What Do I Know?

by Danny Kavadlo on May 24, 2016

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Danny Kavadlo LeadPhoto Dunce Hat

What do any of us know?

I, for example, am nothing more than a product of my own reason and common sense. I pair perception with experience. I observe, report and conclude, all the while, trying my hardest to do the best I can within my capacities.

But do I actually know anything?

Given my many limitations, I get asked a great number of questions. Don’t get me wrong: I am grateful for each one I receive and I certainly do not wish to appear otherwise. I consider it an honor that any of you value my opinion enough to have me weigh in on your training, diet or life, and I thank you for the opportunity. But the truth is that I can’t possibly know all the answers to every query that anybody may have. I do my best. But sometimes my lack of firsthand experience with a given situation holds me back.

For example:


There is no one-size-fits-all resolution here. A beginner and advanced practitioner will have wildly different rest periods. It depends how long and frequently this person has been training, what their current physical condition is, genetics, outside habits, environment and more.

Still, I am glad the person in the above scenario had a specific question. Sometimes, they’re not quite as thought out:


Um… ok. Sure. Get back to me…

I live by trial and error. I’m no different than you. In fact, you shouldn’t instantly look to me until you’ve made some important personal discovery on your own. That’s not to say that I cannot be of service. Of course I can, but I encourage you to do some soul searching first. Know thyself, friends. There is no experience like firsthand experience. Don’t look at me. Look at you. While some think I’m a guru, others are not so kind. The truth is, I’m somewhere in between.

Great Book Review of Danny Kavadlo's Strength Rules

5Douche Guru or douche? The truth is, I’m somewhere in between.

Not only do I accept these natural differences in people’s opinions, I embrace them. I am an advocate of free thought and individual will in all their forms. I’m grateful when my beliefs evoke a passionate resonance in anybody in whatever capacity they’re capable of. Some feel that my words are inspirational; others are less kind.


7LoserAnd still, some folks would prefer if I just went away. Well I’m not.

I’m not going away.

I’m not going away.

How about this fun comment on a recent Danny’s Dos and Don’ts article:


That’s cool. Look, there are a lot of people out there. The natural constraints of my knowledge and intellect may not provide what you seek. Perhaps I can’t give you what you need.

Or can I…?

We all have opinions. That’s what makes life beautiful—the transparent fact that it beckons to be lived. You see, progressive calisthenics (or bodyweight training, street workout, whatever you want to call it—I don’t get bogged down on semantics) embodies an experiential component more than it demands wrote text. In a way, our very training ties into not knowing anything. We dispel dogma. We celebrate improvisation. We choose movement over academia. These are the attributes that comprise excellence in our realm.

Every truth-seeking individual on this planet will undoubtedly go through changes. Things we know (and things we thought we knew) can morph over time. This is how we evolve. Therefore I urge you to experiment, to reason and to go with your senses. Trust your intuition but keep an open mind. Learn from what’s around you every day. After all, the purest form of science is observation. Remain nonpartisan and objective, particularly when it comes to matters of the self.

I don’t know anything. You decide for you.

You have the power!

You have the power!

Keep the dream alive,


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  • Alok Upamanyu

    Loved it Danny. I dont know about others but you definitely inspired me to do better in calisthenics. I dont know you as a person and i dont need to agree with everything you think or follow (like i am not a big fan of tatoos :D) But that doesnt mean i cant learn anything from you and vice versa. Because of you i left all P90x/Body beast kind of programs and moved towards calisthenics and i am happy that i made that decision. I am reaching 40 and you have given me chance to learn and improve my fitness level without crappy ways of doing it. Appreciate it my friend. God Bless you.

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hey Alok,
      You’ve been a long time supporter. I appreciate the kind words. I had no idea you’re not a tattoo fan lol. Thanks for keeping an open mind amigo.

  • Aleks Salkin

    Danny, you don’t need me to tell you this, but you’re a legend. Way to take the good, the bad, and the ugly all in stride as you keep making inroads in what you do best: crushing weakness! We’re all better (and stronger) for it.

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hey Hebrew Hammer,
      Not everyone sees things eye to eye lol. Glad you dig the article brother!

  • Karen Lee

    Good one, Danny!

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Yeah! Thanks Karen! Trying to mix it up over here. Glad you dif it. Thanks for the support, as always!

  • Brad Sadl

    Great article. A good inside look at life in the public eye!

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Don’t Ask Me… I DON’T KNOW!!!

  • jpujjayi

    ‘not knowing’… the threshold of curiousity and learning… leads to listening.. could be harmful to self indulgent thinking… i like the ending of your writing… thanks for some clarity in that muddy pool of thought !!

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Thanks as always for your comments Jim. Just wanted to add some food for thought here.

  • I also feel like I’m walking the thin line between guru and douche from time to time…

    • Danny Kavadlo

      It’s a slippery slope…

  • Matt Kelly

    Well you certainly can do a lot of stuff I can’t do yet, but you put in the time and work and had a lot of trial and error. I’m doing the same thing. I think some people look for advice so hard they freeze and refuse to figure the s*** out on their own, I’ve been surprised at what I’ve been able to do when I just said f*** it after watching something I thought was cool and gave it a shot. I look at your guys advice as inspiration not solid rules, I still don’t do exactly what you guys put out but what I do has definitely been influenced by some of your guy’s stuff.

    • Matt Kelly

      Sorry kinda long winded

      • Danny Kavadlo

        I was long winded too.

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hey Matt,
      Great point. It seems you really “get it”. It’s exactly what you said: You’ve been surprised at what you’ve been capable of when you said f**k it. Obviously, we do look to guide and inspire but the truth is that every single person on this planet–you and me included–is accountable for their fate. I know I’m being a little dramatic here, but such is my nature. This stuff is life and death. Thanks for the comment brother.

      • Matt Kelly

        Well being in the navy, and getting told what to do all the damn time you come to appreciate the times you get to make your own decisions on things, and make your own mistakes.

  • Andy

    “find out for yourself….” – The Buddha (paraphrased)

    • Danny Kavadlo

      It’s better to try and to fail (as I have done more times than I can count), than to succeed at not trying.

      • Andy


  • jsf0222

    And this is why it’s a privilege to have trained and learned from you and Al and the PCC crew. Open-minded, low-key, highly skilled, fun. Credible comes to mind, too. Be well, rock on.

    John Friedlander

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hey John,
      Great to hear from you, man! Thanks for the kind words my friend.
      Rock on,

  • Matt Schifferle

    Love the words of wisdom here Danny, and of course they come from experience. On my own journey, both as an athlete and a coach I’m coming to value personal experience more and more. You can learn far more from taking one bite of a new food than you can reading everything there is to know about that same food.

    Also thanks for being open and sharing a few of the hater stories. It’s comforting to know even the best in the world gets flack. I’ve really enjoyed your advice on some of the podcasts you’ve done about how to handle haters and it’s really helped me a ton. Thanks so much!

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Thanks Matt! Here’s the thing about haters: When you argue with a hater, there will be two fools instead of one. Always take the high road. Thanks for the comment!

  • Jack Arnow

    What a fantastic article! Danny has influenced my current training quite a bit. He’s so inspirational. I’ve liked him from day 1. He’s been kind, knowledgeable and humble. In his beautiful words, this article made clear to me that we share the following ideas: be your own guru, trust your intuition, enjoy your uniqueness, learn from your own practice including your mistakes, in training and in life.

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Thanks JACK!!! That means so much coming from a man of your stature. I’ve liked YOU from day 1 too, and you continue to inspire me, my friend. See you soon!

  • Matthew

    Hey Danny great article I thought of these quotes when I read your article,

    “Anything is one of a million paths. Therefore you must always keep in mind that a path is only a path; if you feel you should not follow, you must not stay with it under any circumstances.”
    ― Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge

    “Think about it: what weakens us is feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of our fellow men. Our self-importance requires that we spend most of our lives offended by someone.”
    ― Carlos Castaneda, Fire from Within

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hey Matthew,
      Great quotes. I am a fan of Carlos Castaneda. Thanks for sharing!

  • Paramesvara Dasa

    Hey Danny, thanks for posting this article. It is good to remind people of the things you have discussed. I think that sometimes those who are aspiring to excellence/accomplishment in a a particular field can be possessed of a tendency to deify those who are looked on as leaders. I know there have been times when I have witnessed the Kavadlo brothers exploits and felt downright intimidated by what I was perceiving, but the simple fact remains that you and anyone else who has achieved mastery in any field of endeavor have also gone through a period of learning, and you weren’t necessarily great at everything you do now when you were first learning to do it. I am also highly certain that even at the point in your training where you are at, you are still learning new things and modifying old approaches

    This definitely ties in with the whole approach to bodyweight training given to us (primarily) by Paul Wade. Though I am still very much a beginner in this realm of progressive calisthenics, the necessity of not being tied too tightly to a system has become very apparent. I consider myself to be a fairly strict adherent to what El Entrenador has given us, but yet I have found that being a little flexible with the programming and progression suggestions has been not only helpful, but absolutely necessary. Without being invested in your own training as a thinking and engaged entity, progress will be much, much slower. This is the secret beauty of ‘being your own coach’. That self-discipline and disciplined inquiry is as necessary as having a community to seek support from. Cheers.

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hey Paramesvara,
      Thanks for sharing your story. I agree that flexibility is necessary… in many facets of life!

  • Wade Race

    Danny, I’ve followed you and Al for a while now, and if I’ve learned anything over the past 5 years it is to glean information from the guys at the top of their field, beecause they had to bust their butts to get the knowledge, the experience, and the strength to get there, and you and Al have done that and you give back, too. I am a bodybuilder, and I find learning techniques from a variety of sources allows me to be both athletic and aesthetic, healthy and straight edge. Don’t ever let the haters get you down, you, Al, and every one here who dedicates their lives to others are gifts from the universe.

    • Bark Braveaux


      • Danny Kavadlo

        Thanks Bark!

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hi Wade,
      That’s some serious words and wisdom, Wade, and I thank you for sharing. I appreciate that you mention the overlap with bodybuilding and some of the calisthenics practices. Too much division between disciplines… we all have a lot more in common than apart!

  • Alex

    Hey Danny

    Let the facts speak for themselves.
    Your very fit and healthy.
    You have a career in something you love.
    People buy your books.
    People do PT with you
    People attend courses instructed by you.
    You always get some response on social media.
    You have been embracing calisthenics for quite some time now.

    I reckon you are doing something right!

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hi Alex,
      I appreciate the support and I thank you for the kind words. I think everyone on this page is doing something right!

  • I was floating in the sea the other evening taking photos of the lightning of the storm passing through. “Fortune favours the foolish,” I reminded myself, my favourite quote & then thought of my next best: “It is better to travel alone than with with a fool, but what might two fools do?” Ha! There were two others in with me. What will three fools do?

    The secret is to do what you’re passionate about regardless of the prevailing fashion.

    Danny, you’re a pioneer, a trailblazer. What do you know? You know how to have fun & plenty of us have had the benefit of sharing that with you, either through your books or the workshops. I thank you for that. Keep it up pal.

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Big Dan Earthquake!
      Great to hear from you brother! It was fantastic to connect with you in London and I really appreciate your comment. Thank you for your support, passion and for keeping the dream alive!

  • Beth Andrews Rkc

    love it DK! just awesome!!
    “I encourage you to do some soul searching first. Know thyself, friends. There is no experience like firsthand experience. Don’t look at me. Look at you. “

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hey Beth!!!!
      Thanks so much! It’s always a pleasure when you comment. See you at Health & Strength this summer, right?

      • Beth Andrews Rkc

        Yes, see you there!

  • Brian Saling

    I love it that you are a douche AND an Inspiration. A know nothing and Guru. I love BW exercise for the simplicity and always enjoy you (and others) wit and achievements (even if you do have tat’s). Maybe I should get some tat’s maybe they are the secret, What do you think?

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Yes. I take great pride in being both an indisputable douche and a great inspiration. As a bog fan of irony, I cannot help that I find pleasure in these (accurate) observations. And, yes, the tats are the hidden secret. Naturally. 🙂

  • Danny Kavadlo

  • Edward Sullivan


    Thank you for your insights.

    My martial arts teacher/physical therapist is like you, bright, clever, humble. I learn from him all the time.

    I appreciate your work, that of your associates at Dragon Door and all of the fellow contributors.

    Saludos from the South,

    Edward Sullivan

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hi Edward,

  • Rodolfo Oliveira

    It is really impressive how this post can relate to every single aspect of life. Douches will be douches. Gurus will be gurus. But NOTHING can trump ACTION and feeling things on your own skin. Great post DK!

    • Danny Kavadlo

      Hey Rodolfo,
      Well said: ” NOTHING can trump ACTION!”
      keep the dream alive,

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