I can’t believe it’s been almost five years. Time flies, whether you’re having fun or not. For the most part, it’s been fun.
I made my decision on pretty much two things:
- Out of sheer frustration
- And a chance to make new friends of like mind and be a part of a bigger community
Out of Sheer Frustration.
I just couldn’t figure it out. I just couldn’t do it. I mean, I could do the other exercises – the single hand lifts – the 1 H Swing, the Snatch, the Clean and Press, but I just couldn’t do that frickin’ 2 H Swing.
I mean, c’mon, really? Really?!
I could Clean and Jerk 160kg and Snatch 130kg, but I couldn’t Swing that frickin’ 32kg kettlebell with two hands without my lower back hurting??!! And that skinny former Commie could? You’ve got to be kidding me…
Well of course by now, you’ve probably figured out that I’m talking about the RKC – The Russian Kettlebell Challenge Instructor Certification. It was life-changing for me. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be writing this blog post today, or any of these other ones, if I hadn’t ponied up the cash and gone to the RKC in June of 2005.
Another frustration was that I had abdicated my reason and submitted my intellect and intuition to someone who had some letters behind his name, but had no real experience at the weight pile. (I have got to quit doing that!) I had gotten involved in the NASM and the whole thing had devolved into a corrective exercise mess. The really interesting thing about Pavel, was that he wasn’t interested in neuromuscular stabilization training, or whatever level 2 in the OPT model was called. He could get Grandma swinging a kettlebell safely in roughly 5 minutes. And I was jealous. Yup, I said, it – jealous. I was bound to the freakin’ model.
And then there were the bruises. We just thought they were the stripes you earned from using kettlebells. They were badges of honor. But it turns out we were just doing our Cleans and Snatches wrong. Bruises on the wrists and shoulders may be “cool” for guys, but quite frankly, many women didn’t appreciate having them. (One or two did…)
Man, I just had to figure these things out, but couldn’t do it on my own. It’s like Bugs Bunny said – “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”
A Chance To Make New Friends And Be A Part of A Bigger Community
This was very intriguing to me. I have pretty much always been a lone wolf – do it on my own. But for some reason, I was literally drawn to the RKC. I guess it was because of the fact it was a bunch of people who were into lifting heavy stuff, but not in your traditional way. There were a bunch of people who were, well, hard – as the Brits would say. It was comprised of powerlifters, fighters, martial artists, and soldiers and the occasional athlete.
Plus, I just had to see what this darn Commie knew – it wasn’t all just marketing, was it? It just couldn’t be – although I was interested in the “tree-swinging traps.”
No, it definitely wasn’t all marketing. It was just downright hard. It was three days of sweating – or not sweating in my case – all black in a 98 degree Minnesota heat wave – lifting, heaving, and learning – lots of learning.
Back in those days, we used double bells for everything. I mean everything. And I absolutely loved it. It reminded me of wrestling practice, only easier.
Brett Jones was my Team Leader (back then we just had Seniors) and he put us through this brutal – absolutely brutal – workout with burpees, side-stepping swings, cleans and presses (Remember that Brett, you bast*rd, if you’re reading this?) and it was with double bells. And I was dumb enough to use double 32s. Stupid. I had to stop cause I almost had heat exhaustion – you know, you’re out in the sun and you feel that tingly creeping heat up the back of your neck? Ahh, good times!
And I made some really good friends because of that weekend – like Brett Jones, Dave Whitley, and Jeff O’Connor. And of course, I’m now part of a great community. Somehow, I fooled them all and now I get to teach at these weekends. I literally get to travel around the world and show people how transformative kettlebells, and more particular, the RKC School of Strength are. Last summer I got to go to Hungary, this summer I get to go to Denmark. How cool is that? (And I even have a book coming out on training with kettlebells!)
This has been some ride, I must say.
And now it’s your turn dear reader.
It’s your turn to transform your life.
It’s time for you to create lasting and wonderful memories.
It’s time for you to find out what you’re made of physically and mentally.
It’s time for you to literally become a better man or woman.
It’s that time of year, between February and October, when hundreds of men and women all over the world decide they want to become an RKC.
It’s time for you to join us, to join me, in our community – are you up for it?
Oh yes – i remember that one. Good times, Good times
I really can’t imagine where my life would be had I not decided to attend the RKC in Feb 2002.
Fantastic article! I fell in love with Kettlebells a year ago and I still lov4e them! I have made amazing gains in strength and balance without working out to my full potential. I am planning to do HKC next year and RKC the year after. Long wayto go to get there but it will be so cool to be able to say “Justin Matthews, RKC”.
Geoff you are one of those I look up to and aspire to be like!
Functional Strength forever
Justin – Keep on working and staying focused and you’ll make it.
I don’t normally respond to these blog posts, although I frequent a good number of them often. But I just wanted to say, that if what you write is true, then I cannot wait to try my hand at the October RKC in Orlando. I’ve been a lone wolf throughout my life, working on my own, living on my own, breathing everything on my own, and then I found kettlebells…
Just got my HKC, and now I want that damn RKC. I don’t care about the money. I don’t care about the marketing or prestige I might gain. I just want to be there, and do it. Just to see.
Once again, thanks for the blog.
Jesse – The RKC is no joke. It’s a tough weekend and you EARN your RKC designation. It is a fantastic weekend. I love going back to them. I’m teaching at 3 this year and that doesn’t seem to be enough.
It is ALL that, that Geoff stated…. I can say first hand as well. the RKC Level I cert in Oct. ’07 changed my life… Empowered me really, in ways I NEVER imagined…. Started for me before that in June of ’07 . I was a lucky one, I trained under Geoff Neupert. The Level I cert was very memorable for me, I will never forget it! So now, like many RKCs I get to share my passion for the kettlebell and safe total body mechanics gaining strength and flexibility simultaneously. I have been in fitness MANY years and I can truly say that teaching kettlebell training the RKC way has fulfilled me as an instructor in ways nothing else could. WHY? Because we are teaching people how to move better, safer one person at a time. I have enjoyed getting to know so many like minded individuals from so many different backgrounds in the RKC. It’s simply awesome. Pavel leads by example and we as RKCs have learned from him, THE BEST. To Geoff, a big heart felt THANK YOU for all you have done for me…. I guess in what we do it is kinda like “paying it forward”…..
Geoff, I really enjoy reading the blog.. thank you for taking the time to share with us all…
I was handed a kb about 2 years ago and fell in complete and utter obsession with it.
I was lucky enough to attend the first HKC last September and I have signed up for the RKC in Orlando for this October.
While I look to October with some trepidation (I have never participated in anything like this before), I am also filled with excitement – having the opportunity to learn all weekend from the best… well, what can a girl say?
Keep writing, keep inspiring… would love to see you in Orlando!