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Interview with Jeff Martone

with Tyler Hass (Circa 2003)

Jeff, congratulations on the release of your excellent new video. How did you first hear about kettlebell juggling? Thanks Tyler. I first read about kettlebell juggling in Pavel's book The Russian Kettlebell Challenge. The following sentences really caught my attention; "V.I. Rodionov recommends a great variety of kettlebell drills …juggling one or two kettlebells, by yourself or with a partner" and "Konstantin Steppanov of St. Petersburg….could juggle a three pood or 48kg kettlebell!" Later on in his book, Pavel described two exercises that are forms of KB juggling. He referred to one exercise as "a fine wrist strengthener". "It's performed by repeatedly throwing and catching a kettlebell, while keeping the handle vertical, in front of you." The other exercise is at the very end of his book, explained under "Pre-Competition Weekly Armed Forces Kettlebell Drill Complex #1". It's the exercise called the "spin". The idea of repeatedly tossing, flipping, and catching a kettlebell really sounded like something fun and worthwhile to do. So, I decided I would give it a try. What are your recommendations for someone just getting started with the handto-hand drills? Some of it can be a bit tricky to learn. First, I highly recommend starting out with a light kettlebell. "Light" meaning 16kg or smaller. One word of caution; if you are using the 4 or 8 kg bells, they are made of rubber and have a tendency to bounce/ricochet off of hard surfaces in unpredictable directions. Keep in mind that "quick feet are happy feet" and "our goal is to train and not to main". So, use liberal amounts of common sense during training sessions. Second, invest time to fine tune your one/two hand swings and the figure eight pass between the legs. Proper form is the key to staying injury free. As you know from recently attending the RKC in MN, there are many fine points to performing the swing that are commonly overlooked by the casual KB user. Third, keep your H2H training sessions brief, light, and enjoyable. Remember, you are practicing a skill. So, your focus needs to be on proper technique. If you become fatigued or excessively winded, take a short break, recover, and try it again. Remember that you control the kettlebell, so don't let it throw you around! When in doubt, just let it safely drop to the ground. I agree that some of the H2H drills can be a bit tricky learn. The drills are sequenced in building block fashion from simple to complex. The key to success is to master the simple drills first, one drill at a time. Take your time, build a strong foundation, and allow your body time to adjust to the new demands and stresses of the H2H drills.

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In the June 1925 edition of Strength Magazine. "Heavy Athletics" was a field event and a national sport which included the very popular Jonglieren Team competitions. To further illustrate my point that "there is nothing new under the sun". I like to do a warm up set of 5 reps. It wasn't until after I filmed H2H KB Drills video. I told some people at the certification seminar that you are like an artist with your kettlebell. dynamic flexibility. full contact twist. hand balancing. I am convinced that any new drill or exercise that I "invent" has already been thought of and perfected by someone. He wrote "My first juggling bells were made from my old Milo Triplex barbell which I had purchased in 1913. If I'm short on time. then right to a pull up variation. slow-strength exercises first. then a week later he saw the exact same exercise on the History Channel." It was very humbling article to say the least. It was a short black and white clip of German athletes juggling kettlebells in sync. in another time and place. that I actually started receiving copies of old articles or manuals that describe various forms of kettlebell Juggling. barrel lifting/throwing. rope climbing. I prefer to practice low rep. hanging leg raises. I'll usually rest for a minute or two after the pull up. in formation. then increase the weight and do a few sets of triples then finish with a few sets of singles. etc). http://www. and some select club bell exercises. Pavel sent me an old Strength and Health magazine article titled "Juggling weights" written by an 80 year old man who started juggling kettlebells at age 70. low-rep/high-intensity abdominal exercise (i.Jeff. during the 1930's. fast. weighted pull-ups.com/ Page 2 . They are very challenging to say the least. Most recently.powerathletesmag. is there anything else that you put in your training programs? I enjoy practicing dead lifts. I believe that Scripture says it best that "there is nothing new under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:9). I'm curious how you invent so many new exercises? When it comes to the idea of "inventing" new exercises. I prefer to sequence a dead lift or squat variation first. I'll like to finish my training session by doing 3-5 sets of one. I also like the concept of your Ring Training and look forward to trying them out. and exciting to watch. Jowett wrote an article titled "Weight Lifting as a Sport in Germany". tumbling. For example. I've been playing around with some Olympic lift combinations as designed by Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Ethan Reeve of Wake Forrest University. joint mobility drills. The contests were described as clever. This article described in detail what John saw on the History channel. What do your typical workouts look like? What exercises do you tend to choose and how do you structure them? My typical workouts begin with 5-15 minutes of joint mobility. Usually. This makes the most efficient use of my time. I showed my friend John Hickman some of the "flying V" drills one day. then immediately go to a press variation. then I'll begin my next set. and/or some tumbling exercises. I like to think it's more a matter of rediscovering old exercises than it is of inventing new ones. Janda sit up. George F. somewhere.e. I prefer to practice high repetition kettlebell lifts and/or H2H kb drills at the end of a strength work out. muscle control exercises. I do a separate session latter in the afternoon or exclusively the next day. Besides kettlebells.

You have a pretty interesting job. stressing adherence to strict form. Most operators see and feel the benefits right from the start. It develops explosive strength and stamina. It is a 500 acre. than have them practice a duty specific complex motor skill such as reloading. you are setting yourself up for injury. ideal for personnel in the spec ops or law enforcement community. Other days you'll feel like a zero. These drills mimic the physical stress of various immediate actions drills. I always begin teaching and explaining the principles behind the basic kettlebell exercises. CQB. and provides tremendous cardio-alternative workout. I believe one of the biggest and most common mistakes a person can make is getting too focused on numbers. train hard and with integrity. facility designed for law enforcement and military personnel. I will advance them to various body weight/kb exercises I developed to further increase specific sports preparation. etc. On these days. so by all means go with it and achieve a new PR. strengthens and thickens connective sinews. It serves as a medium to quickly increase an operators' heart rate (i. There is not other training tool out there that builds strength the endurance as efficiently as the kettlebell. The bottom line is you can't fake performance or endurance. Some days you feel like a hero. the greatest benefit of practicing H2H drills is that it will dramatically increase your athletic performance and ability.I tend to choose multiple-joint.e. A recent employment physical revealed that my resting heart rate has dropped to 55 bpm and my blood pressure is at an all-time low of 90/50. In my opinion. jump higher. intramuscular coordination and timing.e. recover faster and add years to your career. What kind of benefits have you seen from your H2H kettlebell drills? How do you incorporate them into your workouts with soldiers? H2H kettlebell drills are a fun and fascinating change-of-pace activity for all devotees of the iron game.) to include gas mask and helmet. perform longer. This will systematically progress to more complex scenarios. As their technical proficiency and conditioning increases.180+ bpm). You will hit harder. Direct Action Resource Center) is one of the largest urban warfare training centers in the US. So. do yourself a favor and concentrate on perfect form rather than the poundage. 20-60 lbs. movement to contact. To be honest. Kettlebells are an extreme conditioning tool. whole body exercises that enhance functional strength and core stability. Learn to listen to your body.powerathletesmag. simulating stress. If you have tunnel vision on a specific number or repetitions or amount of weight you think you must achieve. dramatically increases dynamic grip strength. Name the sport or physical activity and the H2H KB drills will enhance your performance. of Energy? DARC (i.e. adding more equipment until everyone is wearing "full kit" (i. I also like to use various high repetition KB drills before scenario based training events. privately owned. Could you tell us a bit about your training at DARC and with the Dept. I like to vary the exercises and set/rep/intensity scheme often. hand cuffing.com/ Page 3 . etc. They provide realistic training to individuals and http://www. I consider these numbers less than mildly interesting because it's not the ultimate goal of my training.

Tactical Strength and kettlebells). life threatening situations. In the beginning of my senior year in college. CQB/SWAT. then medically discharged. when faced with violent. We grew up playing football and started wrestling when we were in middle school. Most of our free time was spent practicing kung fu. providing low-profile operational development training for federal agents. At the end of my 8th grade year. I refused my athletic scholarship offers and decided to join my brother at a small state college. He taught my older brother and me how to punch the heavy bag and the value of possessing good fighting skills. or fighting at rugby and football parties.e. not in the ring but on the street. I had my first shoulder surgery at the end of that season. I drilled with my unit once a month. This was also the year that I first started crossing the line from "tough" to "stupid". I served as the lead instructor for the combatives and physical training programs. I am also on staff at DARC and at the US DOE NNSI/Central Training Academy. Combatives. firearms. I joined 19th Special Forces Group.teams who want to improve their skills and chances of survival. My grandfather. and then start a military career. While in college. By the end of my senior year in high school. my brother and I really honed our fighting skills. This was actually the third time my "good" shoulder came out of joint. our family relocated to Massachusetts and martial arts was added to our sports program. had surgery on my left shoulder. re-evaluated. My father was also an accomplished fighter. near Boston. dignitary protection.com/ Page 4 . Needless to say. I dislocated my right shoulder at least once every game. and physical training (i. was rehabilitated. However. I graduated college in the spring. I would "pop" it back in place myself and pressed on with out missing a play. was professional prize fighter and the welter weight champion of Connecticut before WWII. which eventually led me to another surgery. and was achieved an equivalent rank of black belt in two different styles of kung fu. We both progressed to the rank of master in one of our kung fu styles. I tried to be smarter this time and actually followed the doctor's and physical therapist's advice to the "T". Some of the training available at DARC includes but is not limited to safe and tactical use of firearms.powerathletesmag. on the Irish side. played on two super bowl teams. Life was good…until I dislocated my 'good' shoulder while training with my unit one fateful weekend. I figured this would give my shoulder time to heal. How did you get into that line of work? Could you tell us a little bit about your sports and training background? I was born in and raised in a small city near New Haven and Bridgeport. http://www. all my orders were written and military schools locked in place. bouncing at local clubs. Both my grandfathers are retired police officers. boxing. Things rapidly spiraled down from there. I made all-state in football. I currently serve as a full time defensive tactics. my right should was continuously dislocating again. Rhode Island Army National Guard with the intentions to go on active duty as soon as I graduated. CT. I would get my degree. physical training and special response team instructor.

I try to keep the amount of time spent in the classroom to a minimum but it really varies depending on…who I'm teaching . and Super Joints has been HUGE answer to prayer. how do you go about teaching them? Is there a lot of classroom work or is it mostly hands-on? When time is short. military or civilian…where I'm teaching . Pavel's books and videos. It was great meeting you in Minneapolis last month. relocated to Albuquerque. I made a quest to find a smarter way to train. faster. I was granted a government security clearance.tonyblauer.A.E. In the years that followed. things started to spiral back up. thanks for the interview.com. Thank you Tyler. The Russian Kettlebell Challenge. When you only have a short amount of time to train your clients in hand-to-hand combat. you better be tough. with all of the injuries you've had. I incurred two arthroscopic surgeries on my right knee and a total ACL reconstruction on my left knee. I am stronger. Fight the good fight and keep swinging. which opened the door to a job as the lead defensive tactics instructor for the DOE Transportation Safeguards Training Center. you'll have to jump in and get wet. Most importantly. how do you manage to be moving so well now? It is only by God's grace and mercy that multiple career ending injuries have been turned into springboards of opportunity." This has been the case in my life. and went to work as a narcotics detector dog trainer/ handler. especially Power to the People. and more flexible today than I was when I was 25! Jeff.P. is an acronym that stands for Spontaneous Protection Enabling Accelerated Response. I like to introduce my clients to the basic concepts and principles of Blauer's S. http://www.com/ Page 5 .P. I got married.law enforcement academy or private training facility…and what level I'm teaching .A. S. It was at this point. Seriously though. NM. For more information." That one cracked me up. I think it was Bruce Lee who said "You can't learn to swim standing on the beach. became a "born again" Christian.law enforcement.R system. "If you're going to be stupid. It utilizes the speed and reliability of the startle/flinch mechanism to convert the "oh no" moment of a sudden attack into a tactical counter.operator or instructor.E. it was a pleasure meeting and training with you. I heard you say something at the seminar that I really liked." The same is true for fighting.In 1990.R. this system can be used as a bridge to any style of fighting. peruse the following website www.powerathletesmag. to those who are called according to His purpose. Eventually. Scripture tells us in Romans 8:28 "…that all things work together for the good to those who love God.