No, it’s not like that… sort of
MFD lift of the day: Jerk press. Max Effort style (hey, powerlifters stole the concept from the world of weightlifting)!
Combo Catch of the Day: Although not listed on our list of GPP combos yet, we’ll cal this one the David Lee Roth. It’s simple: sandbag burpees/cleans/presses. 30 reps for time. Here’s a couple of reps from our lucky model AJ, who is a client of mine at 6 am 3 days a week. That bag looks sort of small in his hands because he’s 6′ 8”! This is roughly rep 19-22…
No, it’s not like that…sort of.
Yesterday’s post could be construed easily as my disapproval for Crossfit, but, as those of you who have worked with me a bunch know, that simply isn’t the case. I’ll even put forth that Crossfit is an effective tool within a physical culturalist’s tool box. It isn’t the program (or any program), it’s the sheep. And this isn’t limited to Crossfit AT ALL, which has, towards the top of their power structure, a collection of utterly brilliant, and freakishly athletic, people.
How about a nice, non-workout related anecdote to sort of drive the point home:
About 2 years ago I saw Public Enemy in concert, something I’ve been trying to do since missing them tour un-ironically with metal band Anthrax almost 20 years ago. The S1W’s opened the show with their confusing brand of militia-inspired march/dance (should I be intimidated or is this ridiculous?), and then out came the infamous duo of Flava Flav and Chuck D.
Apart from the fact that the sound was atrocious (is hip hop hard to amplify in an amphitheater situation?), there was something happening between the audience and the band that was painful enough to watch that a strange twist in my stomach made me have to leave. I was reminded of a memorable anecdote from The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test. Ken Kesey and Paul Krassner were watching Paul Jacobs turn an anti-war ‘teach in’ into what seemed, through charisma, rhetoric and simple volume, something a bit more fascist:
Nodding toward Jacobs, Kesey says:
“Look up there,”…”Don’t listen to the words, just the sound, and the gestures…who do you see?”
And suddenly Krassner wants very badly to be right….”Mussolini…?”
PE sent similar shivers up my spine. Songs about anti-oppression and self empowerment were being turned into call-and-response games, seemingly twisting ‘power of the people’ into power OVER the people. The mostly-inebriated crowd was ever so willing to loudly scream whatever Flav instructed them to. And no matter how harmless it seemed, it felt prudent to ‘fight the power,’ so I left, with a slightly sunken feeling that might be akin to Kesey’s observations during Paul Jacobs speech.
Can I get a “hell yeah” for thinking for yourself?
Can there be a successful movement with an underlying theme of free thought? Can equality exist within a leader/follower scenario? Is A-rod really doing the Qaballah Mamba with Madonna? Do these jeans make my ass look fat? Please don’t answer any of those.
“Teacher” and “leader” are often perceived as synonymous, as are the words “mentor and “guru.” But let’s make a case that an educator should strive for a goal of their pupil’s self realization. This switches the concept of teacher/leader to teacher/mentor. Within the argot of clan, tribe or cult, a Guru might have positive significance, but in a jaded modern vernacular, ‘Guru’ has taken the meaning of ‘manipulator’ or ‘brain washer.’ Let’s not insinuate anything, these are just things to think about, that Guru and Mentor seem to invoke different connotations in people. ‘Guru,’ in western culture, seems like a self-appointed title of power and persuasion, especially in our silly little fitness world (“I am expert”), where ‘mentor’ is more often an actual role than simply a title, and often not self appointed. (“he/she teaches”).
This is what led Mel Siff to create his Guru Terminology Kit, which is an ever growing collection of hyperbole, catch phrases and advertising copy used by so-called experts (gurus) to sell their branding. Mel’s idea was if we can be consciously aware of the manipulation, then we can build greater skills of reasoning to discern if, behind the hype, there was actual merit. Often there might be, sometimes there ain’t.
The American Kettlebell Club is doing some interesting and impressive things recently, as our extended Bodytribe member Craig will attest to. But what do we actually learn about them from excerpts of their website like these (emphasis is mine, adding to the Guru Terminology Kit):
“There isn’t any one thing that solidifies Fitness, but what’s fascinating is Kettlebells enhance every one of these attributes and our methods seem to do it better and faster than anything else. Of course you can specialize, but Kettlebell Lifting, and particularly Kettlebell Sport IS a specialization in the general. Kettlebells ARE Fitness.”
“…Same with Powerlifters… They are masters of the Strength category, but overeating and overemphasis sometimes diminishes the other attributes of Fitness. Not Kettlebells. They seem to enhance all pieces of the Fitness puzzle at the same time.”
Here’s a kettlebell:
I’ve seen quite a few in my time. I’ve watched them just sit there on the ground doing their thing, lounging around being heavy. The didn’t ‘enhance’ anything. They aren’t ‘fitness,’ especially under my definition of increasing the quality of life through movement. As Trainer Allyson commented, they just sit there.
Can you take away some top notch info from AKC? Heck yeah. But only with discerning eyes should you pierce the hyperbolic veil. Otherwise you might be led to believe that an inert piece of iron has magic powers.
Now for an example of there being absolutely no teeth behind the hype. Let’s play a game. Let’s pack our Guru Terminology Kit with all the fancy gobbly-gook that comes from the following video. From the overuse of the words ‘tone’ (?!?), ‘lower ab’ and ‘longer, leaner muscles,’ to the utter lie of how she ‘created’ moves that have been in the lifting catalog for over a century, this video makes me want to hurt someone (Thanks, Dean, for sharing… damn you).
I commented on the video, but the moderator wouldn’t post it (surprisingly). It was:
That’s not a kettlbell, that’s barely a step above a cat’s toy. Dance aerobics while holding a small ball in your hands is NOT kettlebell training, and calling it such is insulting to folks who actually TRAIN. Keep up the dancing, you’re obviously quite good at it (really), but put the prop down.
Now let’s get lifting and just all remember what we do this for!!