The Third Red Scare!

March 9, 2010 01:02 PM

The third red scare! But for real this time… It's a book! It's a certification! Wait, what is that thing he's lifting? A steely personality projected a path to the upper hand in physical conditioning. The siren of strength was a big black kettlebell. I did not know what to make of it. The advertisement I saw certainly was not camp by any standard. It looked like training with Russian Kettlebells would really vault me to a stasis that would make the men around me wilt. That's right.

With the information availability factor, thanks to the world wide web, two people I knew were ALL about Pavel. One of the two guys I spoke with, the younger guy, now a gym owner in Arizona [yet to get his RKC, c'mon Emmet!], owned bells and built a spot in the garage to lift them. This kid audibly demonstrated power breathing to me, another skill of kettlebell lifting that I was teased into learning from the pages of Muscle Media in 2001. The older of the two informed guys was all about Pavel's flexibility material. He gave me The Russian Kettlebell Challenge on VHS, and a 30 pound kettle-stack. In my apartment in Vegas, I was humbled, thankful, and stoked beyond compare! I got my first bell that Christmas, 2003. So many, many moons ago, the Russian arrived to assimilate my soft vessel into a high powered tower of tissue and attitude.

Here I am now with verbal commemoration. I set some skills straight on my own end, by showing up in Vegas, and forming an understanding of how heavy 24, 32, and 40kgs truly were. Going to the cert a month later was locked, as I had already registered. The crowd I certified with was flecked with cops, Jarhead & Squid alike, training alongside SEALs, physical therapists, chiropractors, team trainers, gym teachers, personal trainers, and clients of RKC Instructors who were down for the challenge. The Russian Kettlebell Challenge.

As I write this today, having taught four Hard Style Kettlebell Certifications (HKC) since December, I can tell you that the RKC as a culture has not invalidated the material we teach. The squat as a mobility drill, the swing as our foundation of loaded hip hinging, and the overhead duo of pressing and getting up deliver a blanket of general physical preparedness that welcomes all forms of sport and competition-level strength events as further disciplines.

Powerlifters and martial artists would no doubt be the most prime candidates for the kettlebell as their go-to representation of reliable, proven training, yet a tennis player, soccer mom, and a frumpy guy of big belly should also pick up a bell. Snatches and jerks provide unlimited benefit once the get-up, press, swing, and squatting are established as fundamental elements.

I spoke with David Whitley, Senior RKC, two summers ago, and we reflected upon the journey to and through the RKC. As top level instructors we certified, assisted, led teams, and released products for the Dragon Door student body. I commented to him that when I used the Forum to promote the idea of a rotating cast of established instructors who would serve the function of a 'Senior' at the certifications, after the departures of several senior instructors, it was in the interest of taking stress off of the existing senior staff and to allow the certifications to run smoother.

I offered that after the Team Leader position was created, we began to see a streamline process emerge, stripping the RKC weekend of unnecessary elements and clarifying the processes we teach the RKC candidates to enable their students with Hard Style. He spoke in the drawl we've come to associate with a gentleman and Tamer of Iron and told me that "instead of the course promoting personalities, it has become all about the material".

Spoken so well from a man who is ground floor Dragon Door. Instead of the shock-and-awe the advertisement in Muscle Media magazine delivered to me, and in contrast to the photos of the Senior RKCs in action that would ornament Hard Style magazine, we now could promote the slickest & sickest system that endorses movement and strength over muscles and sex. Yeah, the kettlebell body will stop traffic and people like Fawn Friday and Mike Davis look very nice and display gruesome strength, but they are also capable of teaching the course material to their students in fine fashion.

Anyone who attends an RKC weekend is going to leave with memories that will last. Some Hollywood trainers will leave the camaraderie and grad workout sweat behind, utilizing their discount and appreciating the hands-on training their 199.00 On-Line PT cert did not provide, and other students who pass will tattoo a kettlebell on their body, use the RKC system to move a power lift to 20% above previous personal records, and dominate the competing trainers in their place of employment. What you put in you get out.

Preparation for the RKC may be clouded in mystery, but execution at the weekend takes excellence in only a few traits: attention to detail and commitment are two. As a United States Marine discharged in '02, I was sold on the paramilitary aspect of the RKC, and my Senior Instructors that weekend represented the Chain of Command.

When I read the RKC Code of Conduct, it was my Rifleman's Creed all over again. As I say, some will be reborn this weekend, others reinvested. Regardless of the personal goals set by an individual [typically relative to their enthusiasm for passing the course and becoming an RKC], the trainer who racks up certifications and doesn't spend time on the forum will be just as equipped to better their clients as the Kung Fu teacher who is about to teach his whole student body how to swing and press.

As there is a high level of personal responsibility displayed when one registers for the RKC, the candidate gets onto that airplane or in their car a wee bit nervous. Even yours truly, the W2, Big Willy from Philly, Corporal Punishment himself, had a tremble in his guts when the snatch test began. And I'll be a nasty boot from Parris Island if the moment I passed the snatch test [37/37 for all you salt dogs] didn't feel just like standing on the Grinder one fine summer morning. OOH daggone RAH!

Was I ready to work? If Pavel had told the class that we were assuming a tactical bivouac on the rec-center field that night, I would have been readying my gear and prepping for patrol at sundown. That weekend 5 years ago, I knew I was a part of something that had the ability to change lives from seemingly every angle. Rif can train with weights again. Mark Toomey's wife has an outlet that nature did not want her to have. Gray Cook's team in Virginia has come up with a system of screening functional movement that bolted onto the Hard Style of Russian Kettlebell training seamlessly.

Forgive me for being nostalgic and narcissistic here, but I am relieved beyond words and grateful for all of my days that my Senior Instructor in April 2005 is still with the program, as Master RKC Brett Jones helped me check myself into RKC form out there on the field. The teachers, the students, and the tertiary parties who receive fine point kettlebell instruction at HKC, other workshops and in private session with RKC certified instructors, we have this vehicle for improvement who's owners manual clarifies and reanimates itself every year, only in the interest of bringing you the best it can offer.

There is no comedown from the RKC weekend, for those of you about to ask. Two months after I certified I was back in St. Paul for the Combat Application Seminar [June 2005], and beyond that I made myself available for every event I could.

And for YOU, reader, traveling to St. Paul is no longer your only option. Denmark, Southern California, Hungary, Italy, Philly [!], San Jose, Orlando, and beyond. When the decision is made to better yourself, and to train for the course in order to test in front of some experienced, indulgent, and capable instructors, you can pick from several countries and more cities, and even utilize the junior varsity level Hard Style Kettlebell certification to get a full day of lab work prior to steeping the heck up to our Russian Kettlebell Challenge.

We've made ourselves available to the material that we believe will establish your vessel as a stand out among your peers. Dragon Door, as a company, offers the RKC Instructor opportunities to stay certified through the assistant position, as well as the minimal fee required to re-certify by taking the course again every two years. Product discounts, affiliate programs, marketing seminars, and The Manual all facilitate growth and development on behalf of the RKC.

We WANT you to embrace the material, deliver the training, and believe in the products that we feel delineate this school of strength from other organizations. We make this training available to you in preparation for the weekend, and we exact standards that may force you to think about what your representation of health and living strong is. Snatch tests and testing standard aside, we offer a superior experience that mints teachers in a system whose hallmarks are power, precision, and perpetuation. We are forming a regiment. See your local recruiter today.

On the west side of Philly,
Corporal Williams, Eric O.
USMC 0311
RKC 2005
Senior Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor