The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

TacFit Spetznaz Kettlebell
If you are irritated by marketing hype, I ask you to ignore that twitch in Scott's case--he's just doing what you have to do to get noticed in the marketplace. Otherwise, some of the best, and most intelligent innovations can get lost in the blizzard, and in Scott's case, that would be a tragedy. The reason? He is quite possibly the very best fitness guy out there. I certainly think so, but can't quite separate out the fact that:
1) his stuff is a perfect evolution from flesh to spirit.
2) he is a brother and dear friend.
1) he is an international martial arts champion, and therefore he is simply incapable of creating a product that isn’t effective, efficient, and slanted toward my own interests.
2) His stuff is exotic—there isn’t anything quite like it. Therefore it appeals to the part of me always looking for “something different.”
Separate from those things, his information is just…phenomenal, useful, hyper-efficient, and no b.s. Yeah, he uses hype. But if you look at the fitness marketplace, and all of the utter crap out there, you understand that good people go broke unless they blow their own horns.
That’s the context. About a year ago, Scott started talking about his TacFit program, which grew out of FlowFit and other Rmax International goodies. If the guy had a weakness, it was that his material wasn’t organized for turn-key application. You really had to have a highly developed intuition about your body. His material was clearly sequenced for advanced athletes and martial artists. FlowFit changed that, actually teaching intuition and subjective measurement of stress/strain. In one 17-minute practice he combined all basic components of fitness and physical health, requiring no equipment. Excellent.
TacFit took this idea further, into the development of more advanced and intense components of fitness. He had folded about fifteen different fitness components—that I could identify—into the program, and I simply had seen nothing like it. A sample of his thinking: rather than just doing “more” reps or increasing resistance when a particular level became too easy, he increases complexity, thereby increasing neurological engagement. This was physical exercise as MENTAL challenge. Lovely. TacFit used a variety of equipment, but “TacFit Commando” was designed specifically to be used with no equipment and little room. Perfect for travel.
Scott tests stuff on his “Core Cadre,” special offers and bonuses that take his basic ideas in new directions. He ALWAYS tests his stuff on himself, coaches and friends first, never offering anything to the public he hasn’t proven. Good going. The “Mass Attack” variation was designed to slap on bulk. “ROPE” (Rapid Onset Pullup Employment) was designed to add more pulling component to the program. Brutal. Some of this was the most intense midsection work I’ve ever seen—stabilization at the same time you are working contraction and expansion. The DOMS were brutal.
And then he started talking about a kettlebell program, and I was all ears. You see, Kettlebells are the only form of weight training I’ve ever been able to stick with. No ragging on other forms—this is my own crap, not a problem with weights. Not sure why, really, but the multi-planar motions, emphasis on Olympic-style lifts done for high reps, and emphasis on whole-body motion (there is no isolation) as well as some other factors just turn me on. For the uninitiated, KBs look like cannonballs with handles on them, and are used in a variety of truly bizarre and incredibly fun lifts that have more carry-over to “real life” strength and fitness than anything I’ve seen. In fifteen minutes a day (really!) you can give yourself a whole-body workout that will shame most of what most people spend 90 minutes doing in a gym.
Love ‘em. Tananarive loves ‘em. But since I started playing with TacFit nine months ago, I’d put them aside.
Well, yesterday I finally got my copy of his program. Superb. By selecting complex, multi-planar motions, you are less likely to “get tight” when the motions themselves are almost like yoga. But then, other motions are like MA warm-ups. Or proprioception games. Or drills to improve energy transference. Joe Wilson, one of Scott’s core advanced coaches and the kind of guy who knocks out Shaolin Monks for fun (in a good way) once told me NOT to practice martial arts. Rather, to sophisticate myself, and then just pour that sophistication into whatever art I happened to be practicing.
Well the result of working out with KBs was certainly along this line. And the result of working TacFit Commando was along this line. I did my first workout yesterday, and had to drop down to a 12 Kg weight to feel comfortable. Could feel that there were lines and angles where my flexibility/strength had holes in it. Or is that coordination/power? Or maybe endurance/balance. Jeeze, this is different. It will take another 24 hours before the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness really kicks in, but I woke up this morning after a fine night’s sleep, feeling great. And last night at Silat practice, without any stretching at all, I kicked to the head, casually. Fascinating.
Look, I’ll keep you posted. I’m still going partially on trust. But I have every reason to trust this man—he hasn’t let me down yet. And the entire TacFit progression has, so far, been the exercise routine I’ve been looking for my entire life. If this is as deep and valid, it’s going to be a helluva ride.


Linus said...

From what I've seen of TacFit so far, and what I know of Scott's other programs, everything you've said is true. This thing looks fantastic...

Don Weiss said...

I also have started TacFit, deciding to start at Recruit level -good workout, and the timing is right in that you feel energized and ready to go after working out, rather than beat and fatigued. The Kettlebell program seems to be the same - logical progressions, with adequate recovery times and methods.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the nice review! I purchased TFKB-Spetsnaz at once when it came out. I agree 100 % you that this is exciting program. Today it's my first medium day and it will Rock! You said you have to use 12 KB - that's it the same weight I thought also to start with. Keep us updated!

BC Monkey said...

"Rather, to sophisticate myself, and then just pour that sophistication into whatever art I happened to be practicing. "

Could you elaborate what you mean by "sophisticate (your)self"?

Steve Perry said...

I'll stipulate that Scott knows his stuff. I recall that knife seminar a few years back and how much fun it was to watch the man move. But that comment about hype -- and you know this bugs the hell out of me -- is, alas, too true.

I know those two-page ads in Black Belt gull a lot of folks into buying videos that claim to be able to turn Granny into somebody who can wipe out a biker bar, and every time I read one of Scott's promos, that's exactly what it sounds like. I don't think that separates him from the folks who make outrageous claims at all. He has the goods, he's got something of value, and trotting out the sideshow barker to flack it? It pains me.

The iron curtain was raised a long time ago, by the by. They are capitalists over there now, buying soccer and basketball teams and all ...

Anonymous said...

What bugs me the most about the ads are that it's getting WORSE rather then better as time goes by.

I've seen a number of fitness and MA guys use the 'deadly secrets' type ad to get a toehold and then back off.

Sure the guys stuff might be good but lay off my inbox will ya?

Steven Barnes said...

"Sophisticate Yourself"
Work on becoming more aware,coordinated, present, "smooth" etc.--in other words, the basic characteristics that create excellence in any arena. Then, it's just a matter of showing up, more than trying to be different people in different situations.