Becoming a Progressive Calisthenics Certified instructor in New York City last June was an amazing experience, but it was just the beginning. The PCC was one of the most incredible and educational certifications I had ever attended and I couldn’t wait to take it to the next level. It had been a long time since I was so excited about training and it was obvious to me that I needed to play a larger role.
As a long-standing RKC Team Leader, I had already taught and assisted at numerous RKC and RKC-II Workshops, helping scores of future RKC Instructors prove their mettle. But my first time assisting at a PCC Workshop was a brand new life experience unto itself, one that I’ll never forget.
From the moment we touched down in the Forbidden City, it became clear that this was going to be a unique adventure. There were motorized rickshaws on the roads, steam billowed over street food carts and the energy of a billion people lined the sparsely marked streets. I saw high-rise buildings, booming shops and markets—and people everywhere. Elements of the old world blended with cutting edge modern cityscapes. There is something very special about being in a place where nothing is familiar. Not knowing what you are looking at, or understanding what is being said is liberating in a way. It forces you to make observations, be patient with yourself and be in the present. Preconceived notions are irrelevant, and so are your predictions!
Upon our arrival, our hosts, Beijing Technology Publishing Company and Ruben Payan and Cami Pipkin from Powerful Human, treated us to a world-class experience. We tasted authentic Beijing Duck from the ancient tradition and rare yellow Chinese wine brewed by monks. We learned the proper way to prepare and enjoy this specialty delicacy and delighted in all the other small dishes of dumplings, squid and sea cucumber. We were humbled by their generosity as we left with an unforgettable meal and newly acquired life-long friends.
Prior to this event, I had heard that Convict Conditioning had record-breaking sales in China, but nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming turnout of PCC Beijing. There were over 40 calisthenics enthusiasts, fitness professionals, competitors and general seekers of knowledge in attendance. We had participants from all parts of Asia, including China, the Philippines, Indonesia and India. They ranged in age from 15 to 50 years old.
The Kavadlo brothers, in classic form, taught the PCC curriculum with tremendous energy, passion and dedication. They brilliantly adapted the core principles of progression and calisthenic strength training, along with the aid of master translator and fitness aficionado, Tommy Wang. Working back and forth, nobody missed a beat. The passion for calisthenics and community removed any and all possible cultural barriers. The crowd went wild.
It was very clear that these participants had read the book many times. They had practiced the moves. These men and women were here to learn. And they were prepared to throw down!
I appreciate everybody who participated and gave from within. Prior to the event, I wondered how many participants would understand us since we are English speakers, and I’m certain many of them felt the same way. They put themselves on the line just as much as we did. With the help of our hosts, we created a space for learning and sharing, despite any and all cultural barriers, through our shared passion for calisthenics.
This new crop of PCC Instructors showed up knowing that we didn’t speak their language, but trusted that we’d communicate with them anyway—and we did. Progressive Calisthenics is its own language. Time and time again, bodyweight training has a way of smashing boundaries and uniting our sisters and brothers from around the world.
I want to express my deep gratitude to everybody in attendance for opening their hearts, minds and physical bodies to the experience we shared this weekend. It is our mission to continue growing with all our friends around the globe, through this universal interest in personal development.
It was a whirlwind. My mind is blown.
Annie Vo is one of New York City’s most successful and sought-after personal trainers, having worked with clients from all backgrounds and disciplines, including athletes, celebrities and everyday professionals. Annie has been featured in The New York Post, NPR and Mademan.com. She is known for her no-nonsense training style and minimalist philosophy, as well as her talent for bringing out the best in everyone who crosses her path.