Sunday, May 27, 2007

Dan John-Episide 6

I had an opportunity to sit down with Dan John at the NAKF's National Meet earlier this month. We spoke about kettlebells and how he uses them in his PE classes at Juan Diego Catholic High School. You can read more about Dan at his website

Monday, May 7, 2007

NAKF National Review

What a weekend. I just returned from SLC after a 10 hour drive home on Sunday. I have to say it was worth it. From start to finish the NAKF's US Nationals for Kettlebell Sport was a great event to take part it.

For starters, the event was very well planned and executed. Matt McNamera did a fantastic job as the host for the event, and Lorraine Patten and the rest of the NAKF crew did a good job running both a competitor friendly event, as well as one that covered all the bases.

The meet was held at Juan Diego Catholic School in Draper, Utah, the home of lifting/throwing guru Dan John. It was really a fun experience to get to visit with someone whose work I've read so much of. It was also nice to see Dan throw his hat into the ring and compete with the 32kg kettlebells without specific training for the event. That takes guts, , , or a lack of good judgement. In any case, I was impressed and blown away at his gutsy performance in the snatch.

I know that GS has a reputation of not being a spectator sport, and while I agree that often times watching the same movement being repeated over and over again, there is a tremendous amount of drama in the event when you see people exceeding the limits of their own ability.

There were several standout performances that I'd like to make mention of. First off, the women overall did very well and several of them are pushing Master of Sport numbers. Kelly Moore, Jen Morey and Catherine Imes all did very well. Catherine snatched the 1 pood 208 times which I believe is the American Record. I'm looking forward to the US ladies taking on the Eastern Europeans this fall.

For the men, David Zink kicked off the competition with the Long Cycle. He went the entire 10 minutes and put up somewhere near 76 reps in the event. A very intimidating way to kick off the meet! Marty Farrell followed up that performance by putting up 62 jerks. Considering his weight, it is a very impressive performance and shows us what one can do with good technique and hard work. Jared Savik hit a men's high of 78 jerks, and Ken Blackburn sprinted his way to 62 .

Finally, perhaps the standout performance of the weekend was turned in by Andrew Durniat who we believe is the first US male to go the entire 10 minutes in the snatch, hitting 124 reps! Around minute 8, it looked like he was getting close to finishing up, but after resting in the overhead position for a few seconds, he powered through the last two minutes. Once he got to 1 minute left on the clock, you knew he was going to be able to do it. Very exciting moment for GS in the US! After his set, we were able to sit down for a few minutes and talk about the set.

Some things I picked up from the competition were:

  • The importance of the hook grip. I know we probably all have tried to do this, but after using it in my snatch set this weekend, I can't tell you how important it is. A little tip I got from Valery before my set is to chalk the fingernail on your index finger. Combined with the competition bell's smaller diameter handle and the chalk on my finger, I was able to accomplish this hold and keep it.

  • From Jared Savik, use the first dip to "bounce" the weights off of your hips/belt/belly. In order to do this, you really need to forcibly drop your hips. I find I'm pretty soft on the first dip. Late in my set I thought about doing it the way Jared recommended, but realized, I wasn't in good enough shape to do it.

  • The world of American Kettlebell Sport, is a dog-eat-dog world where its every man for himself. Well, not exactly. It is an extreme pleasure to get to spend time with other lifters who share the same passion for their sport and are willing to share what they know to help others. The amount of support and coaching that the competitors gave each other, regardless of level and experience was inspiring. It was a pleasure to be able to interact with people of such character and charity.

Really there are too many things to list here, that I picked up, and too many people that did a fantastic job to mention them all. Be sure to go to the NAKF's website to check out the results of the US Nationals.

Be sure to listen to the latest episode of the Kettlebell Lifter Podcast.