Tuesday, September 1, 2009

San Diego RKC After Action Report

This past weekend I served as an assistant instructor at the San Diego RKC Kettlebell Certification. I believe we had 104 registered participants plus about 30 Instructors. People often ask why I think this cert works so well. Gee, let me think. Could a 3 to 1 student to instructor ratio have something to do with it?
On Friday and Saturday it hit 104 degrees on the field in La Jolla. Eric Kenyon RKC described it as a 'viscous beatdown', and I think that's pretty accurate. I know a lot of people were taken right to their limit, but in a good way. It's not that anything is really that challenging, it's just that it goes on and on. Brett Jones Master RKC put it aptly "It's a grinder."
More importantly than the grinder is the quality of instruction. Rif has talked a lot about the amazing changes people go through from day 1 to day 3. I didn't quite get it before this weekend. It's hard to see when you're going through it yourself, but as an instructor it's crazy to witness! Someone who looks like they have never swung a bell before has razor sharp swings by day 3, despite being worked into the ground for three days. They get better, not worse.
I hear people question this system all the time, but they usually haven't gone through it.
"But why do you have to do so many swings? Seems kind of like you're beating up on people."
Go cry to someone else. There are two kinds of people. The kind who when presented with a challenge steel up and give it their best, and the kind who start whining and trying to find a way out. If you're the latter we do not want you anyway, so it's not an issue. What's great is that often people do not realize what is inside of them until they get on the field and start putting out their max effort. When I was in the Marines we said 'The Marine Corps does not build character, it reveals it.' I feel the same way about the RKC.
Here is some video of the Graduation Workout.

That was Mark Snow RKC crossing the finish line. If you're wondering why Mark was lagging I'm pretty sure he was using heavier bells than just about everyone else. Mark was on my team and he is locked on.
I had the honor of running the max vo2 snatch workout as well as doing a short presentation on my individual tweaks on the kettlebell snatch. Presenting to over 130 people will really let you know if you have any public speaking issues. :)
If you are not familiar with the mvo2 snatch workout it is a beatdown. Fifteen seconds of snatches alternated with fifteen seconds of rest for 40 minutes. We only did it for 10 minutes, but believe me that was enough. At the conclusion I inquired if anyone wanted to go 'beyond thunderdome' with me and proceeded to go another five minutes. I think nearly everyone stepped up and did it. To really grasp this you have to realize that probably just about everyone on that field was ready to eject a lung at the end of ten minutes, yet they still opted to keep going. It's called a gut check for a reason. Why did I do that? Not to beat people down, but to show you what's left inside of you just in case you didn't know, and how far you can really go.

I was on Brett Jones' team with Terrence Robertson and Jill Knapp. Terrence came from New Zealand under his own power to do this, and did a bang up job. Jill was a great example of the 'silent assassin'. Just a tap on the shoulder and a couple words fixed most issues.
It was interesting to see the new 100 rep snatch test implemented. I know a lot of people were freaking out about 100 reps in five minutes (men on the 24 kg. women on the 12 kg. or 16 kg.) but it seemed to not be a big deal. Nearly everyone on my team passed, most with time to spare. I think the 100 rep standard just forced everyone to step up their game.
I'm sure I'll have more to say on this later, but that's enough for now. I will add that I grabbed a 48 kg. kettlebell for myself. When I returned home I also took another run at my 36 kg. stacked press. I had done this before I left and it was very, very hard. Applying some of the things I learned at the RKC I hit it again and it was much, much easier.


  1. I couldn't tell exactly what the grad workout was.

    I some some long cycle, and some overhead walks, but how was it structured?

  2. Thanks for the terrific compliment Jordan!!! It was an honor to learn from you and the rest of the team. I did have 20kg bells and wanted to make sure that I practiced quality and not quantity during the workout. Basically what you preached to us all weekend!

    Mark Snow, RKC

  3. What Mark isn't telling is that less than halfway thru he switched from 16s to 20s, trading with another candidate who had no chance of making it with the heavier weight.

    Character revealed.

  4. It was good meeting you Dave. When the crunch comes it's fight or flight. Mark's a fighter.

  5. Very nice Press Jordan!!!! Great seeing you at the SD RKC!!

  6. Thanks Franz. I was inspired by your effortless 32 kg. bottoms up press.