â€œWelcome to Hard Style Kettlebell Training, the martial art of strength training.â€ These were Pavelâ€™s words at my RKC. I was already hooked on using kettlebells, but my training was just about to begin.
So, what is martial art? To define that, I am going to defer to the late Bruce Lee:
â€œMartial art, like any art, is an expression of the human being. Some expression have flavor, some are logical (perhaps under certain required situations), but most martial art arts are the mere performing of a sort of mechanical repetition of a fixed pattern.
This is most unhealthy because to lie is to express and to express you have to create. Creation is never merely repetition. Remember well my friend that all styles are man-made and man is always more important than any style. Style concludes. Man grows.
So martial art is ultimately an athletic expression of the dynamic human body. More important yet is the person who is there expressing his own soul. Yes, martial art is an unfolding of what one is â€“his anger, he fears- and yet under all these natural human tendencies (which we all experience, after all) a â€œqualityâ€ martial artist can in the midst of all these commotions-still be himself.
Therefore to be a martial artist also means to be an artist of life. Since life is an ever-going process, one should flow in this process and to discover, to actualize and to expand oneself.â€
- Bruce Lee
Me, Iâ€™m a direct product of the Bruce Lee era. Kato, the Green Hornet for those too young to remember, introduced me to martial arts and I have been an avid fan, participant, and student ever since. After many travels and numerous schools, I finally stayed in one place and one system long enough to achieve my Black Belt in the Kiado Ryu System under Master Richard King. I successfully competed on the NASKA martial competition circuit for several years in forms, weapons, and fighting. I wish I had been had been introduced to the kettlebell back then! It would have done wonders for my training, preparation, and execution.
Someone once asked me what it meant to achieve my Black Belt. I told him that I finally understood how much I did not know, and why martial arts is truly a life long study and not just a solitary achievement. It means dedication and a willingness to cope with and overcome frustrations, adaptability, and above all, perseverance to continue pursuing a goal that will never be reached; these are qualities of a strong human being.
This brings us back to Hard Style Kettlebell Training. I knew coming to my RKC that I had a lot to learn, but it wasnâ€™t until later that I realized I would need a lifetime to learn it. Learning it demands my attention, my respect, and my commitment. I was no longer just working out, I was going to school. It felt as if I had come full circle and I had returned to the beginning. It was exciting!
If you really know your martial arts history, then you may be aware that the early Chinese practiced swings and other exercises with stone and block padlock. The similarity with kettlebells is unmistakable. Swing methods come with a long and proven history; it has a long pedigree and a deep legacy.
Learning to use a kettlebell is identical to learning martial arts in many ways. The kettlebell uniquely lends itself to creative training programs and methods. But, just like martial arts, you must first master the basics.
Letâ€™s take the kettlebell swing. Every martial artist has been told repeatedly â€œthe power is in your hip,â€ and no singular tool or exercise better teaches that than the kettlebell swing. What martial artists or fighters donâ€™t pursue is the subtle nuances of being relaxed yet rooted so you can absorb force and still be explosive and reactive in turn. The swing teaches you to harness the power of your hips, how to control and to direct that power. Even if you donâ€™t understand it, learn the swing and practice it diligently and the nuances of these subtleties will begin to ingrain themselves to your actions and reactions. What could be better than that? Once you learn to consciously capture and utilize these techniques and principles, your journey will truly have begun.
In practice, I donâ€™t concern myself with the power of the strike, instead, my goal is to master the technique; and as any true martial artist will tell you, I have gotten better (but I am still long ways from mastering any technique). In application, I am able to strike with power due to this practice. The same principles apply to working with kettlebells. If I have good technique with my movement, then my swing can be powerful; if my swing is powerful, then my clean is smooth and crisp; if my clean is crisp and dynamic, then my press can be strong.
But, itâ€™s not just the learning and the practice of the punch, the kick, the swing, the clean, but rather, the principles that they teach us; the principles of focus, commitment, movement, strength, and most of all, ourselves.
Anyone can throw a punch, whether a layman or a black belt; the difference is the road that punch takes to its target.
||This article was featured in the October 2010 Issue of the My Mad Methods Magazine. The article was written Paul Daniels. You can purchase this issue by Clicking Here.|
||Paul Daniels is an eight year veteran of the U. S. Marine Corps, owner Paul Daniels
began studying the martial arts in his early teens. He currently holds a
2nd Degree Black Belt in the KIADO-RYU martial arts system as well as a
certified Aerobics Instructor and Personal Trainer & RKC (Russian
Kettlebell Instructor). Find out more at www.TheBodyWarehouse.com|