Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kettlebells in Korea: Jon & Doc's Excellent Adventure, Days 1 & 2

The CEO of Kettlebell Korea, Mr. Kenneth Lee, practicing the Naked Get-Up progression

Annyong hasseyo? Howdy from the Land of the Morning Calm!

The RKC's favorite Chinaman & TKD master are over here in Seoul, Korea, about to start Day 2 of our excellent adventure here. I should've brought the USB cable to be able to post pics directly to my blog, but I'll have to post some individually after I get back stateside or just point you to my Facebook page (search for to see the ones I was able to upload via iPhone.

Immediate impressions upon landing: It's FRICKIN' COOOOOOOOLD!
I haven't seen snow in person since a brief encounter back at the April RKC in 2008, and far too many years of shoveling it in my childhood. When I walked out of Incheon International and saw the white stuff descending from the heavens, I thought (to borrow a phrase) "No good can come of this."

Exhasuted from the trip, I fell asleep in the car on the ride to the center where our host is housing us. A hot shower & a comfortable bed made falling asleep far too easy.

The morning of our first day in Korea was spent preparing our organizer (Kenneth Lee) for the work that lay ahead of him. Deadlift, Swing, & a very brief intro to the Naked Get-Up put his brain into overdrive, along with giving him a taste of what Hard Style is really about. He'd taken an instructor course with a non-RKC group before, so I knew right away we'd be rocking his world off the foundations upon which it was built.

He struggled with the changes and the concept of "tension is strength", but you could tell that his brain was ruminating on everything he was fed from us all day long. During the meetings we had in the later morning & afternoon with some of Seoul's mega-gyms (we're talking like 11 floors in some of these, folks!), I heard his presentation go from simply pitching kettlebells as a new training tool to explaining the merits of the Hard Style method. From one meeting to the next, you could almost hear the gears turning in his head as he was mentally digesting the information taught to him in the morning.

Interestingly, one of the people we met with is an instructor who goes by the nickname of JK. JK's an enthusiastic member of the Gray Cook fan club, he's Titleist Performance Institute certified, and he's got some of Korea's top pro-golfers coming in to train with him one after another.

By the evening, Mr. Lee helped translate for us while we taught a small presentation to some physical therapists. And I heard him recap the material Jon & I'd taught him that morning almost point-for-point. "Korea's off to a good start!" I thought.

The next day was more of the same. Jon & I awoke early, had a massive Korean-style breakfast, and then spent the rest of the morning exchanging Taekwondo & Combat Shuai-Chiao training before Mr. Lee arrived. Going over the TGU in high definition blew his mind again & again, and Jon Engum's presentation on the Clean & Press using the principles of high tension made a bunch of light bulbs go off (both in the morning & evening presentations).

The afternoon was once again filled with meetings. From seeing Korean high-tech applications to fitness training to meeting with the Korean Olympic weight training facility directors, the meetings were high powered all the way.

The 2nd evening picked up where we left off, but with a slightly larger group. Jon & I sped through the Naked & Turkish Get-Ups, the Clean & Press, and the Snatch in what must've been record time. It's been an absolute pleasure to have Jon Engum along with me on this trip, since watching him teach is a reminder of some of the useful cues that I tend to overlook or fail to appreciate.

Again, more pics will be posted when we get back to the States, and more adventures will be posted hopefully at the end of today. We've got 2 interviews & a photo shoot today, so hopefully I'll have a chance for a nap somewhere before then!

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