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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Look Straight at the Fire

Ceremony has been the most awakening experience of my life.

Before half of my readers click away, allow me to define ceremony: a set ritual or routine that has a beginning, middle and end with results that are (mostly) predictable; also the act of collecting certain elements/objects to complete an event.
Everyday ceremonies include breakfast, meetings at work, classes, and the bedtime routine. And of course preparing for a Kettlebell Sport training session. These ceremonies become like habits to us, thus requiring a low-level of awareness to complete. However, certain elements (including people) can determine the experience we have. For example, at the gym you find that the socks didn't make it into your bag. Or there is a group that usually isn't there during your gym time, and they are using your equipment. The absence or presence of key elements will affect your training.

High-level ceremonies include rites-of-passage, weddings, graduations, etc. And of course, GS competitions. I can say with complete confidence that the person leading these ceremonies has a big responsibility on his/her shoulders. Rituals of this nature are rich with meaning on multiple levels. In highly focused ceremonies people are offered a look at their role in the bigger picture. When the person leading a high-level event is well-suite to his/her position, all the participants bring or do something that contributes to the ceremony, emerge awakened to their role in the community and are loaded with wisdom to integrate into everyday life. Here is one example of said wisdom:

Don't look right, don't look left, just look straight at the Fire.

Fire is a dual element of Inspiration/Light and also Purification/Refinement. It is a metaphor for the Creative Spark in the heart of humanity. And and extremely appropriate representation of the effort required of a Kettlebell Sport athlete.

I've been training for Kettlebell Sport only three years now, but I am clear about my training sessions being a ritual. I arrive with a gym bag full of gear. As with any ceremony, not everything comes out of the bag, but some things cannot be managed without. In the past three years almost every variable has arisen to test my determination to complete a training program. It's clear to me that I'm supposed to compete.

When regular gym folks pick up ProGrade kettlebells it's obvious to me within the first 10 minutes if GS is a fit. When it's right for them, people want to continue to struggle with it, learn it and let it change them. A relationship is created that people will give into. It occupies their workouts, they want more training, more efficiency and good equipment. Soon after learning the main lifts they may look at their chances of achieving ranks, and if they are naturally competitive learn what it takes to win in their weight class.

Those folks who aren't right for Kettlebell Sport do what I did when offered Olympic Weightlifting, look at the effort, skills and time required to begin to be good at it and then take a seat with the other spectators. When we know we are not for a sport, we stand aside with respect to the athletes who are drawn to it.

Those of us who are at home in athletics know what it is to find a challenge that must be achieved. It's the thing that rivets our focus to the exclusion of everything else. Like my teacher said, there is no use looking at what other people do or what they think of you doing your thing; the Spark is very personalized between the lifter and the Fire. When the challenge has you, nothing else exists anyway. No one else gets it, but might have an idea what a privilege it is to witness. A coach understands the importance of it to the lifter and can watch your progress from across the gym.

Best wishes to you for efficient, effective and safe training.
mindbodyenergetics@gmail.com

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