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Dragon Door Interviews Gabriella Katschthaler, RKC Team Leader, CK-FMS

August 7, 2012 02:50 PM

Dragon Door:   How did you first discover kettlebells in Hungary?
Gabi Katschthaler:   It’s a long but interesting story. My kids decided that they wanted to study and train in Kyokushin karate. I went with them and was curious after seeing some of the weird looking (to me at the time) stretches they were practicing. On an internet search, I found the book Relax Into Stretch by Pavel Tsatsouline. After looking at just the first few pages, I immediately had to find and read everything else he had written. I bought Power to the People next, along with a few of the other titles.
Eventually, I saw an ad for Enter the Kettlebell—I didn't even know what a kettlebell was beyond reading that it was "a cannon ball with a handle." I had no idea what to do with it, or how someone could write a whole book about kettlebells. But, I still read all of Enter the Kettlebell as well as the old book The Russian Kettlebell Challenge. Unfortunately I couldn't find any kettlebells in Hungary back then, and there were no certification workshops. I tried to get a kettlebell from the Ukraine, too. While continuing to search for a kettlebell, I tried to apply the principles to other forms of weightlifting. In 2007, Peter Lakatos started the "kettlebell revolution" in Hungary. I was Certified in 2008 at the first RKC Workshop in Hungary, and the rest is history. Recently, we had our second RKC Level II workshop in Hungary!
Dragon Door:   That’s fantastic. How are you using your RKC knowledge? Are you training clients or groups in Hungary?
Gabi Katschthaler:   I'm a full time kettlebell instructor in Hungary. After my RKC certification in 2008, I also came to the CK-FMS that same year. Since then I've trained large groups, small groups, private sessions, and have done CK-FMS screening. It’s going very well—people love it.
Dragon Door:   That’s great! What’s next on your agenda for your training, and your involvement with Dragon Door?
Gabi Katschthaler:   I have to think a lot about my business—because it’s growing like crazy! I need to do some planning and restructuring which will take a lot of my time and direct involvement. Right now, I have four instructors working with me at my facility and we need to further organize our tasks because our business is exploding—thank God!
Dragon Door:    It's good to hear that your business is almost growing almost too quickly! That’s a great problem to have!
Gabi Katschthaler:    It’s a great problem to have, but it’s still a problem I need to solve. The CK-FMS helped my business a lot because people appreciate it when I've helped them improve their performance and movement patterns. Of course, a lot of this can be accomplished by training with an RKC instructor and kettlebells, but there are still many issues that are best handled or are targeted more effectively with CK-FMS. People love the relief that comes with fixing a movement pattern. When they correct their sore back or hunchback over time, they can't help but tell everyone. It works, and people spread the news to their friends and family.
Dragon Door:   So you made sure to get your CK-FMS certification very soon after your first RKC Workshop!
Gabi Katschthaler:    Yes, I went to the RKC Workshop and three months later I attended the CK-FMS workshop.
Dragon Door:    That’s impressive! How popular are kettlebells in Hungary? Are there many instructors in your area?
Gabi Katschthaler:    Not many. There are a couple of RKC Level I instructors, and I think there is one RKC Level II instructor. In our area, my facility is the center of kettlebell-based corrective exercise and movement rehabilitation. That's really the focus of how we teach kettlebell training at my facility. Hungary is not big and I'm not living in Budapest—there are a lot of RKCs in Budapest but not many outside the city itself.
Dragon Door:    Are your children still studying Karate?
Gabi Katschthaler:   It's funny, but they left karate after two months, and I'm still here.
Dragon Door:    So you're still involved in martial arts too?
Gabi Katschthaler:   I practice a little bit of Krav Maga because one of the RKCs at my facility is also a Krav Maga instructor. He teaches Krav Maga classes here, so I train with them from time to time.
Dragon Door:    I'm glad your kids were in karate long enough for you to find Pavel, the RKC and Hardstyle! Is there anything unique about the clientele at your facility?
Gabi Katschthaler:    Yes, about 60-70 percent of my clientele are what we would call "special populations." I work with a lot of seniors, and many de-conditioned, overweight people come to work with me too. This is why in addition to kettlebells, we also do a lot of corrective exercise using the CK-FMS with our clients.
Dragon Door:    Do these special populations specifically seek you out for help?
Gabi Katschthaler:    Yes, they seek me out. I'm not really even advertising—it’s all been word of mouth. I do have a website, but most of my clients come to me because they've heard people talk about me and my kettlebell training.
Dragon Door:    Since the training at your place involves a lot of correctives, what would you say is the most common problem you see with new clients? How do you help them work towards fixing it?
Gabi Katschthaler:    What we see most are the most common posture and movement problems resulting from a civilized lifestyle. Forward head posture, hunchback, anterior pelvic tilt, collapsing knees, collapsing arches and any combination of all these problems. What we do is simply follow the FMS algorithm. First, we identify the weak links and have our clients work on a selection of corrective drills, bodyweight and kettlebell exercises. We also identify which of their movement patterns that can be safely loaded. This allows us to use exercises or variations of exercises that build overall strength and conditioning. A mix of these strategies, exercises, and drills are fused together into a seamlessly flowing session. This approach ensures we don't waste any potential for strength and conditioning, but still take care of individual weaknesses. Our clients usually aren't aware that they're performing corrective exercises during class, but always feel the satisfaction of a "good workout".
Dragon Door:   And you've also attended the Marketing Mastermind Intensive? How was your experience with it?
Gabi Katschthaler:    It was really wonderful. I have a little bit of marketing and sales background in general, but seeing everything lined up in our context of fitness, strength and conditioning was very different. Having the information broken down and applied to our market segment was immensely useful. Even now I'm still in the process of implementing all the things I learned at the MMI.
Dragon Door:   Is that part of the restructuring process you’re implementing for your business?
Gabi Katschthaler:   Yes
Dragon Door:   What kind of structure or changes are you working towards?
Gabi Katschthaler:   Our business is growing so much, that we've had to open several new time slots for classes. At the same time, I'm getting more and more involved with teaching courses all across Europe—which means I need to delegate a lot more work than ever before, temporarily or permanently.
I am working to make sure that we can continue to offer our clients the same high quality service and instruction they've been receiving. We still keep the same instructor teaching all the classes in a single beginner course—we believe this is a important factor of an optimal learning environment. However, we are experimenting with a new system based on program templates for our advanced students. With this new system, the students' progression through the program is independent and consistent, no matter who leads the classes they attend on any given day. They will be able to show up for a class and the instructor will be able to continue right where they left off with another instructor. If this proves to work, it'll provide our clients, students, and instructors with a lot more freedom without compromising effective training.
Dragon Door:   That sounds like a very interesting program. Can you tell me more about the workshops you're helping to teach in Europe?
Gabi Katschthaler:   It seems like big things are afoot for Europe. I have recently started to work closely with my good friend Robert Rimoczi who is an RKC II, CK-FMS and Primal Move Global Instructor. He is also the RKC community leader for Germany. We are working on how to more effectively educate German-speaking fitness instructors. Language is a big issue in Germany since only the top 5% of fitness professionals are comfortable enough with English to attend a workshop and test also in English. Luckily, I'm fluent in German. Robert Rimoczi and I hope to organize and teach FMS, HKC and Primal Charge certification workshops in the German language in the very near future.