Gaining a deeper understanding of the RKC Minimum Program…
Something that eluded me when I first read Enter The Kettlebell by Pavel was the seemingly inordinate amount of time and space he devoted to getting ready to swing. He goes into a ton of detail on picking the bell up, squat and deadlift form, wall squats, etc. When I read all that I felt it was hopelessly remedial. Surely someone with all my experience in traditional weight training and Kettlebell training knows how to squat!
What changed ALL my thoughts on this was the weekend’s Kettlebell and Functional Movement Patterning Seminar with Dr. Mark Cheng, RKC Team Leader at Modern Self Defense Center in Middletown, CT. “Doc” had us start out “learning” to squat for the first 3 hours of the seminar. And it really was learning! He corrected a number of poor movement patterns that we all had. What was really interesting was that he underscored ALL the points Pavel went into in Enter The Kettlebell: Pry the knees out, pull yourself down with the hip flexors, pinch a coin with your glutes when you go back up.
Getting such a thorough and detailed breakdown and instruction in proper squat form to build the Swing on made all the difference in the world! And it gave me an incredible new perspective on the Swing as a fundamental, remedial and corrective movement.
It was the same with the Get Up. The lat and hip engagement going on when we drilled it slow and perfectly with Dr. Cheng was absolutely incredible. I got a completely new appreciation for the seemingly “simple” or “basic” movement. After the seminar, I began to appreciate the Swing and the Get Up as fantastically deep “catalogs of movement.” This brought me back to my traditional martial arts days and kata. In traditional martial arts, you learn forms or kata – long, memorized performances of movements and techniques. The purpose of kata is to give the practitioner a “catalog” of techniques performed properly for practice and as a reference. In any kata there are endless connections and patterns that can be discovered. Even the simplest, most basic kata has an endless amount of detail and knowledge in it.
This is the appreciation I gained from Dr. Cheng for the Swing and the Get Up. Two deceptively simple movements that could be broken down into infinitely detailed and complex movement patterns that – when performed and drilled properly – give a reference and a method for training the body to move properly. OUTSTANDING!
Working with Dr. Cheng also gave me an appreciation for why Pavel made such a big deal out of the Get Up and the Swing in Enter The Kettlebell. The exercises represent FUNDAMENTAL human movement patters that can be drilled over and over again for constant benefit no matter what the practitioner’s level. And they are the BASE for EVERYTHING that comes after in Kettlebell training.
This brings me around to another point that my friend Rolando Garcia made yesterday at the Dr. Cheng Workshop. I asked the question: “How does one incorporate Hardstyle training into their training regimen for Sport style Kettlebell training.” Dr. Cheng gave his answer and then Rolando added that he considers Kettlebell Sport a sport like tennis or basketball or football or whatever. He uses Hardstyle training to create efficient movement patterns, build strength and body awareness and correct imbalances in ALL the athletes he coaches. He lays the foundation with Hardstyle and that makes the “sport specific” training work that much better. Pure genius! And pretty much the end to all the Hardstyle vs. Sport debate in Kettlebells – but I won’t tell anyone if you won’t…
So, if Hardstyle training is a fundamental and foundational training style, couldn’t we think of movements like the Hardstyle Swing and Get Up as fundamental movement patterns like a white belt technique or kata in Karate? The same white belt techniques that a black belt still works toward perfecting? And, just as practicing basic strikes and blocks teach and perfect fundamental movement patterns like proper hip rotation and stability, can we look at the Swing and the Get Up as teaching fundamental movement patterns like proper hip, glute and lat engagement, as well?
More evidence about the foundational nature of Hardstyle training…
With the new knowledge I gained from working with Doc, I started going back through “Enter The Kettlebell.” Something I noticed on page 31 is that Pavel mentions both Steve Cotter (Senior RKC) and Anthony Diluglio (RKC). There are a few interesting points about this. Both of these guys have had a strong influence on me. Anthony Diluglio was really where I got my introduction to kettlebells. I got a 16kg bell from his company Art Of Strength and his “Kettlebell Training Clinic, Volume 1” DVD. It was actually that DVD that originally taught me how to use a Kettlebell.
And, of course, my connection to Steve Cotter is that he, along with Ken Blackburn, certified me as a Kettlebell Teacher through their sanctioning body, IKFF. I had a great time doing the Level 1 CKT with those guys and I learned a TON. Both are fantastic athletes.
So, what’s the point? The point is that both Steve and Anthony STARTED out as RKCs under Pavel as far as I can tell. Steve Cotter went on to form the IKFF and promote Kettlebell Sport primarily and Anthony Diluglio went on to start Art Of Strength. Both Steve and Anthony went on to somewhat different styles of training from the strict “Hardstyle” training taught by Pavel, but they both started with a BASE of Hardstyle training and that base is evident in what they teach and how they teach it.
That’s it for right now. I’m off to see when the next RKC is offered!
Originally posted on my site: [http://deathbywallball.com/hardstyle-sport-kettlebell-training]