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Why the RKC?

Senior RKC Chris Holder, Senior RKC Amnon Darsa, Master RKC Andrea Du Cane 2014

For all of you rumor mongers, gossip fiends and ninnies out there looking for me to slam our competition or say something disparaging about any other training systems, you are SOL. This is not an attempt to tell you why not to spend your time and money with any of the other kettlebell training groups. This article is written to help you realize that the RKC is your only choice.

It’s been a crazy couple of years for us. The leadership has changed, the format is changing, and we are at a stage right now where we are distancing ourselves from the competition. For the new trainee kettlebeller or aspiring coach, the possibilities are wide open from a system perspective. There are multiple directions to take when deciding which group’s certification to choose. I know, I was there 10 years ago! Fortunately, the decision was nearly made for me before I knew there was a decision to make. BUT, before we can look forward, we must look at our past.

I am an April 2004 RKC from the oooooold days. We were taught around 12 exercises in a brutal three-day workshop. It was physically punishing to the point where I was in such a massive state of inflammation when I got back that I was—for a lack of a better term—"blown up" for weeks after getting home. To this day, not even college football two-a-days were as hard as my experience with the RKC. We used to pride ourselves in the smack downs we were handing out and didn’t consider the weekend a success if we didn’t bury the attendees. At that time, it was new, fresh, and exactly what was needed.

As the system evolved, the theme remained the same. In 10 years, I worked as an assistant or team leader for at least one RKC each year. I have seen some really incredible people come and go, and watched our collective ideas grow. The weekend was streamlined after we chose to focus on a bundle of exercises that would become our bread and butter. And with that, we were able to dissect the fundamentals of each movement. The ideas tightened, the theory became more in-depth, and we attempted to do something that most certifications fail to do. We were trying to teach the attendees not just what we considered to be the most important movements for kettlebells, but more importantly, how to think about these movements.

A good coach is not just someone who can take a recipe and continue to make the same product over and over—it’s not that easy. You must adapt to your clients and athletes. It takes true mastery of your craft to have the mental flexibility to form these ideas around each individual.

Then, when I was invited to instruct at the February 2013 RKC in San Jose, CA, something remarkable happened. This was right around the time our figurehead decided to branch out on his own with his own company. For those of us who were left in the middle, it was a really crazy—and frankly uncomfortable—time. I walked into that RKC with the intention of coaching my ass off for three days, but fearing it would be a lackluster mess.

I wasn’t prepared for what happened. The format was identical to all the RKC workshops I had worked in the previous years. But the big difference was the tone in which we taught. The system had hit a threshold, and now dishing out "ass whoopins" couldn’t be the focal point. We completely changed the energy of how we did things, and the learning was at an all-time high.

What everyone needs to understand is that the state of training, athletics, mobility, and everything related to strength is changing. Systems must adapt or die. We are seeing it all around us at this very moment. The systems which refuse to adapt to their populations are failing. It’s very simple. The person walking in the door in 2015 will be physically different than their counterpart 15 years ago. The culture has changed. Technology has poisoned all of us—our level of dysfunction has increased, and movement issues are endless. The days of "JUST DO IT" or "IF THEY ARE HAVING TROUBLE LEARNING, JUST ADD MORE WEIGHT AND THEY WILL FIGURE IT OUT" can no longer be the approach.

This June, I had the opportunity to teach at the most successful RKC I have ever attended. It was a smaller group of 14 attendees and 6 coaches. We spent three days dissecting the system. Again, the level of evolution was unreal. The instructor manual alone has improved by leaps and bounds from what it used to be. The RKC is staying ahead of the teaching curve. When a student-instructor steps in for his or her RKC, the job of the lead instructor is to show the attendees HOW TO TEACH.

This is an instructor course. We are grooming professionals, not daring them to prove that they are tough. We aren’t sending attendees home with a certification in pain tolerance, we are sending them home with three very important letters and permission to go out and teach the system. I always tell my groups, I won’t certify you if I wouldn’t let you into my weight room at Cal Poly to instruct one of my athletes. I need to know that you can get the message right. I need to know that you can identify movement issues and pick the appropriate fix for an individual—as well as for the person standing next to them. You not only need to be able to perform the exercise well, you need to be able to deconstruct it to such a finite level that no matter your client’s situation, you will have the vision and ability to make a positive change.
RKC Workshop St. Paul Minnesota 2014 Group Photo

The RKC is the world leader in kettlebell training. Period. I have been to other certifications and I have lifelong friends who are lead instructors for other systems. We share—I know what’s being taught, I have access to their information, their manuals, and their ideas. What we are doing in the RKC is something that has never been done before.

We have a lineup of world-class instructors leading the way. From high level military, to collegiate and professional strength coaches, to private instructors who are not only changing lives at a blistering pace, they are also making an incredible living in the process. Our infrastructure, our CEO, our hive mentality, and our world-class instruction is second to NO ONE. It’s not rhetoric. It’s the truth. We are the best there was, the best there is, and the best there ever will be. We are RKC.

Dr. Chris Holder, Senior RKCChris Holder can be contacted by email at (mention RKC in the email subject so your email isn't accidentally deleted).