I Am Not Afraid

Originally Posted May, 2010


There was no dragon, just an unbelievable view of another mountain range.

A friend once told me that the word gorgeous was too big to use when describing a person. She said it was to be saved for the inexplicable vastness of the ocean or the immeasurable distance of the stars. It is reserved for thoughts and ideas that are beyond the ability of people to understand.

The view from where I am standing today is gorgeous.

I had no idea what to expect in Russia. I was scared to death. I just knew that I had to go. I had done too much, I had come to far, I put so much into this. I had looked under every rock, almost.

I have done so many certifications. I am sure I have done almost all of them. I am at the point now where if I learn one thing over a certification weekend I am satisfied that my money was not wasted. I told myself before I left that this would be my last cert. I was not prepared for what was waiting for me.

It is not that everything I knew about lifting a Kettlebell was rewritten. I wasn’t wrong about everything. I had many of the pieces but some were in the wrong spots. Some were facing the wrong way. I always tell new students that we are all amateurs and I believe that more today than I did before I left.

The room was filled with Masters Of Sport World Class lifters, Honored Masters of Sport, and an Honored Coach of Russia. They literally had the guy who wrote the book on Kettlebell lifting Vladimir Tikhonov PHD, even The Great Mishin, 10-time world champion/ 20 time champion of Russia/ 7 time champion of USSR. They Had Sergey Rachinskiy, Honored Coach of Russia, HMS, MSWC, 9-time world Champion/ 12 time champion of Russia. However, it was Coach Sergey Rudnev that stole the show.


Sergey Leonidovich


HMS, MSWC, Honored Coach of Russia, 4-time world champion.

Professor of the department of physical education and sport, Giveroy Sport specialization, Far East Military Institute. Trainer of the Far East Military Command school team: 1995-2008. Trainer of the Amur region team: 1995 till present. Trainer of the Russian National Team 2008-present.

Coach Rudnev has trained thousands of Kettlebell lifters in his career. I have never met another person who had such understanding when it came to coaching a lift. He corrects your body; he gets in your head. He makes you want to be a better lifter, then he shows you how to do it.

He makes it seem so simple. He has charts and graphs and rules that apply for some bodies and not for others. For those other folks he has a different set of rules, he always has another way.

Mishin has a unique style. His rack, from what I was told by Rudnev, has only worked for him. There has never been another lifter of significance who has lifted with the Mishin style. But it worked for him and he had more success than any other Kettlebell lifter ever.

So Mishin started to teach me. It was quite a thrill. He said that because of my frame and natural strength it would work well for me. Rudnev disagreed. He pointed out that of all of those who tried it has only worked for Mishin. He asked me if I knew I needed to build endurance and flexibility. He asked if when I did would I lose weight? He said that once I lose the weight the Mishin rack would not work. They argued about it. It was awesome.

Rudnev won the argument.

Things started to click. The bells started to move. Rudnev explained how to program for competition training in delicate detail. He did not just tell me I was inflexible, he taught me how to change it. He explained the subtleties between a guy who can snatch 60 per hand and 90 per hand. He knew everything and it was easy for him. He left me speechless.

The Great Mishin’s poster goes on my gym wall. But I won’t rest until I earn a look of respect from the greatest coach I have ever seen.

The climb to this point has been hard. Hard enough for me to almost walk away, but I’m still here. The view from where I am at is daunting; the mountains are epic and they roll as far as I can see. But this time I have a map. I know where to place my feet. I know which way to go. I have already started.

And I am not afraid.