Finally, I can say I am an RKC Instructor. It’s official—my name is in the register! From the moment I picked up my first kettlebell, read my first book about them, and first visited kettlebell websites, I realized that the RKC is the golden standard in kettlebell lifting and certification. First, a confession: I had already started training people before I joined the RKC family. My presumed authority came from studying lots and lots of DVDs, books, YouTube videos, and a half-day kettlebell instructor course, where I was taught the CrossFit style swing and the windmill. A few hours later I walked out with a crispy clean certificate with my name misspelled on it. I thought I was ready to conquer the kettlebell world!
How wrong could I be? I knew how to keep my class busy for an hour and yes, they were all sweaty, worn out, and satisfied afterwards. But, I felt unsatisfied. I saw what they were doing wrong, but had a hard time correcting them. So I searched the trustworthy kettlebell sites for more info—and every time, I saw announcements for RKC Certification Workshops. But, they were always hosted in the US or Canada, and occasionally in Asia or Europe, but still too far away. The certification isn’t cheap, and adding a flight and a hotel would definitely make it non-negotiable at home. This winter, it all came together because the RKC was coming to Haarlem, Holland, about ten minutes from where I live. The same day I signed in. No negotiations necessary, and I got a huge discount!
Fast forward to July, 2016. Two RKC Instructors, Master RKC Andrea Du Cane and Senior RKC Martijn Bos, and nineteen wannabe RKC instructors were gathered in a well-equipped training center in the heart of Haarlem. Some of them had only started training with kettlebells a few weeks earlier; others looked like professionals who do a hundred snatches as a warm up. But, even the simplest moves can be performed better, as we learned in the following three days. Andrea and her team had every detail covered. They were strict but approachable, professional but always friendly and positive. The atmosphere they create is amazing! It’s so much fun to train with people who have this mindset. We started every move from scratch and slowly built them up until our form was flawless. No YouTube video can do that!
Day two is snatch test day. Personally, this test had been like a monster hiding under my bed for two months. I just couldn’t master it. Of course there’s a lot more to the RKC than just doing one hundred snatches in five minutes, but the test still must be done. My fellow participants and I had been whispering about it ever since Friday morning—no matter how many times Andrea emphasized that it’s not the only test that is evaluated. While that’s true, we also knew that if we did not pass the RKC Snatch Test, we wouldn’t qualify to be an RKC Instructor. It’s as simple as that. And it is a struggle! But it is also a moment where the RKC family comes together. We are in this together. People cheered for each other, taped each others hands, congratulated the ones who succeeded, and of course consoled those who failed. Luckily, most of us made it.
Anyone who didn’t pass on day two could try again on the last day. Also, on the last day, we must have mastered the six moves we had been training—the swing, clean, press, get-up, squat and snatch—for a technique test in the morning. All the details needed to be in order, no matter how tired we were after two days of hard work. Andrea and her team were closely watching us; but nobody hears whether their performance is RKC worthy. We did hear a few tips and corrections here and there. It was tense and nerve-wracking for some of us! That afternoon, we had to design a workout for a fellow RKC participant. Then a group of unknown volunteers entered the training center. Each of us trained one of them for a full hour, while we were closely observed by Andrea and her team. As soon as the training sessions were over, it was time for the graduation workout. Personally, I’d never heard of it. The buzz in the gym was that if you could survive this grueling workout, then you’re RKC proof. As an extra motivation, the volunteers who we had been training were watching us. That made us want to hang on even more!
Finally, after the workout, we were called forward one by one to hear if we made it or if we needed to test again within three months to prove we’d really mastered the moves. I was greatly relieved as I left Haarlem with my hard-earned diploma in my bag. I even got misty eyed for a moment. Finally I can say I am an RKC Instructor!
Erik Van Der Veen, RKC trains at Body Upgrade in Zwanenburg, Netherlands. Follow him on Facebook: facebook.com/bodyupgrade.eu/