Archive for May, 2011

“The One the Only…”

Posted in Athletes on May 31, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

Remembering Ricky Bruch

Icon and beloved  by the Club. Please post your favorite Ricky Bruch moment, quote or video to comments.


Posted by: Z

“In Russia “practice” means REPS…”

Posted in Articles on May 26, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

I have arrived back in the states from my trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. I flew over 5,000 miles in a cattle holding pen to train kettlebell sport with world class coaches and champions Sergey Rudnev, Sergey Rachinskiy, Sergey Merkulin, and Sergey Mishin.

Yes, Sergey is a very popular name in Russia.

Today I’m going to enlighten you with some things I didn’t know before my trip to St. Petersburg. If you’re really interested in the meat and potatoes of Kettlebell Sport (which would be served with a side of dry white bread) or Girevoy Sport as its commonly known, you can see it reflected in coming program updates.

As for now, Here’s Things I Learned In Russia That Don’t Have Anything to Do with Kettlebells…

1. Traffic laws do not exist on Russian highways.
A ride from the airport to your hotel is like a scene out of Black Hawk Down and may include passing people at high speeds on the shoulder of the on-ramp.

2. St. Petersburg was built on a swamp.
Which means it is infested with mosquitoes. If you leave your window open at night, you will wake up covered in swollen red bites that will make people think you have some kind of total body case of the herp/scabies/the pestilence.

3. In Russia, “practice” means reps.

4. Mayonnaise and mustard do not exsist in Russia.
Which is interesting when breakfast every morning consists of one ham sandwich and one cheese sandwich. That’s right. One slice of ham flopped between two pieces of white bread only to be followed up with one slice of cheese nestled between another two slices of white bread, served dry with all it’s cottonmouth goodness. Now that’s clean living. Speaking of clean living…

5. Ice also does not exist in Russia.
Water and Coke are served a la cart, which is fine with me because it just gave me an excuse to have beer with all my meals. “It’s colder guys.” There are 9 versions of Baltika Beer which tastes somewhere between Hams and malt liquor depending on what version you drink. Versions 3, 6, and 8 produce WICKED hangovers. Version 7 does not. No I did not start with 7, I just kept going back for more punishment until I found the one that didn’t give me a headache.

6. Taking the subway is like descending into the Mines of Moria.
The whole system was constructed DEEP underground to stay active if someone carpet bombed the city. I was told this by my Coach, Jeff Martone, who was in town for a few day of the certification. I was also told that the subway is packed with pick pockets (a friend of ours got his wallet snagged the second day he was there), so Coach also instructed me that if anyone bumped into me, just start swinging. “Hey Zach? You ok with headbutting?”

7. In Russia, “practice” means reps.

8. If Denny’s was in Russia it would be a tourist hot spot.
Anywhere with a picture menu is your friend. In Russia, cheeseburger does not mean cheeseburger. It means cold ham and cheese on white bread, maybe with cabbage. No mayo, No mustard, No ketchup.

9. Green vegetables do not exist in Russia.
But you can buy at least 10 different kinds of salt fish at any corner store.

10. People only say “Dasvidania” (goodbye) if they don’t like you very much.
If you try to communicate at the corner store with sign language, you will be told to go Dasvidania yourself.

11. The mechanics of your Russian water heater.
Your water heater in Russia is run by a rat that stokes a fire under a water tank by running in a wheel. In the morning the rat is tired, so he takes 15-45 minutes to get your water temperature above freezing.

12. In Russia, “practice” means reps.

13. Coffee is an oddity in Russia… What the Fuck

14. Street vendors in Russia sell 2 things: Booze and Ice Cream
Needless to say I drank a lot of beer and ate a decent amount of ice cream on a stick.

15. Snake Skin Cowboy boots are apparently “Vedy Amurican” in Russia, score one for the Club.

16. When you have a room full of Coaches that are multiple time world champions in Russia you just throw a “D” word in front of their title.
I heard to name a few “Distinguished World Champion”, “Decorated World Champion”, and “Demonstrated World Champion”. I’m sure there were a number that were lost in translation.

17. Being lost in translation is a very regular occurrence in Russia.
And it usually ends with someone telling you Dasvidania.

All joking aside the trip was totally worth it. The culture was so different there that sometimes I didn’t know what to do. “Now Try” or “Practice,” means one thing in Russia: REPS. Lots of them. No one tells you how many they just sit back and watch (and sweat your ASS off in my case ’cause my viking skin can’t handle humidity). Then you and a Coach that doesn’t speak English fix what’s wrong by playing charades and being touchy-feely. It was the most basic training of some advanced stuff I’ve ever had. There wasn’t anyone giving you fancy terms or cues on how to fix your technique. You did it over and over again until you did it right… at least until they nodded their head at you. With the time change and lack of coffee, it took me a day to adjust to it.

In the end I learned kettlebelling at it’s most pure form in the motherland of the sport. After we received our certificates and coaching medals (from the head of the St. Petersburg Olympic Commitee no less) we learned that there is only one way to christan them:

In Russia you take your medal and drop it in a shot of vodka, slam the shot, then pin badge. I did that with the multiple time “Diabolical” World Champion Sergey Merkulin, who loved to walk by our table on graduation night and say the only semi-English thing I heard from him the whole time, “Vodka.” He did this more than my memories allow me to recall.

In Russia “Practice” means REPS, and “VODKA” means SHOTS. And when Sergey Merkulin tells you “Vodka,” you listen.

Posted By: Z

“You didn’t think it was gonna be that easy, did you?”

Posted in Articles on May 24, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

Shit, we need filler, back to Mortal Kombat (which contains scenes reminscint of  O-Ren Ishii’s story of woe)

Posted by Nickay

“Oh yeeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”

Posted in Articles on May 22, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

Last Friday we lost a man who many people at OCS (especially the Filer family) grew up with, the “Macho Man” Randy Savage.

Macho Man was known for many things, his flamboyant attire, Slim Jim, his legandary feud with Ricky the Steamboat Dragon, the very lovely Miss Elizabeth, and his trademark flying elbow drop. Macho Man is one of the legends of professional wrestling. The only time I got to see him in the ring was as the special guest referee for the main event at Spring Stampede in 1999 but I did get to see a flying elbow drop. The Macho Man retired from wrestling in 2004 and unlike other professional wrestlers stayed retired. Here are some highlights.

Classic rambling Macho Man interview

Oh yeah!

Posted by Nickay


Posted in Articles on May 19, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

A little known fact about me is I like hockey. I got into hockey my sophmore year of college. I was too poor to get cable but was luckily Western Washington is near the Canadian border. By placing my TV in a certain part of the room I was able to get the Vancouver BC channels. Besides international news and Nelly Furtado interviews guess what was on TV all the time, the NHL.  And in particular one team, the Canucks.

Well I got hooked that year. A few years later when I went to Minnesota for law school my liking got bumped up. Minnesota loves hockey, they love their Gophers and Bulldogs and Huskies, they love their Wild, but high school hockey is unreal. The MN high school championship is the most watched HS sporting event in the nation, drawing more than the FL and TX football championships. But I was an outcast because I rooted for my first love the Canucks.

Well the Canucks are now 2-0 and on the cusp of returning to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 1994. And how they did they get there?

Even better was the Wednesday 7-3 win. They got under the Sharks skin to the point the Sharks were pulling a patented “Jaime and B-Mac where losing might as well fight everyone” collapse. Kevin Bieksa even got a “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” which is scoring a goal, assisting on a goal, and getting into one of these…

Don’t drop your gloves with Bieksa and don’t fuck with the Canucks.

Posted by Nickay

“Make you strong like bull”

Posted in Articles on May 17, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

Imagine that line being said in a thick Russian accent by a guy named Sergei wearing a black jumpsuit to Z, wait another second, and Scene. Missing you brother. Moving on, this quote has a place in the gym because bulls are strong with a huge yoke which is something I believe 9 out of 10 people following OCS want. And what exemplifies strength and a massive yoke? Pressing shit over your head.

Some may argue that this article is a little biased based off my inherent love of all things presses and you may be right but it doesn’t mean I am wrong. The earliest strength competitions were based off two simple premises, (1) picking heavy shit up and (2) putting heavy shit over your head. Ask a strength and conditioning coach what he would rather have his atheletes be able to do, bench 315 or press 225? Who you want in a fight, the guy with the six pack or the guy who looks like he spent all day breaking rocks with an Atlas sized yoke?   

Does Derek Poundstone worry about his doubleunders? Maybe but he rather be able to do this.

Strongmen aren’t the ones with a big press, Olympic Gold Medalists have sick presses too (this strict press is effortless at 150kgs, I’m in awe)

I love Mikhail, see the previous OCS post for more on him.

Now go lift something heavy.

Posted by Nickay

“I see Three of Him… Hit the One in the Middle. Yeah HIT the One int he Middle!!!”

Posted in Articles on May 15, 2011 by oldcountrystrong

In 1985 Rocky Balboa went to Russia to fight Ivan Drago.

He was doing this for the memory of his friend, mentor, and coach, Apollo Creed. He was doing this for no money and on Christmas mind you.

Well my stories different. I’m not going to Russia for a lost friend. I’m not gonna be there on Chirstmas and I’m not fighting for “No Money”. But I am going to Russia.

Awhile back after a application process I was excepted to the IKSFA Elite KettleBell Camp in St. Petersburg, Russia. Well Tuesday I actually leave for this trip. I will get to get back in touch with my roots and see the home of where Kettlebelling started. Kettlebelling is a huge part of my life but I’m not very versed in original GS or Girevoy Sport, it differs in style to the way I was originally taught. Coach(the inspiration behind this pilgrimage) was actually on today speaking about KettleBell Sport.

It’s exciting to go and refine my  technique  like Coach was talking about in the video. It’ll also be good to see Coach for a couple days while he also is in Russia. But as I mentioned this is a way to get back to my roots. My family has a fair amount of Russian in it. My Grand Mother was actually one of 23 kids. Half the family stayed back in Russia when they came to America. My Great Granpa spoke little english but what he did was simply “Ol’ Bullshit,” which he would say to my Pap when they played cards.

I’ve always been very interested in Russia. Even from a young age. I liked Ivan Drago, no I didn’t root against Rocky but I didn’t hate Drago as a kid. Who was my character when I played Street Fighter? Zangief  that’s who. The Red Cyclone Son!

Joking aside, I have always been drawn to Russian culture. It is in my blood and so is the Iron Game. If I could take 3 months off and just be a real DirtBag lifter I’d move to Russia. I’d kettlebell and and lift every day. I’d find some grungy gym and have some old coach yell at me while we tried to get past the language barrier. I can’t do that though. To many responsibilities. But I can attend this Camp. I can better myself as a Coach first and second an athlete. I’m very excited.

When I told my Ma that I would be taking this trip she thought it was a bit crazy. But when I stopped by to say hi one day she told me she had something for me to see. She produced a piece of paper from a “report” on Russia I did as a child. It was extremely short and written in crayon.

It simply said.

“Russia is very Cold. Russia is Infested with Bears.”

Guess I’ll find out if I was right, maybe someday I’ll take a nonworking vacation.

Posted by: Z