Monday, September 21, 2009

Exceeding Structural Limitations

Tracy, my able assistant instructor Kelli, James of Team Rif( winner of the technique competition!) Wynne and Steve from Kenneths and Coach Dan Johns( I believe) team and myself at our group dinner Sept 2009 RKC.

We all have structural limitations, every one of us. It matters not if you are a 21 year old elite athlete or a 52 year ex elite athlete, we all live in the world of space /time and are subject to the laws of physics and the reality of ligament strength and stability.Even ifthe thresholds are extremely high there are still limits they and must be approached with caution.

Mine are just that more readily apparent.

I know what I know because of how I have lived the last 38 years training,competing and working on recovery with a seriously messed up left knee. This is no more apparent when I go from my normal routine to a four day adventure otherwise known as the RKC.

I used to train for competition. Now I train for life. And spending four days on my feet walking standing and demonstrating becomes the challenge.Especially when I do more in the those four days that approach the structural limits of my knee and my will power than I do in the month preceding it.

It's not the workload so much, although for these weekends the most basic functions of life, standing and walking, become my competition, my Rite of Passage. The goal: to go as long as possible and strongly as possible and recover as quickly as possible. All the while showing no pain. So its' 12-13 hours on the field each day followed by business dinners and meetings. The hard part is NOT getting the 1-2 hours a day my knee, hamstring and calf needs for stretching, rolling, deep tissue work and structural balancing to keep the surrounding hamstrings, calf and IT bands from just knotting themselves up into a seriously painful chuck of tension that can takes days or even a week to unravel.Once tonic muscles lock down into spasm,especially if they are attached to hypermobile joints , they can resist opening like a moray eels' vise clamp of a jaw on your hand.
Everything affects everything else and once I lock up my hamstring and calf nothing good happens to my gait. Especially if I don't take the almost stupid amount of time it takes to work it out.
It's here I learned for real that the real limitations of training are NOT what workout you can conjure up, but what you can recover from, no matter what the level we are talking about.

I know it's not that tough for most because my right leg feels fine and normal. A bit tired and sore(especially when it has to compensate for what my left refuses to do) but no where near what the left feels like.

The knee could be replaced, should be replaced and will be replaced some day but not now. Too much to do and I'm not excited about the down time, not to mention I don't have the best confidence in Doctors or medical science at all. I would rather be in control of my stress levels on the leg and the recovery process to advance my ability to do work on it. And its been going great. But certs always kick its ass and this one was no exception. ALl I need is a bunch of time on the floor and the roller and just relaxing with my legs up and the tv on. Real downtime.

And it will get done because this coming weekend is the inagrual HKC cert and I will be there with my lovely wife to work with those hearty souls that want to join the RKC/HKC community.It will be a way cool event and I wouldn't miss it for the world.So it's time to rehydrate, stretch out, chill out and throw some kbs around tomorrow.
Some good news:
I had three very close attempts on the 32 kg bottoms up press on Saturday, getting the best one up 3/4 before losing balance, on a break from the teaching.I did all my attempts with only my left arm as I didn't want to chance tweaking my goofy right thumb like I did in San Diego.That bell will be pressed, no doubt.Another of my assistant instructions BJJ athlete Juan Bacca was there pushing me on as I had helped him try to press the Beast on another break. Neither of us got what we wanted but we both learned a lot. Juan rocks.
AS did Mark Erickson my third assistant. These guys all helped me immeasureably this weekend and are all great instructors and kb athletes. I would work with any of them anytime.

But I did do the 28 kg again, much easier this time so that was great.The real key to it, as with the regular kb press is perfect tenison in the clean. I was in a rush and didnt really lock in the b/u clean position and lost stability at the sticking point. BUT I learned something and I know I can do it.And I won't have to wait another year, lol.

But I do need to get some rest.

This cert was rocking and to me there is no place I would rather teach than at RKC HQ in Minnesota. It is home and everything flows just perfectly. Had a great team again, who, as usual, and on command transformed themselves from easily gassed rookies to go forever, do whatever RKC vets on Sunday, just when I thought they would give in. They didn't. They just got better. ANd stronger. And have more determination than they did when they were fresh , rested( and nervous!) on Friday.It was much hotter than expected and this took it's toll on the candidates, but to me, after getting through San Diegos bikram temperatures it was downright cool,lol.

I just need a 28 hour day and I will be fine.



Diana said...

I wish this coming Saturday was a 28 hour day so I can get even more experience and just to be around "kettlebell" people-there aren't many here in Wisconsin for me to hang with. Did I say "hang".....good lord!
See you very soon-get some well deserved rest!!

Mark Reifkind said...


so looking forward to meeting you( tracy as well!) and I'm sure the day won't be long enough. as for the hang I bet it's better than you think. see you soon.and yes, I will get some rest. feel much better already this am

guy said...

Dear Sir,

I really appreciate the hard work that you do in making girya mainstream. However, Sir, are'nt you do a vacation :D sounds a bit like you need/deserve one Bossman. I hope to certify in 2010, but I am going to wait for an RKC event that you are at.
Guy R. Spears (heimdal)
P.S. Finally wrapped up 36:36 w 35X19, starting Boost Protocol tonight.

Mark Reifkind said...


can you please explain this term : vacation? I have heard mention of it but I am not really sure of it's meaning.

Yes indeed. and hopefully I will get one soon.great job with the 36:36, I would kill for those numbers on that protocol.
Thanks for wanting to go to a cert I am teaching at. As soon as I know my schedule for next year I will let you know. Be great to meet you and hopefully I will get you on my team as well.I should have SOME pull with DD,lol.

take care


eda said...