PCC Italy – A “Penne” for my Thoughts

by Grace Kavadlo on April 28, 2015

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In the last year, I’ve had the opportunity to assist at 4 PCC events throughout the US and Europe. Attendees often come in feeling like they’re the only ones in their town practicing Progressive Calisthenics, but leave knowing they’ve found a community of people to which they now belong.

Ever since I attended my first PCC workshop exactly one year ago, I’ve felt my confidence skyrocket. Though my self image has improved, the way I approach training myself and my clients has transformed even more. PCC makes you see the world as your playground and reminds you that anyone can train ANYWHERE! There is something truly liberating about having that realization, because it constantly encourages you to push your own limits.

Some of the moves we teach at PCC are not for the faint of heart, but you’ll feel empowered with the encouragement of everyone else in attendance to at least give it a shot. Sometimes you even surprise yourself!

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People who aren’t trainers also leave knowing that something in them has changed. They’ve allowed themselves to be courageous, to go into the unknown, ready to succeed, or fail – and not worrying – because they’ve earned the confidence to try.

I’ve seen everyone from fitness trainers and martial artists, to computer programmers and accountants smash the Century test. Though on Day 1 some have assumed they would humbly fail, the collective energy of the group takes over. No matter how large or small, passing the Century is achievable for anyone willing to put in the work.

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There’s nothing dogmatic about the way the Kavadlo bros present their workshop, which is part of what makes it so appealing. Everyone from Crossfitters to pole dancers can relate to the curriculum. The brothers make it a point not to knock any other fitness modality in favor of bodyweight training.

In fact, the Kavadlos encourage people to move in whatever way makes them feel best. They emphasize the fact that there are no special hacks, tricks, or programs that can magically make you get the muscle-up, pistol squat or neck bridge, but they provide the guidance and encouragement to help you achieve new skills.

Al and Danny will make you an offer you cannot refuse: Trust in yourself, practice, and the rest will follow.

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The looks on some of the attendees faces were priceless while succeeding at a move they thought perhaps they would be unable to do. At PCC, blowing your own mind is a constant theme.

I remember one attendee mentioning to me the day after the abs module, that he’d had a dream about how he could get one of the moves and wanted to try it once more. Using the techniques discussed on the previous day – and the power of the PCC – he totally scored! The dragon flag was his!

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Since this was an international PCC, I went in thinking that language might be a barrier in teaching, but as the weekend wore on, I realized that calisthenics is a language unto itself. Having to demonstrate and teach each other with fewer words only made our bond stronger. By day two, connections were formed that made perfect strangers seem as if they had been life-long friends. The passion for calisthenics is the “glue” that brings us together.

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When I think back to my initial post-PCC experience, I remember having such a strong desire to search for bar parks in my area with the eagerness to start a calisthenics class shortly after. PCC ignites a fire in people that enthuses them about their training and makes them want to share the experience with others. The number of PRs at this workshop was staggering. Day 1 of PCC Italy was una maravilla! PRs on muscle-ups (including my own) as well as something completely unheard of in all of the PCC events thus far: 2 people achieved their first ONE ARM CHIN-UP!!

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Progressive Calisthenics compliments all other expressions of fitness. Different ways of achieving the same thing – getting stronger using minimalist equipment: your body, the floor, and a basic bar. Since I’ve been practicing, I feel more comfortable being myself. I’ve even found myself wearing less make-up when going out!

If the name Convict Conditioning sounds intimidating to you, you have not met the same classy calisthenics gentlemen I have trained with at every one of these events. These guys will help you out anytime, and are more than happy to give you any assist and cheer you on – nothing like the dudes who hang out at those other bars!

Miracles happen when the collective energy at these workshops uplifts the rest of the group.

The legacy of PCC Italy will be a “pizza” history!

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Grace Menendez, PCC, HKC is a personal trainer and group exercise instructor located in New York City. She is a columnist for Bodybuilding.com and can be seen in several Dragon Door books, including Coach Wade’s Explosive Calisthenics. For more information about Grace, check out her website, www.DieselGrace.com

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  • martymonster

    Hi Grace,
    ‘Hang out at those other bars’….I laughed.
    When you glow within you don’t need to obscure it with makeup. Good on you.
    Great to hear about another successful event. That photo of a bridge off a box is fantastic. Kudos and browny points to the gent concerned!

    • Greetings Marty! Thanks for taking the time to read about this amazing experience. LOL, it’s true, all these guys at PCC and at the Bar Parks I train at are real gents! It’s an honor to train with them. The guy Agostino pictured in the bridge photo was super strong and super mobile, and kept asking me for ways to “intensify” his bridge, so we popped him on that box and he was golden! Have a great day, amigo! 😀

      • martymonster

        If he keeps going like that he should try to rotate from a bridge to a handstand and then down to a planche! Whoa Nelly!

  • Great article Grace, and God bless the Italian PCCs!

    I see Al is getting stronger in his one-arm pullup…I swear, that mighty beard must add five pounds.

    • Hey Coach! Great hearing from you! That beard of Al’s is definitely MIGHTY! Al, Danny, and I were all blown away by watching 2 Italian attendees nail that one arm chin! This was such an amazing event!!! Thanks for reading! 😀

    • Swiss_Olympic

      Don’t forget the sheer amount of manliness it adds, coach. That more than makes up for a puny extra 5 pounds.

  • Giancarlo

    Hi Grace,
    Working out at the PCC Italy was an incredible experience. You guys (and girl!) are amazing, pushing people far over their conventional training limits. But, most of all, what remains inside of me is the feeling of INSPIRATION. That is the most powerful engine though everyday’s life. To inspire other people you must be not only master of workout means, but master of life. Thank you. It has been an honour to live with you this experience.
    Strenght and honour!
    Giancarlo

    • Giancarlo, the honor was mine! You were all such a strong and motivated group!! I’m grateful that this event had that impact on you! Keep training, my friend, and inspiring others along the way!

  • Karen Lee

    Ah, you make some great points here. I feel really really blessed to kinda be adopted into the PCC community without having actually attended one (yet). But after my hubby went, I’ve felt what you say about everything changing. Seeing bars everywhere, wanting to share this with everyone, being part of a culture, and I’ve seen myself differently, too! I feel strong, confident (whaaa?!) Reading this article, I didn’t realize how universal to this community it is. What a fantastic thing Coach Wade started when he wrote CC. Everything and all the right people have just come together in just the right way to make it phenomenal! But, I ramble, good writing here!

    • Hey Karen! Coach did set the Calisthenics world on fire with CC and brought so many cool, like-minded people together! I haven’t met you or Jason in person yet, but I feel like we are already ninja brothers and sisters! I hope one day we have the opportunity to train together! You ROCK!! 😀 Thanks for reading!

  • Matt Schifferle

    I love learning about how the PCC is spreading throughout the world. Very day the world isn’t so much as getting small but more connected through out mutual interests. Who knew that simple push ups could make the world a better place?

    • Eric Buratty

      Push-ups are universal body language for being a bad ass 🙂

    • Hell yeah Matt!! 😀 It’s awesome being a part of this movement!! Changing the world one push-up at a time! Thanks for reading brotha!

  • Eric Buratty

    Well done with this review, Grace!

    We live in a society that’s quick to judge or label others based on first impressions alone. While first impressions certainly are important, they shouldn’t shape us into being something we’re not. We all have our preferences and freedoms–especially when it comes to fitness modality and putting ink on our bodies–but the liberating part about PCC is that we learn to forget what others think in a way that allows us to further motivate and encourage others to find their own path towards a healthy lifestyle. Not sure where else I was going with this–but I guess I thought it was kinda cool that you mentioned feeling more comfortable going out without the extra make-up on now 🙂

    P.S. — The “penne” and “pizza” puns were classy.

    Best Regards,
    Eric m/

    • LOL, I’m getting better at this puns business! Thanks for noticing and for sharing your thoughts! Just that one paragraph sums up everything I was trying to explain in this blog! You rock, ninja brotha! That’s what I <3 about the PCC, it brings together badass people!! Hope to meet and train with you one day dude!

  • Grace. Are you me in the future?

    I certainly hope so!

    Long story short, aside from some biking, I have only been moving in any kind of meaningful way for 13 months. I earned my HKC February this year! My husband just participated in the RKC too!

    I have been wondering though… maybe the PCC is the path for me to try next.

    Then I found this.

    I love Italy, Metal (the music kind and the swinging bell kind) and I love fun. Your article is awesome!

    Are you going to the Strength & Conditioning Conference in MN in August? I hope you are. I would really like to meet you.

    • Greetings Karen G!

      First off, I would <3 to thank you for this thoughtful reply and for taking the time to read my post! I love how you termed it "moving in a meaningful way." That sounds very Zen and like you're off to a great start!

      Congratulations on earning your HKC and for your husband participating in the RKC! Both are wonderful certifications and the Dragondoor community is an AWESOME one! I feel right at home here, and I always considered myself a bit of a weirdo that didn't really fit in anywhere. 😉

      If you love metal, movement, and fun, then PCC is definitely your next step on your movement journey! The Kavadlo Bros are the best instructors in the world and it's easy to make lifelong friends with the attendees at their cert!

      I most certainly will be at the Health & Strength conference and it would be an honor to meet you!

      Haha, maybe I am you in the future….like a Sarah Connor Terminator scenario: "Come with me if you want to be a NINJA!" 😉

      I hope you have a fabulous day and again THANK YOU for writing to me, this comment made my DAY!!!
      -Grace

      • Grace, I just wrote a blog BEFORE I read this response that is directly quoting Sarah Conner. LOL!

        Contact me anytime at beardy@thebeardyapothecary.com – I can’t wait to meet you!

        And yes, the balm is great for beards! Hahaha! We originally developed it to prevent & heal “hamburger hands” because of snatch tests. Turns out, it’s good for pretty much everything else too!

      • Rodolfo Oliveira

        Your puns are simply amazing… had to come back here and say it…

        • Haha, omg Rodolfo! Best Comment ever brotha! I appreciate you saying that as I have been working on improving on my puns game! haha, you rock! Thank you for sharing and have a great day!

    • Okay I just checked your profile out!! You are ME!! Haha, your dude has a crazy beard just like my dude!!! Al just got into growing, oiling, and grooming his facial hair and it is MAH-VELOUS!! I’m gona scope out some of your products now!!

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