Sunday, June 26, 2016

Knowing But Not Doing

Is That Really Knowing?

I often hear and read comments about how a person ‘know’ the works of others. This is often based on a person reading a few (typically free) internet articles writing by the person, or even meeting them.

You don’t have to look to far for examples of this, however here is a great example. I read how a young man boasted of a day spent with the late Charlie Francis, a speed coach who was so far ahead of his peers. A few years later I watched that same young man implement a pre-season training program for a provincial team whose playing arena was approximately 100 meters in length. It began with 10 repeats of 1,500 meters and grew weekly to 20 repeats of 1,500 meters. That was not all, just part of training.

Now that approach was about as far away on the continuum from what Charlie espoused as you could go.

 So what does it mean to ‘know’? A great saying, attributed to perhaps Zen philosophy, is that:

To know and not do is to not know. 

 So why claim one ‘knows’? I assume it gives a degree of perceived credibility to have had some exposure to a respected teacher and to be able to say ‘I know’.

But what does it take to ‘know’ in the Zen philosophy way? To be able to execute a certain training philosophy or method with unconscious competence takes so much more than simply reading the works of a person, or simply spending time with them.

The ultimate test of your ‘knowing’ is to coach live and write spontaneous training programs under the supervision and watchful eye of your teacher. Ideally you then receive feedback from them – in the now. You refine, adjust and do it again. You receive feedback, refine and adjust. And this cycle is repeated. For how long? Probably years.

Imagine proudly enacting a 15 kilometer to 30 kilometer total volume interval program with mixed energy system athletes competing on a 100x50 meter arena under the guidance of Charlie Francis? What do you think Charlie would have said? I can assure you he would not have said ‘Wow! What a great understanding of my training approach you have!’

What I suggest Charlie may have reacted with would be more along the lines ‘Okay, you may have missed the point. Have you ever read the chapter in my book about coaches ploughing fields with Ferraris? What about the chapter on building of very wide pyramids with very little peak?’

There’s a few message here.

Firstly the loose boast of ‘I know coach x’s works’ is typically issued falsely be individuals wishing to create a perception beyond reality.

Secondly if you want to truly ‘know’ a particular coaches training approach you will need to find an opportunity to test your interpretation under supervision, receive feedback and refine on the basis of this feedback – many times over, typically years.

‘Knowing’ involves a lot more than lip service or short term exposure. True knowing means letting go of your desire to be perceived as a guru and putting on the white belt. I suggest that people who truly ‘know’ make no such inference, in respect of their realization they even with a long history of studying with a coach for the purpose of mastery, they are only scratching the surface.

At KSI we give the coaches in our program the opportunity to experience this ‘knowing’ opportunity – to coach under supervision and receive feedback. The entry to this opportunity is our annual KSI August Camp in Park City each year. If and when a coach rises higher up in the KSI Coaching program you will have other opportunities each year in varying locations.

If you truly want to master the KSI way we make it possible!

Ian King

P.S. Want to register for the 13th Annual KSI Athlete and Coach Camp, in August 2016 in Park City? Email us at to receive the link.

The 13th Annual KSI Athlete & Coach Training Camp

Thu 18-Tue 23 August 2016, Park City, UT, USA

See you in August 2016 in Park City!

Ian King

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Knee injuries - How can you hope to solve the problem using the stimulus that caused the problem?

As a student of sports training and competition I took up the opportunity to watch the exercise selection from the waiting room at the physical therapists. I was surprised at the amount of quad exercises used over the weeks of my observing.

Later as I lay on a table in the therapy clinic I listened to a young male client answer the question from this physical therapist.

Therapist: Okay what have we done so far?
Patient: Squats.
My mind: That’s one.
Patient: Wall squats.
My mind: That’s two
Patient: Lunges.
My mind: That’s three.
Patient: Walking lunges.
My mind: That’s four.
Patient: Step ups.
My mind: That’s five.

So far, the workout was 100% quad. I shook my head and said a prayer for the patient. Now to be fair I did see one non-quad exercise being done later. But the first five and the overwhelming majority of exercises being used in the rehab program for what I believe was an ACL surgery patient were quad exercises.

I found this ironic, because it was this very profession some 30 years ago that brought me attention to the risks of ‘quad dominance’ in muscle balance and its relationship with gait and joint integrity. And here I was, some three decades later, and they were creating that exact same condition.

I took this quad dominant concern, along with my own observations, quite seriously and spend a decade or so developing and refining before publishing a concept I called ‘Lines of Movement’ in 1998. You might not recognize the concept title I gave it but you will recognize the terminology by virtue of the prolific unreferenced and uncredited publishing by people who knew better.

In relation to the lower body, I developed the concept to ‘hip dominant’ exercises to counter the concern I learnt from my therapist colleagues about ‘quad dominance’. Now, nearly 20 years after I first published this concept, my theories about the risks of quad dominance have become greater and clearer. I rank the muscle imbalance presented by quad dominant training as one of the highest correlates with ACL ruptures and similar.

If I am track, then the question can be asked:

How can you hope to solve the problem (ACL rupture risk) using the same stimulus that contributed to the problem?

Now I understand that there are many reasons why most will disregard this message. Firstly, and most importantly, because the majority of ‘performance’, ‘injury prevention’ and ‘injury rehab’ strength training does just this – create quad dominance. And to accept this and change would take the emotional intelligence to conclude one is off track and needs to redirection one’s training programs. That’s the biggest reason the message will be ignored.

I understand this. I understand others are waiting for ‘evidence’. I say look at the changing injury landscape. This injury was extremely rare in the 1980s, and even after the surgery became available there was not an instant increase in ACL incidence – so the low incidence was not because the surgery was not available. It was just a rare injury. It is not any more. So what changed? Why are so many athletes suffering from this injury now? But this would take again a degree of commitment to excellence and a detachment from ego that few are committed to.

Evidence is, I suggest, another way of saying I will only do it when I see most others doing it, and when I am doing what most others are doing, I feel ‘right’ and ‘safe’.

What I do say is this – not withstanding the frequent medical claims I here quoted by patients all too often about how their graft will be stronger than the one their Maker gave them - 50% of all ACL patients will have repeat knee surgery, and 100% will have premature degenerative changes such as osteoarthritis. I would not wish this on anyone. If it was your child would you want this?

So while the masses wait the quarter to full century it may take for the ‘evidence’ to ‘allow’ them to take note of my conclusions, another generation or more will suffer from life changing injury and surgery such as the ACL.

It does not have to be this way for you and those in your care, however that is up to you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Throwing the players under the bus – a strategy for failing as a coach

The first game of the season showed promise with the team winning the first half easily, and then holding on for the second half to win the game. By the second game this pattern of decline in dominance as the game went on became worse, and the team lost the second half.

I had fears of what was to follow, and my fears were amplified when the field announcer stated the final score and congratulated the visiting team for winning the second half. It was just the announcer looking to give a positive to the losing team, but he had inadvertently drove the nail further into the coffin of his own team.

As I feared, the coach told the team in the post-game talk that they were not fit enough. This code for something’s not working, I’ve got no idea what, but it must be your fault and the easiest blame strategy is ‘you are not fit enough’.

Predictably they trained the team harder in non-specific conditioning work as well as rugby drills during the following week. During the next game the team were the flattest they had been, with limited on-field talk. They almost lost the first half, and ended up drawing the game. This outcome was exacerbated by the fact that the opponent on this day had not won a game in the season to date. Of course, it’s unlikely that anyone took into account that they had played and lost to the competitions top teams.

So what do you do next after blaming fitness? The post-game coach’s speech focused on the lack of intensity, telling the players they needed to play and train with more intensity. I am not sure how you naturally bring more intensity when you are more tired than you needed to be, but that’s the way this scenario played out.

During the week, as you can expect, the team were trained in a way that resulted in the coach happily stating that they had brought more ‘intensity’ to training, inferring this would serve them well in the upcoming game.

In the upcoming game the team lost for the first time, failing to score a single try, and conceding nearly half a century of points.

So what do you do now that you have gone down the path of throwing the players under the bus? You start dropping players. So about 55% of the way through the season players are relegated, with the ensuing drop in personal confidence you can expect from players dropped without knowing why.

How did this work? The next game resulted in a score against that exceeded half a century. Now it was against the second strongest team in the competition, but the fact this team scored as many points as they did against a lowest rank team (a team that the losing team had easily beaten) suggested that the outcome was unnecessarily out of context to the losing teams potential.

So where do you go now? Shuffle players around, playing them out of the position you had them in for most of the season? Basically you run out of options.

Few would disagree that athletes benefit positively from people believing in them, especially their significant others. And who more significant than their coach? On the flip side, again few would disagree that negative impacts potentially result when a coach directly or indirectly tells the athlete they are lazy, don’t try hard enough, are not intense or focused enough, or are not good enough to play at that level.

The challenge with any coach who fails to interpret the cause of their outcomes is further failure. However this failure is magnified in it’s consequence in the team culture where the coach takes the path of throwing the players under the bus.

Whenever I hear a coach who by words or actions blames his players, I see a lesser future for the coach. To put it bluntly it’s a path to failure. This applies no matter what level it is occurring at, bet it the national team or a local kids team.

I have had the fortune of working with coaches who have the strength to deflect the pressure on their team. The long serving Queensland rugby union coach John Connolly was one of these. I was impressed with his choice to absorb the pressure and not throw the players under the bus. However these coaches are the overwhelmingly minority. From my experience, I have observed the majority of coaches blame the players, failing to understand that firstly what goes on is a product of their leadership, and that the act of blaming the players is in the short term the kiss of death to their team’s culture and in the long term the kiss of death to their coaching career success.

Few coaches develop their coaching abilities to the level of being able to consistently and successfully interpret the cause of their wining or losing, and I accept this. However my suggestion that even in the absence of this high level ability, coaches could benefit from avoiding the popular habit of throwing the players under the bus.

NB. The above is fictional story to illustrate the message.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Stop injuring the athletes - ACL reconstructions

By Ian King

I was stretching beside the oval whilst debriefing my son following his high school rugby game and I looked. Three teenage boys from the opposition school were standing nearby, and two of them were in knee braces.

I have been saying for decades now that the rate of injuries to athletes is unacceptable and unnecessary. If fact those familiar with my writings would be appear of my zero tolerance attitude – we can prevent them all.

It has been tragic watching the advent then the rise of the ACL surgery since its introduction around about 1980. A positive sign is the discussions that are now occurring. In two different countries two separate article were published recently, one by a former elite US athlete who never fulfilled his career due to injury and the other by sports medicine advocates in Australia.

One of the many limiting factors in the effectiveness of any intervention that is stimulated by this growing awareness of injury incidence is what I call interpretation. Image ten coaches watching the same game where their team say lost the game. How many different interpretations will come from these ten coaches if they are independently arrived at? Could be ten. And how many of these coaches are high achieving in terms of their association with championships or whatever is the measure of success at their respective levels? At best one of them. And chances are that the coach with the most accurate interpretation.

Understanding why athletes get injured is no different – it is subject to interpretation. And listening to the interpretation provided by this sports medicine expert as to why the incidence of ACL ruptures in the young athlete is so high let me with little comfort that anything will change.

You see these experts cited the reduction in childhood play as the primary cause. I have heard the dominant interpretation amongst my North American colleagues – that the increased injury rate in young athletes is due to the lack of diversification in sports played in formative years and that the athletes are specializing too early.

Both lovely theories, and both have validity in the bigger picture of long term athlete development. But both, in my humble opinion, miss the target. And this is where you come in. You are going to either adopt one of the theories presented here (including my theory) of form your own. Whatever path you choose, I ask two things.

Firstly understand the seriousness of your interpretative decisions. You have the live, the quality of life and the livelihood (the US athlete only dropped 5 million dollars…..) of the athlete in your hands. I know you didn’t sign the Hippocratic Oath but for the sake of athletes all over the world I hope you would adopt this attitude:

First, do no harm.

Now based on a number of factors I am not optimistic that you will take the most effective path. Why am I so negative? Firstly that most of you will do what most do. And from my perspective, this conforming path gives you social comfort but leaves you under-performing on your potential, and the athletes will path the price. Secondly, most of you will lack the experience or competence to make optimal decisions. And thirdly few of you will be in a position to monitor the cause-effect relationship of training and injuries through multi-year controlled environments.

So if you are have not been too offended and are still reading, leaves me to the second request. I respect whatever path you take, and I accept that most of you will miss the target. But what you can do is every few years take stock, reflect, and change your mind. Get better at avoiding injuries in the athletes who trust you. Now this will require taking responsibility for your decisions rather than avoiding responsibility, which in sport is easy to do. It will also take humility and the willingness to let go of any dogma. So I understand this request is a large one, but I make it with optimism.

I want you to act before the duty of care concept from the legal perspective is your driving force. You are getting away with doing things today that are causes serious injury because ‘everyone’ is doing the same thing and ‘science’ has not yet ‘confirmed’ that what you are doing is causing the injuries. But one day, science will catch up and you will be held responsible for doing the things you take for granted now, like endless walking lunges, failing to stretch the athlete, and for developing the quad dominance that your current training programs are – just to name a few. One day these debilitating practices will be frowned upon. But you don’t have to wait till everyone has caught up. You can work these things out now and, for the sake of the athletes, make the changes and STOP INJURYING the athletes!

So what, in my humble opinion, has brought on the rise of incidence in ACL surgery? There are many factors, and in every case the hierarchy will be different, and this level of individual interpretation is nigh impossible in a world that struggles with accurate generalized interpretation. However, for the sake of starting your journey to serving the athletes better, I raise three of what I consider up the top end of contributing causes in most cases. I list them alphabetically to avoid any further message of which is more important or correlative.

I will also give examples in each case to demonstrate some of the influences in my conclusions.

1. The introduction of strength training and the inherent quad dominance in the program design.

Using the young athlete as a time line, based on my experience dealing with post high school elite athletes in Australia, there were few if any formal strength training programs in high schools in Australia prior to the early to mid-1990s. I suggest, and this is a hypothesis, that you could track the rise of ACL injuries in young athletes (12-24 years) along beside the rise of strength training programs in high schools and find a strong correlation.

Am I saying that strength training is bad for young athletes and should not be done? Not at all. What I am saying is that if strength training with the same imbalances as exist traditionally in adult or elite programs is applied to kids, they will suffer injuries early. And that is what is happening, I suggest.

I propose a second hypothesis – if you could track the rate at which strength training has been offered to younger and younger athletes in the high school programs, with the rise in incidence of ACL ruptures in younger and younger athletes, I suggest you would see a correlative pattern.

Now these same imbalances have been inherent in adult elite programs since I have been studying strength training for sport, since its inception around 1970 in the US.

During the 1980s I began forming a conceptual theory that I called ‘Lines of Movement’, to understand how inherent imbalances in traditional program design could quantified. I published this concept for the first time in 1998 Here is the fundamental message:
After many years I have decided that there is two family trees in lower body exercises – one where the quad dominates, and one where the hip dominates. When I say hip I mean the posterior chain muscle groups – the hip extensors; which are gluteal, hamstrings, lower back – they’re your hip extensors. And I believe this – the head of the family in the quad dominant exercises is the squat. That’s the head of the family. And there are 101 lead-up exercises to it and there’s a few on after it as well. But the core exercise for the quad dominant group is the squat. It’s the most likely used exercise in that group for the majority of people.

The hip dominant exercises – the father of the hip dominant tree is the deadlift – which when done correctly would be the most common exercise of that group. There are lead-in exercises, and there are advanced exercises from it.

So I build my family tree around the squat and I build my family tree around the deadlift. And I balance them up. In general, for every squat exercise or every quad dominant exercise I show in that week a hip dominant exercise in that week. And what do most people do in their program designs – they would do two quad dominant exercises for every hip dominant exercise. What is the most common imbalance that occurs in the lower body?

….To balance the athlete I work on a ratio of 1 to 1 of hip and quad dominant - in general. And I can assure you – most programs you’ll see are 2 to 1 – quad and hip.

That’s a concept I’m sure you’ll have never heard before because this is the first time I have spoken about it.
The following is a sample list, not in any order, of the major muscle groups of the body that I published:
A sample list of muscle groups, not in any order.(5) _______________________________________________
Hip dominant (e.g. deadlift and its variations)
Quad dominant (e.g. squats and its variations)
Vertical pulling (i.e. scapula depressors e.g. chin ups)
Vertical pushing (i.e. arm abduction e.g. shoulder press)
Horizontal pulling (i.e. scapula retractors e.g. rows)
Horizontal pushing (i.e. horizontal flexion e.g. bench press)
The subsequent dilution of the origin of this concept has gone hand in hand with its failure to impact the athlete’s outcome to the extent it could have. I can only recommend you go to the source, to my original writings, summarized in the ‘Legacy’ book or more extensively in my ‘Legacy Course’ (Level1 KSI Coaching Program). I understand that those looking for opportunities to discredit my message may call ‘marketing!’ at this point in time, however those that know me better understand it’s not about the money, it’s about the athlete. And if that’s the best way at the moment to help the athlete, and I suggest it is – so be it.

I identified the imbalances of the lower body musculature and found a way to teach the risk and solution in the 1980s and taught it in the 1990s. I have since advanced my theories but the historic content would serve you really well as a base point.

2. The failure to address length and tension of the connective tissue

As a student of training trends and optimal training it has been extremely interesting to say the least to watch the trends in this area of training during the last four decades. The rise of connective tissues is undeniable, and the effort to find solutions pitiful. I suggest that the only thing my colleagues are concerned about is whether they are being trend conforming, dressed up in the behavioral term ‘cutting edge’.

Let me put it this way – more and more and younger and younger athletes are being exposed to strength training, and experiencing tissue shortening and tension increases. And the best that is bring offered is dynamic ‘stretching’ and foam rolling?

Again let me be clear – I am not saying that either is bad or of no value. What I am saying is this.

Dynamic stretching is barely stretching and does not replace the role of static stretching. And as for the dominant discouragements to the masses of the post 2000 era – that pre-training static stretching will make you weak and or increases your injures – injuries could not get much higher and the dominant value is stretching is minimized, what is done is predominantly dynamic. It’s not working! It never did! All I have to offer is four decades of professional application with an intensity and desire for optimal outcomes that few can match. Who cares about my experience? I can assure, the thousands of athletes who I have given injury free high performance careers to have.

Now foam rollers – the only reason you have heard about this option was because small equipment distributors in the US realized the profit in re-selling a piece of foam and instructed their seminar speakers to project expert (and I suggest overnight expertise) opinions on the value of rolling, to the extent that it was placed in the sequence of training sessions as a mandatory must do – and the non-trendy static stretching was left out!

Now anyone who has truly been involved in athlete preparation has been having their athletes roll on tennis balls and similar forever. But not instead of stretching and not as a replacement for massage. Rolling is great, but if you fail to keep it in context you under-perform for the athlete.

3. Fatigue

There is a point in time for even the well-conditioned athlete that the incidence of injury, especially what some mistakenly assume to be ‘impact’ injuries, increase rapidly. Here’s a third proposal or hypothesis – if you could track the level of fatigue of the athlete with those that suffer ACL rupture I suggest you would find a strong correlation. Now this hypothesis is probably the hardest one to test, I appreciate that.

I have witnessed the highest incidence of ‘impact’ injuries including ACL in the sporting teams with the highest volume training. I could name example coaches whose careers I have been monitoring for years and in some cases decades to understand the correlation between training volume, fatigue and injury incidence.

This is a risk that all coaches face at all times, requiring them to monitor their training volumes. The interpretation is made more difficult by realities such as the fatigued athlete could injure early in the game and we could say it can’t have been fatigue because it happened early in the game. Remember the residual nature of fatigue.


There is a growing albeit belated awareness of the high incidence of injuries such as ACL injuries in athletes, and in particular the younger athlete. Whist this is nice, and supports the strong concerns I have expressed for decades, my concern is also whether it will lead to any real intervention of this trend. My concerns are based on whether the interpretation of the cause of these injuries is accurately identified and isolated.

I provide three factors that I believe are highly correlated with the risks of ACL injuries, and provide three hypoesthesia that perhaps my more learned academic colleagues may one day investigate, to aid the thinking of the masses who wait for social proof such as this:

1. That you could track the rise of ACL injuries in young athletes (12-24 years) along beside the rise of strength training programs in high schools and find a strong correlation. 2. If you could track the rate at which strength training has been offered to younger and younger athletes in the high school programs, with the rise in incidence of ACL ruptures in younger and younger athletes, I suggest you would see a correlative pattern. 3. If you could track the level of fatigue of the athlete with those that suffer ACL rupture I suggest you would find a strong correlation.

However rather than waiting for the lagging indicators of science, for the sake of the athlete I hope that at least one coach might change their mind about how they train as the result of this article. I know the power of what is offered here, I also understand the power of conformity and dogma, and the over-riding desire of the majority to be like the majority, resulting is slow change. Thousands if not millions of athletes will get injured during this slow change, as has occurred during the last few decades.

What I would like to do is this – if you are a high school coach (physical or specific sport) and what I have said has resonated with you – and if you school would like to receive a 10 part video program I created last year titled ‘The Zero Tolerance to Injuries Video Series’, provided the school is making the purchase and it will be made accessible to all in the sports department, I would live to arrange this for you at no cost. Email my office at and ask us how you can receive this.

4) King, I., 1998, Strength Specialization Series (DVD), Disc 3, approx. 1hr 06m 00sec in.
5) King, I., 2000, How to Teach Strength Training Exercises

Monday, May 9, 2016

To be a student - or not

A physical preparation coach enrolled in a financial education course with my company. Initially his quiz responses were typical – acknowledging that he was in a financial position that he was not happy with and felt a strong need to change. But within a unit or two his responses began changing, showing more agitation and anger. After Unit 4 he quit, and demanded a refund.

Here is an exchange with lessons for all.

Subject: Course Refund

Hello, I purchased your course on "money". I'd like a refund of that purchase. I do not think you should be giving any financial advice based on the content that I've just seen. This is just the start of my issues with this so-called course. Any means at your disposal to issue a refund is highly appreciated. If you have any questions please call me. Thanks you,

Now I didn’t really need this email – after reading the course quiz submissions, the refund was inevitable!

Xxxx - Ian King here. I just called as you asked but only got your voice mail After my team shared your quiz responses including

* this course fucking sucks dude you are a fraud
* This is terrible – maybe you should sell your services to wall st mr king
* The world’s best economists can’t predict with relative accuracy as to what may happen in the future so how can you

I would have refunded your money irrespective of your request below, for many reasons. We have strong desire to help anyone, such as yourself who is less than excited about doing business with us, move on to service providers more suited to their needs.

We were excited to give you your money back, so you should see that refund come through. I trust you find service providers more suited to your needs to achieve your financial goals, or any other aspect of your professional development. Thanks.
--Ian King

Now you would expect a subsequent response, but you never know, and you never know what shape it will take, and here it is:

Hi Mr. King, I just finished playing basketball, so I missed your call.

Firstly, I'd like to apologize for the vulgar feedback. As a coach in this industry I appreciate and respect your longevity and wisdom as it pertains to physical preparation. So with all due respect, I regret and I apologize for my reaction.

That said, I do stand by my assessment of the course. Here is my attempt at constructive feedback.

• The delivery of the course is laborious - I believe it's a 6 step process to read your pdf and take unit test. Way too many steps. Also, some of the links don't work.
• The content, well, is haphazardly pieced together and the message is one of gloom and scare, and just not very good. In a course like this I think it better to discuss the following strategies: Elements of a Business Plan. How to raise money and the elements of equity and valuation (selling a business, multiplier and ebita. Taxation strategies. I can go on.... I thought I was going to get this from the course or at least a little more insight from this angle given your industry success.
• I also believe mindset is highly individual phenomenon. I think it's dangerous to talk about this unless you know an individual on a personal level. Remember, we are all snowflakes...generalizations just don't work. Thank you for your professional response to my very unprofessional reaction. Best,

This showed enough humility to warrant reaching out and teaching I shared the following:

xxxx – thanks for your email. I have been around long enough to know that everyone deserves a chance to be emotional in their response in the heat of things, then typically calm down afterwards. Been toe to toe with some of the biggest egos in the sporting world so seen it all, so I understand where you were coming from and you have shown a lot more positive character traits in your subsequent email than your initial responses! That didn’t do you any favors but you are big enough to realize that in hindsight so good on you.

I’m also used to pushing peoples buttons in the industry. As a leader in training concepts, I almost always get abused when I released my ’new’ theories. (not new for me because I put things through a 10 year minimum testing period before I put publish them). What I have learnt from watching reactions is those that kid and thrash the most are those who are not doing what my ’new’ training method suggests, and to save face in front of their peers and clients they typically make the most vicious attacks. Then are those who take it one step further and start teaching my methods as if they originally innovated them, hoping no-one hears about their unprofessional initial responses.

So this is the price I know I pay as a person whose life works has changed the way the world trains, even though many in the world don’t know the origins due to the phenomena described above. So I have had a lot of practice being the target of vindictiveness!

One lesson I learnt from one of my may influences was a lesson from one of the worlds best platform speakers from the end of the 20th Century and a man whose cassette (yes, cassette) sales still hold the world record - Mr Denis Waitley. Denis transitioned from being a warrior (fighter jet pilot) to being a teacher of personal development, and he says “Anger is threatened values’. From this clarity I understand that when someone’s values are threatened they get angry.

When I taught that functional strength is more appropriately developed through a sequence of bodyweight unilateral to loaded bilateral movements, I felt the anger of those who were not doing this, and whose value set were the most threatened. When I taught that speed of movement in strength training can be measured, communicated using a digit timing system, and varied, I felt the anger of those who were not doing this, and whose value set were most threatened. When I taught that static stretching should precede lifting, and that control drills should precede lifting and that abdominal exercises should be done by most people most of the time as the first exercise, I felt the anger of those who were not doing this, and whose value set were the most threatened. When I taught that balance is needed in strength training and one could use my Lines of Movement concept (horizontal push and pull, hip and quad dominant), I felt the anger of those who were not doing this, and whose value set were the most threatened.

To be clear, I teach holistically and have done from the early days (that alone will be a trend in itself one day in this industry!) and therefore I also teach on the subjects of personal development, business development, financial development and spiritual development, in addition to sets and reps.

Now there are two things that could cause an industry professional to push back on me as you did. Firstly, the heresy of daring to teach ‘outside my little box’. I get the same from sports coaches when I teach technical and tactical development – I feel the anger of the coaches who were not doing the strategies I taught, and whose value set were the most threatened. Secondly the fact that I raise points that are downright confronting to individuals and the stark reality causes a defensive reaction.

I will never forget this happening in a seminar in Boston in the late 1990s. There was one particular strength coach who started out calmly in the audience, but as I unrolled my ’new’ training concepts to the audience, the steam rose in his head! I knew he was not doing any of the things I taught, and his protégés and all whom he had positioned to see him as the local ‘guru’ were in the room. It was not going to end well! He couldn’t wait to the of the day to change his ways so he did what most do when fear creates the desire to attack. He gathered his followers at the mid-morning break, convinced them the content was terrible, the delivery was terrible, and the only possible salvation was for them all to leave right then and there. They did, but to this day I am sure he knows that the only salvation was of his ego. I could have overlooked this act, as I did with yours, but his subsequent act of creating a publishing and seminar stream based on the very work he walked out on, without a single measure of the source, placed him as a lessor man than you.

You see you ‘fessed up and apologized. He just kept acting without integrity. Now where is the lesson in this? I share this with you for a number of reasons, including with the intent to help you understand that the most successfully self-promoted gurus in this industry are not the role models that I would endorse, yet they succeed in way-laying well meaning industry professionals looking for direction. As a result too many in this industry are never empowered to fulfill their own potential.

I genuinely feel for the majority misguided individual in this industry, whose role models leave them with an impossible to resolve scarcity mentality affecting all aspects of the live and family. Money is one example of this. The ego, as a colleague of mine by the name of Michael Callejas likes to say (see, it’s not difficult to give credit!) - is not your amigo!

Before I do allow me to comment on your statement:

That said, I do stand by my assessment of the course.

You have found rational reasons to support an emotional decision. That’s okay, but you don’t have to. You can let go of being right and move forward. I don’t mind too much about right and wrong. There’s a great saying – you can be right or rich. So you won’t see too much (hopefully none!) dogma in the following because I happy for anyone to be right, because my focus is elsewhere!

Now if you are still reading, I will also take time to respond to your effort of providing feedback.

1. The delivery of the course is laborious. Yes, that is right. And for the most part, that is my intention. You, had you read deeper into the course, would have learnt about my concerns about the information collecting nature of this industry. When I first released the Level 1 KSI Course as it now is, I was shattered that my life work was for the most part going to form a badge of honor – on the library shelf! I could see that most were just printing off the units and not bothering to read it. I made a decision that even if it costs me money – and it does, because as you have done, the current crop of industry professional want to be wowed with bullshit, and given a whole heap of ‘information’. I refuse to be part of that, to endorse this.

So I make you work for it. If you are not committed enough to take a few steps, you don’t deserve to get the next unit. This provides a pre-qualification filter to sort out who deserves my information, who will use it in the manner intended I.e. Apply it in a practical real world sense, where the real learning is taking place; and who is going to treat it as if most sellers do – whose primary intent is to wow you will flashy made up shit and make it as easy as possible for you to be motivated to give them your money.

So the laborious part is not going to change, although we are always looking at ways of smoothing the action steps, so this will get better with time.

Now another reason I don’t like to just ‘give’ the information but rather pre-qualify the user, is to weed out those who have the post 2000 value promoted by a certain little group who self-servingly promote its okay to lie, cheat and steal - who have no hesitation in changing the copyright symbol to their own and change the front cover! Now of course I would never be so gross as to use those words, but you get the message!

2. The links don’t work: Now let’s talk about the links not working. They actually work - they just don’t work on all computers all the time. Clearing the cache helps, but I take responsibility for this as much as I can, and we are looking to refine this over time.

3. The content, well, is haphazardly pieced together: Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But I can’t say yet whether the sequence or content will change – I would rather allow time in the hands of the readers who complete the course to help guide this.

I’ve only been a student of this subject with intensity for about 25 years so I am a bit green, and I will get better. I published my first book on financial education in 1999, but that might have been haphazard in your eyes also, and again I would say – maybe it is and maybe it isn’t.

4. The message is one of gloom and scare: I appreciate this concern and from memory I not only apologized for this perception but stressed that (you might have quit the course before you got to this) that it’s bad news for those who refuse to change, take action; and good news for those that are willing to face up to it, learn new habits of the mind and habits of the body. The money is not leaving the market – its just changing hands.

But yes, I can see why the majority would think what I focused on was doom and gloom. I maintain that what I have done is my best to forewarn and prepare my industry colleagues for a changing world, irrespective of whether we experience a major economic downturn during 2016 or 2017.

Perhaps you and I do not share the same views on the world – I see a world where there are too many people living one economic mishap away from economic ruin. I see a world where to many have no assets, no savings and no hope of supporting themselves in retirement. I see a world where too many children’s parents compromise on the health and time spend with them due to their economic circumstances. I think that gloomy. What I seek to do is to give people education as a lifeline to get out of these circumstances. Of course not everyone wants it. Some find id offensive, or not good enough in delivery, or haphazard or any other reason to stop the train of possible change and stay where they are.

5. You have better ideas on appropriate content: I read what you said were better ideas and content. Now let me do this as gently and as humbly as I can ‘Dude (now I don’t normally talk like that but I am using your words!) - are you the teacher or the student?!’

One of the greatest challenges in learning is being willing to empty your cup, be the student, put on the white belt.

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.”
—Stephen Hawking

Let’s be really brutally honest and with no disrespect, but calling a spade a spade because life’s really do depend on this – are you really in a position, based on your financial position, to be the teacher? Now I don’t make that decision. You do. It would appear you have already done so, as you fired me as your teacher.

In summary to this point, and with as much care and respect as I can muster, I am going to pass on your pointers on content. There’s a bigger lesson for you in this, but lessons are taken by students, not determined by teachers.

5. What you thought you were going to get from this course: I get this. From my double major in sociology I understand that the conditions for a revolt are set when the expectations and reality don’t meet. Having said that let me get out of theory mode and into real world talk. I don’t give you want you want, I give you what you need. If you knew, really knew what you needed, you would not be where you are today. So get over this discrepancy between what you expected and what I gave you, or stay where you are.

In the early 1990s I was just like you in this regard. I sat in a multiple thousand-dollar seminar (not a $47 one like you spat the dummy about) and expected to get days of sales and marketing. So when it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get that, rather days of personal development, I had to make a decision. Spit the dummy, demand a refund, and go home bitching and whining about the rip-off fraud that guy was. Or to say to myself – okay Ian, you tried it your way and it didn’t work. So maybe you will be better off shutting up, emptying your cup and being a student. And that, ‘dude’, was one of the great turning points in my life. So I know where you are coming from. I just can’t be on your cheer squad.

6. It’s dangerous to talk about mindset in general terms as its dangerous: Now xxxx, I think you may be scraping the barrel now but I’ll honor it as I have done the above.

Firstly, is it better to individual rather than to provide group training? Of course it is. But no-one does it. We are in an industry where more people sell group training than individualized programs!

Now on the subject of individualization. Its strange getting a lecture on this because I have been one of the strongest advocates on this subject over the last few decades. In fact one of my greatest criticisms of the industry is that the competence to individualize training is so low, it would barely move the arrow on a meter!

I’ve written often about how much angst I experience providing a generic program for what was called T-mag back in 1999. Anyone who was around then would recall the ‘Limping Program’ you know, the one where I recommended unique bodyweight exercises be integrated into conventional strength programs, and everyone thought I was a lunatic – until it became apparently popular and let to many books on the subject written by the leader of the Boston seminar walkout.

Now I went through the same pain writing programs for my four book sequel Get Buffed! As well as the Book of Muscle. Now in hindsight, did I do the wrong thing? Did I ‘damage’ anyone? Or did I help more people than hinder by this act of generalization?

xxxx you know the answer. And you probably know you are using the time-tested technique of false fear attached to an at may stop people doing stuff….Like when I was a kid and they said if you go swimming you will get a cramp and drown…but I didn’t…and then when I was a teenager they said if you do ’that’ you will go blind….and I still can see….and then in the 1990s they said if you massage someone without having a certain costly certification you will damage peoples nerves…but I didn’t….and then post 2000 the world was told that if they statically stretched they would injure and when that scare mongering wore out it was switched to ‘if you static stretch’ you will go weak…

I guess you can see what I really think about your last point!

Now for a belated conclusion. As a student, I have learnt I can shoot the messenger, or I can study the message. The more you do of one, the less you do of the other.

Yes, I responded with more than you expected, but I confess is as much for anyone who will read this as it is for you, and I don’t determine who becomes the student. I can give student tips, like leave your ego at the door, put on white belt, empty your cup, don’t preach to the teacher until you have solid evidence that you can do better….and so on. But I don’t determine who starts the journey of the student, nor do I pick who stays the path and who quits. You know what I am saying first hand!

Ian King Want to do this course?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

You don’t want to be the best you can be

You want to be just like everyone else

I am sure if a survey was taken of physical preparation coaches the majority would say there goal was to be the best they can be. From my perspective, I suggest that is not the dominant focus. I suggest that the desire to be like everyone else is far greater than the desire to be the best one can be. And I suggest that the price paid for this default is lost opportunities for both the professional and the client.

During the 1970s very few people participated in the exercise know as the squat, or double knee bend. The belief was squats were bad for your knees. Did the majority come to that conclusion based on their personal experiences, or did they simply accept the dominant beliefs and habits?

During the 1980s the majority of mixed energy sports athletes participated in a higher volume aerobic training block in their General Preparatory Phase. The belief was that it was neither safe or optimal to expose the athlete to other training modalities without first gaining a level of aerobic fitness. Did the majority come to that conclusion based on their personal experiences, or did they simply accept the dominant beliefs and habits?

During the 1990s the majority of physical preparation coaches included Swiss ball exercise in their program design. The belief was that performing an exercise, any – actually vertically all – exercises. This was based on the dogma that the additional balance challenges produced a superior training effect, and that this was definitely going to transfer to all sport and life activities. Did the majority come to that conclusion based on their personal experiences, or did they simply accept the dominant beliefs and habits?

During the 2000s the majority of physical preparation coaches selected almost exclusively from the so-called ‘functional exercises’ (although I am not really sure what that is) in their program design. To do any exercise sitting on a bench or lying down was heretical. This was based on the belief that standing and multi-planar movements were superior in their training effect for all people at all times, and would definitely provide a superior transfer to sport and life. Did the majority come to that conclusion based on their personal experiences, or did they simply accept the dominant beliefs and habits?

During the 2010s the majority of sports coaches and physical preparation coaches refuse to use static stretching, replacing what little stretching time is dedicated to stretching with ‘dynamic’ stretches. This is based on the belief that static stretching makes you weak and leads to injury and dynamic stretching is safer, more functional and effective. Did the majority come to that conclusion based on their personal experiences, or did they simply accept the dominant beliefs and habits?

The one question I asked throughout the above is - Did the majority come to that conclusion based on their personal experiences, or did they simply accept the dominant beliefs and habits? I suggest they did not come to these conclusions based on any form of personal experience. I also suggest that they didn’t even think. They just accepted and did.

So what would I need to see to believe that a physical preparation coach was making an attempt to be the best they can be? The most important criteria I am looking for is evidence of thinking. That the key questions have been asked, including but not limited to;

• What is the best way to train?
• What can I do to fulfill my potential as a coach?
• What can I do to fulfill the potential of my client/athlete?

Now call me simplistic, but I am skeptical as to whether the majority has applied this approach. Here are a few considerations.

Let’s take squats for examples. Prior to about 1990, when a slew of ‘research’ was published extolling the benefits of stretching, did the did the majority of physical preparation coaches have collective personal experiences that squatting was bad and then collectively and coincidentally post 1990 have personal experiences to the contrary?

Let’s take the Swiss ball for example. Prior to about 1990 few knew the word Swiss ball and exercises upon it. Up until this time did the did the majority of physical preparation coaches have collective personal experiences that Swiss balls and exercises on Swiss balls were useless and then collectively and coincidentally post 1990 have personal experiences to the contrary?

Let’s take stretching for example. Prior to about 1995 it was okay to statically stretch, and commonly done. Post 1995 it wasn’t. Now did the majority of physical preparation coaches have collective experiences prior to 1995 that static stretching was the most effective way to stretch, and then post 1995 all reach personal conclusions to the contrary? I suggest not. Now I respect that for many of you my proposition is flawed as I place a premium on thinking, at a time in the world and in our industry where the dominant belief that what you think is irrelevant - just read the research and see if ‘research supports it’. This is essentially not only the antithesis of thinking, I also suggest that this don’t think just believe in the research mentality is actually contrary to the intent of the origin of science.

For me objectivity is the key.

Scientific objectivity is a characteristic of scientific claims, methods and results. It expresses the idea that the claims, methods and results of science are not, or should not be influenced by particular perspectives, value commitments, community bias or personal interests, to name a few relevant factors.

And even though science claims this I don’t believe it is always the case.

Science in theory is intended to provide objective analysis. I believe this way has been lost in many cases, where the research conclusions are influenced by the researcher, who in turn may be influenced by the provider of the funding.

For all the lip service we pay to science, everyone knows that it is commerce that runs the show. As the Spanish proverb goes, ‘He who gives the bread lays down the law’. Science today typically serves the large corporate interests that fund it. In a world conceived by the financial and corporate leadership who effectively rule it, the purpose of the human being is to contribute to the economy as an increasingly efficient unit of production and as an increasingly efficient unit of consumption. The financial and corporate elite establish effective social policy, and commercially funded science gives them the technological wherewithal to execute it. --Laurence G. Boldt, 1999

I believe you can be more objective than certain modern ‘scientific’ conclusions:

Now I admit it’s not easy being an objective thinker. Throughout history thinkers have been subject to a variety of suppressions and restrictions by authorities.

Take Roger Bacon (c. 1219/20 – c. 1292) for example, the 13th Century English philosopher. He is sometimes credited (mainly since the 19th century) as one of the earliest European advocates of the modern scientific method inspired by Aristotle

• After 1260, Bacon's activities were restricted by a statute prohibiting the friars of his order from publishing books or pamphlets without prior approval. • The Condemnations of 1277 banned the teaching of certain philosophical doctrines, including deterministic astrology. Some time within the next two years, Bacon was apparently imprisoned or placed under house arrest. --

Here are some of the thinking that Bacon and others were ‘not allowed to engage in’ at various times in the 13th Century:

The banned propositions included:

• "That there is numerically one and the same intellect for all humans".
• "That the soul separated [from the body] by death cannot suffer from bodily fire".
• "That God cannot grant immortality and incorruption to a mortal and corruptible thing".
• "That God does not know singulars" (i.e., individual objects or creatures).
• "That God does not know things other than Himself".
• "That human acts are not ruled by the providence of God".
• "That the world is eternal".
• "That there was never a first human".


History is littered with examples of suppression of freedom of thinking. Now if you are still reading this article, and if you resonate with the belief that you should reach your own, objective conclusions, then here is one phenomenal role model to guide and inspire you. Buckminster-Fuller, considered one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th Century, wrote:

I jettisoned all I had ever been taught to believe and proceeded thereafter to reason and act only on the basis of direct personal experience … Exploring, experiencing, feeling, and - to the best of my ability - acting strictly and only on my individual intuition, I became impelled to write this book... --Buckminster-Fuller, referring to his book 'Critical Path', 1981.

I am not alone in my encouragement to you to temper your compliance with the dominant ‘scientific’ theories:

I think that in modern Western society, there seems to be a powerful cultural conditioning that is based on science. But in some instances, the basic premises and parameters set up by Western science can limit your ability to deal with certain realities. For instance, you have the constraints of the idea that everything can be explained within the framework of a single lifetime, and you combine this with the notion that everything can and must be explained and accounted for. But when you encounter phenomena that you cannot account for, then there's kind of a tension created; it's almost a feeling of agony. --Howard C. Culter and the Dalai Lama, 1998

Again I share I am not seeking to be disrespectful of science as it currently is.

Research is nice and I'm definitely not critical at all of the contribution of academics. But my decision to train a certain way is not based on the latest research. It's based on the conclusions I've reached on cause and effect relationships in the real world. People can become too infatuated with the concept of science.

For me, success in sport is about winning. Athletes aren't going to get offended if I don't comply with the latest research. They just want to win. So the research is nice, but it's always going to be limited. We're not dealing with a college age volunteer in a six week program; we're dealing with a human being that's been working for fifteen to twenty years to take his body beyond where it’s gone before.
--Shugart, C., 2000, Meet the press: Coach of Coaches – An interview with Ian King, 29 Friday 2000

I also acknowledge that the easiest thing to do is to conform. However I encourage you to reflect on this perspective on conformity:

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity. --Rollo May

I have been encouraging you to resist the pressures of conformity for:

Resist the temptation in program design to conform to mainstream paradigms simply for the sake of conforming, no matter how dogmatically they are presented, or how much you may be ridiculed or ostracized for trusting your intuition over conformity. Make our own minds up based on a combination of respect for your intuition, the athlete/client’s intuition, the results, and in respect of the body of knowledge available. --King, I.., 2005, The way of the physical preparation coach (book), p. 17

It is rewarding to see individuals chose to be objective, to trial training methods and reach their own conclusions, even if they are contrary to the dominant beliefs:

“…from young, I was led to believe that an individual's level of flexibility is determined by genetics. As I grew older I got stiffer and when I started my formal education, I was educated that flexibility is not a vital determining factor in sports and that dynamic stretches were more than sufficient to both warm-up the joint and muscles, as well as to improve flexibility.

To be honest, with all the research papers and articles being put through my mind at that time, it did seem logical for a naive mind that was easily convinced. However, I am glad that I was shown the art of stretching…I have never experienced such levels of flexibilities in my life and I'm thankful that I chose to open my mind to a concept that was challenged by the origins of my knowledge in this field. I spend close to half or on some days, more than half of my time stretching my frontal muscle groups & performing tension releasing work with my 'poor man's masseur' as it has significantly improved my overall health. Stretching will also and always be a main training tool/stapler in the programs that I design, due to it's massive benefits that I have attained and am still experiencing.”
-Tze, KSI L1 Student Coach

In essence I am suggesting that if you do what everyone else is doing, you are not only failing to fulfill your potential, you are failing to fulfill the potential of your client:

Look at it this way. If you do it the way everyone else is doing it - all things being equal, how are you going to be better than everyone else? Realistically changes do occur (albeit slowly) in sport training - because someone dared to do it differently. These people gain the advantage, are at the cutting edge. The sheep follow. Which do you want to be? --King, I., 1997, Winning and Losing, p. 30

Give you a hint - if what I teach is what the majority do, I would be very concerned. I want to do what few do, to get a competitive advantage. --King, I., 2003, Ask the Master, (book) p. 32


I am going to be straight – if you find yourself doing what the majority are doing, and your goal is to be the best you can be - you should be very concerned. I see this as evidence that you are not thinking for yourself, rather that you are conforming.

Now this is not bad or good from one perspective – even Master Sifu in the movie Kung Fu Panda will tell you there is not such thing as good or bad! If you have no desire to fulfill your potential, if your personality is such that you would prefer to conform, then keep going. The world needs all kinds, and the statistical reality has a pattern of talking about the 90-95% that just want to be average, the same as everyone else.

But if you are seeking to be the best you can be, to give you clients the best opportunity to be the best they can be – to be in the 5 to 10% of high achievers – then you need to stop seeking to be like everyone else and think for yourself!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Show me your mentor and I will predict your future

When we start out in the industry its unlikely we fully appreciate the impact of those who we model. The late Stephen Covey, the author of the best-selling book ‘Seven Habit’s of Highly Successful People, spoke of making sure that was the building you want to climb before leaning your ladder up against it.

I have sat and heard the sadness of too many who some ten plus years later have confided or inferred their regrets of how they have spent their time, money and emotions during key phases of their career.

When a coach is new and young and starry eyed it’s understandable they may be attracted to the newest, latest or loudest or shiniest object. It understandable that their perceptions are shaped by the dominant industry trends when they arrive at the scene.

However no matter how understandable this is, life is too short to spend pursing empty paths. For the last few decades I have suggested that young coaches check out the life behind the marketed images of individuals before seeking to model them.

Everyone has different interests and goals, and my hope is that some decades into your time in this industry you can look back with pride and satisfaction about how you choose to invest your time, money and energy.

And remember – the mentor you choose may be an excellent predictor of your future. So choose with wisdom.