Why CrossFit and Kettlebells Can’t Be Friends (and What That Has To Do with God)
As a physiotherapist and ex-professional gymnast, I’m a huge fan of functional fitness training. Anything that challenges the entire body as a unit and uses natural movements to produce real results. That’s why I love Kettlebells, and why I am following the rise of CrossFit with great interest.
What I find unfortunate however is the way these two “movements” can’t seem to get along.
Kipping pull-up or strict pull up? American swing or Russian swing?
You may have no idea what I’m talking about, but let’s just say that these two differences alone have filled the blogosphere with heated and vitriol debate. Camps have emerged, lines have been drawn, defences raised, and stones thrown from both sides. It has all gotten pretty nasty.
Are their differences valid? Absolutely. Is one better than the other? Depends who you speak to, of course. Is it really worth fighting over and causing hurt? In my opinion, NO!
Yet, it seems this is our human propensity. To divide and build barriers and polarise. No matter what industry, culture or belief system, the sad truth is we have become so used to working in competition and division that we have forgotten what it’s like to be united in hearts and mind. And instead of focusing on all the things that we can agree on, we focus our attention on our differences and things that separate us from one another.
I work at a church, and I see this all the time. Churches with the same basic vision and mission, yet unable to work together because of some intricate (and ultimately irrelevant) theological details.
Now that doesn’t mean I think we should all just agree with one another. There are definitely things I disagree about with other churches (and with CrossFit for that matter), and these are things that are important to me. But what I refuse to do is throw stones – to take a position that I must now defend to my death, and pretend like my way is the only way or the better way.
You see for me the real learning, the real discovery, takes place when we embrace our differences. When we learn to straddle two similar but different worlds, because it forces us to think and question.
As Josh Hillis writes on the Kettlebells/CrossFit argument,
“Sometimes real brilliance emerges out of the heated debates between the two communities. Sometimes you aren’t sure where it stands until the dust settles and you take some time to look at what’s going on and what you’re about. Now you don’t have the luxury of taking Kettlebells word for it, and you can’t just get high on CrossFit Kool Aid. At one time or another both sides will force you to question things you have thus far taken as absolute truth, and this process of questioning is what takes you to places you’ve never been before, and allows you to learn things you might not have otherwise been open to.”
And so it is with God.