletes receive a group focused video of their Crucible experience.

Crucible Gear

Crucible Gear

Athletes will receive a carefully procured Ironmind day rucksack including essential items to complete your crucible - training t-shirts, journalling diary and other essential items.

Location

location

You will be billeted in luxury accommodation for 2 nights at the magnificent Killary Lodge, Killary Fjord, North Connemara. This is a rugged, harrowing, hard, unforgiving, beautiful and deeply moving place that resonates deeply with us and in our experience, is the perfect place to build mental strength and resilience, and to forge greatness.

Nutrition

nutrition

All wholesome, nutritious & specially prepared meals are by the wonderful team at the Misunderstood Heron, you will have dinner every evening (x 2) that you’re with us, breakfast on every morning (x 2), lunch every day (x1) & you will also get a specially prepared fuel bag full of quality nutritious snacks that will keep you fuelled as you complete SISU.

Equipment

equipment

The gym and studio spaces at our base in Killary Lodge will be fitted out and equipped with the very best equipment including ROGUE rigs, barbells, dumbbells, bumpers, plates & stations, alongside Concept 2 RowERGs and BikeERGs. Our training spaces have been specially designed to ensure optimum performance using our BODY FIRST mental methods.

IronMind Crucible Coaches

Damian Browne

Fitness Coach

Damian Browne is the co-founder of The Ironmind Institute and Head Coach of The Ironmind Crucibles. A peak performance athlete, extreme adventurer and former professional rugby player, Damian can truly claim an Ironmind having achieved extraordinary feats of human performance across a broad range of disciplines and pursuits. Damian will guide you through your Crucible using his revolutionary psychological strength models, methods and tools he has created and developed.

Johnny O’Connor

Fitness Coach

Johnny O’Connor is the Ironmind Institute’s Head of Performance and a powerhouse in extreme physical training. From international rugby to elite football clubs, he’s a strength and conditioning authority, optimising athletes’ performance. With a legacy in rugby, Arsenal, Galway United, and Connacht Rugby, he’s now shaping Galway hurlers, a testament to his passion and expertise in the pursuit of excellence in physical training.

Frequently Ask Questions

Anyone 21 years of age or older can partake in a SISU Crucible.
The first series of SISU Crucibles takes place in early 2024 & 2nd series takes place in November 2024.
  • 2 night accommodation at Killary Lodge.
  • All meals (2 x evening dinner, 1 x lunch, 2 x breakfasts) catered to you by the award winning Misunderstood Heron team.
  • The Ironmind Crucible rucksack with all the requisite training gear for your crucible experience.
  • Your extensive Ironmind Crucible training program (one of the 117, 103, 85 or 68 day programs)
  • Intra training program online workshops (3) and individual Crucible group communication with Damian and his coaching team.
  • Unparalleled access to unique training methods, coaching and guidance from Damian Browne and his team of world class coaches.
  • Personalised ‘in action’ professional photography & videography digital content for online use
  • The Ironmind Crucible completion package.
The experience is strictly limited to 20 people.
All medical conditions, concerns and injuries must be disclosed on the health assessment form.
Heart conditions are a disqualifier for participating in any crucible.
Each athlete will receive an Ironmind Crucible training program to prepare them for their Crucible experience. The programs range in durations of 17, 15, 13 and 10 weeks and are designed to prepare the athlete to the best possible physical and mental state to take on the demands of a SISU Crucible. The length of program an athlete receives is dependent on when they sign up to his or her Ironmind Crucible experience. It is highly recommended that you start to prepare as early as possible.
No. Preparation is crucial to success in any endeavour and our intention with our training programs is to set (those who are courageous enough to commit to taking on a Crucible) up to get the maximum out of the extraordinary experience. We are not interested in seeing you fail because you haven’t prepared yourself to the standards we know you must.
You can transfer your registration to a future Crucible. Crucible registrations are non-refundable.
No. The Crucible prerequisites may be tested during your Crucible. You should view these as a guide to the minimum physical standards applicable to you being in a state of general physical preparedness to endure the SISU Crucible experience.
You will receive a strike through a box on the back of your Crucible t-shirt. If you receive three strikes on your t-shirt you will have failed your crucible experience and immediately excluded from continuing. Read full details on this process here
There are three ways to fail a crucible experience.

  • You quit. (Our coaches will do their utmost to prevent this from occurring)
  • You don’t achieve your individual target metrics on 3 occasions. Read more about this here.
  • You don’t adhere to and attain the required standards of behaviour on 3 occasions – This is at the discretion of the Head Coach exclusively.
It is our intention to guide you through the incredibly challenging experience by teaching you the mental tools to survive and thrive in the pressure of extreme physical challenge, however the reality is you may choose to quit at any time or fail to achieve the required standards on three occasions. If any of these scenarios occur during a Crucible, you will be immediately excluded from the remaining duration of the experience, returned to our base (if applicable) and facilitated in departing & reflecting on your experience. All incurred expenses post departure are the sole responsibility of the individual athlete.
No, the Crucible structure is designed using a unique looped training method which has built in periods of rest, reflection and refuelling. However, you will be active for 12 hours straight.
The word originates from ‘sisus’, which literally means ‘guts’ or ‘the intestines’ in Finnish. In 1745, Daniel Juslenius, a Finnish bishop, defined ‘sisucunda’ in his dictionary as the location in the human body where strong emotions come from. The concept of SISU has no direct translation but it is generally understood to encompass extreme perseverance and dignity in the face of adversity which is why we chose it as the name for our 12-hour Crucible.