Join Date: Oct 2006
Full KOntact Workshop with Steve Cotter/Ken Blackburn
I spent this weekend down in Fenton, MI, which is just down the road about an hour from me, participating in a Full KOntact Kettlebell workshop with Steve Cotter, who graciously invited me down, and Ken Blackburn, the nearest kettlebell trainer.
Was very interesting. Steve Cotter has, as we all know, broken ties with Pavel and Dragon Door for assorted reasons, and I really didn't ask him to go into them, but the gist of it being that he's embraced the sport of kettlebell lifting, as it appears in Eastern Europe, due to more efficient technique and because he feels it's the appropriate use for kettlebells. The proper use for the tool, so to speak. (note how diplomatic I put that). He feels teh proper use of kbs is for kettlebell lifting sport and building work capacity.
Ken Blackburn also feels this way, as do most of the kettlebell sport people in the U.S. nowadays.
So, to get into what we covered:
Dynamic Warm up
-these were both pretty basic, straight up iterations of these topics. Being out of shape and, ahem, hefty, I was left sweating and winded. Skips, hops, lunges, joint circles, etc.
1. 2H Swings
2. 1H Swings
3. 1H Swings switching hands each rep.
4. Basic kettlebell juggling
One of the important concepts Steve introduced was that kettlebell work, especially the classic lifts, should be performed for time. 10 minutes is the competitive timeframe for the sport of kettlebell lifting, and, from what Steve said, the Eastern European kettlebell lifters look down on not finishing out the time, even if you do an impressive number of reps. Patience and relaxation are key concepts.
A major difference was demonstrated between the way the RKC program teaches swings and the way classical kettlebell lifters swing. It's a more relaxed swing, with the eyes following the kettlebell, and less emphasis on rigidity and the hip snap, in fact, the often hard and crisp movements that the RKC program teaches are really viewed as "wrong" by the best kettlebell lifters in the sport of kettlebell lifting.
After that, but before lunch, we did the Full KOntact Extreme Athletic Challenge. This consisted of:
1. Kettlebell lifting, i.e Girevoy Sport. 10 minutes. 1H snatch, or 2H jerk.
2. 1 Arm KB press - heaviest wins.
3. Juggling - this was doing a swing flipping the kb one way, then doing a swing and flipping the kb the other way.
4. Kettlebell Push/Pulls: Pushing a kb along the floor a certain distance, then pulling it back to the starting point. This was done on artificial turf and was an absolute ballbreaker. 3 different sized kbs, 2 total circuits. Done for time.
5. Kettlebell Farmer's Hold - For time.
The incentive was that the winner received a free professional grade kettlebell. 2 weight classes...heavy (176lbs+) and light (175lbs-).
Let's just say that I didn't receive one, but I did press the 106# "Beast" overhead with one arm. The push/pulls were brutally tough. Ken Blackburn admitted that he has his classes do them on the carpet where he teaches, and it's much easier and faster.
We broke for lunch, then went over some more fundamentals.
1. 1H cleans
2. 2H cleans
3. The importance of the rack, and being able to rest in the rack.
-The rack, and resting in it is vital to GS (from here on out I'm just going to use GS to describe the sport of kettlebell lifting). Steve and Ken gave us numerous pointers, and to hammer these home were did timed sets. These got longer and more brutal. Timed holds in the rack position, and timed clean sets with rest permitted in the rack position were both done.
The jerk was taught from the rack, and was initiated from the knees. If you take the time out to watch some of the GS vids on YouTube, you will see the form of the jerks we practiced.
1. 1H Jerks
2. 2H jerks
Once again, for timed sets. Repetitions were irrelevant. Jerking or holding it racked or overhead in GS legal positions was emphasized.
Steve and Ken spoke about hand health, grip issues. and demonstrated the GS snatch, which includes following the kb with the eyes and described above. Relaxation and patience. Resting in the lockout position, or with the kb hanging from the arm below.
Timed sets. I tried not to cry.
I'll write up the second day later on today.