Zack Fox, NAGA Cruiser-weight Champion

Zack Fox, NAGA Cruiser-weight Champion

Mennen Sports Arena, Morristown, NJ, April 20th & 21st; The North American Grappling Association: NAGA, 
held the the 2013 World Championships. There were teams from Poland, Brazil, China as well as the top US Teams from all over the country. Team Alliance, Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Wilkes Warriors and even the US Naval Academy entered 17 Mid-Shipmen from their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competition team.

Two of Phil Ross’s American Eagle MMA/Team Alliance BJJ students earned titles at the two-day event. Zack Fox from Wykoff won the Criuser-weight (190-199) No-Gi contest and 12 year old Julian Rigg from Allendale secured the Gold in Gi and a Silver in the No-Gi children’s competition. Zack’s Gold came after his NAGA National Gold in November.
For more information on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Martial Arts or Kettlebells call 201-612-1429 or

Bridging the generational gap with my daughter.

Spending some quality family time with my daughter back from college for her break.

What Kettlebells and the RKC have done for me. This year, I’ll be putting out my Dirty Dozen must have exercises in my monthly Blog. This will cover the 12 months of the year. However, I must digress a tad and let you know how this seemingly innocuous, yet at times evil black iron ball with a handle and the organization that promotes the training – The RKC has had an incredibly significant effect on my life. I know that it may seem impossible, yet locked inside that black chunk of iron is an incredible amount of emotion, sweat, enjoyment, pain, love, trial, tribulation and triumph.

At the beginning of my Kettlebell Journey, people thought that I was a “Crazed Man Possessed”. This may be all true, (wink, wink) but I was committed to spreading the word about  kettlebells and the RKC. I personally had never felt physically better, more challenged and more excited about a training method in my over 35 years of serious training. People looked at me quizzically when I spoke, especially the skeptics of the Greater NY/NJ Metropolitan area. Yet I never let up.

One of the first major Kettlebell/RKC events that changed my life had to do with my first Kettlebell video. I had called my distributor, BayView Entertainment, to see how sales were going on my S.A.V.E. Self Defense video series and they informed me that they were doing a Kettlebell video with Amy Bento. I let them know that I had just become RKC Certified and they asked me to do an Advanced Kettlebell Workout video for their label. They then asked me to establish contact with Amy. We were doing our shoots back to back, so we got to talking during the months preceding the shoot. I wound up letting her use some of my kettlebells for her video. Over the next year, we established a friendship and wound up dating, getting married and being blessed with our daughter Adrienne. Amy became RKC certified and her latest Kettlebell Power video just received a Top 10 Rating from Fitness Magazine in February, 2013.

My oldest daughter, Nicole, a college freshman is pursing a degree in Exercise and Nutrition Science. Nicole is a Black Belt, HKC Certified and a staunch vegan with a popular recipe blog. At 99 lbs, she can do 100 snatches with the 12kg (25 lb) kettlebell in under 4 minutes. She does yoga, zumba and martial arts in college and ran track in high school. Fitness and sports have helped her through many tough times in her life and have become a big part of her persona and a way of life. She loves helping people live better.

My son Spencer is a poster child for Kettlebell Training. He is 16 years old, 6 foot 1 inch, weighing 210 lbs. His most recent throw of 58’ 8.5” put him at the #7 spot in the nation and #2 for all High School Juniors. One of the most amazing things is that he also wins and places in the 100 and 200 meter dashes and he is anywhere from 50 to 100 lbs lighter than the other Elite Status throwers. I do not have him do barbell back squats, but he can do a heel to butt Pistol (single leg squat) with the Beast (106 lb kettlebell) with either leg, easily! He has never done a max bench press or deadlift. He only started doing those exercises last year, and only for reps. He is a true product of Kettlebell and Bodyweight training.

As you can see, Kettlebells and the RKC has had an incredible, positive impact upon my family. Heck, I even have my 74 year old mom swinging bells three times a week! The RKC is more than a simple fitness organization. It’s an incredible network of people committed to helping others achieve better lives through our proven training methods. Everyone loves to share their knowledge and help others to succeed. We have such a great community with such a vast knowledge base. I’m so thrilled to be a part of it and I know that my life is immeasurably better ever since I made the decision to pick up a bell, sign up for my RKC and go for it. I urge others to do the same. You will get back your financial investment 100-Fold!

Yes, the RKC Certification is not inexpensive. So what? Is anything worth anything cheap? You get what you pay for. If you want to learn how to use Kettlebells from watching YouTube, GOOD LUCK! If you want to be part of an incredible organization of like-minded people, join the RKC Community, it will be worth every penny.

For more information on Kettlebell Training visit Dragon Door or

Never Say Die

You hear it all of the time “Never Say Die”. You see the athlete in competition, whether its MMA, a Grappling Match, a Track Meet or a Football game – the sport does not matter, only the actions that lead to the end result. The participant is behind and it seems as if all is lost and then the tide shifts and the athlete that appeared to be done for surges and emerges victorious.

Everyone wants to win. Wanting to win is not the hard part. Sacrificing everyday in your training, your eating habits and ignoring distractions; that is the difficult task. You need to make your training your priority – no room for excuses – make it to your workouts and push yourself to get better, stronger and faster. Excuses for failure are common, find a way to succeed.

How does this happen? How does one develop this “Never Say Die” attitude? Can it be developed? Or is it only in certain people?

There are certain people born with an innate inner toughness, but if it’s not cultivated, they burn out and lose it over time. Others seem to develop, grow tougher and more resilient over time. How is this done?

There is one sure fire way to develop this Never Say Die attitude, Train Hard. Yes, the more that you sacrifice and persevere, the more you become committed to succeed and less you are able to tolerate failure. There are many times when a combatant is in a scramble, they could easily give in and let their opponent win, yet they do not allow this to happen. The time, effort and pain endured in training comes through and they “dig deep” into their soul and put forth another effort. Training with purpose will not only harden your body, but your mind as well.

When you are training, think to yourself “What is my opponent doing? Is he training like I am? Is he sparring those extra rounds, running that additional mile and performing those few more reps? Is he pushing through the pain?” You will never be able to answer those questions, until after the contest. The best chance of success that you have is to train to your best ability and don’t make excuses for not training.

The more that you put in, the more that you will be prepared to win. Take the Samurai for example. They were in Life and Death Battles. If they lost, they were dead. In order to win, they needed to have supreme confidence. They developed this confidence through their daily training regiment and discipline. The tenants espoused by the Samurai are ones that we can base our training on to develop our Never Say Die attitude.

As Always – Train Hard & Train Often.

My Best Friend: Are you a fitness enthusiast that takes their running shoes on trips, only to feel uncomfortable road running in unfamiliar areas? Are you tired of endlessly waiting for cardio equipment to free up at your gym, only to feel like a hamster running on a wheel? Do you love to run outdoors, yet shy away from putting on five layers of under-armor and sweats on in order to brave the sub arctic temperatures?

Well, let me introduce you to my “Best Friend”, the jump rope. You can take it anywhere, you do not need much space, it does not matter what the weather is like outside, you do not need expensive equipment ($2.00 to $20.00 for a rope, my favorite costs $8.00) and you can vary the routines and movements to keep it interesting. My Grandfather was a boxing trainer in Paterson, NJ back in the 30’s, 40’s and into the 50’s. He instructed me on how to jump rope as a teenager as a means to improve my foot speed and endurance for wrestling and football. I then began to realize the incredible benefits of jumping rope.

If you jump rope at a good pace for 5 minutes, it’s equivalent to running a mile! The coordination of your hands and feet moving in rhythm with each other is essential for a fighter. All of my martial arts classes begin with 3 to 5 minutes of jumping rope. In addition to the coordination development, jumping rope is an incredible means to warm up the body.

Even if you are a beginner and you miss on your jump, keep moving your feet. To learn how to jump, here are a couple of tips:

1) Play some music that you like with a good beat. You should put together a playlist for at least the same amount of time that you want to jump for. Use your favorite, upbeat songs & make a mix. Or, for those with obsessive, manic personalities, repeat the same song as an extended version. This also helps you jump rope longer. You basically fool your self into NOT thinking that you are jumping that long.

2) To initially get your timing, watch as the rope hits the ground. That’s when you time your jump. It may take a few weeks to get your timing, but keep working, it will eventually happen.

3) If you are still having issues, try putting the rope in one hand and jump up and down while rotating your wrist. This will help you to find your timing.

4) Remember the less movement of your arms, the better. Your wrists are the primary focus of the rotation. Try also to keep them in the same spot, approximately at the level between the bottom of your chest and the top of your hips. This does not hold true when you are doing more advanced movements, like crossing the rope or double jumps.

5) You do not have to jump very high. You only need to jump high enough to allow the thin rope to pass under your feet. Get your rhythm and all else will fall into place.

If you’d like to workout the rest of your body, try performing push-ups and abdominal exercises in a rotation with jumping rope. You can start with 100 jumps, 20 push – ups and 30 abdominals. Start with 3 rotations and then increase to 5. You may also execute additional push – ups or abdominals. What a great way to start the day!

Victory Favors the Prepared!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach me at  HYPERLINK “”

Kettlebells are the new fitness rage. In my opinion, and many others, Kettlebell Training is the best overall tool for complete fitness. All of the major goals can be met with proper training: Strength, Conditioning, Flexibility, Durability and Athletic Ability are all increased with proper implementation of a Kettlebell Program.

That’s all well and good, but where do you start? First you need to find a qualified instructor and/or a thorough video. If you are basing your training on the workouts displayed on youtube, you are in trouble. Yes, you can get some great ideas (and a lot of harmful ones) from the free internet service – but you do get what you pay for.

What weight do I start with? Common sense dictates that you start light. Yes and no. “Yes and no” – you may be asking yourself how can I say that?!? You HAVE start light. In certain exercises, yes you need to build up, but in many kettlebell exercises it is actually detrimental to your technique execution if the weight it too light. I will expand on this notion with an example.

Let us consider the Kettlebell Clean. The Clean is an essential Kettlebell movement used as a stand alone exercise, in Complexes and Chains as well as a means to get the Kettlebell into position for other exercises: such as presses and squats. If you use too light of a kettlebell, you will complete the exercise improperly.

If you can simply “curl” the Kettlebell into position, it’s too light and you are doing the technique improperly. We have a “Cheat Curl” to help you get the properly weighted Kettlebell into the rack position, provided your cleans are not yet up to snuff.

With the light bell, you will not be firing your core or stabilizers. You need a properly weighted Kettlebell to recruit these muscles and maximize the benefits of working with Kettlebells.

If you clean a Kettlebell that it too light, you will tend to smash it against your wrist and arm. This will cause bruising and unnecessary pain, not to mention the practitioner not gaining the benefits from Kettlebells.

There are many other facets of training that proper choice of Kettlebell weight are necessary. The alignment of the knees, spine, shoulders and other joints. Breathing behind the shield.

There are, of course, instances when using too much weight can be detrimental as well. If you haven’t developed the proper shoulder stabilization, using too much weight on an Armbar or a Turkish Get-up could result in injury. You must know how to pack your shoulders, lock your joints and employ proper full body tensioning to successfully hoist heavy weight with quite a few Kettlebell maneuvers. So, one does have to start with using lighter weights before these movements are even to be attempted with heavy one.

So to answer the question: “How heavy of a Kettlebell should I use?” I will make the following statement with no hesitation at all – “It depends”. It depends on the movement, your ability and your level of fitness. You also need to employ good judgement and start with basic movements to gain your confidence an learn how the Kettlebell moves.

As always: Train Hard & Train Often!

American Eagle MMA & Kettlebell’s Congratulates 

Ho Ho Kus’ A.J. Lonski on his 

National Wrestling Title

Most Northern NJ 12 year olds spend their birthday weekend at other than in gym filled with wrestling mats in the middle of Iowa. Not so for Ho Ho Kus resident A.J. Lonski. AJ, accompanied by his father Dan, a former Princeton University wrestler, headed to the USA Wrestling 2011 Preseason Schoolboy Nationals held at the UNI-Dome of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

There were 28 mats in the 1 day tournament. There were wrestlers from all over the country ages from 8 to 18. A.J., representing NJ in the Elementary School Division, Grades 5/6 at the 95 pound weight class.

I asked A.J. a few questions about his experience at the National Tournament and what he did in preparation for his National Wrestling Championship.

What was your toughest match?

David Carr (Ohio). He was a strong and fast wrestler on his feet and on the mat.  His dad, Nate Carr, is a multiple time NCAA champ as well as an Olympic Bronze Medalist.

How many days was the tournament?

The tournament was completed in one day, October 22nd.  Some of the high school kids were competing past 10pm.

How did you handle the stress of a National Wrestling competition?

Because of prior experiences competing in national tournaments, I knew what to expect; so, I wasn’t nervous. For me, it wasn’t any more or less stressful than any other tournament.
How did you prepare?

In the weeks leading up to the tournament, I wrestled almost every day at 3 different clubs in addition to keeping up with my weight training.  I traveled between NJ, NY, PA and DE competing at various meets and tournaments to get adequate match time.

On tournament days, I prepare to wrestle approximately 30-45min prior to each match.  This includes jumping rope and practicing various moves.
What is your weekly training regiment?

I train at my wrestling clubs 4 times a week (includes drilling, matches and conditioning). I do kettlebell strength training along with MMA training at American Eagle Mixed Martial Arts ( Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ) about 3 times a week.

What are your plans for the season?

This year, I’m really going to focus on continuing my strength development as well as perfecting the new techniques I’m learning.  I think I have the best team around me, including my various wrestling coaches and Sabomnim Ross.  My goal this season is to train hard, to compete hard and to leave it all out on the mat each time.  If I do that, I believe success will naturally follow.  My long-term goal is to be a NJ State Champion and to wrestle in college.

Good Luck AJ, with your work ethic and training team, we have no doubt that you’ll achieve al of your goals and dreams!

100’s Workout

Our lives are exceedingly busy. Time is a commodity that we can ill afford to waste. There are many occasions when we only have a small window of opportunity to train. You only have 35 to 45 minutes to train. You have to get your workout in. You’ve worked very hard to attain your level of fitness and you want to keep it. What can you do?

Here’s a great workout combining body weight and kettlebells. It’s call the 100’s Workout. Begin with warming the body up very well. Jump rope for 2 or 3 minutes, employ 5 to 7 minutes of stretching and other various warm-up techniques. Do three rotations of Deck Squats (10), Push-ups (25) and Abdominals (30). Now you are ready for the 100’s Workout.

There are several ways to do this workout. I’ve done anywhere from 3 to 5 exercise, depending on the available time and the chosen set of exercises. This is something that you’ll have to decide for yourself and how you are able to perform on a particular day. In addition, the amount of weight that you use makes a difference. Obviously – the higher the weight, the harder the workout.

Following are some examples:

Routine #1:

100 2 Hand Swings, recover, stretch.

100 Bottoms-up Squats, recover, stretch.

100 Kettlebell Snatches, recover stretch.

You should be able to accomplish each exercise in 5 to 6 minutes with a 2 minute rest and re-hydration period in between. You should be done with this section in a total of 20 minutes. A light stretch and you are finished and on with your day.


Routine #2:

100 Hand to Hand Swings (50 each Side)

100 Single Rack Squats (Change every 10 reps, 50 each side)

100 Dual Jerk Presses- It is best to do them in sections – VERY difficult to perform 100 of these in a row. You will most likely need 3 to 4 sets in order to complete the 100 repetitions.

You should be able to accomplish each exercise in 5 to 7 minutes with a 2 minute rest and re-hydration period in between. You should be done with this section in a total of 23 minutes. A light stretch and you are finished and on with your day.

Use your imagination and try other combinations of exercises when you do your 100’s. It’s a great deal of fun and yields a phenomenal workout.

As always: Train Hard & Train Often!

Youth Sports: Ruining our Youth or Enhancing their development?

Youth football, soccer, wrestling, baseball, tennis, cheer leading, dance, swimming, basketball…travel teams…try-outs & cuts…successes and failures. Championship games…Pee Wee Super Bowls, Little League World Series…a trophy for every kid…over inflated Pee Wee Coaches egos…Parents fighting each other and assaulting referees…Have we lost sight of what our Junior Development Leagues are for?


What price are our children paying? Burned out by the time they get to High School, many athletes never reach their touted potential. Many children who mature later on, who have suffered exclusion or maybe didn’t make it onto the “crucial travel team” and become turned off to sports without even getting started.


I am going to put forth several extremely bold statements. You may agree, disagree, love me, hate me, continue to read my blogs or “un-friend” me on Facebook (Yes – I’ve been unfriended before!). Your choice. I am calling attention to this issue is of epidemic proportions and it’s ruining our youth and the whole notion of junior development sports.


My grandfather (born in 1902) was a boxing trainer and even played in for one of the first professional football teams, the Paterson (NJ) Bulldogs. He made a whopping 15 cents per game. He was asked on many occasions to coach the burgeoning “Pop Warner” football and Little League Baseball teams, yet he would not do nor would he let my uncle join the teams. He thought that the kids should learn to play without the interference on adults. My uncle went on to play foot ball in high school and was a stand out receiver making the All-Decade Team for Eastside High.

The incredible amount of Injuries – concussions, torn acl’s, rotator cuff, “Tommy John” elbow surgery, etc…I was in High School in the ’70’s. I played football, wrestled and ran track in High School. In 4 years of HS Wrestling, I don’t remember one concussions – yet two years ago, I coached a team that had 7 (yes seven) in one year. All of those kids had come up through the junior wrestling program. I had no idea what an “ACL” was, now 2 out 5 of female High School soccer players have injured or completely torn their Anterior Cruciate Ligament. These injuries aren’t contained only to soccer, I have just picked this sport to mention at this point. How is this so?

The answer is simple. The athletes are de-conditioned, overworked and have not had the proper strength and stability training. The focus is on “making the travel team” or being on the “A-team” instead of learning how their bodies function and having fun with sport. They play the same sport all year long, from a very young age. The parents and the children alike are brainwashed into thinking that this is the only way it should be.


Children should be involved in sport for fun and fundamentals only until 12 or 13, at the earliest. If they compete, it should be on their own terms, not with an adult or coach prompting and pushing them. Getting competitive should really be held off until High School, but at 12 or 13, it’s OK to get the competitive juices flowing.


Children should be involved in sports and activities that are going to develop their bodies and have their muscles and tendons strengthened. They should partake in swimming, martial arts, gymnastics (non-competitive), track & field, calisthenics and other, body awareness development based activities. All quote “organized sports” with teams, championships and their associated coaches should be abolished and replaced with open sports activities at town fields or other indoor facilities. I could go further into this, but I think that I’ve made my point.