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Louka Kurcerwell first off, you might be wondering just who is this Louka Kurcer?

i first met Louka on facebook, a place where communities grow and evolve. most anyone who has some mention of kettlebell in their profile, or are somehow affiliated with kettlebell training, will accept a friend request from a compadre kettlebell enthusiast.  Louka was training and growing his business and so we connected in the virtual world.

then, much to my surprise one day, as i am puttering in the kitchen, i hear him being introduced in a DNTO episode on CBC radio! that rather put his cool factor up in my books.

and, to continue with the coincidences, when i arrived at the site of the february 2015 StrongFirst SFG1 course – at United Therapies Strive in Winnipeg –  the first person i was to meet, as we doffed our footwear, was none other than Louka.  Louka was there as a course assistant.

this is how the kettlebell universe continues to expand.

so ….

Louka Kurcer is above all else StrongFirst. his training is based on the belief that strength fixes almost everything. he trains and teaches with a minimalist, yet highly effective, approach and is considered an expert in the practice of hardstyle kettlebell, flexibility, and bodyweight strength training within the StrongFirst community.
Louka’s attitude can be compared to that of an old-time strongman and a martial artist. he challenges his students to “practice” rather than “workout”.

he is about the underlying principles, not just the tools:

“an exercise or movement has greater value if it is done with quality and purpose. that is how I build real, long lasting strength.”

he believes strength training should be a lifestyle and advocates being able to train anytime and anywhere.

“A kettlebell can replace an entire gym…and if you don’t have one available, you can still get very strong using just your body.”

that is his one-mind-any-weapon mentality.
Louka currently teaches workshops in and around Montreal and is based out of Hardstyle Kettlebell Mtl. when he is not swinging a kettlebell or putting heavy weights overhead, he pursues his other passion of art in the form of painting and drawing (which was a part of his DNTO story).

check out some of his kettlebeasts:

kettlebeastsdoesn’t that almost make you swoon?

Louka is offering two days of workshops – and they are happening just weeks from now!

HARDSTYLE KETTLEBELL – TECHNICAL AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS

the whole way KB poster1if you haven’t yet worked with kettlebells, you might still be wondering why you would want to.

  • skills developed by kettlebell training increase body awareness which translates to better safer movement
  • kettlebell training develops functional strength. that which once felt heavy will feel like a toy
  • kettlebell training delivers bang-for-your-buck fitness. you can achieve extreme conditioning with all-purpose strength
  • kettlebells are compact and can be taken almost anywhere; they can replace an entire gym
  • kettlebell training can help heal & overcome injuries while simultaneously increasing flexibility, agility & strength
  • kettlebell training benefits both sides of the performance coin: maximal acceleration in the quick lifts and maximal tension in slow lifts
  • kettlebell training teaches the correct way to perform the exercises! you will stand out because rarely does a trainee use them properly, including many (uncertified) trainers

what, exactly, is HARDSTYLE KETTLEBELL?

the term refers to a style of hand-to-hand combat practiced in Russian Special Operations in the 1970s. in the 1980s, Hardstyle Kettlebell training was developed to support this combative practice.

hardstyle strength was exemplified by powerlifting and Okinawan karate. the common denominator in any hardstyle method is compression:

  • compress the muscles, because muscles produce force by tensing. maximize the tension
  • compress the joints, because a loose joint absorbs the force meant to go elsewhere; it “leaks” power and is easily injured
  • compress the breath, because a slack waist dissipates force like Jell-O. high intra-abdominal pressure increases strength
  • cCompress the ground, to maximize stability and to take advantage of the reactive forces
  • compress the focus. direct the force precisely to minimize losses

hardstyle strength training is the practice of the totality of compression skills.

this workshop will provide an in-depth practice of the 6 fundamental kettlebell exercises and their variations:

  • the Hardstyle KB swing
  • the KB Front Squat
  • the Turkish-Get Up and the Arm-bar
  • the KB Clean
  • the KB Military Press
  • the KB Snatch and the High Pull

plus, you will get:

  • technique/ form fine tuning, intensive practice
  • detailed progressions for every level of strength
  • coaching cues and exercise correctives
  • mobility drills to boost health and performance
  • safety procedures
  • program design

BODY WEIGHT POWER LIFTS – BEGINNER TO ADVANCED PROGRESSIONS

body weight progressions

body weight progressions

what are the Body Weight Power Lifts?


simply put, body weight power lifts are state-of-the-art drills that can be practiced practically anywhere which will increase your overall strength. the benefit is they have a large carryover to many real life applications. you will get back so much more than you put in!

this day long workshop will allow you to learn principles and techniques that will instantly make you stronger, such as total-body tension, power breathing and, NEVER training to failure. learn the Artificial Controlling Environment that will help your students and yourself become stronger fast.

you will learn that the KEY to all bodyweight drills is the hollow body position and you will receive detailed instruction in how to achieve and maintain this position.

all the exercise movements will be deconstructed and then progressively reconstructed for a systematic learning process, including:

  • the one-arm pushup series: hardstyle plank, pushup, one-arm pushup
  • tactical pull-up series: hollow rock, chin/pull-up, hanging-leg raise, front lever
  • pistol squat series: close squat, airborne lunge, pistol squat
  • handstand pushup series: headstand, handstand, piked/handstand pushup, headstand leg raise

this workshop will also cover how to design your own program incorporating the body weight power lifts.

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HARDSTYLE KETTLEBELL:  saturday july 18th, 9am – 4pm

BODY WEIGHT POWER LIFTS: sunday july 19th, 9am – 4pm

either workshop:

$200. by JUNE 30TH
$250. after JUNE 30TH

combine HARDSTYLE KETTLEBELL with BODY WEIGHT POWER LIFTS for
$350. by JUNE 30TH
$450. after JUNE 30TH

contact Wendy Chappell 902-894-8943
thewholeway@wendychappell.com
for information

payments via email transfer to
thewholeway@wendychappell.com
or through paypal
info@wendychappell.com

this is an opportunity you do not want to miss!

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hardstyle kettlebell swing

hardstyle kettlebell swing

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Zelda Bernard. certified as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 through KBell Training Academy. not currently teaching/coaching. lives in Eastern PEI.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Lola MacLeod. certified as a Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 with Agatsu. teaches at Atlantic Fitness East in Montague.
  8. 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.
  9. Lindsay Moore. certified as a Kettlebell Trainer 1 with KBell Training Academy. subs at “Alota Tabatas” Kettlebell Class in Crapaud.
  10. 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.
  11. Danny Walker. certified as a Kettlebell Instructor Level 1 with Agatsu. teaches at Atlantic Fitness East in Montague.
  12. 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!

beginning

* 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.

wsu0u1TDtmXqpEuzt2Hroo8kLs6PGX3S8lSWyLz-acEit is just short of 9 years — May 2006 — since i purchased my first set of kettlebells: three fat-handled glossy-painted cold cannon balls with handles. an 8kg, a 12kg, and a 16kg.

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.

AKC training clean&snatch circuit 2

Agatsu Certification 2007

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.

kettlebell-pics-034the 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.

swing a kettlebell

this painting of me is the amazing work of Renee Laprise of www.onelovelywitch.com

this painting of me is the amazing work of Renee Laprise of http://www.onelovelywitch.com

i have, of late, been giving quite some thought to the variety and breadth of kettlebell training that is around these days and what it is i offer to my clients and class participants.

i have taken a number of kettlebell certficiations, workshops, and courses and follow the work of a number of folks forging creative and awesome ways to train with kettlebells.  from the straight up hardstyle brought to north america by Pavel Tsatsouline to the girya sport style of Valery Fedorenko, from the mma blend of Joey Alvarado, to the group kettlebell programming of Ajamu Bernard, a myriad fitness kettlebell variations are available.

there are strong differences in training philosophies which give rise to all manner of stylistic variations and nuances across this kettlebell universe.

in my classes, i offer a variety of styles and sometimes a meshing of styles, in order to achieve certain class outcomes.  in my personal training, i coach hard style, or close to, or sport style depending on the goals of the client.

earlier this week in a class i taught, there was an interchange about the ‘proper’ performance of a movement.  it was a great example of stylistic differences and it related to the execution of the kettlebell windmill.

here, Shawn Mozen of Agatsu, coaches straight legs (his students coach locked out knees)

 

and here, Pavel Tsatsouline of StrongFirst, coaches a soft forward knee

the training philosophies of these two men are quite different (check out their websites to learn more). and, in the world of strength, conditioning and fitness, the same movement may be executed differently to address different goals.

a part of my job as a fitness service provider is to work fast and furious to stay at the edge of industry knowledge and practice;  to wisely and judiciously distill, synthesize and package that information; and, to deliver safe and effective services.

this week has been an awesome learning week!

i am indebted to the many brilliant minds with whom i have had the honour and privilege to study and work in the last dozen years. i am excited about the many courses and workshops i will be attending in the upcoming months. i am grateful for the challenges to my skills and knowledge offered by colleagues and the questions posed by clients and class participants.

move and be still, wendy

 

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