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eight years ago today group kettlebell training launched in prince edward island. well, in atlantic canada.
this morning my day started at 6am with a private client’s hardstyle kettlebell training.
in between, there have been more than 3300 group kettlebell classes and workshops in my life and a juicy heart-thumping growth in the number of kettlebell coaches and kettlebell practitioners in eastern canada.
when i reflect on how much good and strong and laughter and friendship and sweat kettlebell has brought into my life, which is pretty much daily, i am grateful.
grateful for everyone who has coached me. in person and on line. your gifts have been treasured, repeatedly distilled, and respectfully honoured.
grateful for everyone who has endured my coaching and truly graced my life by touching iron with me. your gifts have been selfless and are held near and dear.
grateful for kettlebell, who is a steadfast and humbling comrade. your gifts are enduring and finely nuanced and warmly worn.
cheers to you all for you are the kettlebell universe.
only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found. ~ pema chödrön
and so it began.
from books put out by Dragon Door, i began teaching myself kettlebell movements and began incorporating a bit of kettlebell training with personal training clients.
in late 2007 i attended my first certification course and learned so much! it was a heady weekend full of sweat, bruises, and total mind engagement. with this, my initial fascination converted into a passion, both to use and to share this unique and effective way of training.
after that first cert, i continued using the kettlebell as part of my personal training repertoire, but i also developed a group fx format with kettlebells which i eventually had opportunity to roll out.
today, january 28th 2015, is the 7th anniversary of the first group kettlebell class i offered.
since then, i have taught kettlebell skills in a group format and led group classes 2975 times.
and because kettlebell training has so many nuances and iterations, i have also since completed 6 additional kettlebell certification programs and attended/audited quite a few other kettlebell trainings, such as workshops and certifications courses.
the opportunities for learning are endless. there are at least 4 or 5 additional kettlebell certs i’d love to take. if the time is right, some of them will happen. i am happy to leave that to the future.
the kettlebell universe is an interesting and quickly expanding place, filled with all manner of passion, talent, commitment, skillful execution, amazing coaching, and creativity. it engages and pushes limits and evolves. this is what i most love about kettlebell training.
little did i imagine what would come of my fascination with kettlebells when i came upon them in a 2005 magazine spread. (you can read more on that here)
daily i am grateful for how kettlebell training has contributed to my life and that of my family and communities.
thank you to those from whom i have directly learned: Shawn Mozen of Agatsu, Ajamu Bernard and Drew Miller and Stephanie Yankovich of KBell Training Academy, Steve Cotter of Full KOntact Kettlebells, Sharon Shiner SFGII, Jason Dolby and John Buckley of Orange Kettlebell Club. and to the many, many who share top notch on-line resources which have contributed to my knowledge.
and so it continues.
OKC, out of California, offers Kettlebell Sport Training and competitions. head coaches have all certified through the International Kettlebell Sport and Fitness) Academy (IKSFA) in Russia and they all have a passion for getting on the competition platform and digging deep.
the Halifax course was fortunate to have the expertise, passion and big-heartedness of John Wild Buckley and Jason Dolby. These two are exceedingly adept guys, each with a unique skills set which complements the other. They are a dynamic team with razor focus, fiercegentleness and a gigantic sense of fun.
Jason and John have pretty amazing coaching skills and cueing techniques which helped create movement patterns where none existed, fix impoverished patterns that were already established, dealt with anxieties and concerns, and built confidence. They have mastery over the nuances of kettlebell sport and are fine wizards of building mental toughness and a strong sense of community.
yeah, they filled me fuller than i thought possible.
on day 1 we talked of thumb direction grips, how to find, stay and return to your home/shelf position on the iliac crest in rack, the importance of a great warm up, power production and energy conservation and bonestacking, or skeletal support in stance.
we learned and practiced backswings (swings) and cleans and jerks. the nuancing of timing on hand insertion and avoiding callus-catching were covered. the flow from the dip to the undersquat of the jerk was a challenge for many of us and it was a fascination watching as John repeatedly broke it all out in a multitude of ways and put it back together again. with surgical precision.
there was so much for me to learn from just watching these guys work. soak it in, percolate, synthesize and integrate, try it out, find the best fit.
and there was an ongoing transmission on patience; one of my favourite parts of the training. waiting for the kettlebell to be weightless for the smooth sweet spot insertion; waiting for the trigger point – the 7 o’clock position – on descent before hinging the hips and lowering the torso into the backswing; waiting for the breath to direct the movement. these lessons, and those on accepting your body as your best coach, jenga-stacked into my buddhanature. these are some of the foundational blocks of everyday warriorship and living with courage.
day 2, after reviewing and tuning up a bit of our day 1, took us through the snatch and breath work. Breathing is what keeps it all together in a competition setting, each movement finely set to the rhythm of the breath: when they remain aligned there is grace and beauty and the ability to endure; when they fall out of rhythm, like the first practice of a varsity marching band, the results, while youtube worthy, are not pretty.
the weekend culminated with written and practical testing. The practical testing required us to mimic a competition: picking whichever of the three lifts we wanted, we performed a 10 minute set with just the one hand switch (if working a single kettlebell lift) at, minimally, entry level of the OKC competition ranking table.
i chose the 12kg long cycle, requiring 64 reps.
i did not meet the testing requirements and have set a personal goal of retesting before the end of the year. i will meet those standards and i know there will be a lot to learn in the process.
the course was an amazing learning and practice weekend. i am so very grateful for the opportunity to learn from the other 17 participants and be coached by John Wild Buckley and Jason Dolby; they are (taking a bit of poetic spelling license here) Sport Trainers and Competitors ExtraorDONAIRe.
this post is a lightly edited version of one i wrote for my blog at kbell training academy.