Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Indian Clubs & Brett Jones Pt 1 - Club Swinging Essentials Preview

When you think of strong guys, what image do you have in mind? Perhaps the larger folks from the World's Strongest Man type competitions? Perhaps muscular chaps who bodybuild while picking up heavy things? Maybe it's an endurance athlete or pentathalon competitor. None of these images map easily to Brett Jones. Brett is a soft spoken guy. One might almost say unasumming in demeanor.
And yet, Brett has a reputation and demonstrated performance of a Strong Guy as the popular Brett Jones show reel on YouTube demonstrates.

Jones is also generally regarded as a Smart Strong Guy. So it's with interest that i've seen Brett connect with Indian Clubs over the past year or so, and put out a DVD on learning Indian Club technique called Club Swinging Essentials.

The following post is the first of a two part interview with Brett (part 2 is here) about understanding this new interest in working with light indian clubs. It will also explore why Brett's taking the particular approach he has in the DVD/Manual collaboration with Gray Cook and US Indian Club guru, Ed Thomas.

Through the following, you'll get a sense of Brett's background and path to where he is now: Master RKC for the kettlebell certifications, and trainer/instructor for the Functional Movement Screen, along with being the author of numerous other DVD's like the Secrets Of collection and Kalos Sthenos, on the Turkish Get Up (full list here).

Interview with Brett Jones Pt 1 - about Brett
You're running your own business as well as working for dd and fms - how does that work for you?
It’s working great. 
When did these parts start and when did they become your path - enough to feed you? Were you a trainer when you came to that first RKC (about the RKC)?
Yes I was a trainer when I went to the RKC in 2002. 
RKC Certification

A bit clearer background: 
I started into High Point University working on a degree in Sports Medicine (Athletic Training) in 1989 – graduating in 1993.  (this was an Internship program where I started training as and working as a student Athletic Trainer right away).  I worked as a Graduate Assistant Athletic Trainer while pursuing a Master’s degree at Clarion University of Pennsylvania (Master’s in Rehabilitation Sciences – Drug and Alcohol Rehab). 
But it turns out that after my first full time job as an Athletic Trainer was my last job as an Athletic Trainer – the long hours and low pay had my eyes open for other options. 
In 1997 I transitioned to running a Hospital Wellness Center in Clarion, Pa where I managed a community based fitness and wellness program for 5 years.  During this time I designed programs for just about every situation possible (stroke, Parkinson’s, wheel chair bound, joint replacements, a wide variety of orthopedic issues to name a few). 
Brett Jones, foreground
with Gray Cook
Then I worked in Pittsburgh at a private club for 2 ½  years before moving to San Diego to be a part of Iron Core (one of the first Kettlebell studios in the nation) for two years.
In 2006 I returned to Pittsburgh to once again personal train in the area. 
During this time I received my RKC in February 2002 and was promoted to Senior instructor in 2003.  So I have been teaching with the RKC for almost 8 years.  In 2007 I began teaching for Gray Cook and Functional Movement Systems. 
So basically I now keep a very small personal training clientele as I travel the country and internationally teaching RKC, FMS and my own workshops.
What do you love about your business? what do you wish you didn't have to do?
What I a love about my business is working with people and teaching trainers techniques that help their clients and their business.
Paper work has never been high on my list of “favorite” things.
You're known as a strong guy. when did this vibe begin? where did that start?
I was moderately strong in high school as a wrestler and was good at pull-ups but I didn’t begin to really develop my strength until around 2000.
What else do you do with your body besides picking up or squeezing heavy things?
Besides training and teaching I have a pretty simple life and I don’t have any competitive sports of activities at the moment.
Were the folks you grew up with into strength?
My father has been into fitness for a very long time and set a great example.
What would you say is the least physcially-related passion you have?
Wow, are you a music guy, too?
I listen to some Sirius radio stations in the car while driving and might occasionally put some music on at home but I’m not a huge music guy.
Ok, cool. So there's a bit of a background connection then to what you've continued to do through your life, and you enjoy reading. It seems these interests met in a uni degree around being physical - did you enjoy that process? anything you'd rather have changed in that process?
My degree in Athletic Training set a great foundation for my current career.  The immediate application of practical experience and knowledge would be what I enjoyed most.  8:00 am classes were never a favorite in college.
Could we talk a little bit about the physical travails of such a physically oriented guy? This may be quite interesting for folks standing outside this culture in particular. For instance, you're allergic to cats yet like 50% of the population, you have a cat - in fact two. how did that happen?
My wife and stepdaughter love cats and I didn’t want to be the only reason they didn’t have any.
That's love. Now perhaps, more profoundly, you've had a LOT of surgeries.  Would you talk about that a bit, and in particular if you feel any of those operations may have had a particular effect on your sense of self?
I have had several surgeries: Left knee arthroscopy, left inguinal hernia repair, Appendectomy, L5 – S1 laminectomy and most recently a Ventral Hernia repair with mesh.  None of these were kettlebell related and the only one that was related to weight training at all was the back injury (a bad squat attempt).  The ventral hernia repair was a result of the appendectomy. Interesting from the ventral hernia repair was a pulmonary embolism. The rehab from the ventral hernia repair was interesting and took much longer than I expected but as usual it has been a great learning experience.

As far as what has changed since surgery – I am a bit more patient with my training and with myself.  There is a lot of time to accomplish my goals.
Given this refined perspective on time, what do you think you'd like to be doing 50 years from now?
50 years from now I want to be able to relax with my family and read and just enjoy life.
Very sweet, Brett. So what do you hope folks think about you when you're not being humble?
I think I would like to be known as a teacher/educator and someone that has made a positive impact on people’s lives.
What's one thing about you you think folks don't know or wouldn't believe about you, that you would enjoy folks knowing
I am a bit of a Sci-Fi nerd and I have bit of sweet tooth.
Moving into Indian Clubs 
In the next segment, we'll be talking in more detail about the Club Swinging Essentials project. As a bit of a preview for that, here's a couple quick keys. One: indian club work is based around making circles. Two: your focus in the DVD and in what you've told me of your own personal practice is to use the clubs not for strength work but for pre-hab/re-hab. Care to rif on that for a moment?
Initially when you are focusing on the precise movements in the various postures at slower speeds there is great work on regaining the Mobility, Integrity and Efficiency of the shoulders and upper limbs.
As you begin to pick up speed in the movements there is a unique strengthening benefit.
As Pre-hab/warm up the basics of blood flow to the shoulders is true but there is also a great neurological “boost” from the integrated patterns.
In your view, where would shifting to using these for strength come in?
The decision to work with heavier clubs should be based on the individual’s goals.  I personally do enough heavier strength based work with Kettlebells.  Someone looking to train for grappling (BJJ etc…) could easily bring heavier clubs into their practice.

Next time, Part II: the Indian Club project
Thanks Brett.

Next episode will feature Brett talking about his goals for the Club Swinging Essentials dvd/manual project.

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