Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Been awhile...

My resolution for 2010 is to be better at keeping this updated. That shouldn't be that hard to do, as I kinda sucked at blogging this past year. Okay, no kinda about it. I sucked. No excuses.

My other resolutions:
1. Train smarter. I made progress in 2009, but still have a ways to go. I am realizing that I am getting older, and that smart training beats "balls to the wall" training every time. Not that smart training cannot be intense. Intense training has to be done with a purpose.
2. Make time for the parts of training I tend to neglect. That means relaxation and flexibility. And that doesn't mean stretching or stretching's sake. Stretch smart. Train smart.
3. Continue on the path of education. I am continuing my kettlebell and movement training by pursuing my CK-FMS certification in May. I am also planning on attending the International Youth Conditioning Association Summit in February (my reservations are already made for both). I will continue to look for other opportunities to broaden my knowledge base.
4. Be more positive. When times get tough, all too often we focus on the negative. Myself included. By maintaining a positive outlook, especially when times are tough, I will be better prepared for the challenges that arise every day.
5. Get back into writing and presentations. Although I have won awards with my writing, I haven't written seriously in years. I think it is time to return to my roots. On the same note, I started doing motivational and informational presentations in 2009. That I can continue.
6. Spend more quality time in relaxation mode. It sounds funny to resolve to relax, but giving myself down time, and setting aside time for my family will enable me to keep my other resolutions. I tell clients to rest (Even God rested on the seventh day), yet i don't always follow my own advice. That will change.

Now, the goal aspect o 2010. 2009 saw me hit three of my five goals. I was under 180 pounds on my birthday (even lighter than I was in college 25 years ago!), and I hit 200 snatches (actually 223) in 10:00 with a 24k kettlebell. I also managed to row a million meters on my rower. I didn't hit 1,000 snatches non-stop and the 500 snatch series, as injuries took their toll. (See above about training smarter and relaxing!).

For 2010, my physical goals are simple:
1. Pull up my age. I've been working on Will Williams' pullup protocol and see no reason I cannot hit 45 pullups non-stop before my birthday in October. If I wait until after October, I have to do 46.
2. 240 snatches in 10:00 with the 24k bell. I amazed myself at how "easy" it was to hit 200 snatches, and blast through that barrier. Now, with some hard and smart conditioning, I should be able to hit 240.
3. Run at least one road race/triathlon/bike race. Many years ago I was competitive, but fell out of it because of time constraints. With better time management and smarter training, I should be able to compete in at least one event.
4. Reach the two 2009 goals I missed. Don't quit. It is that simple.

I challenge everyone out there to write down your own resolutions and goals. Keep them with you and use them as a daily reminder of what you need to do.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Learn from my mistakes

I sit here writing in intense pain. And I have no one to blame but myself.
I was training on Sunday, when I felt a pop in my back. I thought nothing of it, and continued my session. It didn't hurt Sunday night, an even into Monday (okay, it hurt a little). But that didn't stop the testosterone in my system to try (and complete) a workout Monday afternoon. In my mind, even after all the years of experience I have training, I didn't want to miss a workout.
By Monday night, my back was hurting tremendously.Since I have had disk problems before, I chalked it up to a bulging disk, and followed the protocol of rest and muscle relaxers to ease the pain.
That didn't work, and by Wednesday, I was begging for someone to kill me. No such luck, nobody tossed a toaster into my bathtub, and I couldn't get the number to Michael Jackson's doctor.
So I called my own doctor, who, unfortunately doesn't believe in euthanasia. He did however, make an initial diagnosis of a strained, or torn lat muscle, which, as I said before, is very painful.
The worst part, however, is the recovery period -- 2 to 8 weeks.
So instead of missing one or two training sessions, I am potentially missing 24 sessions.
Not smart.
And at the absolute worst time. We are scheduled to open our new gym this week, and I am on the disabled list. What a role model.
But I have always believed that when life gives you lemons, you pick them up and throw them at someone. In my case, I am tossing them at myself.
I am spending my downtime reading and rereading training manuals (especially the parts about training while hurt), and watching training videos, and listening to speakers on my ipod. While, I cannot go out and practice these lessons right now, I will recover with my mind fully recharged.
And you had better believe I will listen to my body next time.
So please, learn from my mistake.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

When the going gets tough...

Let's just say it hasn't been an easy week.
Okay, the word is out that we are opening a gym. Our target is September 1, and we have been working like dogs to get ready. Fortunately, we have had many of our students (along with spouses, and kids) helping us paint, build, clean, and do all the nasty prep work. Unfortunately, on Monday evening, one of our sub letters backed out of the arrangement, leaving us with an extra 2500 feet of space (and the accompanying rent payment to go with it).
That evening, I mistakenly set a pitcher of caffeinated iced tea next to my bed, instead of my usual decaf tea. (I do try and stay hydrated all evening). Needless to say, I didn't sleep particularly well. (I'm sure the increased cost of business had something to do with it as well.), so Tuesday was a rather loooooooong day.
Tuesday night, my daughter was admitted to the hospital with pregnancy complications. She lives in California, so I did not find out about it until Wednesday. A great way to start a busy day.
Thursday brought some unpleasant personal news as well, and Friday, I was just plain ill.
Needless to say, I was unable to work out with my usual gusto all week, and am feeling the physical effects of a trying 168 hours.
But that didn't stop me from growing mentally. I spent Thursday and Friday afternoons and evenings reading and rereading some of the best training books ever. The Naked Warrior by Pavel was a great kick in the head as to how I should be focusing my training to get stronger. Beyond Bodybuilding, also by Pavel is the ultimate guide to strength techniques that are lost on many of us, until we actually try them.
And, Joe Hashey's Bull Strength Manual is a killer guide to some unconventional methods of getting in true athletic shape. I must confess that we will use many o Joe's exercises wen our gym opens in a month.
My point is that even when we are not feeling up to snuff physically, there are ways to train that do not tax your body. In fact, the renewed mental focus has me feeling better already.

If you would like The Naked Warrior, Beyond Bodybuilding, or any of Pavel's other books, go to http://www.buckeyekettlebells.com/ and click on the products page. The link to dragon door will give you access to a wealth of information.

For Joe Hashey's book, go to www.bulllstrength.com. It is well worth it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kettlebells and personal bests...

I have been working with Whitney for six years now, since she was a junior in high school. She is now getting ready for her senior year in college, and last competitive season as a field hockey player. We have spent numerous hours together in the weight room, and hundreds more on the track, getting her ready for competition.
For five summers she has had a difficult time hitting her target run times until the last week of the summer, and even then, those have been a struggle. In short, she hates to run, and it often psychs her out.
This year, I decided to cut her running down to a minimum, and concentrate on her kettlebell work. Admittedly it was a little risky, but I felt it was worth the try. (Last summer, she stayed at school most of the time, trained with me minimally, and struggled to get playing time in the fall -- it was now time to try and regain her sophomore form, and try and improve it!)
Whit has been very willing to try the new approach, and has been one of our best kettlebell students this summer. She has come for extra time, focusing on gaining the strength and cardiovascular endurance she will need.
She has pressed more weight, for more repetitions than she has ever been able to before.
She has conditioned herself like a "Viking", following Kenneth Jay's Viking Conditioning plan. (Ironically, her high school's nickname is the Vikings...go figure).
She has ran minimally, focusing only on sprints, with few long runs. I felt she has paid the Pavement Gods enough in terms of time and energy.
We have, however, followed her summer conditioning protocol for testing, which calls for specific times to be met on specific days.
This was a testing week.
Yesterday, she hit her target time in all 12 of her 100 yard sprints. In fact, I "cheated" and marked off 100 meters, instead of yards, so her runs were actually farther, yet still within the required time for the test.
Today, she ran her fastest mile ever -- 6:32. Excellent, considering her target for August is 6:40.
The only difference? Kettlebells. She is stronger, faster, and has more endurance than ever before. And she is starting to believe it as well. To see her elation when I showed her the stopwatch at the end of the mile was incredible.
And we still have a month to improve on that!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

What happens in Vegas...

As I write this I am sitting in the business center at the Paris Hotel, site of the National Strength and Conditioning Association's 32nd Annual Conference. for the past three days, and for the next 10 hours I am sitting through session after session of relevant, science-based information for the strength and fitness industry.
Like any other conference, there are good and bad presentations. I have been mostly fortunate. I have had the pleasure of sitting through seven hours of Gray Cook and Lee Burton outlining their Functional Movement Screen and its effects on human movement, both for athletes and non-athletes alike.
Those who know me, know how much I respect Gray and his research. To have seven hours of his time, teaching me how to better screen my clients is priceless. And better screening only makes me a better trainer.
Interestingly, Dragon Door announced yesterday its schedule for the 2010 Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Screen Workshop for next May. Was it a sign that my email buzzed with this announcement while I was sitting in Gray's presentation? I don't know, but I plan on being there in May.
I spent time learning about rotational athletes (We are all rotational athletes), and have some new drills for them, as well as some new torture for my hockey kids. (Be very afraid).
Most of my traditional clients will benefit as well -- Todd Durkin, who is LaDanian Tomlinson's trainer, brought some new perspectives into my training. Even though I have been to many of Todd's presentations in the past, and have visited his facility on several occasions, he never fails to bring new ideas to the table.
And speaking to many of my fellow delegates, the reason we are here is not simply to get some continuing education credits, but to learn how to do our jobs better. The attendees here are the best of the best, willing to put thousands of dollars on the line (it is Vegas, afterall), and take time out of our weeks, to learn. We don't simply read articles in the latest consumer magazine. We get out, interact, and question the leaders in the industry.
Rest assured, what is happening here in Vegas will not stay in Vegas.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It's not always the headlines that make my day...

I train a lot of athletes. I have worked directly with 23 current NCAA student-athletes, several more who have "retired", and numerous high school athletes who are striving to take the next step. I do summer conditioning for entire teams, and enjoy seeing these kids grow in strength and speed.
I enjoy going to their games, watching them play, and reading about them in the papers the next day.
But as much as these successes mean to me, they pale compared to what I believe are the true reasons I became a trainer in the first place:
1. The 60-something retired gentleman who had chronic knee pain. After working through a six-week routine religiously he has been pain-free for almost 8 months.
2. The 37-year old housewife who struggles with Multiple Sclerosis and fibromyalgia. She walks for three miles now without fatigue, when she used to get winded climbing stairs.
3. The diabetic retiree who had balance and core strength issues. He has worked hard on a program to improve his stamina and balance.
And my most recent challenge -- the 18-year old who is recovering from a brain tumor. For years he has not used his right side because it was difficult. I would not let him rely on his left side, forcing him to use the weaker, imbalanced arm.
After two weeks he has a grip with his right arm that he hadn't had. And we are starting to work on more functional activities. Hopefully, he will soon be able to do many things that most of us take for granted.
None of these would be possible if my clients did not have the drive and desire to improve their functional living. I just provided the tools and the guidance, but they stayed with the program and are seeing the results.
That is what makes my day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The family gets bigger

The first two weeks of summer are notoriously my busiest of the year. My high school kids are trying to move from afterschool sessions to morning sessions. My college kids are trying to get in in the afternoon (Presumably when they get out of bed!). And my parent clients are moving to the mornings because they no longer have to get kids ready for school. It makes for a pretty hectic week, as I usually don't know whether I am coming or going.

Add to that my kettlebell classes, which are now in three locations, and my work with the Gahanna High School Ice Hockey team, which adds 42 boys to my mix.

It is a good problem to have, considering many people in this country are looking for work.

But here it is Saturday morning, and I finally had a chance to come up for air! At least for a day or so, and then it is back to the weekly cycle.

Last week, I blogged about Joel, who was going through the RKC certification. Well, I am happy to report that Joel kicked some serious butt up in St. Paul (along with having his own kicked a few times), and he is now a member of the RKC family. Cat and I had no doubts about him making it because of his dedication and commitment to excellence, and we are very happy to have him as a student and a Comrade. Congratulations Joel.

Our second RKC candidate student, Cara, will be attending the San Diego certification in August. And she has three of us beating on her! No doubt she will do us proud as well.
I would also like to congratulate all the other RKCs who survived last weekend. I'm sure you "enjoyed" the process as much as we did, and look forward to inflicting pain on many other unsuspecting victims. Welcome to the family.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

If you ignore...

One of the greatest pieces of advice I ever received was from Ron Oestrike, head baseball coach at Eastern Michigan University. In 1983, Coach "O" told me simply, "If you ignore, it means you accept."
Seven words, nine total syllables. But a lifetime of following.
If something makes you unhappy, and you do nothing to change it, you accept it. And you have no one to blame but yourself.
As a trainer, if I accept improper form, I am telling my client that it is okay to do thins wrong.
As a parent, if I accept bad behavior, I am telling my kids it is okay to continue to misbehave.
As an employer, if an employee continually comes in late, and I do nothing, I accept his tardiness.
Whatever role you are playing, if something is not right and you do nothing about it, don't wait six months and try and change it. By then it is too late. And it is your fault. No one else's.
This weekend is another RKC certification weekend in St. Paul. For Cat and myself it marks the first time we are sending one of our students off to be "tortured" by Pavel, Andrea, and the rest of the training group.
Over the past six months we have worked with Joel correcting his technique, inspiring him, teaching, and helping him teach as a means of getting him ready for the next three days. Rest assured, we took no shortcuts. We did not ignore minor flaws, because they grow into major ones.
We gave him the tools to excel, and he ran with them
We gave him insights into what he can expect, but didn't divulge too much -- this is a weekend that has to be experienced.
Like proud parents, Cat and I sent Joel off to Minnesota fully confident in his abilities. Like nervous parents, we will be waiting for the report card, and the school bus (okay, Airplane) when he returns.
We have done our part. Joel is doing his. Now it is Pavel's turn.
And, like Coach Oestrike, Pavel doesn't ignore.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

I thought I'd seen everything...

I was at a hockey game yesterday (Yes, hockey in June...hockey parents are a little off!), and I saw something I had never seen before, and I hope to never see again.
The local high schools here play in a summer league where checking is not allowed. It is designed to get the kids a little more ice time, as well as get incoming freshmen used to the faster play. My stepson is making the transition to freshman hockey, so this is an opportunity for him to play with older boys.
When we got to the rink, another game was going on. It was borderline physical, but without any real hits. At one point two players collided, and the one who did not fall was given a two minute penalty. No big deal.
Toward the end of the game, with one team (Team A) up 6-4, the leading team had a penalty called for checking. The penalized player went to the penalty box. The player that was knocked over took a swing at the first player. No penalty was called.
With 30 seconds left in the game, Team B scored a goal, and Team A's penalized player came out of the penalty box and back on the ice.
When the game ended, and the teams lined up to shake hands, Team B's player, still reeling from being checked, made a beeline toward the player from Team A. He hit him in the back with his stick, and took a punch at him. Then all hell broke loose. Players from both teams jumped each other, and the referees had to wrestle the two original combatants apart. At one point, they had team B's player pinned to the wall.
They then made a terrible mistake. Instead of forcing the player off the ice, they simply let him go. He then made another beeline toward Team A's player, but was tackled by other players from Team A before he could get there. Now, in addition to the referees, rink security officials were on the ice trying to sort through the mayhem.
Then, I saw what I had never seen before. The player's parents came out onto the ice to drag their son off. What amazed me was there didn't seem to be a bit of embarrassment on the player's mom's face as she took her kid to the locker room.
If that were my kid, there would be hell to pay.
Parents, remember, you are your kids' first coaches. Teach them to play, but teach them sportsmanship as well. Teach them the rules, but teach them teamwork.
I contrast this with what happened at the Ohio State High School Track Championship yesterday as well. One local sprinter was favored to win the 10o, 200, and 400-meter dashes. He won the 200 and 400, but finished second in the 100. Instead of lamenting how he missed a rare triple, he was more concerned that the loss of points would cost his TEAM the TEAM title.
His teammates come through, and they did win the title.
A just reward for putting the team first.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D-Day Salute

Today is the 65th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, or D-Day. On that day, Allied Forces stormed the beaches at Normandy, France to begin the assault that would eventually win World War II in Europe. The price paid was high, as evidenced by the rows of crosses in cemeteries across France.
To commemorate D-Day, many RKCs decided to do a tribute workout -- 200 snatches, interspersed with 400 meters of running. Not a difficult workout, but challenging enough, while giving you the opportunity to think about the sacrifices made on that late spring day.
I wasn't alive during World War II. My parents were just 4 and 2 years old in 1944, but I still owe a great deal to those men who fought for our freedom. (And lest we forget, those who have fought for our freedom ever since, including those in harm's way today.)
I had originally hoped to have a group of our students with me, but kids' schedules and an anniversary negated that. So I set out on my own, with my newest kettlebell student (and long time client), Whit to accompany me on the running portion of the workout.
The first 50 snatches were easy, as easy as 50 snatches can be. And the run was a nice recovery. We talked about her training plans for the summer before she heads back to school in August. We talked about my kids, who are her age, and how they are moving forward with their lives. We also talked about World War II -- an interesting conversation between two different generations who learned about it in history books.
The next set of snatches was a little slower. The callouses on my hands were pinching, as I left my chalk in the car. I suffered through it, and we took off for our second 400 meter run. Here we focused on how tough it was for those soldiers 65 years ago, and what we were doing was really nothing compared to their suffering. I think it gave both of us a sense of reality -- no matter how bad you hurt, someone hurts more.
The third set of snatches tested that theory. My callouses started to rip --and blood was seeping from my hands. (This week was a particularly high volume snatch week, and I was paying the price.) Even though each snatch was painful, I got through it knowing that veterans would laugh at the amount of pain I was feeling. After all, it really was nothing.
The last set was easy. I knew that this was it, the end was near -- a perk those soldiers didn't have on that beachhead 65 years ago.
During the last quarter mile, I asked Whit if she had another mile in her. She said she didn't think so, but she would try anyway. (I failed to mention that she had taken my kettlebell class earlier that morning.)
During the last mile, we talked perseverance, and doing what is necessary to achieve your goals. The same thing that got many through Normandy. Many did not make it, paying the ultimate price so we have the freedom to whine and complain about every little ache, pain, grocery line, traffic light, and airline delay.
I am grateful to all of those who have sacrificed for my freedom, not just on June 6, 1944, but in all battles. I am also thankful that I had the opportunity to reflect on that with the next generation of American for 32 minutes on a warm June Saturday in Ohio.
Somehow, my hands don't hurt that much anymore.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Goals and programming

I often get asked about my workouts, probably because they are usually crazy. Unfortunately, along with that, my workouts are often copied because they are very challenging.
What people don't understand is that I have goals, and a mapped out plan on how to get there. I don't arbitrarily do a workout because it is "cool" or especially difficult. I have specific training plans because they fit my training goals.
Currently I am working on Kenneth Jay's program to increase my VO2 max. This "Viking Conditioning" is three days of my week, while the other three days are grind or strength days, if I go a full six days. I often do not.
The conditioning portion of the cycle is spelled out: High repetition kb snatches, for specific durations. (For the full details of the program, buy Ken Jay's book, Viking Conditioning, at http://www.buckeyekettlebells.com/. It is a great read.)
For the strength portion of the training, the workouts are not as rigid. I usually go with what I feel needs work, with at least one day a week of TGUs and pistols the only requirement.
Not happy with my shoulder press? I work presses. Need grip work? Heavy swings will help.
I know where I want to be, and by what date. My training is what will get me there.
If you want a great workout to challenge you once in awhile, take one I have done and try it. If you want a program to help meet specific goals, come up with target dates and call me. I'll help you set one up!
Remember if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Are you getting your money's worth?

I was at the club where I train the other day when I heard one of the other trainers exclaim to her client, "I found a great new exercise in Shape magazine. We're going to try it out together."
I wanted to puke on the spot. There are so many things wrong with that statement; things that affect my business, the perception of my profession, and the perception of training in general.
1. If you hire a trainer who is getting your workout from Shape, Self, Muscle & Fitness, or any other consumer magazine, fire that trainer on the spot, buy a subscription, and use the savings to buy something nice for yourself, your spouse, or better yet, feed the homeless. That trainer shows no creativity, imagination, nor professionalism.
2. There really isn't a NEW exercise. There are variations of old exercises. There are new fads. But there isn't anything NEW. In fact, in most instances, old is better. We exercised for function and movement, not to balance a bowling ball in one hand while standing on an upside-down BOSU.
3. Trying out an exercise WITH a client for the first time is not only risky, it is unprofessional. And in the case of this trainer, she was doing the exercise RIGHT ALONGSIDE THE CLIENT, without paying attention to the client's technique. The client is not supposed to pay for the trainer's workout. The client is supposed to get undivided attention.
These are things you won't see with a true professional trainer. As an RKC, I have access to the greatest network of fitness professionals in the business. These professionals answer my calls, emails, and text messages, and provide information and training you won't see in a consumer magazine.
As a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist I receive technical, peer-reviewed publications that are science based. These journals are not slave to advertisers, so there is no bias. Just facts that I can use to back up my training protocols.
While the NSCA network of professionals is not as open as the RKC network, the exchange of ideas is very prevalent. I have visited other trainers' facilities in Florida, South Carolina, California, Texas and Tennessee as a means of gaining insight into the best possible programs for my clients. Sure, flying to Tallahassee is more expensive than driving to the newsstand, but it is more than worth it.
If your trainer is not actively pursuing programs designed to improve him as a trainer and you as a customer, fire him. And look for a professional that will take those steps.
Here is a great place to start:


Friday, May 29, 2009

Don't forget the basics

Every four weeks or so, I spend time revisiting the basics of RKC training. I practice the fundamental lifts: Primitive Swings, Naked Getups, Sumo Deadlifts, Bodyweight Squats with little or no weight to make sure my form hasn't gone south. After all, if you can't do the basics properly, how will you do the advanced work?
Sounds boring, I know. But one of the fundamentals of the RKC is that we "practice" kettlebells, instead of working out with them. That means reverse engineering over and over again. This is also one of the reasons why RKCs are so proficient at what they do.
If you ever get the chance to go to baseball Spring Training, you will see batters hitting of a tee like a six-year-old before they see live pitching. Martial artists go through the same back-to-basics in their classes to reinforce motor muscle memory. And RKCs will practice the basic lifts over and over again to make sure they don't lose their skills.
When I hold speed camps, the very first thing I do is to re-educate my athletes on proper running technique.
When I work with clients in the gym, one of the first things I do is to re-teach the squat. On the wall. Over and over again.
I get so sick of seeing trainers ignore fundamentals and push their clients to lift more and more weight with improper, even dangerous form. The problem is that basics aren't sexy.
However, basics are effective:
When Navy Seal snipers took out three Somali pirates with three shots off a moving boat a month back, it wasn't because they practiced fancy shooting. It was because they practiced the basics over and over again, and had the confidence that they could perform this difficult task.
Make time for the basics. Reinforcing proper fundamental technique will ensure the more difficult stuff will become easier.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Three hour workout?????

I was at the gym the other day when I ran into a member who I have been trying to get to take a kettlebell class. I asked her if she was going to take our class that day.
"I can't," she said. "I'm tired from the classes I took this morning."
I asked her what she had done.
"I took an hour of body pump, ran on the treadmill for an hour and did a cardio abs class," she responded.
I asked her why she needed three hours of exercise.
"I like to eat," was her response."
Okay, so do I. But I also like to do other things. Such as spend three hours of my life somewhere other than the gym.
This woman routinely spends two to three hours every day in the gym, doing the same old 1980s workouts. And you know what, she hasn't lost an ounce of weight. (To be fair, she hasn't gained anything either.)
Let's do the math: 2 hours a day for 350 days is 700 hours a year. 3 hours is 1050 hours. She spends between 700 and 1000 hours a year in the gym, and is achieving nothing.
Can you think of a better way to spend that time? (Hint: a week is 168 hours).
Can you think aof a better way to work out?
The polar opposite of that is one of my students, Jon. Jon takes three classes a week from Buckeye Kettlebells. Three 45 minute classes. Less than 3 hours a week. (To be fair, he also swings kettlebells at home once or twice a week -- even at 5 hours a week, he is still under 250 hours for the year)
Jon has lost more than 60 pounds since January 1. Jon is stronger and more flexible than he has ever been. He has also gotten many compliments about his transformation.
Jon spends his extra 500 hours riding his Gold Wing, cooking, and tending his garden.
Who would you rather be?
Don't take too long thinking about it. You only have 499 more hours to ponder.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The RKC Family

When I first started martial arts, and passed my first belt test, I thought I knew everything. I had mastered my white belt forms, one steps, and techniques. I had arrived.

Or so I thought.

There was a new set of requirements to learn, memorize and perform. Mastery was out of the question here, as I was constantly hounded by my instructor about improper footwork, kicks, and hand position. Even when I thought I was perfect, I was nitpicked. And with good reason.

It was that way through orange, green, blue, purple, red and brown belts. The more I learned, the less I felt I knew. When I earned my black belts, I realized just how much I did not know.

The same is true with training. As a Certified Russian Kettlebell Instructor, I have passed a stringent and physically demanding test protocol. Like my black belts, the letters RKC were not handed to me. They were earned.

And like my black belts, those letters come with a responsibility to keep on learning, and striving for perfection in my technique, instruction, and health.

Fortunately, I am surrounded by much more learned RKCs. Individuals like Dave Whitley, Dr. Mark Cheng, Brett Jones, and Gray Cook have paved the way with their research and insight into training techniques, physical movement, and in many cases brutal challenges to make all RKCs better.

The commitment these individuals have to their craft is unsurpassed. And, in a way it challenges all other RKCs to be the best they can be. After all, if Dave Whitley can take the time for me, I owe it to my clients, my profession and my RKC family to do the same.

It is one reason I am proud to be an RKC.