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Qualifications: Masters degree in Sports Science, with a specialty in Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention. Certified by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (master level, NASM-PES). Also a certified Speed and Explosion Specialist (NASE-SES) with the National Association of Speed and Explosion. Kettlebell background: From her birthplace of Russia, where her grandfather taught kettlebells to the Soviet Army. Martial arts background: Certified in Jeet Kune Do Concepts and Filipino Martial Arts under Sifu Paul Vunak and Sifu Thomas C. Cruse. Has a Brazilian Jiujitsu purple-belt. Has attained the Red Glove ‘Initiateur’ rank in Savate (French Kickboxing)..
Personal History: My love for training began at 16, when I entered my first martial arts school. After that, fitness became a part of me -- a very important part that has kept me focused and balanced throughout all of the different chapters in my life. It has been a guiding light for me. My abilities in martial arts and my knowledge of training and teaching is something that no one can ever take away from me. I have earned it and it is mine. That is the most rewarding feeling in the world. Now I still learn and still train and still practice. But I can also give that knowledge and ability to others. That in itself is a huge gift that I am grateful to be able to do.
Workout Philosophy: I only ask one thing of my students - Change the way you see yourself! Not only in the mirror, but in your day, your week, your job, and even your goals. And that is exactly how I think of fitness, sports and martial arts: It should change you, help you constantly evolve and keep you focused on your goals. If you train correctly and truly, your life will see changes in other areas as well.
Success Story: My favorite story is about a post-cancer survivor who is in her 30's. Her first fitness activity back from treatment was Kettlebell Kickboxing (one of her doctors actually takes my class and told her about it).
At first, I did not know that she was a survivor. When she told me months later, her journey unfolded before me and I realized the transformation. When she started, she kept to herself. Due to the treatment she underwent, her body had very little muscle and she was not as strong as she could be. After about four weeks, I began to see her open up, smile, wear bright fitness clothing. Suddenly I saw the person she really is, verses the person that was striken with disease.
In reality I know that it was an entire journey that brought her to the place that she is now -- confident, healthy, excited and very fit. But I also know that it was the power of fitness that really helped her find herself again! She has since moved to San Francisco and still does my DVDs regularly. She is strong and looks amazing. Whenever she's in New York, she never misses a chance to drop by for a class.