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Foreword to Street Workout by John Du Cane

 
 

 

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Foreword to Street Workout by John Du Cane

Life is mysterious. Small acts blaze up into wild firestorms. The glimmer of a slight desire transforms into an incandescent passion that seems to light the world. A single thought triggers a raging torrent of ideas. A casual encounter leads to the deepest of bonds. The force of creation sparks new patterns of beauty and insight. Webs of interconnection form beneath the surface of our understanding.

We wonder why we do what we do, from where we came and to where we go…

Of such stuff has been my friendship with two remarkable men, the brothers Al Kavadlo and Danny Kavadlo

It was Paul Wade who nudged the Kavadlos into my consciousness for the first time. A couple of rangy, flamboyant, tat-drenched, muscular misfits who decked out Convict Conditioning 2 with their calisthenic stylings. Their Human Flag—set in the same Alcatraz rec yard once haunted by Al Capone and The Birdman—signaled that a new band had crashed the stage…

And it was Paul Wade again who made the next nudge—recommending Al’s writing to me and suggesting that I consider publishing him. So I checked Al out…

What I discovered was not just Al himself, but a whole nother world…

I discovered that Al was an artist whose preferred medium is his own body. Calisthenics means "beautiful movement" and Al re-creates himself daily, on that basis, as on ongoing artwork. Now, artworks need a setting in which to best display themselves—and that setting becomes an extension of the artwork. In his case, Al chooses to display himself against the gritty graffiti, scaffolding and distressed brick of down-and-dirty, "street" NYC. Al’s favorite workout spot? Tompkins Square Park—where the doors have been ripped off the toilets to cut down on the fix-traffic of local junkies…

As part of his art, Al cultivates a smiling, happy Zen-guy look—even when performing some of the toughest moves on the planet, like the one-arm pull-up or the front lever. Yet simmering beneath that Zen smile is a fierce will, a formidable drive and a fanatical commitment to doing things just right. As with almost all great performers, Al’s rust never sleeps…

That other world that Al is a portal to? That would be the culture and international network called "Street Workout". If Al’s immediate setting is New York, his global context can be defined by those two words…He and his brother Danny represent the street workout ethos to the max. Their book, Street Workout, is not only a paean to this movement but is sure to become that movement’s Bible…

As a publisher with a passion to share the best-of-the-best when it comes to the realm of physical cultivation, I like to work with authors who are the "complete package". The author as "complete package" combines many, many attributes: they bring innovation and insight to the table. They are creative, thorough and inquisitive. They walk their talk and look the part. They are natural leaders. They are relentless and skilled self-promoters. Their writing style scintillates with their individual, distinct, differentiated voice. They have a strong and loyal following. They know their stuff inside out, but remain open to new ideas and input. They are passionate about every aspect of their craft and their physical practice. And finally, they are a joy to work with.

Rare to find? Yes. Very. Tall order? Yes. Very. Got some such "complete packages"? Why…yes, yes, I do…and Al Kavadlo is one of them…

So I both applaud myself and feel fortunate to have taken Paul’s hint and signed on Al as a Dragon Door author. Talk about small acts that blaze up into firestorms… We have gone on to publish a series of wonderful titles with Al: Raising the Bar, Pushing the Limits, Stretching Your Boundaries and Zen Mind, Strong Body. And now, the monumental Street Workout he has co-authored with brother Danny…

It’s not much of a surprise, then, that when Paul Wade and I were looking for a natural born leader for our Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC) program, we chose Al… who in turn recruited Danny to fellow-preach the new bodyweight exercise gospel.

Right from the get-go Al and Danny knocked the PCC ball out of the park. From its launch in June 2013, the PCC has become the undisputed gold standard for calisthenics training—nothing else comes close. And there is no question in my mind that it will remain THE place to go for the finest bodyweight exercise instruction, globally. Al and Danny’s deep passion, humility, care, graciousness, kindness, knowledge and skill have inspired hundreds upon hundreds of practitioners to go forth and spread the good word about the wonders of calisthenic cultivation. It’s a great thing to behold…

Street Workout is saturated with the vibe and brilliant teachings I have experienced from Al and Danny at every workshop I have attended. And you’ll see phenomenal photographs taken in almost all the countries they’ve taught in, be it Italy, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, England, Australia, China, Holland or the USA… "Rich" doesn’t begin to describe the breadth and depth of the creative artistry of the illustrations—off the charts.

Now, one of the best things that has happened in my life is to count Mister Danny Kavadlo as a good friend—and to watch the rise and rise of this great man within the Dragon Door community. And how remarkable is it to have two brothers who can both live up to my "complete package" descriptor? Because Danny is most certainly also the "complete package".

A perfect foil for Grandmaster Al, Danny’s menacing scowl, bristling musculature, stacked intensity and punkoid posturing belie a heart of gold and a deep-felt love for his fellow humans. When Danny does smile, he lights up the room. When Danny’s booming cadence penetrates the room with his urgent inflections, it’s an outright delight to watch the fire of his passion ignite his students. So good…so good…

And like brother Al, what a coach! Danny celebrates every achievement of every student with an infectious, ecstatic roar that rings with authentic excitement and happiness for their accomplishment. Like Al, Danny squeezes greatness from his clients with his care-infused observations and skillful cueing. No one interacts with Danny without leaving enriched…

Yes, Danny has his demons—don’t we all—but he is the ultimate celebrator of life. I have joked that Danny would see the worst situation as a "glass one-tenth full"—but mostly his glass appears to be more like "nine-tenths full". Love it!

Danny is also a multifaceted artist, a creator, an instigator of transformation and a very literate gentleman. All three of his previous titles with Dragon Door, Everybody Needs Training, Diamond-Cut Abs and Strength Rules have shone with his distinct, flamboyant creativity. Danny knows how to plunge to the nitty-gritty of what’s really real in the fraud-filled fitness biz. He savages the flimflam of the supplement and packaged foods industry, in a way that is to-the-point, convincing and simultaneously amusing. He nails what you really need to do in your workouts to get real, lasting results—and keep on getting them.

And talk about "walking the walk"… Danny is a striding billboard for what the physical cultivation artist can achieve with calisthenics alone. Danny’s a specimen all right—but he radiates "hard-earned". Brutally honest about all the training and diet follies he’s fallen for in his earlier years, Danny’s own body is his own best proof he’s got this training thing figured out finally!

Many years in gestation and many years in the making, Street Workout is the brothers’ first collaboration in print. The two of them are a rock star act at the PCC workshops. But a book is a whole nother kettle of fish… Each brother has their very distinct personality, writing style and presentation method. To successfully merge two great artistic talents into one cohesive text is a major feat.

Well, I’m here to report that the brothers have pulled it off…

Street Workout is one of those landmark titles that define a genre—the treasured lodestone and must-have reference for hardcore fans and raw beginners alike. The brothers bring it—and then some. I can tell that their trenchwork teaching at the dozens of worldwide PCCs, their previous experience authoring Dragon Door titles, their consistent engagement through blogs and articles with their constituency, and their constant absorption of new perspectives has elevated both their games to dizzying heights.

Al and Danny have listened well and grown accordingly. They have given and given so much—and have received back in equal measure. Street Workout is the fruit of that splendid dynamic.

Whether it be the section on foundational progressions for push, pull, squat, flex and bridge… Whether it be the section on the skills and "tricks" you need to achieve floor holds, bar moves and the human flag… Whether it be the section on programming that covers assessments, street workout and training templates...—all is systematically revealed, with a mix of clarity, precision, intelligence, creativity, humor and pizzazz that have become the brothers’ hallmark.

Congratulations on your masterpiece, Al and Danny—and thank you for being in my life…

John Du Cane
Founder and CEO, Dragon Door Publications

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