Etusivu » rauta » Making sense of all the kettlebell mess, part 1

Making sense of all the kettlebell mess, part 1

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What is the big picture of kettlebell sport and fitness organisations in the world? I wil try to make some sense of  them but it’s not easy…

The big picture

I’m trying to sort out all the different kettlebell related international organisations. Just typing about them is a mess, so I decided to ”draw”.

This pic above is a simple version of the current international organisations. And by international I mean an organisation that operates somehow in several countries. There are several more fitness orgs and I’m not really sure if AKC should be in both fitness and GS?

It doesn’t help a bit that it’s quite hard to get info on the actual events of all these. Sure, all of them have websites but there’s no one view to see all the events of different orgs.

I didn’t list all the country organisations for two reasons: I don’t know all of them and they would not have fit on the pic.  IKSA is mentioned separately because it’s a distinct entity, as it offers certifications and is not a country org. I’m not really sure if it should be under fitness or GS or both, and if it is a company or non-profit. Well, doesn’t really matter for this drawing.

So there’s at least one problem. There’s no way to quickly find out all the member orgs of the international GS federations and their contact info. I think of all these three, IUKL has the most up to date website, but it has parts that are very old. You can get in contact with IUKL and WKC people by email in english if you are not in a hurry.

Also, a second problem: Who to contact? Which is the actual governing body? They all say that they are but what makes an org more powerful than the other? They are all separate entities.

I have two wishes for the future of international GS: just one federation, with an up to date website of the activities. Maybe some day. It will take time for sure but I don’t think GS will go to the Olympics with several Governing Bodies 🙂


Also, below is a picture of the finnish Girevoy Sport ”scene”.

So, The Finnish Weightlifting Federation is the governing body of GS as a sport in Finland. Governing body means that they regulate the official rules, records and championships competitions. Under that federation there’s clubs and committees. All of these orgs are non-profit. I listed only things relative to kettlebells, so there’s only the three currently operating kettlebell clubs.  Each club can arrange unofficial meets, but all need to apply for a permission from the federation if they want to arrange national championships for example.  So far, meets have been organised in here by Finnish Kettlebell Association and Girevoy Sport Lieto.

The Finnish Kettlebell Association (where I’m at) also is the representative of the IUKL in Finland. This means that we can participate and vote in IUKL meetings and can compete in their competitions.

Also, there’s the kettlebell committee, which operates under the federation. They have members of the kettlebell clubs and the federations and their job is to work on the rules and other national kettlebell sport issues. Here’s the committee’s current members (in Finnish):

Thougths on the different orgs

So, why not join also IGSF and WKC? Well, being a member of an international federation costs money and it also requires you to actually take part in the meetings. Also, I’m not really sure if WKC and IGSF are active in working in western Europe, which is something that is interesting for the growth of the sport. So far, IUKL has been very open about us competing in their competitions, and we have received invitations from all of the orgs to compete. And, I also really wish that in the future there would be only one international federation, so maybe there’s no reason to join all of them.

Right now, in my view it looks like IUKL will ”win” the battle of Europe with IGSF, because they have so many new countries and very good old ones also. Of course, it all depends on open communications with all the countries, to really push the big competitions and the sport from the east to the west.

There’s also many kettlebell related companies in Finland, at least 5 that sell kettlebells and many others who also sell courses, workshops and private lessons. But, I’m not starting a drawing of those 🙂

Mixed up?


7 kommenttia

  1. C Imes sanoo:

    WKC is not a federation. It is a club. Now, if you compete in our meets, and are not a member then you pay a fee to compete. Members compete for free.

    WKC has no restrictions on where their members compete. We can go to IGSF meets and IUKL meets.

    Our interest is in setting up Clubs in different countries. We welcome any and all folks to our meets and are working on establishing clubs in Western Europe right now.

    In terms of Certs:

    We have 2.

    WKC Fitness Trainer
    WKC Coach. The ”Coach” can start a team under the WKC.

    Aside from that, the business aspect is simple we sell bells. We will likely havea few products like books and dvds, but I don’t know when.

    I would venture to say they’ve always lost money on their competitions because to date they’ve never charged anyone to compete.

    Yes, we don’t have a web site, but I am basically a very high ranking member in the organization, so If I’m saying something it is reliable and good information.

    I don’t believe you need just oneFederation. Snatches and Jerks are snatches and jerks. Scoring and ranks may be handled differently, but those aren’t secrets. Good Clubs or Federations will last. Bad ones won’t. Let the quality of the meets, the quality of the athletes produced, ect drive what happens. One federation gives any jackoff asshole the right to make everyone’s life miserable. If you have an option or 2, that is not a bad thing IMO.

    You get too much crap that happened in the old Soviet System. I think in Miami Valery made a good faith effort to deal with Solodov. He was there. I’m not going to get into what happened here, but it was over money.

  2. Marko Suomi sanoo:

    Thanks for the clarifications! You have good point about the federation issue, indeed there’s the danger in having a power hungry asshole making evertyhing difficult. Maybe we need a ”federation 2.0″, where the lifters actually create the environment, and forget about this old school top down system?

    Personally, I could care less if the comp is organised by a federation, a private person, Walmart or a group of kids if the meet is open and well run and plays fair.

    Snatch is a snatch, very true. In the previous Cross World, we even did a cross chart where people could see their ” total score” according to the WKC and IUKL rankings.

    Every honest lifter knows where their results stand in comparison to others.

  3. Antti sanoo:

    Yes, I like that kind of thinking. If you love the sport, it is much more important than any club or federation. I am not the one to say anyone they can’t compete somewhere. There are not too many competitions around and if someone want’s to take apart in some meeting, please go ahead.
    What pisses me most is the people who want’s to own this (or any other) sport. It usually means they also want all the money that goes around this sport.
    As long as people keep fighting and there are no one GOOD and big organization behind this sport, there are no future for us and this sport will stay as small as it is now.

  4. C Imes sanoo:


    Believe it or not, Valery is trying to do the very thing you say. The first thing the AKC did was started Coaches Certifications. Now, you might say…Well, they did that to make money. Sure, but for 1000USD you got to work with Valery and you got a full set of KBs (Competition). It was important to Valery to get an embedded base of Coaches who had the tools.

    Now, we have had meets in the USA with over 100+ competitors. In 2006, this sport was dying. We had 6 people at our ”Nationals” event. In 2007, it started growing again when Valery started having his certifications..

    We have several ”Teams” of KB Athletes across the USA and more are forming (Ice Chamber/Team Liberty). The sport is growing here. Why? Because, Valery has empowered us. He has let us thrive as Coaches. I currently Coach Kukka, and I am also coaching a Ukranian girl with good numbers and as you know am coaching a few others in the states. I’m also a Coach to the ”Coaches” of the aformentioned teams.

    He has had best that I can tell a successful education system. He’s taught the certs, given us the tools (Bells and knowledge) and now those of us who have been able to learn the movements well enough can coach and are doing so. So, you can see how the approach he has taken has worked in terms of spreading the information here.

    So, the fighting doesn’t help I agree. The ”Fighting” has existed for many years. Lorraine was in a meeting where a HUGE fight broke out in Moscow 2005 at the IGSF World Championships. This is when Russia made their split from the IGSF (well ahead of the official formation of the IUKL).

    The main thing that will keep it small or worse..ensure it dies in a given country is when people don’t make progress and see results. The reason it has grown in the USA is because we have Coaches. (and yes besides Valery I consider myself to be one of the best ones and I am recognized by him as one of his bests). Those coaches put out information and the folks that dedicate themselves to listening and following it often see improvement and results.



  5. Marko Suomi sanoo:

    That sounds good, getting results, moving forward, getting even more excited. That kind of stuff will keep it growing. I think teaching others is a great way to learn yourself too, so maybe more gireviks should start couching each other? forming clubs is good stuff too.

  6. C Imes sanoo:

    Yes. Teaching others helps you learn. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. I think about KB Lifting all the time. It is a wonder I can hold a job that doesn’t involve KB Lifting. When I lift at home, I am constantly thinking of ways to ”explain” things to my students and others. I’ve been at this since 2004. I didn’t personally start ”coaching” until 2007-2008.

    It just takes very consistent dedicated practice if you are going to be self-coached or receive online coaching assistance.

    I put a piece on the training blog that Lorraine requested. Do you know the Eastern Europeans are under the assumption that we all train together every day? That we have a Coach like Valery there watching us and we are training in fancy gyms?


  7. Marko Suomi sanoo:

    Yes, I’ve noticed that many times. They assume that GS is a regular sport that we have coaches and dedicated gyms.


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