Monday, November 19, 2007


Blogging has been slow lately and will be slow until the first of December when I wrap up my weekend travel for the rest of the year.

Taught a workshop in Chicago over the weekend. It was a great group of folks and everyone did an awesome job lifting the KBs. Thanks to everyone who attended and thanks to Betty G for lending me the facility once again .

I haven't gone through all my Miamk WKC pics, but I got a few uploaded to my gallery.

Pics can be found in my gallery at

If I don't blog again this week, everyone have a Great Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 8, 2007

Why do you compete?

I get a little reflective after a memorable competition like Miami. I re-evaluate why I do this sport, and why I will continue to do this type of training even when there are no competitions on the Horizon.

Anyone that embarks on training for KB Sport, or any sport for that matter should ask themselves some very fundamental questions.

Why this sport? How much am I will to sacrifice to get good? Am I willing to step onto the platform knowing that I won't win?

I've been competing in KB Sport in some capacity since January of 2004. I've got some name recognition thanks to this sport. I've won some competitions and I've earned a MS Rank. That stuff is all great...However, it pales in comparison to the real benefits of this training and the competitions.

Why is this sport right for me? Training for the sport has kept me focused. It has driven me to be a better athlete. I now move better. I eat better. I've lost 35lbs since 2006 and kept it off and while increasing my LBM.

My well being has been enhanced. I've compared this training to meditation. It teaches you to move and to breath. Yes, you have to do those things at the optimal level to be elite, but the process of learning those things are where the real benefits exist.

How hard have I had to work to get there? Well, I've been training off and on for the sport since Jan 2004. This past year, I've become much more dedicated. While other things are more fun or exciting in terms of training, I decided to give this a serious shot which meant that most of my workouts have been snatches, jerks and swings. The monotony and simplicity would drive many people crazy, but I have embraced it.

I wanted to be good at the exercises. It wasn't just the numbers or the rank. I wanted to be able to demonstrate the movements with fluidity so that when someone watches me they will aspire to move that way. Because I feel so strongly about the benefits of the training, I wanted to understand the movements. You can learn a lot by doing..if you pay attention. Anyone that thinks that these are just long boring sets, hasn't gotten it. You have to be mindful and focused. This is how you learn to be efficient; this is how you learn to move. It is time under the bells and if you are just going through the motions, you're missing out.

Why am I outlining these benefits? Because the competitive aspects of the sport don't always bring out the best in us. The desire for winning or rank is not a bad thing as long as it doesn't blind you to the fact that this is hard work and getting good takes a while for most of us save the few with genetic gifts.. That desire is fine as long as it doesn't keep you from competing just because you may not win or get a rank. Part of a competition is getting on the platform, giving it your best shot, and learning from the experience. If you only compete when you know you will win or where you know you can achieve a rank, YOU WILL NEVER GET BETTER . You will never realize the non-rank or non-winning benefits of this training. Quite frankly, you won't keep doing it and you'll miss out on the wellness-health benefits as well.

I spent 1500 or more last year to travel to Latvia knowing that I would not win. Why? Because I knew that the experience would make me stronger. I knew that going over there and seeing those Ukranian Freaks (I mean that in the nicest way) would be a good motivator. I knew that I would have a great time and I knew the experience would be one that I would cherish for the rest of my life.

Getting a high rank and winning a competition does require dedicated practice. There are no short cuts or easy answers. You can shop around for an easier road to obtain a Medal or a ranking, but in the end you will be selling yourself short.

You know when you've really earned it and you have respect for everyone who steps onto the platform whether they do 10 reps or 100.

I am so very proud of everyone who competed in Miami as they reflect the very reason I have stuck with this sport for nearly 4 years. The friendships formed and maintained through these competitions are probably one of the biggest benefits. We have such a great group of people. The atmosphere was so positive and everyone is looking towards the next competition.


WKC Championships

Kelly and I traveled to Miami this past weekend to compete in the World Kettlebell Club Championships.

As always these events are stressful, but they are extremely fun. The official results have yet to be posted but here are the highlights.

After several years of hard work, my friend and fellow team captain Marty Farrell earned his Master of Sports Ranking. Marty is less than 70kg. He Jerked 2-32kg bells 66 times and did 87 snatches. I'm very happy for him.

Kelly weighed in light and it turned out to work in her favor as it put her in the 50kg class. She easily achieved the MSWC ranking with the 16kg bell. She had a comp PR of 187 Jerks and 178 Snatches. She took the Co-efficient prize. Kelly won the Chair Press on the following day with a freakish 106 reps.

Ashley Hughes also achieved a MS Ranking with an outstanding performance of 180 Jerks and 187 Snatches. Ashley won the LCC&J on Sunday with 127 reps. Her pace was blazing in this event and definitely set the standard for pace with the 16kg bell and of course this made it obvious that we need a 20kg bell for the women.

Susannah Baxter is showing great promise. She had a PR in Snatches with 155 reps. That is a vast improvement over her numbers from SLC in May 2007.

All the other women were very impressive especially since it was their first time competing. I had a good day with 221 Snatches (comp PR), and 202 Jerks. I competed in the 20 min LCC&J event on Sunday and the Chair Press shortly after that. Happy that I could eek out 100 reps after the "Cardio" beforehand.

The Russian and Latvian men were very impressive. Vasily Ginko and Ivan Denisov competed in the Biathlon on Saturday. Denisov got the absolute prize while another Russian (cannot remember his name) turned in a technically flawless Jerk performance and grabbed the Mens Pro Co-Efficient prize.

Andrew Durniat had an amazing performance on Saturday in the Mens professional Biathlon event. He is very close to a MS ranking. On Sunday, he won the Mens LCC&J with a very impressive 10 minute performance. He was accompanied on the platform by Marty Farrell and Scott Helsley. Scott is another gentleman who is going to MS sometime in 2008. His LCC&J performance after Saturdays Biathlon was extremely impressive as was Captain Farrells...

David Zink turned in a very impressive performance and won the 32kg 20 Min LCC&J event. Eric Tiarks and Marty were also impressive especially given that they don't really train for this event. This was Eric's first time doing anything like this.

Ken Love is a Senior competitor (60 something) and he did an impressive 14 minute snatch demonstration with the 16kg bell. He's got a good goal of going 20 min.

Ken Blackburn had an extremely impressive chair press set...52 reps with 2-32kg bells!!!!

Matt M, Steve C, Chris Duffey, David Zink, Eric and many other guys all turned in good performances on Saturday for the Mens amateur Biathlon. Eduardo from Latvia who is 68 competed in the Biathlon and did over 200 snatches with a 24kg!!!

This was a great meet. It was great to see our Eastern European friends. It was also great to see all of my American friends again.

I want to personally thank everyone (Competitors, Judges, Volunteers) who volunteered their time to make this meet possible. Eric Liford, Valery, Jon Hoskins, Lorraine Patten, Matt M, and many others worked very hard and very long this weekend to make this meet successful.