Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What is SFG?

I can't believe it's been almost 1 week since my last post, but I've been kind of busy!  Before I get into all of what's been happening to me the past couple of months I want to share a little bit about this past weekend. I will be writing more about how I was prepared and how I was not prepared!  But first I'll share with you a portion of the speech Mark was asked, by Pavel, to write and deliver at the first SFG.  It was originally broadcasted live on Saturday, but I took this while sitting front row with my iphone!

This past weekend I participated in the first ever Strong First Girya Kettlebell Certification Course.  This past year Pavel Tsatsoline, the man that brought kettlebell training to this country,, and his system of learning how to build strength, parted ways with Dragon Door and "RKC" (formerly Russian Kettlebell Challenge and/or Certification), the first company that published his books, and helped him teach others his methods while leading Instructor courses across the US as well as Internationally for going on a decade now.  Pavel, with the help of CEO Mark Toomey, started his own company, SFG (Strong First Girya) when he realized the direction with his former partnership, Dragon Door, was not in line with what his teaching and training philosophy were about.  Moving on...

My husband, Mark Reifkind, was given the title of Master Instructor by Pavel in 2008 (one of only 5 MRKC's at the time) after being a Senior Instructor since 2006, and there was never a question in his mind that he would also leave DD's "RKC" and move forward with Pavel's "SFG".  Mark was given the honor of teaching at the very first SFG KB Certification course and I was honored by an invitation to participate as well by going through the course as a student.

It has been three years since I last earned KB Certification in San Jose, Feb 2010.  You can earn re-certification 2 ways.  If you qualify, you can assist a Senior or Team Leader during a three day certification course, or you can, like anybody else, pay to attend and participate during the three days.  Since 2006 I have assisted three times and gone through the course, including this past weekend, three times.  I've also been lucky enough to have been at another handful of courses accompanying Mark (I never get tired of listening to him teach!  Lucky me!).

This was by far the most challenging.  This is not for everybody!  How is it different?

Over the years Pavel, along with his Master and Senior Instructors, constantly updates his methods and techniques to reflect the most simple and direct way of learning how to become strong, and how to teach others the skill of strength.  "Strength is a skill" and should be trained as such, is the core of Pavel's original system.  And this past weekend, strength, coming into the weekend strong, was at the forefront, and we were expected to deliver.  And I'm proud to say that I am, in fact, "SFG!"


Tracy Mangold said...

Been looking forward to your posts about this last weekend. I can only imagine the energy that had to have been present at the certification. I have a hard time believing that you could be unprepared for anything because you certainly looked like you owned it - especially snatching with the 20kg. You said something about an injury on FB, so I'm hoping everything is okay. Definitely looking forward to hearing more about the event and what else is in store for you. Thanks, Tracy (Happy Wednesday!)

fred from nashville said...

tracy, there is no doubt about it: you are a powerful woman! this is meant as a compliment from one of your devoted students. i use two people as my exercise models. you, for really getting me into kb swings and a guy named clarence bass for my weight routines.if you get a chance sometime check him out. even though this is not my monthly hello, i just felt the power, strength and growth that you exhibit.
fred from nashville

Ape said...

YAY! Way to go Tracy! Your husband is so awesome. I truly admire you two and I look forward to hopefully meeting and learning more from you in person one day!!! :)

Tracy Reifkind said...


I'll put you out of your curiosity by simply telling you that a 3 hour workout is not the same as a three day workout! This is a perfect example of why you shouldn't train with weights everyday! And the day was long, and the weights were heavy!

At the end of the first day I felt a "pulling" on the back of my left calf muscle, long story short I couldn't even stretch out my leg while sleeping that night. The next morning I had Mark look at it and it was swollen up like an orange on the back of my knee.

That's the short story, I'l get to the long one over the weekend!

I did have a glorious Wednesday though! Thank you!

Tracy Reifkind said...


Such nice compliments, thank you. I happen to know of Clarence Bass! Of course because I'm married to a former bodybuilder and coach of professional Mr America, Scott Wilson, and female champion Sue Ann McKean, among others! Mark and I met at Gold's Gym in San Jose in 1987!

There were times I felt strong this weekend, and times I didn't! I'm just so so happy I smoked my snatch test with the 20kg, instead of the 16kg! That was one of the strong moments!

Thanks again!

Tracy Reifkind said...


He's pretty good! But seriously, it was the best speech he ever gave I wish I could have taped the whole thing. I kept looking over to Pavel listening and the grin on Pavels face the whole time was priceless!

Good stuff!