Hardstyle History

Discussion in 'Kettlebell' started by Fukui, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. Fukui

    Fukui My Third Post


    Can anyone tell me about the history of Hardstyle ? I just wondered, is it part of the russian history ? Or was it created by Pavel, as a progress based on GS ( soft ) Style ? Comparing to GS Style, i like the Hardstyle much more, but i just asked myself, after seeing a GS Style coach who does GS since 50 years and still kicking in his 70s...how old is the hardstyle ? And does there exist any long term studies about people who did it for many centuries, and still doing it now in their older age ?

    Thanks in advance
  2. Kiacek

    Kiacek More than 500 posts

    I would say, from my understanding of it, that the evolution of hardstyle happened between 2001 and present day (see RKC to ETK and RoTK for an example of the evolution).
  3. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Senior Instructor

    @Fukui, the distinction between hard/external and soft/internal martial arts has been around for a very long time. I believe Pavel was the first to make this distinction in the world of lifting weights.

    Ryan T likes this.
  4. Fukui

    Fukui My Third Post

    @Steve Freides, that was one of my thoughts too. As Tai Chi Chuan Teacher i often deal with people who switch from external styles to Tai Chi Chuan when they are in their older age. Even GS would fit more to me, Hardstyle gave me so much, its my way to go. I just wonder if i need to switch from Hardstyle to GS when i am getting older.
  5. Steve Freides

    Steve Freides Dir. of Community Engagement Senior Instructor

    One can have it all. There is no need to choose.

    runninggirevik and Pavel Macek like this.
  6. offwidth

    offwidth More than 5000 posts

    There are many hardstyle practitioners around here that are well into their 60's . @Steve Freides is right... one really can have it all.
  7. guardian7

    guardian7 More than 500 posts

    According to what I have read, the martial arts analogy is real. Hardstyle developed from mixing Karate concepts particularly Okinawan tension/relaxation and kettlebells in the 1980s in military training in the Soviet Union. The idea of the standing plank and kime is base on Karate. The exhalation at the top of the swing mimicks Karate Kiai. The key concept is maximizing and not conserving power. The hardstyle plank (vs normal plank) is a good example of this concept in action. There is explicit reference to this in early RKC manuals and Pavel explicitly mentions this in more than one book or article, however, in recent work it seems more like a comparison, so it is a bit unclear. This origin is written up in both Strongfirst materials and competing organizations.

    Philosophically, just like Yin and Yang, people of any age should ideally do both. Keep doing kettlebells hardstyle while dropping bell sizes if necessary, but by all means complement with long walks, yoga, or tai chi. My first kettlebell instructor told me that she added kettlebells and martial arts because doing only yoga was too "yin." For aging men in particular, there are hormonal benefits to health to including power production (martial arts and kettlebells) and perceived heavy weight. Young agressive men might benefit from more "yin" activities. Ancient wisdom supported by modern endocrinology!
    offwidth, Ryan T and Shahaf Levin like this.
  8. jca17

    jca17 More than 300 posts

    Also, in the world of power/strength sports, top performers have tended to intuitively use "hardstyle." It's the only way to lift elite poundage. Pavel frequently relates how Louie Simmons told him "You have reverse engineered what the strongest guys do naturally."

    Pavel's brilliance is exactly that, he's reverse engineering it to be able to teach it systematically and repeatably, with influence from martial arts principles, and uniquely applied to kettlebells.
    ShawnyUT, Ryan T and Gaz like this.
  9. Pavel Macek

    Pavel Macek More than 2500 posts Master Instructor

    The genius of Pavel + old-time strongmen secrets + Russian research and practice + multiple other disciplines taken apart and reverse engineered (gymnastics, Yoga, martial arts, arm wrestling... you name it) + contribution of all practitioners and teachers = today's Hardstyle, coherent and complex yin-yang system.
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2018
  10. Marlon Leon

    Marlon Leon Triple-Digit Post Count

    I'd like to add that there is no soft style with a fixed technique. There is Girevoy sport with its specific requirements. People have tried many different ways to reach the best results in competition. While some things are universal such as natural breathing, most are slightly different from lifter to lifter. Some perform snatches with a squat style others use more the back.
    Steve W. likes this.
  11. Ryan T

    Ryan T More than 500 posts

    Pavel goes over some of the history in Simple and Sinister. If you don't have it yet, you need to get it. As others have said it is really about balancing hard and soft which translates to having the awareness and skill of dialing in the right amount of tension and releasing it at the right time for the particular movement or lift you are doing. It is not about grinding your body into oblivion.

    Also, read the articles on the blog. You'll notice that the development of strength has an implicit focus on longevity. A good example would be articles on A&A conditioning.

    All the best!
    Steve W. likes this.
  12. Pavel Macek

    Pavel Macek More than 2500 posts Master Instructor

    From @Pavel 's Hardstyle Abs:

    "Hardstyle”... is an umbrella term for all my teachings (kettlebell, barbell, bodyweight, mobility, flexibility, etc.), views strength as a skill and reverse engineers the body language of the strongest people in the world.
  13. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I think this is an important point. IMO, Hardstyle is not exactly analogous to hard/external styles of martial arts, and GS is not necessarily analogous to soft/internal martial arts. Notice that the quotation @Pavel Macek cites above does not mention martial arts or define Hardstyle in contrast to anything else.
  14. Steve W.

    Steve W. Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    IMO, this is an important point as well, and reinforces the idea that Hardstyle is not defined in contrast to some "Softstyle," but includes the skill of generating appropriate tension with appropriate timing, coordinated with appropriate relaxation with appropriate timing.
    Stuart Elliott and Bret S. like this.
  15. Fukui

    Fukui My Third Post

    Thanks for all your answers, I will deeply reflect on that.

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