I didn’t think it would end this way…

Pavel Tsatsouline

Pavel Tsatsouline

A few years ago I discovered the works of Pavel Tsatsouline. For the better part of a decade I was constantly reading ads in martial arts magazines for his books on flexibility and “martial power”. At first, I thought this Russian was just another personal trainer promising results that were too good to be true.  The over-the-top marketing and seemingly ridiculous claims made it difficult for me to take his products seriously. After five years of seeing these ads and ignoring them, firsthand accounts started to trickle into my life from people in the martial art community who had tried his products and experienced exactly the results he promised.

Intrigued, I eventually tried his products starting with “Enter the Kettlebell” and my life was changed for the better. His methods delivered instant and dramatic gains in strength and flexibility, exactly as advertised. His programming transformed my physique and gave me a level of conditioning that honestly seemed freakish to those around me. His principles were instantly applicable to all manner of athletic endeavors and were directly responsible for helping me dramatically improve the performance of both myself and my students. He has continued to produce best-in-its class information on strength training that you simply will not find elsewhere. He has reverse engineered strength, flexibility and endurance and given us the tools to teach these as the skills they truly are. He gives credit where it’s due honoring the giants whose shoulder’s he stands upon and regularly gives credit to his detractors for their contributions. His RKC instructor course began in 2001 with a handful of participants and has grown into an international organization with thousands of instructors. But one of the most impressive things about this man was not his genius or physical prowess but the quality of people attracted to his ranks. The men and women of the RKC community are NOT your average personal trainers; these are men and women of the utmost integrity who walk the talk. From passionate to brilliant to world class professionals, the RKC consists of some of the most amazing men and women I’ve ever had the honor to meet.

On August 17th the head of the RKC released the followed statement:

“Ladies and gentlemen of RKC,

Due to the differences in vision between the RKC co-founders RKC will cease to exist in its current form on July 1, 2013, the day after the last scheduled RKC event.

Power by Pavel, Inc. will continue licensing its RKC manuals and its 50% stake in the RKC name and logo to Dragon Door until that date and only for the events already announced, in order to honor the commitment to the people who signed up for these workshops. Then PBP will terminate the license.

RKC was set up as a joint venture between Dragon Door and Tactical Strength, my other company, with DD providing marketing and administration and TS providing leadership and hands on instruction.

Tactical Strength, Inc., is removing itself from the RKC operation on October 29, the day after the last RKC event I had committed to teach at.

I intend to pursue my vision of RKC elsewhere, under a different name, details to be announced in a few weeks. I am sure John will do the same and I wish him best.

Power to you!

Pavel Tsatsouline

Chief RKC Instructor”

The end is near, but so is a new beginning. I am proud to call myself an RKC and I count myself fortunate to have learned from Pavel and so many great Team Leaders, Seniors and Master RKCs. I am grateful to Dragon Door and John DuCane for making the RKC possible and helping bring Pavel’s vision to life and helping so many RKCs like me.  I look forward to the future and rebirth of the RKC in whatever form Pavel sees fit with excitement and optimism.

If you thought the RKC was great before I’ve a feeling we’re about to have our minds blown.

Pippin: I didn’t think it would end this way.

Gandalf: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path… One that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass… And then you see it.

Pippin: What? Gandalf?… See what?

Gandalf: White shores… and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

Pippin: Well, that isn’t so bad.

Gandalf: No… No it isn’t.


The sun is setting on the RKC as we know it.
Here’s to a swift sunrise!

The Author performing "pistols" at sunset

Become a Pistolero

Whether you seek to master your bodyweight, develop the kicking power of a martial arts legend or freedom from the gym the single leg squat a.k.a. “Pistol” may be just what you’re looking for.

At first glance everyone has the same reaction… Their eyes bulge, the jaw drops and then finally comes the statement “That can’t be safe!”  We’ll, if it’s not safe… you’re not doing it right.

The Pistol is a  POWERFUL tool and like any powerful tool, when used improperly it can have unintended consequences. So reinvent the wheel or in this case the pistol at your own risk because instruction in this technique is best left to the experts.

There are a few things to consider before taking on the pistol…

Progressions: The key to mastering this technique is the wise use of pistol progressions and regressions. Typically I advise starting by practicing partial pistols to an elevated surface such as a bench, or low step.

Squatting: If you can’t squat safely with two legs, then you’re obviously not ready for the pistol. By taking one leg out of the equation the pistol is basically twice as hard as a normal squat, not to mention the added challenge of balancing on one foot.

Knee Health: If your knees are already shot, then this technique is best kept on the shelf.

Flexibility: Your ankles, hips, Hamstrings, Back and even shoulders will need sufficient flexibility and mobility.
If you know you have serious flexibility or mobility issues in any of these areas then address them first.

Ab Strength: One common limiting factor is the ability to maintain a high amount of abdominal tension long enough to complete the technique. This is especially true when adding a “heavy” weight to the pistol.

Want to Become a Pistolero? 
Check out the following excellent resources:

Owner of Omaha Elite Kettlebell: John Scott Stevens, RKCII, CKFMS

  • Read the Naked Warrior and watch it’s companion DVD to learn how to get strong anywhere using nothing but your own body-weight to master the one arm push-up or pistol.