Monday, May 31, 2010

Sunday Morning Training

Warmed up with the Super Joints.  This is such a great way to get started and loosen up.  Especially when the real job has you riding a desk most of the time. 

ROP Medium Day.

Clean and Press Ladders 3 ladders of 1,2,3 @ 32kg  with Pistol Practice in between. 
Two Hand Swings with Bulldog.  Dice rolls for time.  Rolled a 9.  Did :20 seconds of work and :40 seconds of rest for 9 rounds.  Averaged 14 reps in those :20 seconds.

If I'm doing the math right, Sunday's volume looked like this:

(1+2+3)2 x 3 = 36 x 32 = 1152kg pressed (2540lbs)
14 x 9 = 126 reps x 40kg  = 5040 kg swung (11113.2lbs)

Cool down:  Hanging Leg Raises 5x5 and Cobra Stretches.  Arm Bar when I got home with 24 # bell.

Highlights:  Mrs Bradley joined me and shadowed me on the ladders and the Swings.  She used a 24# bell for the Clean and Press and did her Swings with the 35#er.  My lady did some good work.

Felt the second round of Pistol practice was the best attempts of the 3 rounds.  I had more control in the decent which for me is important.  I know once I pass parallel, I start to get anxious about falling backward.  I think next time around I will try to go even lower and ride the anxiety all the way down.  Once I get to a certain point, I loose either strength, flexibility or both and then fall back.  I want to get that "fall back" part lower and consistent.

Tuesday (Heavy day) I will shoot for 3 x 1,2,3,4 on the Clean & Press plus Box Pistols and then see what fate brings for the Bulldog.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thursday Night Training

So Thursday night after working at the "real" job, I headed to the park to enjoy the receding daylight and get in my easy ladders and snatches.

Warm up was the classic warm up from Enter the Kettlebell.

The work was 3 ladders of 1,2 on the Clean and Press with the 32kg bell and in between ladders, I used a pole to lower myself into a rock bottom pistol and performed static holds for as long as it seemed "comfortable."  Just trying to stick the bottom with strength, flexibility and balance.  Slightly better than last time.  I felt a bit more flexible and my balance is improving.  Don't get me wrong, if I'd have let go of the pole, I'd have been on my ass faster than you could say "on your ass."  It's just that I didn't have to hold on so hard so I'm calling that an improvement.  After the holds, I would do a Pump/Cobra stretch and then return to the Clean and Press.

Interesting how sore you can get from a static hold.  Meaning had some good DOMF the next morning.  Mostly felt in in the hips and deep in the hams and glutes.  This wasn't the normal lactic acid cesspool you get after a high volume day of Romanian Deadlifts, this was a deep soreness, like muscles are working now that don't really get out much.

Snatches.  Goal was 120 in 10 minutes or less with the 24.  Got that.  Wouldn't say it was easy.  I had about 15 seconds left when I stopped.  I was simply doing sets of 5 and 5.  I split it up into rounds.  First round was 3 sets; 5/5, 5/5, 5/5, stop, 5/5, 5/5, stop, 5/5 stop,  5/5, 5/5, 5/5, stop, 5/5, 5/5, stop, and 5/5.

Slow and steady wins the race.  My glutes wore out and the last set was all heart.  It seems as if the conditioning is there, but it's been a while since I worked with the 24 on high volume snatching so my body is coming back to it a little reluctantly.  Which is fine.  200 in 10 will fall by the end of the year if not sooner.   

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Tao of the Kettlebell - Verse 10

Carrying body and soul
and embracing the one,
can you avoid separation?

Can you let your body become
as supple as a newborn child's?
In the opening and shutting of heaven's gate,
can you play the feminine part?

Can you love your people
and govern your domain
without self-importance?

Giving birth and nourishing;
having, yet not possessing;
working, yet not taking credit;
leading without controlling or dominating.

One who heed this power
brings the Tao to this very earth.
This is the primal virtue.

In Wayne Dyer's Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, he refers to this verse of the Tao as "Living Oneness."  Dr. Dyer also goes on to introduce this verse by reminding us of the paradoxical nature of the Tao.  Body and Spirit, Yen and Yang.  Same only different.  "We are connected to the power of the eternal Tao, while simultaneously being in a mortal physique."  That is how the verse starts off.  Lao-Tzu tells us:

Carrying body and soul and embracing the one, can you avoid separation?

We have this body, this vessel that is mortal, that carries an eternal piece.  A piece of the Tao or God or the Universe.  Many are not fully aware of the other side.  By that I mean the spiritual aspect of their body.  If you exercise, train with weights, Kettlebells specifically, and Hardstyle to be even more specific, then you understand the moments of euphoria when you hit a PR.  But wasn't it more about the journey?  Aren't you stronger for it and I don't mean just the body.

Whether you like it or not there's a whole other side.  The white to the black and it is eternal.  Eventually you will connect with it.  The question is, will you do it now or later?  By connecting to and maintaining that connection, you can harness the strength to lift yourself out of the deepest and darkest of holes.

Can you let your body become as supple as a newborn child's?

My neighbor's kid plops into a rock bottom squat in a way that makes me very jealous.  To see the ease and grace of it.  Children have so much to teach us.  They are still brilliantly connected to that beautiful source of all life.

Tension.  It helps generate force.  Tension is the beginning of strength.  But what about the opposite?  The Yang?  There must be time to relax.  To shake out the tension.  Release it and regain the suppleness of the child.  And through that practice, can we also reconnect to the childlike joy and peace that exists when Santa Claus is coming to town?

The RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) system in also known as Hardstyle.  Meaning the practice of Hardstyle Kettlebell training has one basic thread throughout the practice and that is compression.  Hardstyle Kettlebell training will teach you how to create strength and force through the focus of energy and generation of tension.  There's nothing "supple" about Hardstyle Kettlebell Training.

Or is there?  What is the Yang to the Yin of tension?  The Tao says "supple."  The RKC says relaxation.  In the RKC there are "grinds" and there are "ballistics."  When you grind out a repetition, there is lots of tension and when you're working your ballistics, like swings and snatches, you get to waver between tension and relaxation.

Ever evolving and creating balance in that, the RKC has now incorporated circular strength into their system.  A way to decompress and study another form of strength with Indian Club swinging.  The main reason I'm bringing this up is that in the resent F.M.S. Publication, Club Swinging Essentials, you'll read a note from the U.S. Army Manual of Physical Training circa 1914.  Re: Club Swinging, it says:

"The effect of these exercises, when performed with light clubs, is chiefly a neural one, hence they are primary factors in the development of grace, coordination and rhythm.  As they tend to supple the muscles and articulations of the shoulders and to the upper and fore arms and wrist, they are indicated in case where there is a tendency toward what is ordinarily known as muscle bound."

Notice the word supple?  Another method of creating supple is in Qi Gong.  More specifically, John DuCane's Recharge.  Either way, it's about balance.  And speaking of balance,

In the opening and shutting of heaven's gate, can you play the feminine part?

Think of the feminine.  Women tend to be more supple then men.  The woman is the creator of life.  The creative spirit is uniquely feminine.  Can one in their strength be strong enough to allow the creative to flow into them and then out to share heaven with the world?  By helping others regain that suppleness of children coupled with the firmness and tension of adulthood we can reconnect to that which we grew out of.  Can we grow back into suppleness?  Tension is one of the tool.  One must understand both to be the master. 

We can now start to see the challenge Lao-Tzu is putting forth.

Can you love your people and govern your domain without self-importance?

Whether you're an RKC, a coach, an educator, or none of the above, you are still a teacher.  You teach others by your example.  How you carry yourself.  Your actions.  Your deeds.  You teach others how you want to be treated.  Make it all about you and that is all you will have.  Make it all about them and you will know love.

Giving birth and nourishing; having, yet not possessing; working, yet not taking credit; leading without controlling or dominating.

Living outside of ego in all you do.  This is the challenge Lao-Tzu is giving.  Can you be strong enough to have and own your physical strengths and weaknesses and yet not strive to posses it.  Will you give credit to where credit is due?  Would you be where you are if it weren't for someone?  Can you teach others with humility and grace?  Do you carry your strength with modesty.  Teach with tough love and respect?  Strive for constant improvement?  This is the way of the RKC.

One who heed this power brings the Tao to this very earth. This is the primal virtue.

This is the way of heaven.  A primal virtue.  Primal, to me means something that comes from deep down.  A part of our very fabric of being.  And virtue has always stood for something good that may require some work.  Patience is a virtue, they say.  Patience requires a decision and some effort.  So to have a virtue, moral excellence, as Webster puts it, that reaches deep down into the fabric of your being, that is something worth training for.

How can you apply this into your training? 

Kettlebell Stickers and Wounded Warriors

The Pura Vida Company is proud to announce that now through Monday, 100% of all sales from Kettlebell Stickers will be donated to the Wounded Warriors project! After Monday 5/31, 1$ will be donated!

Check em out and get your sticker today! 

Being Memorial Day, it's important to recognize the sacrifice that our troops past and present make daily and have made to keep our country safe and out of harms way.

The Wounded Warriors Project is a non profit group dedicated to honor and empower our wounded warriors.

This is a group that needs to be recognized, thanked and equally empowered as their cause is nobel.

I'd like to help this group if even in a small way which is why I'll be donating 100% of the proceeds this weekend and 1$ per sale there after! 

If you train with Kettlebells and are proud of this country and would like to thank that men and women who make it possible and keep us safe, having a Kettlebell bumper sticker is a nice way to say thanks. 

Tuesday/Wednesday - Heavy Day and Active Recovery

ETK ROP Heavy Day

My heavy day was...  well, heavy.  Clean and Press with the 32.  I did 5 ladders of 1,2,3.  That's 30 per side, 60 total.    1920kg lifted.  Phew!

Followed that up with 1 near max set of Swings with the Bulldog.  Got 22 good reps.  Anymore would have been sloppy.  Took a rest and knocked out 20 reps and then 18.  Called myself sufficiently smoked and went to stretch out.

Active Recovery

I love a nice day of Active Recovery.  Headed down to the beach off of Topanga Canyon and PCH.  Just below the Getty Villa, there a few nice spots.  I ran through John DuCane's Recharge and then Practiced Movement's 1 and 2 from Club Swinging Essentials.  From there I headed down to the old Muscle Beach.  Played on the rings for a while.  Overall, all was right with the world!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday in the Park with George and Lenny

Sunday morning's strength practice consisted of warming up with Super Joints and standard warm up from Enter the Kettlebell.

The workout consisted of alternating ladders with Clean and Press and Pistols.  Five ladders of 1,2.  The reason I'm calling this Sunday in the Park with Lenny and George is because, if you've read Grapes of Wrath, I feel like George on the Clean & Press and Lenny on the Pistol.

I finished the workout (or rather the workout finished me, however you want to look at it) with Bulldog Swings.  Dice rolls to determine the rounds and did :20 seconds of work with :40 seconds of rest.  Dice came back with a six, so it was six rounds set on the ol' Gymboss Timer.

On the press, I still need to work on keeping my shoulder packed down while pressing.  It also wouldn't hurt if I had just a tad more control on the decent.  The Clean feels solid and controlled but the bell tends to move or shift on my wrist as I start the press, so it's important to really stick the clean.  Take a moment to re-pressurize and generate a little extra force before pressing on.  Even if for just a split second.

Pistols...  OK George!  Diie-Uh...  YUP!  I'm like Sport Goofy over there.  But!  Maintaining tension and pulling myself deeper will be the focus.  Here's the basic plan.  Light day's I'm getting into the bottom position for some static holds.  Heavy days, I'm doing Box Pistols and Medium days we're doing what I like to call "Lenny" Pistols or the best I can manage at current skill level.  And that's the thing.  The Pistol really is a skill.  You, I, one must get VERY familiar with spacial awareness, trust in current strength, practice the techniques I have, not yield to gravity, be in balance and most importantly, believe that it will happen.  This if foreshadowing to a much larger blog...  I will continue on.  You'd think I'd have a copy of Naked Warrior on my night stand next to my bed, but I put in the bathroom where I will see it often and pay closer attention to it.

Swings.  Bulldog.  Heavy.  Punishing.  Work.  My right foot likes to creep out clockwise, so I need to stay in constant vigil there and I'd like to finish each Swing just a little tighter.

Heavy day coming on Tuesday.  Clubs tomorrow, video coming soon...

Thursday Morning Practice

So off to the park on a beautiful Thursday morning.

Warm Up:  Super Joints, Goblet Squats, Halos, Sling Shots and Pumps.

As planned, I practiced the Clean and Press with the 32kg.  Light day so just 5 singles and then in between lowered myself into the rock bottom pistol (with help from a tree) and just stayed there looking for balance and stability.  Didn't find much of it, but I'm understanding the importance of just being down there.

Next time I will continue working on staying in the bottom position with less and less help from the tree...

Snatch workout had a goal of 12 sets of 5/5 in 12 minutes with the 24kg and I hit that with 59 seconds to spare.  It's a tad humbling easing yourself back into heavy snatching, but also exciting as I climb the ladder to 200 in 10 minutes.

In about 15 minutes, I'm going to go hit the Medium day...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tuesday Heavy

Tuesday's my heavy day.  I don't have to report to my "real job" on Tuesdays, so I can train all day if I like.  Ironically here in sunny California on a Tuesday morning in Encino, it got cold, cloudy, misty, then rainy.  Fortunately, for me, I had the cover of some very large trees to get me through my Clean and Press/Box Pistols ladders.

So what's an Irish bloke to do when the weather starts acting like the land of my forefathers?  First, we take cover under the large trees.  Normally used to block out the sun and a favorite spot among weekend birthday party revelers, these large oak and pine with intermingled branches keep a small patch of Balboa park relatively dry.  We then fire up the old boom box with a little Lunasa and get to work.

After warming up with Super Joints and the warm up from Enter the Kettlebell, out comes the 32kg bell and I settle in to 4 ladders of 1,2,3.  Clean and Press left, then right.  Box Pistol left, then right.  For the Box Pistols, I'm down to tier 3 on the High Step.  However, for this workout, I left the box in the car and just practiced going as low as I can.  I have determined that my hams are too tight and won't allow for a full rock bottom pistol yet.  Also, I need to get comfortable with being in the bottom position of the pistol.  With that in mind, I think I'll make an adjustment here.  On Light Days, I'll focus on static holds and practice being in the bottom position.  Medium days will be pistols with no box, just going as low as I can without falling on my ass.  Heavy days will be the box pistol.  Needless to say, Pavel's Naked Warrior is always close a hand.  My current "day job" really doesn't allow for full blown GTG so instead, I've committed to always stand up with one leg.

The pressing is coming along fine, no major issues, just working on a smooth groove, keeping the shoulder down, lats flared and lots of tension.

My 12 Minute Man Maker turned into a 4 Minute Getterdun as the rain began to seep through the trees and the wind kicked up.  So it was me and the Bulldog for 4,8,12,16, 20, and called it like a rained out baseball game, as a wet horn on an 88 pound Kettlebell is really just asking for something to go horribly wrong.

The press the Bulldog/pistol quest will continue...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Saturday Morning ETK

Saturday morning was a good solid session for me.

Warmed up with Super Joints and 5/5 TGU's. 

From there I worked the C&P, 4 ladders of 1,2 with the 32kg and alternated Box Pistols.  In the C&P, I focused on three specific things.  The first was bracing at the end of the Clean.  The second was to press from lats and the third was creating max tension with the non-pressing side.  Clearly when elevating 32kg's overhead, the pressing side will have more than enough tension, but how much more power can you generate when you direct some attention over to the non-pressing side and equal the amount of tension you're creating?

Still struggling with the Box Pistol.  The box is getting pretty low, so that's the good news.  The bad news is it feels like you're back to square one, relearning everything from this new depth.  Worked hard on gripping the ground and leaning forward.  Hitting bottom is the main issue right now.  It is my suspicion that my hamstrings might be a little too tight, so I'm going to work on stretching them out see what that does.  Also, I will see about getting tighter and staying tighter all the way down.  I think I'm loosing some tension the closer I get to bottom.  Tuesday will be my heavy day, so I'm gonna leave my box in the car and just practice pistols as low as I can go.  Will update on my findings.

Bulldog Swings finished up the workout, with dice rolls at the 9.  Decided on :20 work, :40 rest.  Set the gymboss timer and got to work.  I was averaging between 12 and 13 reps per set.  Swings felt good and solid.  Hands are sore though.  88 pounds trying to fly away can be a bit tough on the grip, but I'm happy about seeing any WTH effect on my Bottoms Up Press. 

Finished up with some hanging leg raises (5x5) and a few drills from Relax Into Stretch

Monday night will be some Clubbell Practice...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Tao of the Kettlebell - Verse Nine

To keep on filling
is not as good as stopping.
Overfilled, the cupped hands drip,
better to stop pouring.

Sharpen a blade too much
and its edge will soon be lost.
Fill your house with jade and gold
and it brings insecurity.
Puff yourself with honor and pride
and no one can save you from a fall.

Retire when the work is done;
this is the way of heaven.


As I began to type this, I was instantly reminded of two other pieces of wisdom. The first piece of wisdom is one that I'm mentioned over and over in the writings I've worked on over on HubPages which is a quote from David Whitley's eBook, 101 Kettlebell Workouts.

"Push yourself, but don't be stupid."

The RKC Code of Conduct is the second piece of wisdom that I was reminded of after reading this ninth verse of the Tao.

This verse, along with the simple wisdom of Mr. Whitley and the RKC Code of Conduct teaches and encourages humility.  In my study of the Tao, I have used Wayne Dyer's book, Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life as my chief text for the Tao.  His interpretations are always insightful and even in the very title, there in lies the challenge of humility to "change our thoughts."  How often are our thoughts considered to be set in stone, as a principle?  The reality for us is that it may take great humility to recognize when a specific thought might not be the best way to look at something.  Another great quote from Dr. Dyer is, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."   

As we merge the wisdom of the Tao with the quest for strength, what can Lao-Tzu teach us about humility and how can humility help us get stronger?  Both in body and spirit... 

To keep on filling is not as good as stopping.

This is Lao-Tzu's way of saying, "push yourself, but don't be stupid."  As you train for strength, you will soon learn and understand your body better.  You will find yourself connected to and more in tune with many aspects of your body.  Situational awareness is a key result of strength training and Kettlebell training more specifically.  But so is the relationship between you and your body.  There will many cues from your body as to when to stop a session or a set.  Your task is to know when you have a barrier to blow through and when it's really time to stop.  You will soon recognize when it's the little voice in head that's trying so desperately to keep you in homeostasis, to the other voice that rings from your past, this is the one that reflects your self worth and ego...

(yeah, I grew up with a head shrinker for a father, so what?  I learned a lot and you're still reading, so just enjoy this little pop-psych for a moment and see if you don't get something out it)

See, right there was an example of the little voice manifesting itself right here in this blog.  Nice, huh?  So when you're shooting for a goal or PR and there's all these things saying stop, know when to stop and know when keep going.  There is no better way to say it than "push yourself, but don't be stupid."  It takes great humility to live to fight another day. 

Overfilled, the cupped hands drip, better to stop pouring.

This is direct contrast to the "leave it all in the ring" view.  This is the difference.  A professional boxer or weightlifter trains to peak in the ring or on the mat.  Powerlifters train for longevity.  Pavel Tsatsouline's book, Power to the People teaches us about cycling and progressive overload and also advocates not training to failure every time.  That it is better to stop pouring and only overfill our cup once in a while.  

Sharpen a blade too much and its edge will soon be lost.

This continues on to remind us not to over train our body.  That rest is an equal portion of the strong body equation.  We grow and develop while at rest, not while at work.  Work is to practice, train and apply.  Rest is where we process, repair, restore and rebuild.  The Seventh principle in Steven Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is "Sharpen the Saw."  Ironically, he talks about continual improvement, but this is not without giving the body, mind and spirit the time it needs to grow.

Now we will move deeper into the aspect of ego and self image...

Fill your house with jade and gold and it brings insecurity.

The fitness industry is filled with jade and gold.  The ego.  Your self image.  How you look and what you are worth should be separate.  You are a piece of God made flesh.  You do not need a 6-pack to be of value and worth.  You do not need to bench press your way to cut glass with your pecs in order to be attractive and wanted.  What happens when you can't bench?  If your sense of worth is locked into the image you see in the mirror you will be in a constant state of fear that the image will fade.  And when the image does fade, who will you be?

Instead train for strength.  Not so you can say, "look how much I can lift," but instead, what can you gain from the journey?  What can you learn from cultivating your strength, your will, your spirit?  What can you accomplish in the world when you take that strength outside the gym?

Puff yourself with honor and pride and no one can save you from a fall.

Use your lats!  You see guys in the gym who walk with puffed lats to look stronger or bigger.  In the animal kingdom you see countless examples of animals who puff and pump themselves up to look larger, stronger, tougher.  If that's all you got, what's going to happen when you really need that strength you've been feigning.  Like all mirages, it will fade and pass.  Pavel's book Beyond Bodybuilding has the "Strong As You Look Series."  This is an important aspect of training for strength verses training for looks.  The image that you put forth, like all aspects of yourself, should be congruent with your inner self.  Be as strong as you look and you will look as strong as you are.  Allow your appearance to be a residual effect, not the main goal.  Balloons loose their air over time but a rock is a rock regardless of its size and weight...  think about it.

Retire when the work is done; this is the way of heaven.

More for the sake of more is a waste of resources.  It is not in line with the Tao.  The quest for more because one believes that more of something is the way to happiness or success is the ego running rampant.  Instead, work hard in the moment and find your strength, joy, and happiness from what you are doing rather than looking to what this may bring.  And keep in mind, as I've said before, there is no way to strength or happiness, instead, strength and happiness is the way.

I'll end this with some wisdom from Carlos Castaneda.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Thurday and Friday Training

Thursday's training was the Light Day from the R.O.P. in Enter The Kettlebell and Friday I practiced with the Clubs.

Thursday looked like this:
Warm Up with Super Joints, ETK warm up, TGU's 5/5 with 16kg
32kg Clean and Press: 4 singles.
Box Pistols: 4 singles.
24kg Snatches:  12 sets of 5/5
Cool Down with Relax into Stretch

Felt good and solid.  Have not snatched with the 24 for any real volume lately so that was a nice little smoker at the end.  Didn't push too hard, really focused on form and power.  Did it in 13:35.  I did not work for time, but I did time my work.  Did a set, took whatever time I needed to feel ready to do another.  Next time around I'll compress that to under 12 minutes and then add reps.

Friday morning revolved around me old timey physical culture routine.  So the Indian Clubs came out.  And I got the new book and DVD from Grey Cook, Brett Jones and Dr. Ed Thomas.  Very excited about spending some quality time with the Clubs.  Friday I practiced and worked on the progressions from Dr. Thomas' original DVD.  Next week, I'll delve more into the new book and DVD.

Saturday (today) I'll be working through the Medium Day from R.O.P. and will report back on that tonight or tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tuesday ETK ROP Resumes

The conquer the Bulldog quest continues with...

Heavy Day/Benchmark for Right Of Passage from Enter the Kettlebell.

Warmed up with Super Joints, Goblet Squats, Halos and Pump Stretches plus 5+5 TGU's with the 16kg.

32 kg Clean and Press Ladders. 3 ladders of 1,2,3 with Box Pistols of the same.
Finished with 12 minutes of Bulldog Swing Ladders.  4,8,12,16 x's 2 then 4,8 totaling 92 Swings in 12 minutes.

Light Day on Thursday will be 4 C&P singles with 4 Box Pistols and Snatches on the dice roll...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Note to Self...

"Everyone is a prisoner of his own experience. No one can eliminate prejudices--just recognize them."
                                                                               -Edward R. Murrow

Anytime you start off a sentence with, "I don't mean to sound..." or, "you can take this anyway you want, but..." you're better off at that point just stopping and keeping your opinion to yourself.

But why spoil such a great opportunity to step in it and learn a valuable lesson about your jaded bitter self?

After seven plus years of working in an industry where a fair amount of the people you encounter just assume you're trying to screw them and then tell you one thing but do another strictly to secure them selves a better situation regardless of the effort you've already put forth and without giving you the last opportunity... you tend to form some opinions.

Being in sales is also being in the people business. It is also part psychologist. To be successful, it is important to understand how people make decisions, when and why. Why is it that one person can walk into a store, pick an item and buy it without a second thought? Whereas another person will walk in(same item), see it, want it, and then go to 5 or 6 other stores to compare prices, shop online, call a few places and invest 3 to 4 weeks (sometimes months) before they can feel as comfortable as the first guy did when he purchased right away?

Neither one is wrong and neither one is right. It is simply the process of the individual. What is consistent is that a person will not buy until the item in question is worth more than the money in their pocket.

That is where nature and nurture come into play.  It as also where one gets to walk a fine line between stereotyping a group, race, or culture with understanding the reality of how a group or culture views money (for the most part). Now, if you're going to be engaging in business with a person from a said group or culture, wouldn't the knowledge of how that group/culture buys, shops, and makes a decision be valuable? Or is that taboo?

What about when the two cultural views on money and value clash? What happens when one's view of being frugal conflicts with an other's view of service and selling?  For example, in the world of sales, it is customary to shop around and it is almost expected. Any sales professional worth his salt understands that a majority of his clients and buyers are going to look around before making a final decision. For sales people reading this, this does not mean you don't go for the close on the first meeting. It means that if you don't close, odds are pretty good, they're going to look around especially if you talked about price. There is, in this, an unspoken rule of ethics that has arisen and a few opinions which can create a circular mess.

How does a buyer know they have a good deal? Should the buyer be obligated to give the originating salesperson the last shot at the deal? Is it OK to buy strictly on price alone? Should the value of the service rendered to deliver and implement the product play a role in the presumed value and consequently price of the product in question? Is it possible that some will wind up spending more (gas, labor, maintenance, and the most valuable of all commodities time) in their quest for a better deal? What if that better deal means sitting in traffic all day, renegotiating, settling for a different color, type or model, not getting exactly what you want, etc? For some it's worth it. I hear it and experience it almost everyday.

Through out all of this, one thing remains the same, a person will not buy until the product or service is worth more to them than the money in their pocket.

So where am I going with this? What's the point of this expose into decision making and cultural buying habits?

I made an inappropriate comment. It was said in frustration. I knew it was inappropriate as I was saying it and knew for sure after I said it. Strangely, I don't even know if the person who I said it too even recognized it as inappropriate. So if the audience didn't see it, it didn't happen, right? Wrong. I know. I said it. I shouldn't have and it was wrong of me to allow myself to go there. That's not the kind of person I am or want to be.

I will not repeat what was said or go into the details of the actual offensive statement. I'd rather let your own inner prejudices fill that in.

I broke a personal cardinal principle from my own life. That principle is to stay here, in the now. I allowed and used past experiences to make a judgment on something in the present. This isn't necessarily wrong, but it certainly can limit possibilities. When you slip out of the now and regress to an explanation based on an individuals culture or race, it is you (me) making myself feel better for not having built enough value in my product to make it worth more than the money in said individual's pocket.

Some people/cultures have some behaviors that are fairly consistent. When I was a waiter, there were certain groups that consistently did not tip well. As a salesperson, there are some groups that will typically try to buy your product for below your cost. This is just information. It is not however a constant nor is it a reason to jump to any conclusions about how the individual in front of me is going to act or behave.

Staying in the now means staying fresh and approaching each situation from a position of service. It means honoring what you've learned in the past, yet remaining open to the possibility of now.

Rising above what I would view as an instinctual response is part of the challenge and mystery of being human. From early on you learn and form opinions and judgments. Mostly to protect yourself. From as simple and as obvious as touching a hot stove, to getting cheated on by a lover, or loaning money to someone. When you get burned, you tend to think differently the next time the situation arises.

Another wonderful aspect of humanity is the ability to recognize when you're wrong and learn from your mistakes.  Within and between the stimulus, lies the ability to respond.  And when you recognize it, you can change it and respond differently than you did the last time.

Me? I blew it. Insensitive, inappropriate, unacceptable. I made an assumption. And we all know what happens when you assume. In this case, the only ass was me. I am grateful for having recognized it and would like to sincerely apologize to the parties involved. I am truly sorry.

Looks like I have more work to do. Hopefully to those of you reading this slice of humble pie you will gain something from this and we as the human race can get a little closer to accepting our differences while embracing our similarities.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Monday Night's Training

Last night I worked on:

Double Kettlebell Military Press:  24kg, 5 sets of 5 on the minute.
Double Kettlebell Iron Cross:  16kg, 4 sets of 3 every 2 minutes.
Superset of Ring Push Ups with Chest Expander 5 sets of 10.  30 seconds between.
Snatches 16kg, 5 sets of 20.
Finished off with a little Clubbell Practice based on Ed Thomas DVD.

Good session overall.  Shoulders feeling strong.

Will continue on intertwining Stacking workouts from 101 KB Workouts and  preparing my Hub for Stacking.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Tao of the Kettlebell - Verse 8

The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It flows to low places loathed by all men.
Therefore, it is like the Tao.

Live in accordance with the nature of things.
In dwelling, be close to the land.
In meditation, go deep in the heart.
In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.
Stand by your word.
Govern with equity.
Be timely in choosing the right moment.

One who lives in accordance with nature
does not go against the way of things.
He moves in harmony with the present moment,
always knowing the truth of just what to do.


Isn't it interesting that right before it's time to write about the 8th Verse of the Tao Te Ching, I stumble on the quote I had mentioned from my last blog?

The supreme good [insert higher power of your choosing] is like water, which nourishes all things without trying to.

Wayne Dyer's book Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life, based on the Tao titles this verse, "Living in the Flow."  Dr. Dyer also reminds us that our bodies are 75 percent water and our brain is 85 percent water.  "The rest," he goes on to say, "is simply muscled water."

That's great!  Muscled water!  What does water do?

It flows to low places loathed by all men.  Therefor it is like the Tao.

Think of the God realized beings who got low in order to go high.  Jesus, as one example, associated with all kinds of "low" men. In modern times there are countless examples of this.  If God is like water and we are mostly water then we too are a tiny piece of God.  That also means that we are stronger and more powerful then we, more often than not, give ourselves credit for.  I will be the first to admit to this.

Live in accordance with the nature of things.  In dwelling, be close to the land.  In meditation, go deep in the heart.  In dealing with others, be gentle and kind.  Stand by your word.  Govern with equity.
Be timely in choosing the right moment.

Here Lao-Tzu guides us in a direction that will take you down a path of peaceful living.  Where life will flow.  There is no need to try to force things to happen, when you abide by the Tao and live in accordance with the nature of things, everything will fall into place.  

This verse also reminds me of another quote about water and living in the flow...

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water.  Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.  Now water can flow or it can crash.  Be water, my friend."
                                                                                 -Bruce Lee

Strength.  What is it?  What makes it?  One of the key components of strength is tension.  You'll read about this in Pavel Tsatsouline's Power to the People.  So why are we talking about water?  Water is anything but tense?  Well there in lies the rub.  Water can change shape and structure to adapt to the moment.  Evaporate, freeze or flow, water has the flexibility to adjust to the demands of the environment.  Do you?

When training for strength, be like water.  Know when to tense up like ice and when to flow like a stream.  Know when to rise like the tide and crash like a wave.  What barriers are in your way that need eroding?  With time and by living in accordance with the nature of things, you too can overflow.

One who lives in accordance with nature does not go against the way of things.  He moves in harmony with the present moment, always knowing the truth of just what to do.

The key to this verse is here.  He moves in harmony with the present moment...  The present moment.  Be here, in the now.  When you allow yourself to exist outside of the now, you are not in the flow.  Rather your ego is rowing your boat.  Great strength lies in the ability to stay in the present moment.  From the power lifter to the gymnast to the Girevik, the ability to stay with the movement as it happens and have a laser focus on where you are and what you are doing is a key element to pressing through.  Look at 3 typical drills.  A deadlift, an Iron Cross and a heavy near maximal Kettlebell press.  If you're thinking about what you need to pick up from the market while attempting one of the drills, you're probably not going to hit it.  Rather it's going to hit you and probably on the head in the case of the press.  But also look at how fast these near maximal efforts almost command and engage your body in the now.  It's nearly impossible to think about anything else but the task at hand and the more you can dial into that focus during your lift, the stronger you become.  

The real question now is:  How can you take this focus and harmony with the present moment into daily living and be as strong spiritually as you are physically...