Kettlebell Patience

Tortoise and the Hare

Tortoise and Hare
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I remember story time as a child, often having group readings. As has been the case for many generations, Aesop’s fables were often read, and these fables use animals to illustrate certain life lessons or morals that the young, flexible mind of a child could hopefully learn and relate to the world around him. The teacher would usually ask “what’s the moral of the story?”

Well, these moral lessons are not only contained in children’s books, religious books of the world are filled with moral stories told through allegory and parables.

It’s funny that as adults, we seldom seem to ask that question anymore, about the moral of the story. Not of each other, nor of ourselves. Also, it is ironic that the lessons of our youth are not learned until much later in life. Or the morals may not be learned at all, in which case the story has to be retold again for the next generation. ​

One of my favorite of the Aesop’s fables is "The Tortoise and the Hare." We all know the story in which the slow, plodding tortoise, tiresome of the hare’s braggadocio, challenge him to a foot race. The hare, fast and athletic as he is, is also arrogant, complacent and lazy and decides in his over-confidence to take a nap. While the hare naps, the consistent, plodding tortoise, taking no breaks, gets to the finish line before the hare.  ​

What does all this talk of storytelling, morals, tortoise and hare have to do with kettlebell training?

While there are multiple lessons contained in this and most fables, to me The Tortoise and the Hare is a perfect example of the time, dedication, and patience that it takes to develop skill in kettlebell lifting.

While it may seem intuitive to “grip it and rip it,” fast out of the gate, lifting heavier and faster, for true skill to develop it must be approached in much the way that the tortoise utilized to defeat the faster hare. The real key to success is patience, consistency, continuity and a never-quit resolve.

We can identify with the hare, the hare is fit, athletic and confident. It has the skills, so why not use it? While we can admire the natural talents of the hare and marvel at its athletic prowess, it has not learned patience, discipline, humility, nor self-control. So it is not likely to be there at the finish line. On the other hand, the tortoise may not inspire enthusiasm and isn’t going to win a sprint, yet it’s mental determination is something to emulate. A tortoise is a master of breath control and so never gets out of breath, so never has to catch its breath.

Take this mentality of the tortoise when you do your kettlebell sets, especially as you are increasing in time and working longer and longer durations and more reps. Stay calm, cool, and collected, maintain a smooth, steady breathing rate, think relaxation and don’t get too agitated or you will actually begin to burn energy and tire out too soon.

In this way, you first learn to go slow and in going slow you develop the control to be smooth and in learning to be smooth you learn to be fast.

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Kettlebell training is not about the starting line, it is about the finish line. Be the tortoise, finish your time. 

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