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Your Style Sucks…..

So since Friday when I announced that I’ll be launching a Kettlebell Instructor program, I’ve had a stack of emails. A lot of enquiries and also a lot from coaches and instructors who understand exactly what I mean when I say that the quality of instruction that is rapidly spreading is atrocious.

Now, I’ve just written and then deleted about four paragraphs of me ranting on about the quality of instruction, with examples…. Because hating on others, well that’s not my style.

So what is my style?

It’s a big question in the kettlebell world.

Ketllebell lifting in its purest sense revolves around the Snatch, Clean and Jerk. These are the lifts that are contested in the kettlebell sports. Much like the Olympic Barbell Lifts, with a major difference. Rather than attempting to lift a maximum weight just once, the kettlebell lifter attempts to lift their weight for maximal reps within a ten minute time limit.

But kettlebells, just like barbells, are more versatile than just these three lifts. All my regular guys know this as I have Kettlebell Sports athletes, Rugby Players, Triathletes, Kyokushin Karate-Ka, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Players and Thai Boxers all training and lifting kettles in the manner that best suits them as individuals. The Kettlebell sports guys obviously concentrate on the three main lifts. The others don’t.

So when I talk about teaching kettles or even training with kettles, and people ask me what my style is, I simply look at them just long enough to make them uncomfortable and then ask them “Why do you ask?”

I have competed in Kettlebell Sports, so my style must be kettlebell sports, right?

Vasily Ginko & Dave Hedges Dublin 2008

Vasily Ginko, the first person to teach me correct technique back in 2008

I do Turkish Get Ups with big kettles, 2 handed swings and sprint sets of Snatch, that sounds more like hard style, that must be what I do, right?

The first Kettlebell Training program I followed. I still reference it today, 8yrs later

The first Kettlebell Training program I followed. I still reference it today, 8yrs later

Neither is true.

One thing that pisses me off is the childish argument over “this style is better than that style”

I’ve been surrounded by it since I was a kid learning Wado Ryu Karate and having to fight all the Shotokan who thought their style was better!

It wasn’t.

Neither was mine.

Sometimes I won the fights. Sometimes I lost.

It had nothing to at all to do with the style and everything to do with the fighters skill level. If I was more skilful and aggressive, I won, if they were, they won.

The scene that got me so pumped, the following day  I joined a Karate club!

The scene that got me so pumped, the following day I joined a Karate club!

It’s that simple.

In the kettlebell world the “Hard Style” guys sneer at the Sports Guys. The Sports Guys look down on the Hard Style as being inferior. Within the Kettlebell Sports world, those that train under X coach sneer at those that train under Y coach.

It’s all ridiculous, childish and completely unnecessary.

In Wild Geese, such politicking is simply not allowed.

What is allowed is putting your money where your mouth is. Like back in the day where the Wado and Shotokan clubs would square off across the mat, eager to prove who was best, I invite all my guys to show how good they are, not merely talk about it.

And they do.

This weekend I have lads playing in an Amateur Rugby Tournament, they’ve trained like animals with kettles and other kit in preparation for this. Their training was neither Hard Style or Sports style. It was simple and pointed and they lapped it up, the kettle was merely a tool to bring them along their journey.

In contrast, Phil Roche of our Kettlehead GS Team is a specialist. He’ll be down in Wexford this weekend where he’ll be representing Ireland against the best in Europe and the European Kettlebell Sports Championships. He’ll be lifting on the Friday in the Biathlon event of Jerk and Snatch. If you can, come down and support.

I also have an injured former triathlete just joined me, she’s been put on the old RKC’s “Program Minimum” of Turkish Get ups and Kettlebell Swings in order to get her back to the level in which we can start training her in a more rounded manner.

So there you have it. Three examples that all train at WG, one that follows the “Hard Style” one “Sports Style” and one that absolutely does not fall into either style.

This is what I aim to teach in my Instructor Program.

I teach that there is NO one true way.

One style does NOT fit all.

What matters most is good technique and the knowledge to apply this technique to get the most out of the people who put their faith in you as Coach. This is the aim of the Instructor Program.


Dave Hedges

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