Thursday, October 11, 2007

A generally poor attitude from the AKC?

American Kettlebell Club is seriously bumming me out, in particular Mike Stefano.
I keep hearing from these guys that their way is the only way, and everything else is bullshit. Maybe I'm just too critical, but that's what I'm getting from these articles. Just because you run around shouting that your way is the best, doesn't make it true.
Mr. Stefano even goes so far as to offer this warning: "Ask questions, as it's healthy to have things explained, but don't invent your own methods. Valery's and the AKC's methods have stood the test of decades."
Before anyone brings it up, I completely understand what Sonnen says in this article
about earning the right to be creative. To a certain extent I agree. However, I really think that the ability to do snatches and long cycle is not a definition of fitness. It is a correlate, but not a definition. If you are just generally weak, perhaps you should not be inventing new exercises, but simply because you are not insanely strong in the snatch and long cycle, does not mean you are weak. If you want to play that game, I insist you are weak if you can't Turkish Get Up X amount of weight. Now I win.
Think about Kalashnikov. The only reason he invented the AK-47 was because he didn't realize you couldn't build a reliable assault rifle for mass production in the Soviet Union. However, he did know enough to know how to put it together.
It seems that AKC has brought with it from Russia an unsavory piece of history. Communism. Sorry man, but when you tell people there is only one way (and it just happens to be yours) and that they should not get inventive, it sounds like communism. Maybe if what you're training for is to be really great at GS, you're right. Otherwise, you might have a lot to learn. Of course that will be difficult since you already know everything. Scott Sonnen went so far as to say fighters only need to do long cycle, and nothing else is necessary. Hey, I think both these guys are great at what they do and I have respect for them, and I find long cycle to be a real ass kicker, but it's not the only thing I need. Sonnen also declares that 'many fighters juice'. Really? Where exactly? Is it in the UFC where popping on one test nets you a year suspension? He really needs to clarify what he means by 'many'. Otherwise it sounds a lot like you're talking smack.
When it comes to 'not inventing my own methods' I think Stefano is way off the reservation. Why is it history suddenly grinds to a halt with the snatch and long cycle? Look at everything the Diesel Crew has done with kettlebells, purely because they think outside the box? Are you seriously going to try and tell me that if they only switched over the snatch and long cycle they would be much better athletes?
Once again, I like a lot of what I see coming out of the AKC, but the attitude is not one of those things. If you want to make a name for yourself and show the good things you are doing, trashing your competition (and when it comes down to it, right now AKC is no real competitor of the RKC) is not the way to do it. Example cited:
"In June 2006 I started using kettlebells to the exclusion of barbells. Not knowing any better, I was following the “hard style” protocol that most of us have tried."
- Mark Boggs, AKC

It's possible this same stuff is coming from the RKC, but I haven't been seeing it. What I have seen in my neck of the woods is people like Mark and Tracy Reifkind using GS technique along with other techniques in search of knowledge, and a better way to do things in general. They do not simply declare "RKC is the only way."
Again, maybe I'm way off base, but I keep seeing this poor attitude pop up again and again, and these are not even all of the examples I found.
In closing, Valery Federenko (Head coach of AKC) says this: “America, it’s a Freedom Country, but just having an opinion doesn’t make you right."
Sounds like pretty good advice.

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