Monday, October 21, 2013

How it started


One can do only one thing at a time on conscious level.  This means the rest of what we do is based on subconscious level.

Up until recently I did not understand how and why I decided to become a certified kettlebell instructor which dates back end of 2005 and ultimately took my first RKC level 1 in June 2007.

A guy said "Why don't you get certified as a kettlebell instructor and make it your secondary job?"

I agreed on most of it except I was seeking it to be my full time job.

I trained for a year and half, got it in 2007 and kept teaching it mainly in Japan, one opportunity in Vietnam and assisted Korean RKC.


Now this doesn't explain why I decided to get certified because the main reason was engrained in my subconscious level.


  1. Back in 1980s to early 1990s, I was immersed into bench press and football culture, evidently was in bad shape as result of training.  Knee injury kept nagging me until I got my hand to kettlebells in 2004.
  2. Pavel Tsatsouline's second video (More Russian Kettlebell Challenge) at the time was a good resource, just good enough that I don't have to worry too much about training my knee specifically.  I was able to squat deeper without feeling much pain.
  3. My body somewhat wanted cure so I kept attending certifications ever since 2007.  Most of them  cost thousands of dollars per trip.  In 2008 was RKC 2, 2009 CK-FMS, 2011 another RKC 2 and Korean RKC assistant, 2012 Primal Move, 2013 SFG 2.  The more I traveled the more skilled I became on curing my body alignment.


Then there's this "Why would I want to be strong?" question.
I dug one answer out from my subconscious mind and there's one answer I didn't like.


  1. I pursued to be strong to detract the weak ones.
  2. Weak doesn't mean anyone who lifts less than I do nor people who don't train.
  3. Weak in terms of boasting their strength by how much they eat, how much they drink, how abusive they are to subordinates and employees.
  4. I desired no environment that forced me to live a life I did not wish.
  5. Being strong (no violence involved) kept me within my desired life style and attracted numbers of physically and mentally strong people.

So there it is.  This journey will go on.





Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Military Press

After getting SFG2 half body weight press done last week, I'm still sticking into improve my military press skills.

Still there's a weight shift toward left side when I press with my right.
This causes stiffness in left QL(quadratus lumborum) which I rather avoid.

31 reps total with 40kg, right
31 reps total with 32kg, left

Shoulder impingement on my left got me to practice with lighter weight.

Next is to build up PR with my left to catch up.

Tomorrow is going to be a 90% max day and hopefully put in some pul lups as well.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

SFG 2 done


September 23rd, with a video camera help I got my half body weight press done.
First attempt went up but lacked momentary pause at racked position.  The camera person was talking a bit too much as well.

Second attempt went up as well, no conversation in the video.  As I checked, I didn't feel it was good enough.  Still no momentary pause at racked position.

Third attempt is the one I posted on youtube to send it to Master SFG instructor Fabio Zonin.
I checked the distinct pause at rack position, press went up good enough.

Today 24th, I got an e-mail from Fabio that I passed SFG2.


Level 2

This was my third level 2 since 2008.

In July 2008, level two had no strength test and neither level 1 test.  I earned it by doing technique tests and snatch test.

In July 2011, as a re-certification for level 2, I was exposed to various tests including level 1, strict pressing a 40 kg, and hooking a 24 kg to do one rep pull up.

Last month was the hardest of all.  I peaked out on my 44kg strict press so I decided not to do it during Budapest level 2.  44 kg getup (one side), 44 kg bent press, 32kg double push press and 32 kg double jerks were part of re-certification.

How much toll would that do to my body?
Picture tells everything.  Level of focus is just different.
During SFG2 day 1

Day after SFG2, picture taken at Buda Castle, Budapest Hungary

Past week training for half body weight press

I used the concept of OODA loop (introduced by Colonel John Boyd US Air Force) to my training.  Apparently it did work.
My training session per set was all in cycle of Observe Orient Decide Act sequence.

September 14
44kg single get ups for 6 sets
40kg single get ups for 1 set
Finisher press 32kg 3 reps for 2 sets
Band assisted pull up for stretch 5 reps for 2 sets

September 17
Press Ladder 2,3,4 (left 32kg right 40kg) for 3 rungs.
I got armbar and Bretzel before last rung.

Ring pull up with 12kg weight vest 2 reps for 3 sets
This became a neck tension reliever inspired by Paul McIlroy from Norther Ireland.

September 18
Shoulder mobility just wasn't there so armbar for 3 minutes per arm.
44kg one arm swing in Tabata format (20 sec on 10 sec off for 8 rounds)
ASLR stretch
Get up sit up 24kg for 5 reps

September 20
Armbar and bent armbar
Press Ladder 2,3,4 (left 32kg right 40kg) for 3 rungs.
Hanging leg raise

Weekend got busy.

Monday September 23rd was a national holiday and I got hold of a camera person, went to nearby park and filmed my press.




Monday, September 09, 2013

心技体 - Heart Technique Body in one

I don't reveal much about what I do in Krav Maga.  A student since November 2002.  10 years later, few mix ups got me invited to become a trainer.

Just the other day participated in a level test as assistant where I saw various students busting their asses to get through.

What got my attention was three guys showing no stress nor tiredness.  There mindset was heart & mental first, then technique, then body.

Japanese term Shin Gi Tai 心技体 is known as Heart (in my terms mind too), technique, and Body in one harmony.

However I'd like to express it is Heart&Mind over Technique over Body.  That's what I saw this day.


Mind and body in terms, are separate entities however many people regard as one.  That is why they quit when body starts to hurt, when it is cold, when it is hot.  If you separate your mindset apart from your body, you will still be fighting no matter what the body is enduring.

Few months ago, my training partner's thumb got into my right eye which I had to go through treatments.  This was the moment when I recognized the body is a hardware and mind is a software.

Body can take hits as long as heart and mind is in tact.

Taikei Matsushita SFG (level 2 pending)


PS:  I'll film my 44kg press to be turned in on September 16.

Friday, August 30, 2013

August 2013 Budapest SFG Level 2

Peter Lakatos Master SFG's wife, Elena said it all.
"This is the first ever SFG level 2 in the world!!"

I got myself into it to get re-certified.
Good thing is I passed the level 1 and level 2 test.


I peaked out on half body military press by the time of the test and didn't quite make it.
Someone took the picture after my failed attempt of 44kg press.

Thing is I pressed 44kg a day before boarding to Budapest which was not a good idea.
Added to that, I was pressing 40kg for 4 reps in the morning, telling others that this is my "warm up weight".

Not knowing what went wrong and had no time contemplating the problems, I decided to finish this after the course and submit the video.

I used to rush to get certified for every events that I attended.  Now for some reason unknown, I learned to step down and re-organize, solve the problem.


It is a quest, a journey.
After 6 years since my first RKC and this SFG 2 being my 6th certification, my attendances are no longer a day to day trip but combined all together is a journey, quest or whatever vocabulary that follows.
I don't see 6 years comparable to 6 years career in professional sport of any kind, however this is getting mentally and physically hard.  Turning 44 years old today and realized my body does not have extra buffer to live a spoiled life and make training progression at the same time.

Peter Lakatos quoted Pavel as "preparation" is a single act as "preparedness" is a life long issue.  My quest goes on as to pursue preparedness more so than preparing for each occasions.  


The Hungarians

I saw some unique characteristics among Hungarian SFG2 assistants.  All that I met were quiet professionals, very attentive to details, and eventually lifted me to pass level 2 materials.

For few things I would like to apologize, I was not ready to receive their advices at first being a little bit cocky.  But eventually their assistances and advices were crucial to my success.  For my bad temper towards them at first, I apologize.

The level 2 technique test ran by Albert Adolf in many ways was unique.  We were very quiet, haven't spoken much but encouraged each other.
Something that I will remember in years to come.
And they have warrior's blood in their vein, probably a trait from Hungarian history.

Taikei Matsushita SFG 2 pending 





Thursday, November 17, 2011

RKC Snatch Test, 100 reps in 5 minutes standard



I got back from Korean RKC as assistant instructor. This was my first assisting RKC event, hopefully would keep doing it for a while.

RKC snatch test, today's standard is 100 reps in 5 minutes. 24kg for male who is 60kg or above and 20kg for male 60kg or below. 50 years or older is tested with 20kg.
Female I believe 56kg body weight is 16kg and below 56kg is 12kg.

When I got my RKC back in 2007, standard was different depending on weight standard. As pictured above, I was tested by Master instructor Mark Reifkind. 24kg snatch for total 64 reps with one hand switch (never place down the kettlebell, no time limit) was my standard.
Having travel from Japan, I did over prepare for this just enough to repeat 64 reps with 3 minutes interval. I passed my test 40 reps left/24 reps right without losing my breath.

Up to this point, I took 5 RKC snatch tests in few different standards. Other than my very first one, I spent little time to prepare for them.

June 2007 RKC 64 reps total with one hand switch - passed with 11 months of preparation

June 2008 RKC2 74 reps total with one hand switch - passed
My body weight increased so did my snatch rep requirement. The only thing I did for preparation was 32kg snatch for 30/30 reps with one hand switch. I was doing snatches on daily basis so I had little to no doubt. RKC2 prep was my focus too.

May 2009 CK-FMS 100 reps total in 5 minutes with multiple switch - passed
Snatch requirement changed drastically this year. Although the standard was 1rep per 1 kg body weight in 5 minutes. So if a person weighs 90kg, it would be 90 reps in 5 minutes. Anyone beyond 100kg will do 100 reps.
In early morning of day one CK-FMS, Sr RKC Doc Cheng said "Bath room scale hasn't arrived just yet. If it's OK with you to do 100 reps, we'll test you". I went for it.
Snatch, especially 32kg snatch was my main stream training back then. I tested myself on how much I can do 24kg snatch in 5 minutes before and had 124 reps. I was pretty much confident passing.

July 2011 RKC2 100 reps total in 5 minutes with multiple switch - passed
Before RKC2, I did a 5 minutes snatch test. I cleared 100 reps in 3 minutes and 43 seconds.
At RKC2, I did my snatch test after half body military press and 24kg weighted pull up test.
For the first time in my life, I had to put down my kettlebell during a snatch test. I accumulated up to 80 reps and felt nauseating. Did another 10 reps, put it down, finished another 10 reps.
Probably due to adrenaline or something from strength test prior to snatch test, I did not feel well. Nether the less I passed.

November 2011 RKC Korea as assistant 100 reps total in 5 minutes with multiple switch - passed
Nothing special here. Prior to this event, I did little to no snatch but more getups and double swings. I did not place the kettlebell. This time however, snatch techniques were pointed out within snatch test. This was new.

Pointers for passing RKC snatch test

Rest for minimum of time
I noticed at Korean RKC, a candidate had good pacing to finish the test, however took too much time resting. 1 rep of snatch is roughly 2 seconds. It rarely gets faster than that. When you rest, place the kettlebell where you can pick it up soon. Coordinate your resting tactic!
If at most possible, don't rest. Rest after the test.

Do not do "Fast and Loose" drill during snatch test
I did notice few people doing Fast&Loose drill during snatch test. This will take too much time off the clock. Catch your breath and start soon. Fast&Loose is OK between sets. RKC snatch test is a single set. There's nothing between sets.
RKC candidates are strongly encouraged to do Fast&Loose throughout the course, however don't bring this into snatch test.

Roughly 25 reps per minute pacing for 4 to 5 minutes is good enough
Nothing can go too wrong with this.


Preparation/pointers for snatch test

Do heavy swings and Get ups.
Double swings and many snatch size kettlebell get ups are good. Over head walk and others that enhance shoulder stability will do. Heavy swings will teach the importance of hip.
I had tip from Ken Black "Let the lower body do the job and kettlebell flies away".

Practice down swing
Down swing for snatch can be your friend or enemy depending on how you practice.
Good down swing close to your body can give you momentum for next rep. One hip thrust and kettlebell will automatically fly above shoulder level. All you need to do is punch straight up to lock out.
Bad down swing being kettlebell away from your body, you may have to ignite upper body muscles which in comparison is weaker than hip action. I tend to believe much of snatch test failures come from using too much upper body than hip.

Practice your grip
I grip my kettlebell firm with my pinkie and ring finger. Rest of the fingers are loose.
I open my palm on down swing to prevent blisters. My snatch is pretty much ascending and descending pinkie and ring fingers.
Down swing is usually where you get torn up skins.

When in doubt, do twice
I've told few RKC candidates to do twice the requirement once in a while.
If the requirement is 100 snatches in 5 minutes, then opt to do the following:


  1. Do 10 minutes of snatches for more than 100 reps but do not max out. One day 120 reps, another day 130 reps, get plenty of rest in between.


  2. Do 200 reps with unlimited time frame. If it takes 40 minutes, go ahead. Shorten the break as you progress.

Use a heavier kettlebell once in a while
Snatch with 28kg or 32kg if your snatch size kettlebell is 24kg. This is just a supplemental training to your main stream snatch practice. Heavier kettlebell strengthens your hip, shoulder. Hands become strong enough to prevent blisters.


Do not use the following as main stream practice

Max VO2 snatch aka Viking Warrior Conditioning
Unless you are using 24kg kettlebell, Viking Warrior Conditioning will not directly contribute to RKC snatch test. Use this as a supplemental program. Keeping 8 reps within 15 seconds time frame can invite bad habits such as incomplete overhead lockout (by RKC rule, this will not be counted as a snatch).

GS
Since RKC snatch test is currently part of RKC technique test, it's not a good idea to implement GS habits into RKC snatch test. Extra thrust from knees, knee dips, chicken neck movements are not encouraged.

SSST (Secret Service Snatch Test)
RKC snatch test and SSST should be done separately. Both tests have completely different standards. Although each tests can benefit each other.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

40days Program Day 26

Full Bridge 6,5,7,5

Pull up
body weight 3,4,2,2,3

Military Press 32kg Left/Right 5 reps for 3 sets

Double Swing 32kgX2 10, 10

Hanging Leg Raise 5 reps for 2 sets

Turkish Get Up 40kg Left/Right 1,1

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

40days Program Day 25

Full Bridge 5, 5

Pull up
body weight 3,3,3,3
8kg 2

Military Press 32kg Left/Right 4, 4

Double Swing 32kgX2 10, 10

Handstand half pushup 5,5

Friday, September 16, 2011

40days Program Day 24

Just a short one to fill in the void.

Full Bridge 5

Pull up
16kg 1,1
20kg 1

Military Press 28kg Left/Right 3

Two arm swing 32kg 10 reps

Hanging leg Raise 5 reps

Turkish Get Up 40kg 1/1

Handstand half pushup 6,5

Thursday, September 15, 2011

40days Program Day 23

Body weight straight bridge 10
Full Bridge 5,5

Pull up
12kg 2,2
16kg 1,1,1
20kg 1
body weight narrow grip 2

Military Press 28kg Left/Right 5

Two arm swing 32kg 15 reps

Hanging leg Raise 5 reps

Body weight squat 10,7

Handstand half pushup 5,6,5