A revelation took form in my mind, and it had Bruce Lee’s voice:

“ I do not believe in styles anymore. I don’t believe that there is such a thing as a chinese way of fighting, or a japanese way of fighting… styles tend to only separate men, because they have their own doctrines which became the gospel truth, but if you don’t have styles, here I am as a human being, how can I express myself… that way you won’t create a style. Because style is a crystallization; not continuous growth.”

When did rowing technique supercede basic human movement principles? Coaches often approach the rowing stroke and teach a technique based on his/her style with no integration of human anatomy into that technique. A national team may have a certain technical distinction to its crews—a pronounced layback and swing for example. If we are all human beings shouldn’t we all move the same?

I believe the rowing stroke is simple. Simple, but not easy. The movement should be fluid and smooth. Far too often technical adjustments don’t acknowledge how we move as human beings, but to a coach’s style. Rowing can be taught and learned through fundamental movements and human cues.

In future posts I’ll discuss how training in three non-traditional ways—using body weight exercises, Indian Clubs, and Kettlebells—can accomplish four important training goals:

  1. Improved functional movement for long term training benefit
  2. Greater strength in the specific planes of motion for the sport
  3. Core stabilization to prevent injury
  4. Mechanical correctness to end repetitive motion injuries