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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
as it goes with any aspect of the fitness industry — personal trainers, group fitness instructors, older adult specialists, pilates instructors, and the like — there are plenty of fit folks in prince edward island who love to exercise and who quickly figure out that offering classes, leading facebook challenge groups, or instructing others is an easy way for them to get their own workout and make some money.
qualifications, other than their own personal journey to better health, seem not so important.
when they have no specific hands-on education, what they pick up from a youtube video or a dvd release can be detrimental to your health.
this post is, as the title indicates, about kettlebell training. i have heard quite a number of stories — more than the fingers on both hands — about unqualified instructors providing poor instruction. i have been asked to take over a kettlebell class from an unqualified (and therefore uninsured) personal trainer and i have had at least a half dozen studio participants tell me about correcting the technique of other ‘instructors’ in other fitness businesses.
i am sure other kettlebell coaches have heard similar stories.
and, just recently, i was told by someone who has a connection to fitness/recreational education on the island that some people don’t think anyone on the island is duly certified (and i hope this is not based on the perception that our certifying bodies are questionable, as they most certainly are not).
these two sides of the same coin disturb me. to that end, i am compiling a list of who, in our island kettlebell world, has what certification and where you can contact them if you are interested in solid, safe, knowledgeable instruction.
- Kelly Arsenault. certified as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 through KBell Training Academy. subs as an occasional instructor at the whole way health & fitness studio in Charlottetown.
- J-Mac Beauchesne. certified as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 through KBell Training Academy. competes in GS (kettlebell sport). instructs at The Fit Stop in The Credit Union Place in Summerside and subs at Isand Impact Mixed Martial Arts.
- Zelda Bernard. certified as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 through KBell Training Academy. not currently teaching/coaching. lives in Eastern PEI.
- wendy chappell. a Certified Personal Trainer, originally kettlebell certified through Agatsu as a Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 in 2007 and more recently with KBell Training Academy as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 and a KBell Jam Instructor and as an Instructor of Kettlebell Sport through Orange Kettlebell Club. a Master Trainer Candidate for KBell Training Academy; has attended Agatsu Kettlebell Instructor Level 2 (received a day of instruction from Steve Cotter) and StrongFirst Girya 1 courses. participated in in-person professional development with KBell Training Academy at the national CanFitPro conference and on-line in High Intensity Kettlebell Fitness with KBNY and Kettlebell Rehab: Hardstyle Methods in Corrective Exercise with IDEA Health & Fitness Association. to date, has instructed more than 3000 kettlebell classes, workshops and courses. coaches classes and works with personal training clients at the whole way health & fitness studio in Charlottetown.
- April Gregory. a Certified Personal Trainer certified as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 through KBell Training Academy and working toward a cert as a KBell Jam Instructor with same; Instructor of Kettlebell Sport with Orange Kettlebell Club. find current offerings at April Gregory: Kettlebell Training mainly in Souris and Up East areas of the island.
- Alan Howatt. certified as a Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 with Agatsu and an Instructor of Kettlebell Sport with Orange Kettlebell Club. teaches at Abegweit Kettlebells Sport Club in Mount Stewart.
- Lola MacLeod. certified as a Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 with Agatsu. teaches at Atlantic Fitness East in Montague.
- Stefanie MacQuarrie. a Certified Group Fitness Instructor, certified originally as a Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 with Agatsu and more recently as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 with KBell Training Academy and working toward a cert as a KBell Jam Instructor with same. classes are offered through “Alota Tabatas” Kettlebell Class in Crapaud and subs at the whole way health & fitness studio in Charlottetown.
- Lindsay Moore. certified as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 with KBell Training Academy. subs at “Alota Tabatas” Kettlebell Class in Crapaud.
- Courtney Steele. a Certified Personal Trainer, certified as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 with KBell Training Academy. teaches and trains at Full Throttle Fitness in Morell.
- Danny Walker. certified as a Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 with Agatsu. teaches at Atlantic Fitness East in Montague.
- Susan Walsh. an Instructor of Kettlebell Sport with Orange Kettlebell Club since Sept. 2014. currently training under John Wild Buckly, owner of OKC. certified Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 through Agatsu and re-certified in Feb. 2014. teaching classes in kettlebell fitness since 2009 and practicing with kettlebells since 2008. owner of Studio K in Georgetown, PE.
kettlebell training is a very effective way of achieving goals. it is, however, very technique specific and as such requires specialized education of the provider.
let’s stay safe as we toss around the iron!
* to certified instructors: i compiled this list after alerting all on the list to my intention of writing this post. if i have made a mistake or omission, if you would like to be removed from the list, or if you would like to be added to the list, please get in touch.
*to training clients and class participants: this may or may not be an exhaustive list of certified kettlebell instructors on prince edward island. you can always ask your instructor about her/his qualifications and, if they are certified, send them along to be edited into this post.
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.