How 40 Semper Fit Instructors Got Trained in the HKC
By Josh Henkin, Master RKC, Creator of the DVRT System
When I received this invitation in an email, "Josh, we would like you to come to Miramar and help our Semper Fit instructors with an HKC
and DVRT program," I couldn’t wait to accept! How could I say no?
The Marines are developing a very exciting new program teaching how to properly implement a variety of functional fitness tools to enhance their performance and reduce injuries. Semper fit HQ has developed a comprehensive program that is one of the first of its kind and we were very excited to be a part of the development.
With a team of three very talented RKC and DVRT instructors, I was more than happy to help. It was very exciting since I have long believed that both the HKC and DVRT systems
could be immensely beneficial to the tactical athlete. And, both systems have a history of helping police, fire, and military personnel excel at their jobs while staying healthy.
It was a big task since more than 40 students would be attending, and none of them had experienced a formal training program for Hardstyle Kettlebell OR Dynamic Variable Resistance Training. Fortunately, I had an awesome team, and we all learned a ton. Since it was such a tremendous experience, I wanted to share what we learned. I hope you will get many ideas from this article about how to reach out to your local police and fire departments. At the same time it is also important to remember how training these brave men and women isn’t much different than training people from any other profession. That really was lesson number one!
In the past, I’ve seen other programs make the mistake of trying to strong-arm their way into military, police, and fire departments with over-the-top brutal workouts. These men and women have already experienced a lot of intense training in their lives. Their fitness program shouldn’t be about beating them up. Instead it should identify their specific needs and help them attain their goals.
Presenting the HKC to the Semper Fit instructors was very exciting. They had been looking forward to the HKC program for a few years, so it was awesome to be part of the team delivering it to them. Like most groups, their familiarity with kettlebells
was varied. Some participants had received instruction from outside sources, and others had tried to train themselves.
Unfortunately, the participants who had the most difficulty were the ones who had tried to train themselves. Trying to learn about kettlebells on their own not only led to bad habits, but less than optimal experiences, too. After the HKC, one Semper Fit instructor said that before our training she didn’t like kettlebells very much. Before the HKC, she hadn’t thought that kettlebells were even useful! This was mainly because she had lousy experiences while trying to implement and teach them before the HKC. But, afterwards she was excited! She understood the system—not just kettlebells, but also movement—and she couldn’t wait to start helping others become successful with it. That’s darn cool!
For the first time I could remember, the get-up was met by cheers! While it was obvious that many of the participants had been previously exposed to the get-up, their confidence in teaching it was shaky before we presented it to them at the HKC workshop.
As instructors, Senior RKC Steve Holiner
and RKC Instructor Joe Chalakee
knocked it out of the park. And I learned a lot by watching how the students were involved in the step-by-step learning process. The students felt how each movement impacted the next, and discovered how the get-up is really not complicated. They were so excited to see how the whole exercise fit together. We also helped them understand the importance of the "little things"—how the right hand or foot position could change EVERYTHING about the exercise once they applied force. Throughout the workshop, our team of instructors focused on the idea that the HKC and DVRT
systems aren’t about lifting the weight, but moving the body. It was great to see that this message was well received!
We didn’t try to beat them up, but helped them practice great form during the entire day. We learned from each other, and no one needed to prove how tough they were. It wasn’t even necessary because everyone respected the education, process, and care from Steve, Joe, and RKC Troy Anderson
The highlight of the day was at the end of the program—not because everyone was tired and ready to stop, but because of the smiles. These new HKC instructors
were excited because now they knew how to teach and coach the kettlebell foundations. Their enthusiasm—even at the end of the day—told me that we had succeeded as leaders and instructors. But the participants really deserve the credit—their positive attitude, attention to detail, and willingness to be coached was just awesome.
This is what an educational experience SHOULD be—an opportunity for interaction, progress, as well as making and learning from mistakes. I’m grateful that being a Master RKC brought me this wonderful opportunity, and I hope that we made the same impact on the Semper Fit instructors as they made on us.