Saturday, August 29, 2009

Training on Sunday 8/30/09

Kettlebellers ---

Due to the unhealthy air quality from the fires, I am cancelling KBLA's Sunday 7am class tomorrow.

Stay indoors during the fires and stay safe.

Looking forward to seeing each & every one of you when I get back from RKC San Diego!


Dr. Mark Cheng, L.Ac., Ph.D., FMS, RKC Team Leader

Sent via mobile phone

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Yin & Yang of Kettlebells - What is real Power?

Russian Kettlebell training has always been seen as hardcore, as strong, as aggressive (or yang) in its movement. But there's a balance. There's a yin side to the training as well.

For those of you who follow the RKC's principles, tension = strength. If you can't generate tension, you can't demonstrate strength.

However, the equation is a little more complicated than it first appears. Power is evidenced by the change in tension per unit of time. So the greater the change in tension through the smaller the amount of time, the greater the power output.

THUS... if you're fairly stiff to begin with, and then you generate an MVC (Maximum Volitional Contraction) in say 0.5 seconds, the change in tension levels isn't going to be that impressive.

However, if you're able to relax your muscles to the point of almost total flaccidity and then generate the same MVC in the same 0.5 seconds, your power output is phenomenally better than if you were stiff.

This is where the concept of "intelligent mobility" comes in to play.

If you spend all day stretching and kneading your body until you're as pliable as Gumby, that's great as far as being able to tie yourself into postures that'll be the envy of everyone at yoga class. But it doesn't necessarily mean jack when it comes to having the power to punch through a car window or an attacker's larynx to save a life.

I first heard this principle from my Combat Shuai-Chiao master's elder son, Sifu James Lin, before I started training with kettlebells under Pavel Tsatsouline. The late Grandmaster Chang Tung-sheng believed that stretching too much can actually inhibit your strength and power. Thus, Master Lin said that it's not good for a fighter to be too flexible.

This is where the Turkish Get-Up & Viking Warrior Conditioning methods come in. The Turkish Get-Up, taught in the FMS-influenced manner, is one of the premier movement patterning exercises in the US today. Its slow, precise movement trains the body to use its musculoskeletal system in the most linked fashion possible, giving you strength and control while developing grace and coordination.

The RKC Hard Style snatch with the VO2 protocols developed by Kenneth Jay train the body like no other to load & explode like a cross between a cheetah and Michael Jordan. When combined with the Turkish Get-Up, these two exercises will help you maximize your human movement potential like few others can!

Who in their right mind wouldn't want to have a physical training regimen that gave them strength through a maximal range of motion?

Who doesn't like the idea of having both the POWER and COORDINATED CONTROL to both pull a child to safety in a crisis situation OR to comfortably handle an unruly person in a non-life-threatening situation?

Who doesn't have a few pounds that they'd like to shave off in the right places?

When Master RKC Kenneth Jay & I hit Irvine, CA to teach our Yin & Yang of Kettlebells workshop at Kettlebells Orange County, be ready for some of the most detail oriented training of your life.

The 4+ hours you spend training with us will leave your brain (and probably a few muscles) aching for more... more insights... more training... more fun... more mobility... and more POWER without bulk.

The available slots may already be sold out. But drop Kingston Heng, RKC, a line at and see if he'll squeeze you in.

The Viking & I are looking forward to seeing you!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

How to make your wishes come true

I'll do a blogpost on something more corrective & kettlebell related soon, but I just had a Facebook conversation with a friend that brought to mind a lot of conversations that I've had over the past year(s).

As I look at today's date (18 August 2009), I realized that I've yet to complete my SCHEDULED travel for this year. I still have San Diego, St. Paul, New York, New Jersey, Korea, and perhaps 1 more destination on tap before the holiday season.

And the roster for the first HALF of next year (2010) is looking pretty hectic already. Australia & New Zealand in late January & early February, probably a couple of domestic trips in late Feb - April (including Gray Cook's CK-FMS workshop in St. Paul in May), Scotland in May (or June), followed by Denmark in late May, and Japan sometime in June or July.

One of the comments I keep hearing is "You're so lucky to get to travel like that". And the other is "You're so lucky that you get to meet & train with the people you do."


Not a day goes by that I don't count my blessings. From the people I get to meet, to the people I get to teach, to the people I get to study and train with, it's frickin' amazing being me.

But for every sunrise, there's a sunset. Don't get me wrong. I'm not boohooing my life, but there'll come a time when the piper needs to get paid, and I keep thinking back to that line in Spiderman where "With great power comes great responsibility."

And that just reminds me how much work I have yet to do to make the most of what I've been taught, what I've had the chance to learn, what resources I've been given, and what people I've had the blessings to have in my life. And that keeps the fire lit under my backside at all hours, every day, in every season, year after year.

If you want to live your dreams, be ready to suffer. If you can work hard enough to suffer, you'll get to have glimpses of the best parts of your dreams in the moments of your waking hours.

To all of you who've come into my life, thank you for all the richness you've brought to it. Whether from meeting me at the Inosanto Academy and telling me that you learned English from my articles & columns in Black Belt Magazine, from talking to me at an RKC instructor workshop and telling me that a blogpost made the difference for you in your rehab, from an e-mail of thanks from a clinic patient who can finally breathe deeply without pain, to the sweet hugs & kisses I get from my beloved wife & son at the end of a day, YOU ALL ARE PART OF MY DREAMS COME TRUE.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Training with Legends

I'm sorry it's been a bit longer than usual since my last blogpost. Right now, I don't think I could possibly be busier unless I changed my name to John Du Cane. Normally, I like to share some insights with my blog readers, but this post is going to be a glimpse into one of the most hectic, yet rewarding, days I've had in ages.

This week, I've had the pleasure and honor of having Dr. Vadim Kolganov visiting me here in Los Angeles. As we both share three common loves (Hard Style kettlebell training, manual medicine, and martial arts), there never seems to be enough hours in the day.

We both couldn't help but realize that +2 hour training sessions felt like barely 30 minutes, even when wearing a thick Judo gi top in the Los Angeles summer heat. Whether reviewing Sambo fundamental mobility drills, throw set-ups & entries, pins, submissions, or Kali blade work with Guro John Spezzano, the training sessions were always over far too soon.

Yesterday was an action packed day. Starting with a morning get-together with Dr. Kolganov & RKC Chief Instructor Pavel Tsatsouline for a brief workout, we continued on with a private training session for Raleigh Enterprises President, Mark Rosenthal, who is graciously hosting Dr. Kolganov at the Sunset Marquis Hotel & Villas, and after a couple of errands, returned back to the Rosenthal house for a powwow with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu/JKD/Kali expert, Prof. Roy Harris.

To watch two brilliant minds and two high level experts like Harris & Kolganov exchange technique and talk about their favorite techniques in their respective fields of experience and preference was about as cool an experience as someone could hope for in martial arts. Dr. Kolganov gifted a kurtka (Sambo jacket) to Prof. Harris and shared techniques from both Sambo wrestling & Retuinskih's ROSS system, and Prof. Harris shared his insights into Kalis Ilustrissimo weaponry, the JKD mindset of streetfighting, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Later in the evening, Dr. Kolganov & I drove down to the Perform Better Summit in Long Beach and met up with Functional Movement System masterminds Gray Cook & Brett Jones. Every time I meet up with Gray, no matter how short the interaction, I always leave with some clinical pearl (or 10) that leaves me both dumbfounded and inspired at the same time. By the time we made it down to Long Beach last night, I was dead tired. On the drive back, I was re-energized from Gray's insights, keenly aware of how much and how urgently I have to grow and improve as a clinician.

Today.... R&R.