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-   -   Martin Rooney's new book and Sambists and kettlebells (http://www.catalystathletics.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5617)

James Evans 08-04-2010 06:49 AM

Martin Rooney's new book and Sambists and kettlebells
This could go in the Fighting section as well but I'm mostly interested in the kettlebell exercises here.

I've been slowly working my way through Rooney's new book (not that it's taxing, it's a coffee table book to some degree). This really is a labour of love for him. If you're not familiar with the premise, he spent, I think , a year travelling the world attending various meccas of the martial arts that he considers to be the foundations of MMA as it stands now.

What you get is an introduction to each fighting art, an explanation of rules and physical requirements and then a glossary of 'special exercises' employed in training. It's not a Matt Furey book of secretz exactly but don't buy it and expect anything eye catching. If you've got the cash and are interested in exercise variety it's fun.

In his first book, Training for Warriors, I thought many of the exercises were demonstrated with pretty dreadful form, particularly Oly variations. A lot of the stuff here is bodyweight based and demonstrated by the locals in impressive style. Rooney himself is a model for a lot of the photos and he is always spot on.

Anyway, just got through the Sambo section and was really struck by how ragged the kettlebell demos look in comparison to the slick, perfectly choreographed stuff put out there by Pavel et al. Made me realise even more what a polished operation goes on there. The photos may do these Sambo guys an injustice but they do seem to be a heavin' and a haulin' those bells (of all different dimensions and styles) any which way but loose.

Furthermore, on top of the standard kb exercises we are familiar with (snatch, swing, clean, TGU etc.) they are mostly using them like dbs so we get a couple of lateral raise variants, several different curls, up right rows, bent rows and the like. There are quite a few juggles too including one very cool swing to a flip where you catch the bottom of the bell in your palm like a shot putter.

My take home thought from this was if you're not into Girevoy/Long Cycle malarkey stop analysing every damn element of the kettlebells and just use them as you can and wish.

Steve Shafley 08-04-2010 07:28 AM

I've enjoyed that book as well, James, it's a good resource and interesting read.

The sport style of lifting is relatively uncommon among strength athletes who are not exposed to it, according to Alexsandr Khasin, whom recently put together a big sport camp for kettlebell lifting with the world's best coaches for kettlebell sport in St. Petersburg.

So, it's like you have here, with bastardized versions of olympic lifts and powerlifts done by athletes.

The argument that "athletes don't do GS" is pretty much a non-issue. GS is a sport in and of itself, and training that way isn't necessarily appropriate for any given athlete.

Kettlebells are like any tool in your S&C toolbox, they can be used in different ways, some of them taking advantage of the unique conformation and ability to do high repetition strength-endurance work, and some using them simply as resistance.

James Evans 08-04-2010 08:37 AM

The quantifiable difference between the tool being a means to an end - the end being a sport or activity like MMA and being the end in itself - Kettlesport or silly shit (CrossFit Games).

Yael Grauer 08-04-2010 12:50 PM

I'm surprised to see this book get such a good review. Granted, I only looked at the BJJ section, but all I saw was a bunch of pull-up variations, rudimentary barbell and dumbbell work and some very very basic drills. It didn't even explain the purpose for the drills which...if you're not aware of why you're doing them and when they're necessary in rolling they would not transfer at all. And they didn't even have anything on grip strength, which is huge in BJJ. I was fairly disappointed (and I didn't even pay for it.)

Donald Lee 08-04-2010 01:29 PM

I like to stick my foot through the kettlebell loop/handle and use it to train my shin muscles. I first learned it from a pro Strongman, but I hear it's used for that purpose in Russia as well.

Anyways, this could be a side discussion, but has anyone watched any of the Ip Man movies? I've been becoming a big fan of Donnie Yen. He even uses submissions in his action scenes.

I've done some training in JKD, Kalis Ilustrisimo, and BJJ, and I enjoy watching fluid, integrated fighting. I still wonder whether there are some martial artists out there who could come in and do very well in the MMA world, but don't have any interest in it or just don't have the S&C for it. Anyone have any opnion on this? Am I just ignorant, having watched too many martial arts movies growing up?

James Evans 08-05-2010 02:38 AM


Note I said 'coffee table book'. I'm an exercise geek and I like looking at pretty pictures of people doing press ups and pull ups. I could afford to buy the book and it interests me. I think I could probably speak for Shaf here too.

Does it make my life better. Ultimately no.

The book is a companion piece to Training for Warriors. Rooney makes that abundantly clear in his introduction. That previous book breaks down exercise selection for areas of the body, explains the reasons for training those areas in relation to the requirements of MMA, covers conditioning, nutrition, making weight, programming. As I said, I haven't finished reading the new book but it does go into programming and nutrition + testing in a number of areas. Again, it's written to be used in conjunction with the previous book. Is that a hustle? I did ponder over that.

I can't recall the exercises in the BJJ section beyond a load of stuff on Copacabana Beach but there is a shedload of grip biased movements throughout the other martial arts that are covered. Should it be Rooney's prerogative to spoon feed the reader through the fundamentals of S & C? No, not in this case. He went on a world tour, I think mostly for his own education and this is the final product. A labour of love to a subject he takes very seriously. I believe he has a support forum that you could use to ask further questions about context if that was required but sometimes it's nice to be able to think for yourself.

I do find the title a bit unfortunate with the very overt suggestion of an insight into 'teh Secretz', but I was happy to pay 20 on a book full of quality colour photos of pull ups, press ups etc. I would be less happy to pay 30 for Matt Furey's Combat Conditioning only to find it was some crappy black & white photos of a fat guy doing hindu pushups, squats and the crab, printed on recycled toilet paper.

James Evans 08-05-2010 02:48 AM


Originally Posted by Donald Lee (Post 78980)
I like to stick my foot through the kettlebell loop/handle and use it to train my shin muscles. I first learned it from a pro Strongman, but I hear it's used for that purpose in Russia as well.

I've read Joel say that.

If you'd just landed from Mars and walked into a Fitness First in London you'd assume KBs were purely a tool for the gunz.

The kbs in the book are of all shapes and sizes. It's a heavy weight that you can lift, throw, use as a doorstep.

What are barbells designed for? O lifting? Benching? Squats? All done with 2 hands. Yet you could walk into a gym tomorrow and see a guy with one end of the bar wedged in a corner doing full contact twists. Or look at some pictures of Sandow, Saxon etc. doing one handed lifts. Confusing isn't it?

It's been mentioned here before but the Dragan 4x4 db curl and press method is really just a modified long cycle done with dbs. People adapt ideas. They adapt equipment.

Yael Grauer 08-05-2010 10:54 PM

Didn't say anything about spoonfeeding, only that I'd expect basic fundamentals in a book--like including grip training in a chapter about a sport that actually requires grip strength. This is a far cry from expecting "fitness secrets of the martial arts: proven training techniques from around the globe" as the cover promised. And the wrestling section was equally sparse. Partner flipovers are cool and all, but if you're doing partner drills how could you possibly not include single-leg or double-leg takedowns?

Sometimes it's nice to be able to think for yourself? Certainly--I am very much thinking for myself in noticing the absence of some of the most basic and crucial areas of these sports.. I guess if you bought it solely for the pictures it'd be okay, though for me most of them are too tiny to appreciate purely for their aesthetic value.

James Evans 08-06-2010 05:18 AM

Yael, I think you've taken that the wrong way. I was making some general points but you seem to infer I was directing them at you. I apologise now if I've offended you.

1.The book is a companion to the original

2.On it's own, it doesn't provide you with a training programme

3.It's S&C not skills

4.I think the title is silly

5.It's about methods used around the world, many of them very similar

6.If you can afford it, it's enjoyable, if you're in two minds about spending the money then spend it on something else, maybe the first book (which, I might add could be improved a lot)

Mark Joseph Limbaga 08-10-2010 02:45 AM

It was an interesting and fun book to read... let's leave it at that..

if someone was expecting something new or revolutionary,m then they are gonna be disappointed..

I consider the new book as an appendix to TFW.

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