Talking to Aaron Vyvial who is the master level coach for Kettlebell Sport at the Texas Kettlebell Academy. Aaron Vyvial tells me that he has progressively added Gada and Clubs into his training regime, to compliment Kettlebell Lifting.
When did you start swinging Clubs?
Aaron Vyvial:- I started teaching circular strength training using steel clubs in 2004. In 2005 I opened up one of the first Kettlebell gyms in the USA with a strong focus on circular strength and club training. This gym was called Physical Foundation.
What sparked your interest in Mace Swinging?
Aaron Vyvial:- Right around this same time, I was training with Gene Lebell and Grappling World which led me to the Macebell and the Karl Gotch method that Jake Shannon shares with Scientific Wrestling.
What Mace Swing did you do in the first place?
Aaron Vyvial:- I played around a bit but would really only keep 360’s in my personal training.
Can you describe your other training disciplines?
Aaron Vyvial:- In 2012 we rebranded Physical Foundation as Texas Kettlebell Academy and went full bore with a tight focus on training competitive athletes for Girevoy Sport competitions.
When training our athletes and clients, we use unloaded joint mobility as warm up, kettlebells for base endurance and sport specificity, barbells for GPP, circular strength for compensation from all the linear work and a mix of Siberian and Persian Yoga for our cool down.
What qualifications do you have?
Aaron Vyvial:- Some of the current and past certifications MKST-L1, OKC L1, RGSI-L3, AKA/IUKL Coach, IKFF CKT 1&2, IKLF State Director, USAKL/Bolt , Renegade Training, CST (Circular Strength Training) & 20+ years of Ving Tsun Kung Fu training. I also own Moy Yat Kung Fu Academy with 4 more Kung fu schools under my direction.
With your focus on Kettlebell training, what was the reason for turning to the Mace and Clubs?
Aaron Vyvial:- With Kettlebell athletes, there heavy focus on the three main events of jerk, snatch and long cycle. We started seeing over specialisation issues concerning the forward roll of the shoulders from the rack position, and all the over head work would start getting the scapula a bit sticky and even some shut off of the lats. What we have done to compensate for this is, to add Club and Gada as part of everyone’s training. Before we had the clubs, but it was more of a novelty for most of our team.
What is your preferred approach to training?
Aaron Vyvial:- I have never been into too much cocktail or buffet training. I’m into using specific tools for what they are best at. So the traditional methods are good for me.
How do you keep your Mace and Club knowledge up to date?
Aaron Vyvial:- I have always been very interested in the more traditional methods of circular strength but there really were no resources for this a decade ago. Now there are so many resources that we can explore many of the traditions. My specific focus outside of Kettlebell competition is on Meel turning as taught by Kashi Azad at Persian Yoga and traditional Gada pulling.
It is nice to see such a focus on mace training happening now but many groups don’t really know the traditional methods, which is a shame, there is such an amazing history that can be explored by following those methods. The mace work I have seen, being taught by Paul Taras Wolkowinski, Rik Brown and my good friend Claude Ray has taught me, is really exciting and I’m happy to be part of it.
Can you give a brief description of the equipment at the Texas Kettlebell Academy?
Aaron Vyvial:- We have traditional clay pot gada at 8kg, 10kg, 13kg and 15kg. We have three short maces at 5kg, 5kg and one at 8kg. We have 5 x 6″ globes, shot fillable maces that are kept at 3kg, 4kg, 5kg, 6kg and 7kg. We have 4 x 8″ globe maces being made that will be 10kg, 12kg, 14kg and 16kg. We have two Evil Munky water-filled 12″ globe maces that are kept around 17kg-19kg. We also have a random collection of heavy hammers, Onnit maces and other toys. I gave my old Macebell to a friend a few years ago.
Can you describe your training with the Gada?
Aaron Vyvial:- I like the shot or water filled mace, because I want to feel and hear the splash from the pull as the water or shot hits. The traditional bamboo gada have a very different feel. There is a whippiness in the handle that feels really good. I need to spend more time with them to really form an opinion.
I train for pace with the gada. I pick a result I want and divide it over time. So pace 25 for 4mins will look like 22.214.171.124. If I want to slow the pace, I spend more time in the front position. 20-25 is my preferred pace for 360’s and 10/2’s.
I go through the set, switching direction and/or grip as needed. Usually every minute with lighter mace. With heavier maces, I change about every 10 reps. I don’t worry about being exact on reps divided by each hand or direction.
For really heavy, shoulder slide gada pulling, I don’t worry about reps, I just throw them in at the end and see what I can do.
What would you say as a final comment?
Aaron Vyvial:- The Mace and Club swinging has so many benefits but really the most important is that it’s fun and looks super cool. And I would like to announce that the Texas Kettlebell Academy will be holding a Mace Swinging Competition on the 4th September, 2016.
I would like to thank Aaron Vyvial from the Texas Kettlebell Academy for taking your time to answer my questions.
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