The morning of the IKFF kettlebell certification finally arrived. After coffee and a light breakfast I made my way to Fourways high school here in Johannesburg. When I arrived only two or three people were there but there was already a strong air of expectation. The rest of the group gradually arrived and eventually Dawn arrived with Steve and big John Buckley (or wildman for short).
Before giving you a bit of a rundown of the day just some general impressions. Both Steve and John are really great guys. Steve is relaxed but intense and energetic and John is a really laid back gentle giant. They both created a very relaxed atmosphere very conducive to learning and also just for having some fun.
We started the day with a dynamic warm up session consisting of various skipping movements around the class, lots of walking lunges and a very thorough joint mobility session that was not dissimilar from things like Intuflow and Z health. Steve also took us through a couple of mobility moves that I haven't seen before and they have a kind of Chinese martial art flavour - good stuff!
When we were all thoroughly warm and loose we started with the basic kettlebell lifts. First was a very thorough breakdown and practice of the swing - both two handed and one handed variations. Some very specific pointers by Steve and John quickly showed me some of the stuff that have been causing me lower back pain with the swing. From here the whole swing thing can only get better. After a brief 4 minute swing set we moved into the clean.
The clean was thoroughly unpacked and made really simple via some very specific pointers. These guys really know how to teach and make things as simple as possible. After the clean intro it was time for the longest set of the day - a 20 minute set of cleans. I planned on switching hands every minute to conserve my grip but lo and behold I finished the set with only one switch at the 10 minute mark - as did all the other participants. What a sense of accomplishment. The way Steve teaches really helps one to understand energy conservation and suddenly a 20 minute set is not nearly as hectic as it seems.
After lunch we moved on to pressing. Standing presses, chair presses and push presses were covered first. Each of these was finally drilled fully into our neurology via six minute sets.
After a brief rest we got some extensive instruction in the finer aspect of the jerk. The lift was broken down into all of the component parts and each part was practiced via very cleverly designed drills. Once the whole movement was put together we did our last set of the day with a ten minute set of jerks. Weirdly enough the jerk set felt quite easy. I guess there is something about a whole day of practice that helps your body to really get into the idea of efficiency of motion.
After all the hard work of the day Steve took us through a relaxing Qi Gong set. It was just what the doctor ordered and we all felt relaxed, yet pretty damn tired after a day well spent.
The day was really an amazing experience and it will take a while to really unpack and integrate everything I learned.
Apart from the hard work there were also some really fun moments during our lunch break. Watching big John doing a bottom up press with the bulldog was very humbling. He very nearly repeated the feat with the beast. The most impressive moment was however seeing him jerking an 80kg guy and then doing a windmill with the guy resting on his hand. WOW!
Anyway, I'm just going to have a quick bath and then I'm off to day 2.