The answer of course is a love of Progressive Calisthenics! This past weekend was the first ever PCC (Progressive Calisthenics Certification) Workshop, and I’m still honestly just reeling in joy with how well it went. We all had high expectations – as instructors, as participants etc. But I can safely say that everyone’s expectations were exceeded. I was honored to be an instructor (as a PCC Team Leader) along with Al Kavadlo, Danny Kavadlo, and Steven Low. When a workshop is brand new like this, you never really know how it’s going to go until you start it up. It was very clear as soon as we got going that this one was going to blow the roof off. Al and Danny set a tone of friendly leadership that was so natural that it was a sheer joy to support them. I told Al at one of our instructor meeting dinners (we may have collectively eaten a small farm over the weekend, by the way. There might be a lamb shortage in MN for a few weeks) that with the leadership tone he set, helping to instruct the highly motivated group felt nearly effortless. Order was easily maintained because everyone really wanted the info. Not to mention all the highly valuable comments, cues, and experiences which were contributed by the participants themselves. I’m confident to say that EVERYONE, myself included has come away from this weekend a better instructor than just a few days ago.
Friends on Facebook are already demanding a weekend recap – and I must apologize that I’m still taking it all in – it was a whirlwind in many regards, even for someone as time/space challenged as myself (long story, but my unusual schedule lends itself to thinking of time in less linear ways than “normal”). Back at home this update will be expanded and photos added etc etc. For now though, didn’t want to leave you hanging. On the first day, right from the start we knew we were all in for a treat as each attendee was handed the mic to briefly introduce themselves. It was a real who’s who. What really struck me though was the enthusiasm that everyone had in common. I’ve said it about a million times over the weekend, but it still holds true – those who are really into this type of training seem to have a level of self-knowledge that’s very unique. Without sounding like some kind of hippie weirdo, to really delve into Progressive Calisthenics does require a level of humility and understanding. Even at the “easy” levels, if you can’t do it right, if you haven’t made the committment of time and practice then it’s just not going to happen. People ask Al all the time “what’s the trick to ____________” and he always responds that there is no trick – you just have to DO it. Before anyone gets discouraged that they need to quit their job to work on calisthenics 24/7, it needs to be said that this practice can happen here and there in little bits throughout the day. I do a lot of practice between other tasks and even as a way to goad myself into completing some not-so-fun chores. These skills can really be practiced anywhere. Danny and I were compulsively scouting all the sign posts, and random items on the sidewalk from the event hotel all the way to one of the restaurants we were using as a meeting spot. we can’t help it! It’s an obsession!!!!
Since I’m en route home and without the usual electronic accoutrements, this will just be a “tide you over” type update. Look for more fun and fancier updates soon.
After arriving at the now legendary Dayton’s Bluff Community Center, where tons and tons and tons of Dragon Door certification workshops have happened over the years, the attendees began to register and get their hands on the giant spiralbound 600+ page PCC Instructor manuals which were written by Paul Wade. These manuals are incredible…. and I would say probably the best instructor manuals I’ve ever seen – thorough, complete with diagrams, no errors, page numbers right on the money, and just chock full of info…. I was actually worried that some of the attendees would do what I did when I received my version of the manual in advance…. and that’s to STAY UP ALL NIGHT reading the darned thing! Fortunately I think they were tired enough from the first day not to do that. Anyhow – we started right in with push up progressions and right away it was evident how accomplished this group was – the Q+A portion was evidence of that alone. Next we moved onto one of my original loves (other than caffeine)–pull ups!! The whole time, Amanda Salas and Spencer were capturing every moment on video, and interviewing attendees and instructors alike. So you can look forward to a whole lot of fun video from them. Not going to tell you what it is, but they managed to catch me on video doing some surprising feats too! 🙂 After working up a considerable appetite, we all enjoyed one of the delicious catered lunches you can expect from a Dragon Door workshop – always with plenty of good meat and salad, so I was more than happy about that.
Following lunch we came to a portion that is a new obsession of mine – to the point of which I’ve actually installed the right kind of pole to practice these at home. Over the past few months I’ve been really wanting to show very good progress towards a full on human flag (aka press flag) which is very rare for women. Dragon Door had specially purchased free standing “dancer poles” which can take a whole lot of torque (thankfully) and they stood gleaming in that chrome-y way at the front of the room. While Al spoke, Danny and I did matching demos of the techniques (let’s see you try and address a crowd on a microphone while holding any form of flag!!!) It was so fun to participate in this way, and I only hope the visual impact was as amusing for the group as it was for Danny and I.
Personally, coaching people into their first clutch flag has been something that I’ve loved for the past year – and have come up with a whole lot of (often humorous) cues that seem to click with folks. Apparently, Al, Danny, and Steven have a lot of those cues as well because an incredible number (I”ll get the exact number for you when I get the chance) of people got their very first fully legit 90-degree clutch flag on the first day. THEN several went on to nail a press flag for the first time as well. Something about Al and Danny in the room made my press flag go higher too! PLUS we all learned how to really spot someone for their maximum learning in the press flag too. People just couldn’t get enough of flagging – clutch or press… it’s just such a fun and unusual movement… and let’s be honest it makes you feel like some kind of ninja… 🙂 And well, many of us want that.
We ended the day on quite an intense subject — the often illusive muscle-up and again – many people got their very first muscle up that day. Even though people were approaching fatigue, the looks of determination were on many faces as they tried different techniques, responded to new cues, created new cues, and then ultimately landed near or on top of the bar for the very first time. Many attendees were also so skilled that they were doing reps of muscle ups too. It was an inspiring sight for all (and I’ll be sharing some cues here as well)
Time for me to get some much needed lunch, but rest assured the updates will be coming along VERY steadily as I want to document a lot of the experience for myself as well. PLEASE post your questions and comments below so I can get into the details that you want to hear most!