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.
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!
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.
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 coachfury.com, facebook.com/coachfury Instagram @iamcoachfury and Twitter @coachfury for more info.