I was crying into my pillow when the door exploded. Who should walk in but Chong Li? He grabbed me by the hair and dragged me into the kitchen, where he informed me that we were about to have an interview. He threw me in a chair, slapped my face and said:
Chong Li: No woman no cry.
Josh: Sorry. I can’t stop. (sniff) You listen to Bob Marley?
Chong Li: I wrote that song. Bob steal. Too many books in here for a kitchen.
Josh: There’s no more room in the rest of the house. Do you like to read?
Chong Li: Closes one nostril and blows snot on floor. I only read Internet forum. I only read Dragon Door Strength And Conditioning Forum. I’m here to kill you.
Josh: Please don’t mention them! It’s still too painful! Isn’t it enough that I was banned from a moderately-used asynchronous message board? Leave me alone!
I begin to cry again but he throws a handful of quicklime in my eyes. I am forced to answer the next few questions using my other senses.
Josh: I only have myself to blame, I suppose.
Chong Li: No, blame Adam Glass. His friends all are disappeared from forum too.
Josh: Adam’s just–
Chong Li: He fat. Stupid. Probably closety gayboy from fitness prince academy.You should be smart enough to not be his friend.
At this point I grab the salt shaker and try to shake a dash in the direction of his eyes. He grabs my wrist.
Chong Li: Never bring a condiment to a caustic chemical compound fight. And now I break you, just like I break your friend.
From outside, the chant: “Chong Li! Chong Li! Chong Li!”
My eyes are regaining focus. I look out the window.
Josh: Who is that out there?
Chong Li: My mom. She goes everywhere with me, chants my name. She cannot let go of Kumite tournaments.
Josh: Would she like to come in? It’s chilly out there.
Chong Li: No. Down to business. I’m here to ask questions.
Josh: Ask away.
Chong Li: You become RKC voluntarily, yes?
Chong Li: And remind me what RKC stand for?
Josh: Russian Kettlebell Challenge.
Chong Li: Frowns. So when someone say, “I’m an RKC, they are saying, “I’m a Russian Kettlebell Challenge?”
Josh: Hmm…I suppose so. Wait, no, it stands for Russian Kettlebell Certified. Actually, I’ve heard it both ways. But “I’m a Russian Kettlebell Challenge” is more fun to say. Let’s go with that.
Chong Li: Why you become Russian Kettlebell Challenge?
Josh: I became a Russian Kettlebell Challenge to celebrate the end of a dark period in my life. I had taken control of my body again. I read some of Pavel’s books and knew that attending the RKC certification was something that I would enjoy. I wanted to thank Dragon Door for helping through some very tough times. I never planned on being a trainer.
Chong Li: So why did you started training people?
Josh: It turned out that helping people get stronger was fun and I was good at it.
Chong Li: Why were you on the forum?
Josh: Well, sometimes it was because I wanted to read about whether it’s cool to shave your head. Or why Crossfit was crazy. Or if it’s okay to use any old towel for a kettlebell towel swing. But mostly I just liked the people there. It was a fun community.
Chong Li: What about learning to get stronger?
Josh: In the beginning, absolutely. During the next year I tried to learn from everyone I could, and little by little I realized I was making a lot more progress than most people there. Even the ones giving the most advice.
Chong Li: Ah…so you were banned because you flaunted your progress? You are tall bragger boy.
Josh: Not at all. You can still go read all the posts I wrote if you’re curious. My posts–and there were several hundred–were always in these categories:
- Saying hi to the new guys
- Saying “good job” when people posted their progress
- Asking about other’s experiences so I could learn more
- Posting my own progress, which always started some great conversations
- Answering questions when people said, “Holy crap, what are you doing that is working so well?”
Chong Li: Ah…so your mistake was that you answered questions that people were asking, rather than ignoring them like a tall a-hole.
Josh: (Laughs). Yes, I didn’t feel right ignoring questions from people trying to get better. I never made any promises, just related my experiences.
Chong Li: Well, but what about promoting that Grip and Rip product?
Josh: Yeah, I wondered about that too. The thing is, that product was made by two RKCs, one of whom was in a leadership position. I put a link up for Grip And Rip 2.0 about five weeks ago and nobody said anything. And many people asked for me to post a link when it was released again.
So I did.
Chong Li: Is that why you were banished into exile forever and ever and ever?
Josh: That’s my best guess. But again, normally when there’s something they don’t like, they just delete the post or contact the author of the thread. They must really not want this information out there. It’s exciting, kind of like living in the middle of The Da Vinci Code, but with less eidetic memory CGI.
Chong Li: But certainly you didn’t sell very many of the DVD?
Josh: Au contraire, Chong–sorry, may I call you Chong?
Chong Li: No.
Josh: Anyways, we sold a ton of them. Immediately. Twice. And most of the money came from people on that forum and from that system. And why not? Grip and Rip was made by two very smart RKCs. Banning someone from the forum for promoting an RKC’s product is sort of like banning Lebron James’s teammates from his games for wearing NBA jerseys.
Chong Li: Hmm…Can I still order a copy?
Josh: Absolutely. Here you go, Chong Li. They may be sold out, but this link will get you on the waiting list, along with a couple thousand other people. It will make your pecs even bigger if you want.
Chong: Please, call me Chong. But–it must be that you put the link on the forum to disrespect the RKC, right?
Josh: Nope, I love the RKC. Grip and Rip and biofeedback training is just a way to make it better. People asked me to post the link, so I posted it. And I made some money and I’m not sorry. A product made by RKCs is publicity for Dragon Door and the system. If we’re not allowed to promote products that RKCs make, something is broken. Otherwise, they need to ban those people and let us know so it’s not confusing.
Chong Li: So you are innocent?
Josh: Not quite, because there’s no moral component to this. Right and wrong don’t figure into it. They just made a silly decision. I didn’t even know I was banned until I tried to login and read “You have been banned forever.”
Just a silly decision.
Chong Li: Silly like this interview?
Josh: Okay, now that I deserve. I just don’t know how anyone takes this stuff so seriously. Regardless, it makes me sad to see them do this.
Chong Li: Sad like Sophie’s Choice?
Josh: Worse. Now I know how Judge Dredd felt when they sent him outside the walls. He didn’t have any of his gadgets.
Chong Li: Technology does have its limitations.
Josh: Tel me about it. In the real world, you can’t get rid of people just by pushing a button.
Chong: Yes, unless of course it is The Button. We both laugh. You are not bitter, then?
Josh: Not at all. That forum is a very small pond out there on the Internet, but I’d be lying if I pretended that I wasn’t proud to have been a member. And I still have nothing but affection and respect for just about everyone there, whether they’re at the bottom or the top of the organization.
Until the RKC code of conduct gives a list of acceptable people I can’t associate with on penalty of being banned, I guess I’ll just keep being friends with whoever I choose. Which, happily, is just about everyone I meet.
Chong: It sounds like there are other people who feel the same.
Josh: I’ll show you my email inbox after I let your mom in. Lots of great questions. Lots of support. I tell them all that this isn’t important enough to be outraged over, but some people are still a bit upset.
Chong: Please do, my friend. And you know, I’m not going to kill you after all. Perhaps they should ban me as well. I post as BBQMaster27. And please tell Adam I was wrong about him.
Josh: Well, maybe not entirely wrong, although he might object to the closety gayboy remark…and he’s not fat or stupid. He’s a bit of a mad dog, though. I’ll also be hosting a workshop in July in Salt Lake City which you should probably come to. But perhaps I’ve said too much…
Chong: Or maybe not enough.
Josh: Maybe not. I’ll save the rest of it for the book. I’ll only have to change a couple of chapters.
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