By Gregor Sobocan
Once you start doing Kettlebell Lifting and realize that the results you achieve are permanent, it wins you over and you cannot go back. Unlike other heavy lifting exercises, in Kettlebell Lifting there are no restrictions, no injuries, no appearances. This type of practice will help you develop extraordinary joint and ligament strength, which is much more important than building muscles.
Unlike my students who attended the Kettlebell Lifting seminar for the first time, I had a somewhat different perspective of the Greek experience.
Boris ValentiÄ?, Luka PopoviÄ?, Dalibor Crnoja and Dominik ZupanÄ?iÄ? became the first certified Kettlebell Lifting Trainers in Slovenia. They are now official members of the Slovenian Kettlebell Club with a license to manage individual Kettlebell Lifting programs.
But first things first. Friday, March 13, 2009. The day started with the Kettlebell Fitness seminar given by Kevin Jodrey from the USA and myself. We were assisted by Kevin’s son Nocona, a 12-year-old Kettlebell Lifter and national champion in his category.
Kettlebell Fitness is one of the five Kettlebell Lifting training programs. It is quite well known and the Slovenian team members were already familiar with its principles. The seminar included a practical demonstration of the basic exercises and an overview of the Kettlebell Fitness program. Apart from that, it was my duty as a coach to explain different training principles and exercises used in Kettlebell Fitness to my team, so we got through the theoretical part right there on the steps in front of the gym. These, of course, were our last moments of complete relaxation.
On Saturday and Sunday, the seminar was hosted by Valery Fedorenko, Head Coach. I was acting as demonstrator, while Kevin
Jodrey, Master Coach in the USA, explained the Kettlebell Lifting training principles and gave an encouraging example of one of his students who received her title of Master of Sports in only 20 months. My contribution was concerned with the use of kettlebells not only for Kettlebell Lifting but also for the general physical fitness and wellbeing. As examples, I offered my own experience of a former Handball Player and that of Peter MankoÄ?, who has been training with kettlebells under my guidance to prepare for the swimming season.
Then followed my test – my first official attempt to achieve the title of Master of Sports – which I am sorry to say I failed to pass. A combination of nerves, fatigue and a bit of bad luck (some blood from my thumb dripping down the handle). But that was not the real reason. I have to face the truth. I was not ready. I am not good enough yet to make it happen.
Still, the weekend was an interesting experience. I had the opportunity to train with a former OLYMPIC BOXING CHAMPION (Virgil “Quicksilver” Hill), work with some of the most renowned American athletes, share experiences with the leading American fitness center owners, and reunite with and learn from Valery.
Even so, I did not get into the true Greek experience until Monday when I was no longer a coach but one of Valery’s students, just like everyone else. And it felt perfect. Of course, I offered my assistance if anyone needed help but still did my best to stay focused on performing my sets and my exercises.
We were training from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Thursday, without any rest, under the vigilant eye of Valery and his coach, Filikidij Pantalei. I have to say that I sort of miss this type of training where athletes form a group, “suffer” together, follow the coach’s instructions, relax in the evening, rest and prepare for the next day.
We were inspired during our training sessions by the incredible strength of Pavlos Giorgidis, Filikidij’s 24-year old student who has been training with kettlebells for only two years. He already set three unofficial world records and his other achievements will soon be available on YouTube.
While others were admiring his results and achievements, Filikidij and I talked about our experiences of Kettlebell Lifting. His views differ significantly from Valery’s and I have to say that I agree with his training methods. Both Valery and Filikidij prepared my training programs, but to be honest I am not quite sure how to apply them. I will either train according to my own combination of cycles taken from both programs or follow only one of them, but most likely I will just use my own knowledge and experience and improvise.
What I do know is that the Greek experience has made me a better coach, a better businessman, and most importantly, a much better athlete. It provided me with a lot of new insight. Valery has been my coach for almost a year now but all our communication and learning was done either by phone or through e-mail. Only now, when we had the chance to train properly for six days, do I feel ready to achieve the results he promises. Once you start doing Kettlebell Lifting and realize that the results you achieve are permanent, it wins you over and you cannot go back. Unlike other heavy lifting exercises, in Kettlebell Lifting there are no restrictions, no injuries, no appearances. This type of practice will help you develop extraordinary joint and ligament strength, which is much more important than building muscles.
My aim is to pass on the knowledge I received to other trainers, which may be a tough nut to crack because most of them are convinced that other training systems work best. That is why I offer support and help to the Slovenian Kettlebell Club trainers when they prepare their training programs and explain Kettlebell Lifting principles to their students and customers.
Last but not least, it is my wish to represent Slovenia with a leading Kettlebell Lifting team of many excellent competitors as well as help my students become the best athletes they can be and achieve top results. Together we can travel across Europe and worldwide to show everyone the true spirit of the homeland of Martin Krpan!
Gregor SoboÄ?an, AKC Master Trainer
Gregor is available for kettlebell seminars all over Europe. For more information, email Gregor at firstname.lastname@example.org