Archive for April, 2011

Dragon Door Australia on TV!

April 20, 2011

Guys, if you haven’t yet seen the new DD TV episode you should check it out.

For people who haven’t been lucky enough to meet the amazing Amanda Salas she is every bit as funny and witty in person in person as she is on DD TV. What most people don’t know is that the second half of the DD TV team, Spencer O’Hara, is just as great to hang out with. These two guys have taken on DD TV and made it something I know all the RKCs look forward to each week.

Being asked to be the front man fro an entire episode was great fun and really gave me an appreciation for what goes into making anything on camera. Obviously with all the writing I do for various magazines (Ultrafit, Blitz, Inside MMA, Oxygen) I’ve had to take photos for things before which is time consuming and often difficult to get good quality pictures when you’re moving at high speed. But video is a completely different ball game. I’m still away in the US taking a break between RKC events but when I get home I promise I’ll put up some of the outtakes (minus me swearing as I screw each one up, of course).

Just a reminder – for anyone who wants to really take their business to the next level in Australia you should be planning to attend the next HKC in July. Follow this banner to go to the sign up page.

HKC Certification

The success of people attending the RKC after the HKC is much higher than those who don’t attend. At the RKC on the weekend there almost 50% of the candidates were HKCs. With the next one coming son don’t miss your chance to become one of only a handful of properly trained and qualified instructors in Australia.

Even better – our courses are now both PDP and CEC approved! That’s right. Now you get the same top quality, best in the world instruction on how to safely and effectively use kettlebells with your clients, but you also get the continuing education points that you need to maintain your registration! What are you waiting for? Sign up now!

HKC Certification


RKC St. Paul April 15-17

April 18, 2011

There’s something special about the RKC. People from all walks of life come together to learn and improve themselves. As the RKC grows, and more people begin to understand the benefits of Hardstyle training, I am guessing that this will happen more and more. As evidence of this growth the most recent RKC in St. Paul was the biggest ever with originally 120 people signed up it ended up being just over 100 over the weekend.

And guess who was there to see it all unfold?

As the first Australian to ever be invited to assist at an RKC I was eagerly anticipating this trip.

But all this changed a little in the week leading up to it when Pavel sent out the teaching assignments for the week. I was on the phone to a friend when the email came through detailing what my roles for the weekend were and the end result was that I started gasping like a fresh caught fish flopping on the deck as I tried to put everything into perspective.

Pavel had clearly lost his mind. Instead of me only assisting Senior RKC Jon Engum, I was also going to teach the Clean and run the final workout for day two. With 100 students and Pavel in the room this was certainly going to be a trial by fire for me.

I will admit that the thought of presenting at an RKC to a roomful of highly skilled trainers, Pavel and a team of RKC instructors made me more than a little uneasy. However, opportunities like this are not often handed out – as evidenced by the fact that no one else from here has ever been asked to do it!

Andrew Read RKCII, Jon Engum Senior RKC, Val Hedlund RKC. The backbone of Team Engum.

The weekend starts pretty quickly. Val Hedlund and I met with Jon Engum on the Thursday and quickly went through the snatch test and Level 1 skills test. This is compulsory for all assistants to maintain high standards. Val is an absolute machine. I had thought my time of 3.50 in the snatch test was pretty fast, especially since I felt like I was cruising, but she beat my by eight seconds! She also went on to tell me she is only four inches away from being able to complete the Iron Maiden challenge! Jon went through his expectations of us for the weekend and we spent a little time getting to know one another before the hard work for the weekend started.

What makes these events special now is that I have many close friends within the ranks of the RKC. So as much as I come to learn and help I was also happy to have the opportunity to spend time with my growing band of friends. Having had a great time with Neghar Fonooni at RKCII last year I was delighted to hear she would be assisting also and we got to hang out a lot for the weekend. Neghar is crazy strong and more fun than a barrel full of monkeys to spend time with. Along with Neghar I also got to meet Josh Hillis for the first time and can easily understand why he is so well followed as a fitness professional. Add in my new friends the Beast Tamer Dustin Miller, Alise Frye and Val plus another RKCII friend Fawn Friday, who is a local, and we had a great group of people to socialise with. The Friday night all you can eat meat dinner at Foga de Chao was easily one of the funniest nights of my life and seemed to continue throughout the whole weekend.

With Josh Hillis, fitness celebrity.

With 100 students at this RKC the teams had a lot cut out for them. With 14 people per team there were many to help all day long. Our team was a great group with a lot of variety and all eager to learn. As everyone knows the RKC starts with the snatch test. The rules are simple – 100 reps in 5 minutes with a 24kg for guys or a 16kg for most girls (12kg if under 56kg/ 123lbs). I could probably recite the rules in my sleep right now as one of my responsibilities for the weekend was to explain the rules to the group. This was great as it got me over my nerves of speaking to a large group instantly. I am guessing it also gave Pavel a chance to make sure I could actually speak to large groups and if it had gone badly I would have been removed from teaching the Clean the following day.

Team Engum had a lot of problems with the Snatch Test. I had to fail 3 of the 4 people I tested simply for too many “no counts”. You get three “no counts” which can be accumulated for various infractions such as having your non-working hand on your leg, pressing the bell out or shouldering the bell on the downward movement. These “no counts” really represent safety issues that indicate to us that either you haven’t done your homework, or you need to put the bell down before you hurt yourself. To be honest, given this test is so well known I find it hard to understand how people turn up when they can’t hit their number. It’s not like the test is hard to find details of, or training plans for. Not only that but it is the entry requirement. In other words, it is what you need to be able to do as soon as you walk in the door. The purpose of the test is to make sure you have adequate strength and fitness to safely undergo the weekend. You would think people would take it more seriously.

The RKC is a constantly evolving animal and it was an eye opening experience to hear Pavel share his reasons for swapping some things around and to watch how it affected the weekend and people’s technique. In particular it was amazing to watch the transformation of our students from the start of Friday to the end of Saturday. The teaching team at an RKC are a very select bunch, especially the Team Leaders and Seniors or Masters. I was very lucky to be on Jon Engum’s team. As a 7th dan in Taekwondo as well as having been at more RKCs than any other person other than Brett Jones or Andrea du Cane (and Pavel, obviously) he has a great wealth of knowledge and experience. Not only that but his patience and communication skills really set him apart as a great trainer.

My great friends Neghar Fonooni and Doc Michael Hartle.

Being allowed to teach the Clean was a great privilege. Usually the teaching of an exercise is reserved for the Team Leaders and Senior/ Master Instructors. I had spent a lot of time reading the manual and thinking about what I was going to say and how to fill in the gaps from just the progressions in the manual. To have the undivided attention of the entire room was a great experience. I was put at ease very quickly when Pavel, Jeff O’Conner and John du Cane all said to me early on that I was doing great and from there I really got into my groove and got a good result with everyone. I’ve had numerous emails and comments on Face Book from people all saying the links I gave from fighting to the Clean really gave them an “a-ha moment”. It’s always rewarding to be told that you’ve done something well so this was obviously a highlight of the trip. (Although I am here for the next RKC too so am keen to see what is in store for that).

Our team did a great job all weekend and vastly improved and one girl in particular, Emily Blaudow really made big steps. With the final workout looming I asked her to help me out to pace everyone else for a fairly hard swing workout. What transpired was one of the all time coolest things I have ever been part of in my working career. I managed to get a roomful of 100 people all swinging at exactly the same time. I know Dragon Door TV got a lot of great footage from it all and I can’t wait to see how it looks. I won’t go into exact details about the workout but I will say that I think I got a compliment from nearly every single person there about it from both a technical and aesthetic point of view. I was surrounded on all sides by a massive semi-circle of people all working to the beat of one drum. The sight was so powerful that I allowed myself to stop coaching just for a second and appreciate the beauty of it. Not lying for even a second when I say that I got goose bumps. To be in the eye of the storm, surrounded by my community, all working in exact unison was amazing. Thanks everyone for putting in the final hard effort for the day and making me look good!

Sunday at the RKC is a little gentler than the other two days for the simple reason that everyone is smoked. There is still lots for the teams to do with practice, testing, a marketing lecture put on by John (always amazing to hear him speak) and then the Grad Workout. The Grad Workout changes at each RKC and this one was an absolute terror. Jon Engum ran a massive workout based on his RKC Deep Six single bell complex and it really showcased who had prepared and who hadn’t. I can remember training for my RKC by going and doing a double Grad Workout at a local park to build up my stamina and mental toughness. Watching how people faltered all over the field it may be a good idea that people work on that as well as their snatch test prior to the RKC too.

George Samuelson at his finest.

The weekend was simply awesome. Between watching Pavel and his band of instructors teach so I could increase my own skills, the opportunity to teach and help instruct a new breed of RKCs and the social aspect of catching up with my great friends and colleagues. The band of crazy clowns that were assisting – Val Hedlund, Josh Hillis, Dustin Miller, George Samuleson, Alise Frye and my great friend Neghar were all icing on the cake. I would attend the RKC just to fetch water for Pavel if it meant I could sit and take notes. To be an integral part of it, to be the first from my country to do so, to get to hang out with my friends… Why on earth wouldn’t everyone want to be part of this?


April 11, 2011

Kaizen is a Japanese word meaning constant improvement. I was first introduced to the word by noted strength trainer Charles Poliquin when he introduced the idea of micro-loading to allow minute weight changes which allowed the trainee to keep adding weight to the bar every workout.

Since then it has turned up in many places and, for me, has many business applications.

In the world of business you must keep moving forward or you stagnate and die. Many small businesses often do well initially but soon lose momentum and eventually either whither and die or are just forced to close their doors as new technology takes over their industry. Personal Training is no different and we have been forced to move ahead to keep up with the demand for training and workshops.

For anyone who doesn’t know we moved into a massive 300sq.m place in Melbourne’s Moorabbin. This new facility allows us container access for kettlebell shipments and decent sized office for us to grow into as well as over 200sq.m of open training space. It allowed us to run the recent HKC and have over twenty-five people safely training at once, something we never could have done at our last location.

Our efforts at constant improvement have also meant that we have had to cut some ties professionally. The RKC code of conduct is quite a simple document and I take it very literally. The primary point is to conduct yourself with honour. When I discovered that the my previous landlords were into open relationships and thought that trying to include me, my staff and my partner in them was okay that was enough for me. Previously I may have made the effort to try and mediate a resolution for this, but as part of Dragon Door Australia’s decision to try to upkeep this code at all times, we decided to walk away rather than stay and be part of something so distasteful. I was helped enormously in this by two people – Pavel and Senior RKC Peter Lakatos. Pavel has said “Marriage is a great decision. Why ruin it by making a poor decision to cheat?” Peter made things even easier for me when he told me that he refuses to do business with anyone he finds is unfaithful.

So we stepped forward and upheld this notion that honour and decency should be a part of every business, not just profit margin.

We’ve also stepped ahead by certifying our courses with both Kinect and Fitness Australia. While I don’t believe that accumulating points should be the driving force behind attending education events, I do see the business side of it and the reality is that with so many courses now having points, the sad reality is that many will choose to attend a course of lesser educational value simply to accumulate points. See? A great commercial example of having to move ahead just to stay in the same place.

This week sees the first time that more than a single Aussie heads overseas at any one time to attend an RKC event. Piers Kwan from Brisbane, who I have been lucky enough to train right from the start of his kettlebell training, will be doing this week’s RKC. At the same time I have been given the honour of being the first Australian ever asked to teach at an RKC and will be teaching the Clean as well as running one of the workouts. Two weeks after that will see Sam Johnston, TC Lee and James McConnell attend the next RKC, which I will also be at. This will mark my sixth and seventh RKC events in under two years. That adds up, including the HKCs I have hosted, to over thirty days of hands on instruction from Pavel and his elite Senior and Master trainers.

This attitude has been taken on by Australia’s first female RKC, and Dragon Door Australia staff member, Shannon Scullin. This year she will attend CK FMS as well as RKCII, plus assist at two more HKCs for the year. Our efforts to constantly step forward have allowed us to continually meet customers’ needs in training. When you have so much great information at your finger tips it certainly makes solving problems much easier. And you can see this with our 100% success rate for preparing clients for instructor level courses, or even in our Body Transformation Challenges where clients have lost as much as 20kg in only sixteen weeks! Essentially, by the end of May, we will have been responsible for training 30% of the RKCs in the country and every single HKC!

The question is, what is your trainer doing to constantly move ahead to help you out? Are they attending training with someone better than them to learn and improve like our HKC/ RKC Preparation class students are, or are they sitting on their tail dispensing potentially outdated information? With standards constantly evolving within the RKC, instructors who don’t keep making these steps will get left behind. This can be seen in the pass rate of some students from other RKCs. They’re simply not being taught correctly because they haven’t taken the time to update their own knowledge and attend training events. And that’s a great shame. There is no reason why people should be paying money to trainers who aren’t making the effort to move ahead and stay current with their own training. When it’s as easily done as giving up a weekend to come and assist at an HKC you’d think more people would jump at the chance.

But I guess not everyone is as keen for their clients to maximise their success as we are.


July 30 HKC Melbourne

April 3, 2011

We’ve just announced a new date for the next HKC.

The HKC is really starting to get noticed as THE kettlebell course to attend in Australia. We’ve already had some instructors from other groups come and attend, here’s some of what they had to say about our course:

Right to the point from the start. All aspects made sense in the order of presentation. No useless information was offered. The HKC has now planted the seed for greater training potential That I will utilise in my own business. So much more informative than the AKI course. Claude Castro

Clear, precise and very comprehensive course for kettlebell fundamentals. The breakdown of movements was great. Most kettlebell trainers don’t/ can’t differentiate finer details. I have trained with every kettlebell course – IKFF, Steve Cotter, Kettlebell Training Academy and I learnt the most at this course. Muhammed Redzuan Jab Bin Nasir

And if you want a more detailed review of the whole weekend you should definitely check out TC Lee’s blog post on it.

What has impressed me most about these guys is that they have sought out training with the best. They have all travelled to train with us – Claude went to Sydney from Melbourne, Jab came from Singapore and TC came from Perth to Melbourne. Not one even thought twice about the distance. The only thing these guys were concerned about was getting the best education possible. It’s the same reason that I’ve been to the US five times (six in another week) in less than two years. Not a single course I have been to over there has CECs or PDPs attached to it. I’ve spent over $18,000 just last year alone on my education. For anyone who questions if it is worth it, well…in every case the money I spent on the course I was able to make back all within two months of attending the courses. And all of these guys, and me, are destroying our local competition all due to one thing – education.

Now, with Kinect Australia now accrediting out course (2PDPs) and with Fitness Australia poised to do so (making us one of the first in the country to have CECs attached) our courses will have even more people attending them. The commercial reality is that clients immediately see the differences in someone who is Dragon Door trained. They train without pain, and because of this they get better results. The next course is only just around the corner and you’re going to get left behind by your competitors if you don’t attend.
HKC Certification