Sunday at the Disney Wide World of Sports Pavilion thankfully began with another much needed Qigong Morning Recharge session – which unfortunately seemed all too short. …Could easily be talked into attending a certification workshop for this as well – (HINT HINT, DRAGON DOOR). Afterwards we reassembled into our teams for one final practice of the crucial RKC 6 exercises – the form tests would soon follow so this last time to run through everything and ask those last questions was super important. The group "troubleshooting" sessions (where we would watch someone perform an exercise, then help them with fine tuning or whatever else needed fixing) were particularly beneficial – the critical thinking practice there continues to help me (and those who train with me). At the time of the certification I was (and still continue) to work on some confidence issues, and the troubleshooting sections really helped with real-world scenarios. Long after the workshop was over, I heard second hand remarks of "why does she second guess herself? She knows the right answer!" Not going to elaborate much other than sometimes it feels like the friends I have and have made through the RKC have helped me to climb out of something best visualized like this. Not fully out of there yet, but I do have a good firm grip on a railing at the edge. And thanks to all the heavy swings, cleans, snatches and pull up practice I have a wicked wicked grip. Anyhow, enough with being what could be construed as overly "dramatic".
The teams then fragmented into smaller groups so that each RKC candidate could be individually tested on each exercise – I was in a group of 3 other people with Thayne Shatah in charge of checking our form (other teaching assistants and team leaders came by and offered additional support/criticaleye as well). We went down the line, performing each exercise as Thayne watched and took detailed notes. Tension (not just the bodily sort required for correct hardstyle kettlebell work) was very high at this point. Again, I really had been training diligently for over a year for this day – the thought of not passing was literally too devastating to consider. At a few points throughout the day I had to watch not to psych myself out – I would need a lot of courage and confidence to survive the "teaching of the general public" not to mention the initiation rites, erm I mean "Grad Workout" which still awaited us. Technique testing ended up being fairly quick and painless – I stayed focused and in the moment, aware of myself in space but also aware of my surroundings – but with a balanced approach, not obsessive or fixated – similar to the feeling of when Deborah and I would practice Tai Chi back in DeLand, FL.
A break and Q&A with Pavel immediately followed. These Q&A sessions were quite valuable – imagine having Pavel and tons of other top people in the RKC community right there, ready to answer any question. Advice: jot down questions before you get there, and during your time at the workshop for these opportunities. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember a crucial question after you’ve been working hard, or after being tested! We were then given the course evaluation sheets to fill out – these were rather extensive and they thankfully gave us about half an hour to complete them. Make sure you do a good job, your comments may be chosen to appear on the Dragon Door website – mine were! 🙂 During this time our team leaders and teaching assistants were meeting to evaluate OUR performance as well – and to decide who would pass the technique portion.
Just before lunch, Andrea Du Cane explained how the training of the "victims" would work – and what we should do. Part of the challenge of passing the RKC is to be able to teach someone how to perform the drills – we are afterall training to be instructors! Took a lot of notes during this part – to make sure that I’d be ready – the main thing was to not try and fix EVERYTHING at once – which is great advice for the training then as well as when introducing people to kettlebells. Don’t want to give too much away here, but I was really nervous – in the past practicing teaching others, I was too verbose or tried to fix too many things at once. As an instructor it’s important to find your groove and style of teaching – and to communicate effectively. We would be teaching the swing (using our teaching drills), starting the get up and creating a mini workout. I still have the original notes from this and reference them before giving intro classes even almost a year later. Did I mention you’ll get a LOT of valuable info at the RKC?
While we ate, the "victims" were outside being organized. I was curious to see who all would show up from our local area – I had sent the sign up link to a lot of local people – some who knew each other, and generally a wide variety of friends. Going to admit, I was seriously nervous about messing this part up – its hard to be put on the spot one on one, though this does get a lot easier with experience – the training I have done over the past year would have been a real help to my confidence there. Guess what I’m trying to say is that you should definitely practice teaching someone – at the very least, a family member, friend or roommate – just make sure to mix it up so you can communicate effectively with whoever you may be paired!
I was paired up with a very active looking guy about my own age – who insisted he had never used kettlebells before. We began with some joint mobility exercises and amusingly, he seemed to be rather entertained with some of the hip mobility exercises, remarking "oh! this is very SEXY exercise!" My useful alter ego "all-business-cap’n-clueless" popped into action and responded with a subtle snort but kept me from a mixture of cracking up/losing it/turning-an-odd-shade-of-red. As we went through the rest of the warm up/joint mobility exercises I noticed that he had great mobility, flexibility and a whole lot of proprioception going on. So I asked if he was into martial arts or yoga – again "nope!". Hmmmm….. Oh well! As we began the drills which lead to the kettlebell swing, he was doing REALLY rather well with everything – so well that I was disappointed that I wasn’t able to point out too much going wrong – and was not getting much of a chance to use some of the new corrective drills we had been learning. I did manage to work in a few during the session – as explanations rather than corrections, which seemed to go over well, he did exhibit some small improvements at that point too. When we finally came around to doing a kettlebell swing – I said – OK…. how long have you been working with kettlebells, seriously. At that point he owned up and said that he had been training with someone for a while – and had been involved with Taekwondo since childhood. AHA! Note to would-be-victims – if you’re going to try and pull a fast one like this, goof up (but be safe) your form a bit ok? During all of this, our team leaders and teaching assistants were walking around, helping people out when necessary, observing our performance, taking notes. After just a little bit, we were asked to come up with a workout on the fly and use the last 10 minutes to give our "victims" a good sweat. In addition to swings, I added in some plank variations, farmer’s walks, and some basic drills. Managed to wear him out a good bit – which was satisfying after all that deception!