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OK, Clever Girls- in order give you the insider’s info on the growing fitness phenomenon kettlebell training, I consulted one of the most authoritative voices in the sport for some background and information with hopes of accomplishing two things. I hope you give kettlebells a try with an informed and educated coach if you are looking for a new workout plan or new results from working out. It is also my desire you retain enough information from this article to converse intelligently with a man or woman who is already enjoying the sport.

Let me introduce you to Ken Blackburn– he happens to be one of the most Clever Guys I know. Why? He is intentional on a massive scale. When he wants to achieve something … look out.

By the age of 15, Ken had already earned a black belt in taekwondo and has become accomplished in various other forms of martial arts- stick and knife fighting, boxing and kick-boxing. An interest in elevating his fighting skills lead him to Brazilian jiu-jitsu- also referred to as Brazilian ground fighting (because most real-world fights end on the ground).

Created by Carlos and Helio Gracie, the Gracies are THE name in BJJ- another name to know in this realm is Carlos Machado- cousin of the Gracies. Clever Girls- this is a form of martial arts but has become a combat sport, self defense and a primary component of MMA (mixed martial arts). “BJJ is a fantastic way for women to learn to fight off their back as they are traditionally attacked from behind by larger assailants,” said Ken. I call it enough time to get a bullet in the chamber.

Hard work and diligence have garnered Ken a purple belt in BJJ and his desire to take his fighting to the next level led him to explore conditioning methods other than weight training with the primary focus on agility and endurance. After attending a workshop and seminar for kettlebell training with Steve Cotter- Ken had found his method.

With extensive knowledge of not only the way his own body worked, but the way the human body responds to training, Ken found kettlebells to be one of the purest forms of strengthening and conditioning. At the time he stumbled onto kettlebells, Ken describes them as being as popular as he was in high school. I went to high school with Ken so I knew he was being humble and grappling for a metaphor (ha ha).

So committed was Ken to growing the popularity of what he considered an ideal method for strengthening the core muscles, conditioning the stabilizing muscles, increasing structural integrity and reducing potential injury, he partnered with his mentor Steve Cotter in creating and developing The International Kettlebell and Fitness Federation. “I would recommend kettlebell training for anyone of any age who has been cleared by a physician for working out,”Ken said. “At competitions, we see 10 year olds and 70 year olds- men, women and children.”

I wondered aloud during our interview as to what has caused the kettlebell boom. “It works,” responded Ken simply. “Word of mouth is effective when people are seeing results from a workout.” This sport is still young- so it’s a great time for Clever Girls to become versed and experienced in it. A fantastic way to meet men is to get involved in unusual workout routines- especially those traditionally attended or participated in by MEN. I can guarantee you- if the subject of working out comes up, even casually- inquiring as to whether he’d ever tried kettlebells will get his attention. It could warm up a conversation quickly, and I can assure you he will be impressed by your knowledge, however limited, of BJJ, the Gracies and kettlebell training.

What are the benefits of kettlebell over weight training? Ken cites the primary benefits of kettlebell training as work capacity, coordination, endurance, stability, resilience and awareness; cosmetic benefits are secondary. There is great emphasis on form and technique- unlike weight training, which focuses on building muscle by increasing strength and weight.Knowing how incredibly fit Ken is- I had to question the obvious cosmetic benefits of using kettlebells. The guy is stacked- seriously. He chuckled a little, ever modest, and admitted the workout can be configured to build muscle, but generally, the results are a stronger, leaner body built for a sustained workout.

“Women are drawn to kettlebells because of the functional benefits,” Ken said. “The workout burns fat, creating lean dense muscles. Women desiring a more athletic body without fear of bulking up love the regimen. Kettlebells work wonders for the posterior chain- legs, glutes and back.” Seriously? What man is not attracted to one or all of these female body parts? The leaner and more dense the better! He invited me to give it a try and I might just do that this summer, though I’m enjoying what Ken calls an athletic, narrow jointed frame. I hope that’s a compliment and not his polite way of saying I look scrawny.Hmmm. Well, the Big H just told me I look like a plucked chicken- NOT nice.

Ken encourages women to become part of this sport and not to be intimidated. “People have no idea how demanding and challenging the training is until they get started, so there is a great deal of camaraderie even at competition.” Speaking of competition, Ken currently is training to get his Master of Sport in kettlebell- an achievement title few in the field attain.As authoritative voices in the kettlebell and martial arts field, he and Steve Cotter travel the world instructing, coaching and teaching the benefits of training with kettlebells.

If you have not heard the acronym MMA, other than in this article, fear not- I’m going to cover it soon. If all works out the way I plan, I’ll go directly to the source for the information you will WANT.

OK, Clever Girls- I hope you are inspired. If you want more information about training or where you can catch a workshop, check out Ken Blackburn on Facebook or at the officialInternational Kettlebell and Fitness Foundation. He and Steve have certified trainers all over the world. This summer, I will train with Ken and put some pics up of me getting my ass handed to me.

Don’t worry, plenty of IKFF trainers in Texas.

Catch out Ken fighting on youtube, and for he and Steve Cotter running boot camp.

If you’re in Dallas, I have just the guy for you. Travis Williams owns two gyms specializing in kettlebell training. One Psycho Gym downtown and one in Addison. Check out his site( for more information or call (214) 952-7928. There really is no better time to jump in, ladies.