In 2002 I was a massage therapist. I borrowed a 16kg kettlebell and a VHS copy of Pavel’s first instructional video from a client. I played around with the info and like I described HERE, have VIVID recollection of snatching that 16kg for a set of 10 reps per hand and collapsing on the ground and being certain that buzzards were on the way to devour my carcass. I was stronger than average and this 16kg weight absolutely crushed my soul. Perhaps something in the design of the KB absorbed oxygen molecules from the atmosphere immediately surrounding the user?
I had read some of Pavel’s work, in particular Power to the People & his stretching material. I looked forward to the monthly articles he did for Muscle Media. I wound up getting the Russian Kettlebell Challenge book, to further understand exactly what the hell was happening. I learned a great deal about strength and continued to practice my very poor excuse for technical execution.
My client who loaned me the kettlebell and video decided he wanted to attend the RKC certification and asked if I would be interested in going with him. I had little money and no means to pay for the trip, so in a gesture of kindness, he offered to take me along as his guest. The date of the weekend as you can see on the photo of my original manual was June 27-29, 2003. I did not have the slightest clue how deeply it would impact me over these last 10 years.
Back then, there was no level 2, so there were more drills in the level 1 curriculum. It included the windmill, jerk and bent press along with other stuff. I have little memory of going thru the progressions besides doing a LOT of swings. I learned to bent press that weekend, I had never attempted what would become one of my favorite movements of all time. There was no snatch test at the time, which is good because I would not have passed it.
Sometime Friday evening I was hit with the realization that this was the thing I was supposed to be doing. I was 33 years old and and had finally found the answer to what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am a student of strength, I am a teacher of strength.
I continued to refine my skills and do everything I could to spread the message of the information I was learning from Pavel. I was invited back as an assistant a couple of times because I think Pavel realized that if I was going to continue to pester the hell out of him that he would give me some responsibility. In 2004 I was talking with Pavel about branding my business and I told him how much I liked the quote I had read in one of his books where Olympic lifting legend Yuri Vlasov referred to training as “the jolly game of taming iron”. From that quote, “Iron Tamer” was born.
One of the most humbling moments for me was at a workshop a few years ago when Pavel showed up wearing MY t-shirt.
In the past 10 years I have seen public perception go from “what’s a cattle ball?” to being able to buy kbs at Walmart. This profession has taken me all over the world and because of it I have met some amazing people, colleagues, friends and legends of the strength world. I consider many of theses people to be family. I was there first hand for the rise, growth and eventual death of “RKC by Pavel.” I am proud to say that I was there for the birth and launch of StrongFirst. I am excited to see what will happen in the coming years and forever grateful to be a part of it.
Loyalty. Honor. Respect.