The RKC-I Experience from the Heart

I cry fairly easy. In fact, I cry at every certification event, no matter what role I play because of the intensity of the experience.

The candidates put a great amount of time and effort into preparing ... and when they arrive an emotional and unpredictable journey begins.

We recently had the privilege of hosting our first RKC-I event at our gym, MoveStrong Kettlebells, and I was reminded of the tumultuous emotions that weave in and out of the 3-day event. This is a group of people who are striving together toward a very specific goal that is tough to achieve: to be RKC.

Men and women of different ages, fitness levels and backgrounds come together to refine their hardstyle kettlebell technique in their own bodies,. They test their metal with 100 snatches in 5 minutes. They teach kettlebell skills to each other and also to people from the community we invite in to give them a real-life experience.

Read Neal's perspective (one of the RKC candidates) in his Dragon Door blog post here.

They learn a lot about their bodies and how to mobilize them with different stretching and movement techniques throughout the weekend to complement the presentations, workouts, kettlebell skill practice and of course, coaching each other.

RKC candidates can spend many months, even years, with an eye toward the RKC.

Their understanding of RKC principles is facilitated by watching and cueing each other with instructor presentations and continuous hands-on practice. They become more comfortable and confident with each other and with themselves as the weekend unfolds.

Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. we are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.
— Wilma Rudolph

The kettlebell facilitates this experience of learning how the body moves and then how to move the body better. Developing ballistic power and patience for grinds is not necessarily intuitive. It is developed with mindful practice and an understanding of power production from the hips, managing relaxation and tension combined with the proper preparation in terms of strength and conditioning. 

The RKC-I is filled with striving and growing, excitement and exhaustion, and to some degree, a stepping out into the unknown of what the body and mind can do when safely challenged like it has not been challenged before.

The RKC experience reveals something new to each candidate; it may awaken, change, disturb, surprise, invigorate or distress. Or maybe all of these, and more, over the course of the weekend. It is an experience they will never forget. It may even change the direction of their careers, and therefore, their lives.

The body and mind might tire, but the marvelous display of the human spirit marches on. The candidates relish each other's improvements and accomplishments as if they were their own -- because the group eventually begins working together as one. 

Challenge is the pathway to engagement and progress in our lives. But not all challenges are created equal. Some challenges make us feel alive, engaged, connected, and fulfilled. Others simply overwhelm us. Knowing the difference as you set bigger and bolder challenges for yourself is critical to your sanity, success, and satisfaction.
— Brendon Buchard

Some will have a few skills yet to refine after the RKC weekend concludes, but it does not diminish the experience. Instead, it presents yet another growth opportunity for these teachers-of-strength.

As with any skill, the learning process continues on, and joyfully so.

Great friendships are forged, fond memories are made and then it's home to infuse their lives with the power and energy of the RKC.

Our RKC sisters and brothers span the globe. With these skills we can touch people in gyms, schools, teams, community centers, churches, military, law enforcement, social groups, families and more.

While we are physically moving iron, we know that it is truly not about the iron, but rather how we can impact people with strength that leads to healthy, happy lives. We can't ask for much more. ~Lori Crock, RKC Team Leader 

Strong Member Spotlight: Jayme Mattimore

Jayme Mattimore joined MoveStrong Kettlebells about 7 months ago. She has achieved some great results and she shares her fitness journey and results below. As a coach, I am impressed with her consistency, patience with conditioning and her laser-focus on achieving excellent technique.

Jayme enjoys all the movements / lifts we do in the gym, but her favorite is the Turkish Getup. She can safely lift the 18kg on both sides and recently had a PR with the 20kg bell on her right side. My goal for her is 24kg on both sides in 2015.

Jayme's journey in her own words ...

1. What led you to kettlebells?

As a former gymnast, I’ve always been strong and in shape. Gymnastics was a huge part of my life, and my physical strength and fitness primarily came from my involvement in the sport. Without this continued involvement, my body just didn’t twist and turn like it used to. So as most of us do, I joined a local gym and went through the motions of working out each week.  I consistently went to the gym but found that I was not achieving the same results that came naturally with gymnastics. Finding the motivation to workout everyday became a bit of a struggle. Then in May of 2014 I met an individual that shared his experience with kettlebells.  I was inspired by his experience with kettlebells and how they transformed his life.  His story led me to join MoveStrong Kettlebells. 

2. What do you like most about using kettlebells at MSK?

No matter what your fitness level, every member at MSK comes together to workout utilizing kettlebells.  Classes are always challenging and individual attention is given to all members for instructions, corrections and fine-tuning. At MSK there is always a positive, energetic and supportive atmosphere that empowers everyone to perform to their capacity without any judgment. The camaraderie that everyone shares in watching one another excel is invaluable.  

3. What results have you seen?

I couldn’t be happier with the results I’ve seen thus far. During my first six months with MSK I lost 9 lbs and 12 inches off my body. But most importantly, I’ve gained more strength, energy, confidence and new respect for my body and what it is capable of doing. I feel fantastic!

4. What goals do you have for 2015?

Make eating healthy easier. I enjoy eating healthy and nutritious meals, but I don’t always have time to prepare meals from scratch. My goal is to make sure that I set time aside once a week to prepare simple and delicious meals/snacks that I can grab throughout the week.

Continued Education. Since the start of my kettlebell journey I have been interested in the certification opportunities that are available. My goal is to complete the HKC Certification this year and start training for the RKC Certification and the 100 snatch timed test!

Physical Fitness goals. I want to successfully tackle a pistol squat, strict military pull up and swing the beloved beast!

5. Any surprises about this way of training?

I was surprised at how diverse training is with Kettlebells. There are so many variations of moves that you never get bored. I was also surprised at how much cardiovascular strength is incorporated in the training as well. I’ve had some of my best cardiovascular workouts at MSK.

Final thoughts: I’m amazed every day how this training has affected me. Kettlebells have given me a purpose to my training. The kettlebell commands your attention. Training with it takes practice, it is a skill that has to be learned and refined over time. Just when you think you’ve mastered one move, you are introduced to an advanced variation of the move you thought you just conquered. These countless variations continue to motivate me physically and mentally. You must focus on the task at hand. Being in that moment allows my mind to let go of all other distractions. Kettlebells are my daily dose of meditation!

Achieve Pain-free Cleans

The Kettlebell clean is an important and challenging movement that seems to take longer to refine than any other kettlebell movement that I teach. 

Over time, I have developed some cues that help my students land the kettlebell more smoothly.

The end goal is avoid the thump on the forearm and wrist upon receiving the kettlebell in the racked position.

Read my post about the clean on Dragon Door here.

Special thanks to MoveStrong Kettlebells member Jayme Mattimore for her willingness to demonstrate her technique in the video.

PCC Calisthenics and a New View of Strength

I had an awesome Progressive Calisthenics Certification (PCC) experience.

It was amazing to learn from Al and Danny Kavadlo and now the all MoveStrong KB members get to share in the joy of more bodyweight training ... which is simple, fun and has amazing strength, stability and mobility benefits.

Read the full story on Dragon Door here!

Congratulations to our New HKCs!

We recently hosted our first Hardstyle Kettlebell Certification (HKC) event at MoveStrong Kettlebells. Congratulations to all who attended on a job well-done!

Two of our gym members, Dustin Jones and Terry Butterworth, passed and are now HKC certified trainers. It is exciting for me because I introduced kettlebells to them and now they are introducing the art of hardstyle kettlebell movement to others.

We are all very proud of them and it will be exciting to see where this new knowledge leads them (besides teaching at MSK!)

We had a very strong group of 13 HKC candidates at the certification event, with Master RKC Andrea Du Cane instructing, with assistance from RKC Team Leader (me) and three local RKCs: Chris Meredith, Paul Synenky and Brandon Sallee.

Senior and Master instructors always teach this course and are assisted by local RKCs. We are proud to be RKC, so it is an honor and a pleasure to assist at a certification event.

The HKC is a one-day entry-level certification in which we teach the Swing, Turkish Getup and Goblet Squat with variations, progressions, regressions and associated mobility drills.

This is not a 'user' event with a series of workouts, but a unique, in-depth learning opportunity that attracts people with all types of goals--and are all ages and fitness levels.

Candidates came from around Ohio, and neighboring states, with a mix of fitness instructors and kettlebell enthusiasts who wanted to learn to safely and skillfully use kettlebells for their own use and/or to share with others.

No matter how experienced we are, whether teacher or student, we always learn something new from each other at the certification events.

Some of our MSK gym members provided a homemade lunch for us at the gym so the candidates and RKCs could relax and network and not have to rush out to find food on a busy Saturday afternoon.

Our HKC candidates came to the event very well-prepared--several had trained with other HKCs and RKCs--and watching them refine their skills throughout the day was impressive.

We commented that their skills were as strong as candidates we’ve seen at RKC events

Several from this HKC event expressed an interest in preparing for an RKC event in the near future. Although not required, the HKC is ideal preparation for the 3-day, more physically intense RKC certification event.

As our HKC candidates progressed through the steps of each of the movements, they practiced teaching and learning from their peers and instructors throughout the day. Candidates were formally tested on their skills.

This event delivers a positive, supportive environment focused on challenging the candidates to get their skill proficiency as high as possible given their individual abilities with the three movements.

We were able to provide 3-to-1 instructor attention to our students and 12 of the 13 passed. Typically, 20-30% do not pass that day. Candidates have 90 days to submit a video when they feel they meet the standard.

We have individual exit interviews with each candidate so they can let us know how the experience impacted them and we give them plenty of feedback about their strengths and weaknesses.

The designation of HKC means they become part of the Dragon Door family, they have a wonderful resource manual, the in-depth experience of the day, and a new group of HKCs and RKCs to network with online and in person.

It opens up a new world of potentially life-changing knowledge and experiences that extend way beyond kettlebell training.

Interested in learning more?

We’ll be hosting an HKC again in Ohio in 2015. Or consider an RKC event. MoveStrong Kettlebells is hosting an RKC event April 10-12. Registration is open and discounts apply for early registration.