What inspired you?
What motivated you?
What lit that spark inside you to want to be better?
For me, it was in 1986, when my dad brought home a VHS copy of Rocky 4 after it just got released on video.
I was a pudgy little 9-year-old.
You know, the kind of kid who was always last in line after the recess bell rang to call everyone back to class.
I popped that sucker in the VCR and probably watched that movie 100 times that year.
Watching that training montage… (c’mon, you know the one – in the barn hauling a roped sack of rocks overhead, pulling a sled full of boulders in the snow, doing dragon flags by the fire, pressing a carriage with 4 people in it…)
That was it for me. I HAD to train now.
I saved up my allowance and bought myself a jump rope. I did push-ups. I tried to haul my pudgy little jelly doughnut behind up a chin-up bar (FAIL!).
I was motivated!
After that I got my hands on every possible fighting and martial arts movie I could.
Bloodsport with Van Damme was a favourite.
So was Kickboxer.
But it wasn’t until I saw “Enter the Dragon” that I really got inspired.
Why, you ask?
Well, without insulting your intelligence or stating the obvious, I’m of Asian descent – my parents immigrated to Canada from the Philippines in 1975.
And back then, there really weren’t any role models or celebrities that I could truly identify with… that “looked” like me.
Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t use my ethnicity as a crutch.
I was never one to say, “I can’t do that because I’m Asian”.
But make no mistake, there is a glaring difference between me and Rocky (or Frankie Dux) – although I’m told I do have a bit of Italian in my heritage.
So when I was first introduced to Bruce Lee – ripped abs, macho bravado, wiry strength – I found my hero.
I always wondered about The Dragon’s training regimen.
I mean to be strong and shredded like that, he must have worked pretty hard.
It wasn’t until 2009 – at my first RKC in Orlando – that I discovered that Bruce “The Dragon” Lee did, in fact, use kettlebells in his training.
Bruce would “freeze” the kettlebell momentarily on top of each swing to work on focusing the power of his punches.
This focus is what karatekas call “kime”.
Karate master Masatoshi Nakayama explains that “kime is an explosive attack to the target using the appropriate technique and maximum power in the shorts time possible”.
Kime is the essence of proper kettlebell training.
It’s about your ability to generate maximum power when you train and to learn how to endure that power from start to finish.
When you learn how to maintain maximum power in your training, you are teaching your body the skill of strength and focus.
Big deal, right?
What does strength have to do with being shredded like Bruce Lee?
Think about this…
If your goal is fat loss, you want to burn as many calories as possible… you want your body to be fuel inefficient.
That’s what strength training does… it forces your body to use more fuel.
Because the more weight you can lift, the more fuel is required for your body to use, the more effort it takes out of you.
This makes everything you do – swinging a kettlebell, doing hill sprints, pushing a prowler, doing heavy squats – better because your body can accommodate more resistance.
More resistance means more work.
More work means more fat loss.
More fat loss means getting shredded like Bruce Lee.
This also explains why regular cardio sucks for fat loss… because the more you do it (run, bike, swim, etc for a long duration), the more efficient your body gets at burning calories and the less it needs to accomplish the same activity – like that running with a garbage bag crap that people used to do.
So when it comes to TRUE strength training, there isn’t anything much better than Hardstyle Kettlebell Training.
You need to get stronger and develop power systemically using full body exercises that demand your body to work as a unit.
If you get your whole body involved, then the metabolic demand – the demand for more calorie burn – goes up.
Simply put… Training for STRENGTH = “incidental” fat loss
That’s how the Dragon trained and that’s probably why he was both STRONG and RIPPED.