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  1. #1
    John Du Cane is offline Administrator
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    Thumbs up “It isn’t about strength first”—Andrew Read on why he chose to stay with Dragon Door’





    It may surprise people to hear it but I never attended the RKC because of kettlebells. I was on the fence about them at that point. I had been using them myself, and had moved all my clients to using them and gotten rid of nearly everything else we did, but the RKC wasn’t my actual goal. The CK-FMS was.

    I am a big believer in success leaving you clues. I had been seeing Gray Cook’s name all over the place and had bought some of his DVDs and loved what I saw. Then Dragon Door announced that they were going to run an RKC-only FMS based course called the Certified Kettlebell Functional Movement Specialist (CK FMS). So I made the choice to go to this RKC thing and see what the fuss was about before attending the CK-FMS.

    I’m glad I did because I learned that the RKC isn’t about the kettlebell. I also learned that it wasn’t really about how to lift them either. The drills and concepts within can be applied equally to training anyone from regular Joe’s to world championship level athletes – and I’ve certainly done that, training people to lose over 30% of their body weight as well as guys like Major League Baseball pitcher Peter Moylan, world no gi BJJ champion Sophia Drysdale and everyone in between.

    If you’ve been in the game for any length of time you know one thing with absolute certainty – there’s no “one thing” that people need. Maybe one client has done years of yoga but never any resistance training – they may need to add strength. Others may have the opposite problem – years of heavy weight training may have wreaked havoc on their bodies and what they need is to rebuild and gain some mobility before they end up hurt, or worse. Others may need to lose weight or risk a heart attack. And then there’s sports performance clients who may need all of that at the same time.

    Truthfully I almost walked away from the RKC about twelve months ago. I thought that we were in danger of falling prey to our own marketing and that we were missing sight of our core business. As many RKCs work as trainers, allow me to digress for a moment. We are in the fitness industry. Unless you make a majority of your income from training elite athletes you are not a strength coach. You are a fitness trainer or whatever other buzz word you choose to label yourself with. That means you operate in the fitness industry.

    There’s no such thing as the strength industry. The majority of your clients will come to you seeking to look better, and likely drop body fat, and feel better through a combination of increased strength, movement and fitness. The faster you come to terms with that the better off your bank account will be.

    One of my big issues last year was the removal of the weighted pull up from the RKCII standards. I have always felt that the weighted pull up forced people to be realistic with themselves about their own weight and take appropriate action. In the lifting world there is often a misperception that bigger is better and that a bigger guy is a stronger guy. Whatever happened to “skinny strength” the driving force behind Power to the People? Looking at the average weight of competitors at the London Games – 72kg for men and 56kg for women – tells us something. Namely that if you want to be truly athletic then body weight plays a large part in the equation and if you’re carrying too much weight then your chances of being successful diminish.

    Not only that but returning to my point about being in the fitness industry it’s important to remember again why people come to us – to look better. If you can grab a handful of stomach fat do you really think you’re a great role model for the fitness lifestyle? And do you think your pull up might be easier if you dropped some of that? Being your product is always good for business. People can tell from a mile away if you’re actually truthful and stand 100% behind your product or if you’re just on the bandwagon of the next trend and hoping to cash in. Regardless of how you try to justify it to yourself your personal appearance counts very much in your clients’ eyes.

    This also ties in to actually following in the steps of what the industry leaders are doing. When a guy like Cook comes out and says that to develop athleticism you need a base of mobility, stability and proprioception I pay attention. He doesn’t say you need strength as your first priority. In fact, both Cook and McGill state that after developing the base level of performance through mobility and stability you then work on endurance before moving onto strength and power.

    So it’s strength last, not strength first. Movement is first and we need to recognize that the RKC is about teaching correct movement.

    You can see this continuum developed through the HKC, RKC and RKCII. In the HKC we… read the complete blog post


  2. #2
    md corral is offline Senior Member
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    And a shot across the bow...

  3. #3
    BlackBeltMedic is offline Senior Member
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    Looks like one side had to take the low road first. This just seems to be a not-so-vague attempt at bashing "the other guys" to prove I don't know what. The article is scattered with statements and perspectives that are contradictory. It's basis for attack also seems uninformed and based only on a company/brand name.

    Perhaps worse is that this also gives one the impression of a big middle finger from one side to the other. Perhaps JDC didn't write the blog post (written by a Sr RKC) but he apparently authorized it and saw fit to post it here as sticky for all to see. While no names are mentioned, it's not a secret that Pavel is the head of SF yet his face and name are still featured prominently throughout this site. So while DD continues to profit and gain reputation from his works (as well as some of the works of a few prominent, high-rank RKCs who followed over), thinly veiled insults are lobbed that direction.

    The writing appears to be on the wall that DD would like to shift much more focus to bodyweight/CC/PCC. That's all fine and well, and I have no complaints of that, but to seemingly take the low road against those who helped put DD and the RKC where it is - while still gaining from their contributions and not hiding the fact - is simply unfortunate.
    [I][B]"What don't kill ya make ya more strong"[/B][/I]

    [B][I]"...nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain."[/I][/B]
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  4. #4
    AndrewR is offline Senior Member
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    Actually, DD have stayed silent for months while enduring the bashing, name calling and finger pointing from the other camp. I have to be honest and say that all of us in the RKC leadership had grown sick of it and decided we needed to respond. That task fell to me. Interestingly I've had emails off three of the leaders from StrongFirst saying how much they liked it. When I've got leaders from the other camp saying what a good job I did I think it's safe to say you're finding offence where none was intended.

    Thank you for your feedback though.

  5. #5
    John Du Cane is offline Administrator
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    Here's a comment I posted in this regard on Dragon Door's Facebook page:

    Personally, I value strength greatly. Very greatly. And I think some folk may have misunderstood what Andrew's point was. It is no accident that the new RKC leadership includes two Beast Tamers and that they are all without exception extremely strong and athletic. Dragon Door's new RKC is simply emphasizing the importance of a comprehensive and balanced approach to strength training that takes into account the complete athlete's needs on all performance levels. Note also, that Dragon Door's authors, be they Marty Gallagher, Jon Bruney, Mike Gillette, Zach Even Esh or Al Kavadlo, to name a few, are pound-for-pound some of the strongest individuals on the planet. We are not exactly de-emphasizing strength. In fact, if you want to be supremely strong, Dragon Door remains the country's number one resource, in my humble opinion, for that goal. We have a greater breadth and depth of strength-training offerings than any other company out there and what we have coming down the pike is monumental

  6. #6
    BChase is offline Senior Member
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    Great job Andrew. I don't have a dog in the fight. I felt that Dragon Door Organization has handled the exodus with complete class. I prefer the kettlebell stuff vs. CC/Bodyweight. I just hope Dragon Door doesn't forget it was the kettebell that made them successful.

    I go to the other site as well but have been getting increasingly turned off by the sycophantic only way to skin a cat. It's too much like a cult to tell you the truth.

    Deadlift Dynamite by the way is fantastic.

  7. #7
    John Du Cane is offline Administrator
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    Thanks for the kind comments BChase.

    We will be doing an absolute ton with kettlebells in the future. In fact half of our new book with Jon Bruney, Neuro-Mass, will be devoted to kettlebells (the other half to bodyweight),

    Quote Originally Posted by BChase View Post
    Great job Andrew. I don't have a dog in the fight. I felt that Dragon Door Organization has handled the exodus with complete class. I prefer the kettlebell stuff vs. CC/Bodyweight. I just hope Dragon Door doesn't forget it was the kettebell that made them successful.

    I go to the other site as well but have been getting increasingly turned off by the sycophantic only way to skin a cat. It's too much like a cult to tell you the truth.

    Deadlift Dynamite by the way is fantastic.

  8. #8
    Wooden Leg is offline Senior Member
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    Good stuff Andrew - clarity, solid. These are exciting times, regardless of 'sides'. Too old for pointless partiality myself.

  9. #9
    Wooden Leg is offline Senior Member
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    And to the gutless anonymous person who sent me that unpleasant message - have a spine & say it out loud, or keep silent in future.

  10. #10
    AGP
    AGP is offline Member
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    First, why would anyone from either DD or SF need to throw insults at the other is beyond me. I see them as complementary, with a lot of similarities, except for one glaring difference- CK-FMS. I will admit I have a preference for SF, only because I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for Pavel's books and dvd's, but I would like to become both SFG, out of respect for Pavel, and an RKC, so I can become a CK-FMS.

    Second, I have never met Andrew Read, nor have I ever spoken to him, but I have a lot of respect for the bloke. I do however, read and am grateful for the abundant writings he posts and publishes on the net. It is clear he is deeply passionate about getting the best out of people, and greatly values his craft, and takes the time to communicate his experience to other trainers and instructors.

    When he speaks of increasing athletic ability, results, and a common sense approach to training and the fitness industry, this rings true with my own sensibilities, much the same as Pavel's approach. So I don't care what agenda anybody is pushing, as a trainer, I must first do no harm and second, help my client achieve their results within the proviso of the first point, of doing no harm. I feel that the CK-FMS would go a long ways in helping me do that.

    Andrew Palmer
    You might be armed but you're not dangerous...

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