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Testimonials from the IKFF Kettlebell seminar with Steve Cotter, June 28th, 2009.

CIMG3013Last week’s class with Steve Cotter here in Tokyo Japan was a resounding success. Just watching him at work with the class attendees made me realize that the subtleties to this seemingly simple sport are endless.That, plus our demonstration for several top level kick boxers and a UFC fighter meant that the word continues to spread, with all people attending acknowledging a new definition of personal strength and power was potentially theirs through the kettlebell.

But enough from me! I will let those that attended speak for themselves.
Kettlebells are on the way up in Japan!


Hey Mark!
Yeah, yesterday was fun.
I’m not that strong yet, but because I’m doing some training at the gym I assumed that my muscles wouldn’t hurt after the workshop. But soon after getting back home I started feeling the muscles in my forearms. Then it was my lower back and arms. This morning it is my lower and upper back, shoulders, ass, forearms, legs… It is obvious that yesterday’s workshop touched many muscles that I don’t usually train in my normal training. I’m quite impressed actually.

But in my opinion the most interesting part was when at the end we sat in a circle and talked to Steve. I went there without knowing who Steve is or where kettlebells come from. For all I knew, kettlebells might just have been the idea of some random guy thinking “hey, let’s add a handle to this heavy ball and see what happens”. But then Patrick asked Steve about the kettlebells, and he started explaining the background, where they come from, their strengths and weaknesses, and how they compare to other types of training. I realized that there’s a deep background going back many years. This made me run a couple of searches on Google yesterday and I actually spent a lot of time reading about the sport.


Hi Mark,
First of all my thanks to you and Steve for running the workshop it was really a great session!
I connected to Steve yesterday evening after he sent a request. It’s been funny seeing the videos of us roaming Tokyo!
Anyway back to the seminar I thought Steve was a great teacher, knowledgeable, confident and readily able to break down the finer points of techniques into easily realizable steps and drills. Having done a bit before we didn’t really cover much new ground but those finer points very definitely helped me a lot (As it did when you spotted I was out of alignment! Thank you!  On top of this the warm-ups and stretches before, during and after really added a lot of interesting stuff to my exercise “toolbox” I’m looking forward to rolling those into regular training sessions (At least what I can remember! )
I think that the session was nicely spread out. At the time I could have easily done more “sets” but looking back that would have been ill chosen and probably crippling today. As it is I’m out of condition and so a bit achy but definitely in the good way. Mostly the backside and abs but the rest of the body knows it’s had a good workout too! 😉
I’m looking forward to training with Steve again someday and in the meantime to the IKFF’s future here in Japan!
Thanks again,


I have been training with kettlebells for 4 years and am always amazed at how much more there is to learn about the finer points of kettlebell lifting at Steve’s workshops. This one was no exception. I stepped out of my 12kg kettlebell lifting comfort zone, did the entire workshop using the 16kg kettlebell, had fun, worked hard, and achieved some personal bests. As an athlete, I want to be able to stay relaxed under pressure and to have the strength and endurance to go longer.

Steve did a great job in breaking down each move into progressions that build upon one another. I learned how to train to be the tortoise and not the hare while gaining insight into improving my efficiency and numbers on timed sets. I went beyond what I thought I was capable of by making small adjustments to employing the proper form and breathing techniques while working the body as one unit. I literally couldn’t stop sweating throughout the workshop. It was all very gratifying and I walked away feeling confident about pushing a heavier weight for higher reps. Thanks for an incredible workshop!


–I have used KBs for cardio but I didn’t know how intense it could be using timed workouts rather than reps. I’ve done sets to achieve 200 KB swings in one workout, I’ve doing KB Manmakers and Brutal Minimal Fitness,  but those weren’t nearly intense as 1 minute two-handed swings; 1-minute one-handed swings (left and then right); and one-minute of alternate swings. I didn’t count the reps but I’m sure I exceeded 200. I was relieved to hear that my back muscles being fatigued was a normal result of the swing workout and not any neurological problem or nerve impingement. (good question from Javier), and that the swing, when properly executed, is a back strengthener.
— I was surprised to find out how weak my left-hand grip vs. my right, and how inflexible I am on one side of my body vs. the other. I probably wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t go through the dynamic warm-ups and KB exercises in that order. I thought I was flexible in my hips, but I know now that I need more work on them.
— I’ve always thought that my routine of body weight exercises, cardio workouts and KB work would prepare me for just about anything. But today, I have a lot of delayed muscle soreness in places I rarely have. I bet I’ll also be more sore tomorrow as more DOMS sets in.  I was also breathing in reverse order for swings, cleans, presses.

— I like Steve’s analogies and descriptions. For example, using the chimney to tame the arc and that KB workouts are much more aerobic than other forms of strength work. Athletes must move in all directions, not just simply backward and forward.      DSC00053
I knew that Steve was in great shape before. Seeing him was just a confirmation of that. I was a bit surprised that he was much leaner than I thought, more of a compact dense muscularity. When I think of it, there are very few instructors that lead from the front like that. He did EVERY exercise through the full round  and then whenever we encountered difficulty, he had an alternate exercise that would help us in form, grip, flexibility. He was concerned about safety and our capabilities. He wouldn’t put us through anything he couldn’t deal with himself. That was cool and inspiring. The fact that he was 39 was inspiring because he has to maintain that high level of fitness over the years. When I told him I was 51 years old, he said, no, I was 51 years young.

Having just returned myself from Certified Kettlebell Teacher training level One and Two in Malaysia, I am now better equipped to provide all who come to me wishing to learn the way of the kettlebell with the highest level information on joint mobility, flexibility and working through their own physical limitations towards real strength.

So, if you are interested in unleashing your own physical potential, drop me a line!
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Mark Atkinson
IKFF Certified Kettlebell Teacher and Fitness & Movement Dynamics Level Two Instructor



About Marc

international businessman and consultant, life coach, world traveler and wandering mystic who loves keeping fit and is endlessly learning how to lead a healthy life.

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