New Fury. New RKC.

by Steve "Coach Fury" Holiner on November 4, 2015

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I am not tactical. Though I’ve done some work with the Marines, I’ve never been in the Armed Forces. I’m not an operator. The closest I get to tactical are my 5.11 backpacks.

Do tactical pull-ups make me tactical? Nope.

Recently, I taught an RKC Workshop with Master RKC, Josh Henkin at Catalyst SPORT in NYC. The group bonded quickly and in a fantastic fashion. Early on, it was obvious that something special was happening at this certification but I couldn’t quite place it at first.

My first RKC was five years ago. That experience had an incredibly positive impact on my life, and it’s what got me here. I wouldn’t change it for anything. I loved it. But with all of that said, I wouldn’t do an old RKC again. Current day Coach Fury would have walked out the moment someone told me to take my kettlebell to the bathroom. Yes, that happened.

As a middle-aged father of two, what does carrying a kettlebell to the bathroom teach me? Punishment swings and carries? The polite version of what present-day Coach Fury would say about that is “No thanks!”

I can only imagine how actual present/former military personnel felt about these drill sergeant tactics. The RKC is a system of strength and education, so why were we trying to be some faux-military group? While I don’t have an answer to that, I fully admit to buying into it at the time. Fortunately, I’ve grown as a person—and so has the RKC.

Punishment swings, carries, and taking the kettlebells to the bathroom haven’t happened in years, and that’s a testament to the growth and evolution of the RKC. Due to the continued efforts of the entire RKC leadership team, we are purposefully blazing a new path. The NYC RKC is exactly the type of event I would want to attend. The new RKC community is exactly the type of group where I want to be a member.

Education comes first, not intimidation or fear. From a psychological standpoint, the former style of intimidation does bring a certain amount of respect to the material and the course. However, I think there are better ways to achieve the same effect.

RKC Workshop at Catalyst SPORT

The participants at the RKC workshop we held at Catalyst SPORT were an incredibly diverse and open-minded group. This group included local coaches, enthusiasts (like I was at my first RKC), a pack of DVRT instructors, and people who had previously certified with a different group who wanted to see what we were teaching. Josh Henkin and I quickly set the tone for the weekend. People came in nervous and scared. After all, we still have the snatch test, and we still work hard—we’re just not jerks about it! We do our best to get people to relax so they can focus on the material, instead of just thinking about the five minutes of snatches.

Our hosts and assistant instructors, Jason Kapnick, Joe Boffi and Kathy Dooley were stellar as well. All of us freely answered any questions and delivered tips, cues and suggestions without ego or intimidation. We used to wonder why people used to be afraid to ask questions… well the old days of 100-swing punishments may have had something to do with it! But, this RKC weekend was all about the candidates, not about us. In return, the attendees gave so much more back to us. There was so much heart in the room—it was honestly emotional!

RKC Workshop at Catalyst SPORT

I never assume myself to be the best coach in the room. And if I am the guy who knows more about kettlebells in the room, that doesn’t make me better than anyone else. All the attendees registered, paid and spent their time to be there. So, I’m going to deliver a positive experience and do my best to show them why I love the RKC.

I know that I am not alone in this, the RKC is more than a system, more than an organization, and more than a team. We are a family.

We are the new RKC.

New RKC instructors at Catalyst SPORT

I’m very proud to be a part of this change. John Du Cane, the entire leadership team, and all the new RKCs are part of our progression. I want to thank everyone for their role in our growth. It’s exhilarating to see it happen. The RKC has evolved and so have I.

Sign up for a course near you.

I hope to see you there.



Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner’s superhero headquarters is Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury’s a Senior RKC, a DVRT Master Chief, and an Original Strength Instructor. He is available for classes, semi-privates, instructor training and programming at MFF. Check out Instagram @iamcoachfury and Twitter @coachfury for more info.

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  • Sounds like you guys had a great cert! Congratulations to everyone involved! 🙂

    • Thanks! It was an awesome event. I can’t wait for the next one.

  • Duane Dinham

    This is good stuff. Makes me feel even more that having signed up for the April seminar in CA is a good idea.

    • John Du Cane

      Great to hear Duane!

    • Thanks Duane. You’ll have a great time in April. Please let me know if I can help in any way. -Fury

  • Thanks for this awesome post Steve! Love how the RKC challenges, empowers and honors our certification candidates.

  • Ben Swarts

    Well said, proud to be RKC, and excited as more people get involved. Cheers!

  • Kaori Tani

    That was indeed a great course from an attendee’s point of view as well. Very informative, non threatening learning environment was provided by a group of great coaches. Student centered learning environment with honest and humble communication would be the key to create the strong community.

    • Student centered… exactly! Thanks Kaori!

  • Tony Rosa

    Hey Steve, I was there with you at that RKC cert and I am tactical (well, used to be) having served 20 years in the Marines. I too remember having to carry the Kettlebell to the bathroom and also to lunch. I also remember having to carry the KB around the building because we didn’t form a circle in time! At the time, it was funny and, yes, I also bought into it. Since then, I’ve come to realize that none of that served any purpose other than to create a false sense of elitness and toughness. RKC candidates are not basic trainees and we are not expected to be put into life and death situations. The RKC is an awesome school of movement and strength using a simple tool – the Kettlebell! At its core, that really what it’s all about. It’s not about training someone to jump out of airplanes or assault a beach and the training should reflect that

    You are so right about today’s RKC; it is about learning first and foremost. When I recertified last year, my instructors were Master RKC Phil Ross and Senior RKC Michael Krivka and the experience was phenomenal. I learned so much more during this no-frills RKC than the one we attended in Philly. No comparison. The difference was that practically every minute was dedicated to learning and improving – without the fake toughness and punishment. Thanks for pointing that out!!

    • Hey Tony, Thanks for sharing your point of view on it. It’s very odd how we bought into that type of things back at the time. And yeah, you’re still tactical brother. -Fury

  • Michael Krivka

    I’ve been involved with the RKC for more than a decade and I have seen just about everything when it comes to how the RKC started and where it stands now. I can honestly say that the RKC is in a much better place than it was ten years ago, five years ago, or even 2 years ago. There is a new energy and excitement to the events that was never present before. The Masters and Seniors (RKC) have brought a new focus and intensity to the certifications that is producing a more knowledgeable and professional instructor that is more capable and confident than ever before. A lot of changes have been made in the last couple years, all for the better, and I’m sure that future changes will make the RKC even better. Hold on tight – it’s going to be a great ride!

  • Keira Newton

    “We are the new RKC” says it all. There was a time when I felt like being punished was a good thing. I even carried it on to my students…I was known as “hardcore”. Guess what? That isn’t real life where I live. It is hard enough to walk IN to a gym, let alone START a fitness program. Fitness can be supportive, empowering, and…fun. I loved the old RKC, but I had to change my way of teaching, and looking at fitness, glad I did. I actually enjoy doing it, and teaching it now. Thanks for an AWESOME post!

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