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Sunday, December 23, 2012


As a multi-faceted athlete I have taken a winding road toward Girevoy Sport. Like many others, I came to kettlebells after several years in the martial arts. The first and most profound teaching I was given as a martial artist is that commitment to the practice will give something that can never be taken away.

The late Koichi Tohei-Sensei (died 2011), founder of Shin Shin Toitsu (Mind and Body Unification) Aikido, or Ki-Aikido*, was tapped into this same wisdom. He knew that he could not personally teach everyone who walked into his dojo so he wrote principles to guide the teachers of his line.

Principles of Learning Ki:
  • Have a mind like a mirror
  • Persevere
  • Practice in daily life
  • Change the subconscious mind
  • Teach what you have learned

For this blog I have picked out the word "persevere" because it addresses athletes on a universal level. Though it is the only single-word principle in the above list, it has implications on every level of our reality. If you Google the word you will see that it is a verb that describes direction with the pretense of resistance.

Those of us who have chosen Girevoy Sport have chosen the pretense of resistance. May this post serve to support your direction in the pursuit of unquestionably difficult goals.
  • Psychology of winning is a fine art. Tell yourself what you are doing well. Always practice the way you want to perform. Get outside perspective and form corrections from trusted experts often as possible.
  • Emotionally set yourself up for challenges that you are likely to achieve. There are large growth phases in between amateur and professional weight loads. Set a goal that pushes your limit, and will not kill you in the preparation. Mental and emotional exhaustion will derail performance.
  • Physically recognize the nature of our bodies. Our livers have two-week cycles in which they restore and detoxify all of our blood. Therefore, micro-cycles and multi-stage training are realistic models to maximize growth and test performance potential. After a test or major competition, honor your nervous system with complete rest.
  • Community connection. Once you have decided on your goal and event, consult a coach who trains athletes in your sport. Train at a gym where your goals are honored, with other GS athletes if possible. Share equipment with more advanced lifters and get to know your gym mates.

For those who are beginning GS, join social communities like facebook, or look up international organizations to find coaches and fellow-athletes. You must have specialized equipment, so check out sources of "pro-grade" kettlebells while you're online. YouTube videos show endless examples of World Class lifting as well as amateur test sets. Take it all in, and above all, persevere.

For information about GS lifting in Boulder, CO, contact Christian at

*For information about Ki-Aikido:
"List of Ki Society" tab gives world-wide Ki-Aikido dojos.