What a fantastic course in Toronto on Saturday!I was invited and hosted by Shawn Mozen, the founder and leader of Agatsu, the leading Canadian-based kettlebell education program, and the person credited with bringing kettlebell training to Canada.
Shawn and I had only met one time before over 6 years ago in St. Paul, MN when he and I took Pavel Tsatsouline’s RKC course together. What I remember most was how terrified this French-Canadian was while riding in the back seat of my rental car. Apparently he was not used to the California driving style, hahaha.
So it took 6 years, but Shawn finally recovered enough from his memories of the Streets of St. Paul to contact me a few months back to invite me as a guest presenter at his Agatsu Kettlebell Certification (AKC) Level 2 and Canadian KB Convention Weekend. He asked me to come out, however made it very clear that he would be driving, or basically anyone but me.
Shawn takes no prisoners and apparently beat his sterling group of Level 1 instructors with something he called Tabata Sprints. Something about runs up a ski slope followed by Tabata calisthenics! So, many of them were quite sore when they arrived for my Full KOntact Kettlebells workshop the next day. However, they are Canadians, and they are tough. After a thorough warm-up mixing dynamic mobility exercise, footwork drills and plyometrics, they were warm and ready to get to work.
I will say I am extremely impressed with every last participant. What a fit and eager group, it honors me so much that Shawn arranged such an outstanding group. So we had a lot of fun swinging and jerking and cleaning and squatting, mixed with animal movements and all sorts of ranges of movement. Some qigong to regenerate and rejuvenate and before we knew it, 7 hours or training has passed and we called it a day!
As a professional, I am so impressed with Shawn, the job he had done developing his business and his service, and the attitude he shows. He is a true leader. There are those with leadership qualities, however not true leaders because when push comes to shove, they cannot take the heat. To me, true leaders lead from the front and are always students of the game, students of life.
In the fitness business, egos tend to be very fragile. Often leaders of industry will be very insecure about their position and wish to control all around them. Shawn is the opposite, which is why I respect him so much. He didn’t have to, however he opened his program to me. That shows that he has a lot of confidence in his own abilities and security in what he is and what he is not, that he is able to bring a guest instructor to his students and give me full reign to teach what I wanted and how I wanted. It didn’t matter whether or not I might have different way of teaching a movement or even a different philosophy about how and why to do things a certain way.
It is very encouraging to interact with leaders like Shawn, because it means that there are others with vision enough to see that the most productive way is to work together and learn from each other.
Also I wish to thank Dhani Oks, an awesome gentleman who was gracious to allow us to use his gym, Crossfit Toronto West:http://www.crossfitgyms.ca
It is a great venue for training. If you are in Toronto area or passing through, check out Dhani and his gym.