PCC London: Rise Of The Underground

by Al Kavadlo and Danny Kavadlo on May 15, 2018

Al and Danny Kavadlo at the London PCC 2018

This was one for the record books.

For our fourth foray into the UK, we revisited The Commando Temple in the Deptford section of Southeast London. In many ways, Deptford reminds us of our hometown Brooklyn, New York.

You see, like people, landscapes and neighborhoods change. The first time we visited Deptford, it was rough and sketchy, with only a few businesses and seemingly endless dirty streets. But that was a few years ago.

Now, in 2018, once-abandoned buildings have given way to specialty shops selling artisanal cheeses, craft beer or pricey handmade trinkets. People who used to be scared to visit Deptford (and Brooklyn, for that matter) now flock downtown for street fairs, festivals and fancy espressos. Things change.

That said, there is one venue in this “up-and-coming” neighborhood that kept its underground roots, remaining brutally intense and completely hardcore: The Commando Temple.

“The Temple,” as its members call it, is a sanctuary of positive energy and fearless training. It’s also the perfect home for the Progressive Calisthenics Certification!

Al Danny Teaching London PCC 2018

Yet as amazing as “The Temple” is, the group of calisthenics freaks in attendance was even more impressive! Bodyweight warriors, yoga practitioners, fitness professionals and street workout enthusiasts from a total of seven countries—even as far as India—showed up to share in the experience, train their hearts out, and learn a thing or two along the way.

Dragon Flag London PCC 2018

It is always a mind-blowing affair to behold, as we explored bodyweight progressions encompassing the most fundamentally basic, to the most extremely advanced. Human flags flew, muscle-ups soared and pistols prevailed as we all drew in from this epic training session.

It should come as no surprise that the Progressive Calisthenics Certification always attracts a group of particularly strong females. This time was no exception!

Whoever said women can’t do pull-ups has never met these ladies!

The strong ladies of PCC.

The strong ladies of PCC.

At the end of each PCC, when the Century testing is finished and the certificates have been handed out, we like to give everyone one more chance to jump on the pull-up bar if there is something they’ve been wanting to give another shot. Inevitably, someone hits a move for the first time that eluded them all weekend. Once again, the PRs continued late into the final day.

Back Lever London PCC 2018

Neighborhoods change, things come and go, but experiences like this make people stronger and provide lasting inspiration.

Speaking of changes, this was our final three-day event. The PCC will be switching to a two-day format beginning with our next workshop in Beijing this summer. Two-day events in Austin, NYC and Holland are all on the books as well in the months ahead.

We hope to see you there!

PCC London May 2018

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Career Day

by Danny Kavadlo on April 24, 2018

Danny Kavadlo presenting at Career Day

It was 7:45am as I walked down the hallways of I.S. 99 in South Brooklyn. I was excited at having been invited to speak to the students about potential careers in fitness. The night before, I asked my son if he was looking forward to hearing me speak. He said, “Well, I’m looking forward to missing class…”

Clever kid. I’ll take it.

I sipped bitter coffee in the teachers’ lounge and stared at my wristwatch. I waited for the 8:00am assembly to begin. It was cold out.

As a Master PCC Instructor for Dragon Door’s acclaimed Progressive Calisthenics Certification, I’ve addressed large groups of people all over the world. I’m no stranger to standing before a room and extolling the virtues of strength and movement. Hell, as one of New York City’s all time leading “big box” fitness managers, I’ve discussed the ins and outs of this often-confusing business to more groups of trainers than almost anyone I know. Before even working as a trainer, I was a professional emcee, working all types of live events, from Spring Break in Cancun to the Kentucky Derby. I love getting in front of a crowd!

But this time I was uncharacteristically nervous. Why?

I suppose that, in many ways, this was the most important group I’ve ever spoken to. After all, these kids are the future. When I speak to adults, they are more set in their ways. They’ve already begun to establish who they are. But these 6th through 8th graders are as fresh and pure as the sweet morning dew. I felt that maybe my words carried more weight, simply by the novelty of never have being heard before by this particular young group of ears.

They asked about clients. I talked about relationship building.

They asked about motivation. I spoke of dedication.

They asked about money. I told them about commitment.

We talked about how adults often have a hard time making an effort for things that come naturally to kids, like movement and physical exertion. Health matters no matter what stage of life you’re in.

Then in classic Kavadlo fashion, I decided that talk is cheap—even when it’s me who’s talking. It was time for calisthenics!

I brought a few volunteers onto the stage, as the whole auditorium engaged in some stretching, squats and jumping jacks. The audience then cheered for the impromptu onstage push-up contest. It’s usually best to up the level of involvement.

Danny Kavadlo Career Day push-up contest

Things got serious as I explained why the role of a personal trainer is so important. Due to technological advances, lifestyle changes and a growing aversion to real-life experiences, adults in this country are more sedentary than ever. They need training. Bad. “Personal Trainer” is one of the few careers to have shown continual growth, regardless of the economy or overall employment. I couldn’t have seen that coming when I was in sixth grade.

So how could they possibly know what they want to be at age 11 or 12 or 13? I sure as hell didn’t! “Personal Trainer” wasn’t even a job when I was their age. I was getting fired up!

And then, at our most perfect moment, these words left my lips:

“In this life, you will try many things and have many experiences. You don’t have to decide NOW what you will do forever. It’s a long road and I want you to taste it all. But whatever path you take, show up on time, respect others and give your best effort. Do what you say you’re gonna do when you say you’re gonna do it! You are the future! Can you handle it??? Keep the dream alive!”

And then it was over.

Danny Kavadlo Career Day

The next day, I asked my son how the presentation was. Turns out, he though I did okay after all. He even liked that I made everyone stand up and move. Then he wanted to work out. Hey, like I said, health matters no matter what stage of life you’re in. The kids are alright!

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The Pursuit of the Daily Minimum

February 6, 2018

emailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestTwitter Coach Wade regularly encourages keeping a training log. It’s not a new idea to me: I’d had several periods of doing this over the years, but stopped completely in 2008. It was due to one of his articles that I eventually restarted counting in November 2014. I realized that I needed to establish a […]

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Strength for Life

January 30, 2018

emailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestTwitter It’s a new year, and gyms across the country are flooded with folks who’ve made the decision to change their lives. Unfortunately, these pursuits often start off well, but end up gradually fading away – often, before February even begins. There are myriad possibilities for why so many of these efforts don’t achieve their […]

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Time Goes By: The Top Ten PCC Blogs of 2017

December 26, 2017

emailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestTwitter What is time? Are our lives just a series of randomly occurring events? Or perhaps our experiences are inter-connected by some odd, invisible thread. Who knows? Maybe any “timeline” at all is purely a human invention—our best attempt at comprehending the way that affairs unfold. Or not. I sure as Hell don’t know! In […]

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Finding Strength in Strength

December 5, 2017

emailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestTwitter It has been well documented that exercise is good for our physical health but more recently the benefits of exercise have shown to have a great impact on our neurological and mental health. Stress, anxiety and depression are conditions which are incredibly common in modern day western society. Our bodies and brains are susceptible […]

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How to Build Your Own Suspension Trainer

November 28, 2017

emailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestTwitter Suspension trainers are the multi-tool of the calisthenics world. You can do hundreds of exercises with them for almost any goal imaginable. They are ideal for mimicking classic weight machine exercises like chest flys, triceps extensions, and core work. Suspension trainers give you hundreds of exercises that can enhance and supplement your training. Suspending […]

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Borrow These Calisthenics Cues From the Recent NYC PCC

November 21, 2017

emailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestTwitter One of my absolute favorite parts of any teaching situation is the opportunity to troubleshoot and help teach the troubleshooting process. This not only helps the participants with their own workouts, but teaches them how to help their clients make big changes quickly. And whenever there’s a new group of people at a PCC, […]

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My Get Strong Transformation Challenge Story

November 11, 2017

emailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestTwitter “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” -Zen proverb I bought Get Strong when it first came out at the introductory price, and eagerly read it in a day or two. I was no stranger to calisthenics and it looked like a great program… that I would start as soon as I […]

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Getting Started with the Freestanding Handstand

October 31, 2017

emailFacebookGoogle+LinkedinPinterestTwitter I didn’t grow up as a gymnast. As a kid, I played basketball and soccer, but was fairly uncoordinated and had very little body awareness. In fact, handstands didn’t even come on the radar for me until my mid 20’s, and at that time I had just barely built up the strength to do […]

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