Black Box Summit Part 2
Here is a response from Greg Everett about the BBS.
So, in the spirit of free speech and assuming people are smart enough to discern the facts on their own, here is Russell Berger’s account of the Black Box Summit. Read mine, Read Greg’s, read the comments of ALL the attendees…perhaps someday we will see the entire videos…and of course, read Russell’s account. Then you make your own decision. I was asked to remove the link that was here before, so here is the original content:
I attended as a guest of Tony Budding and Dave Castro, and intended to review the seminar and possibly write an article for the journal on my experience. The following is a brief summary of the events that took place.
Jeremy Thiel opened the event with a dynamic and exciting presentation of the charter for the Black Box Summit—Building a stronger CrossFit community through sharing experiences and knowledge related to running a CrossFit Affiliate.
From there Thiel discussed the brand of CrossFit, and the dynamic relationship that exists between affiliate owners and CrossFit Headquarters. Thiel congratulated HQ for having no desire to regulate affiliates, and leaving it up to the community to shape their own destiny. He gave us a positive message about the need for communication and discussion, rather than the tearing-down of CrossFit he had seen in events like the Greyskull article.
He followed with a fantastic explanation of what it takes to be an affiliate. He drew a triangle on the board. At the bottom was service and humility, something he had seen demonstrated directly by Greg and Lauren Glassman. On top of that rested the twin angles of the CrossFit Affiliate- raw, killer intensity and professionalism in training. The pinnacle of the triangle is excellence. Jeremy explained that Affiliates that embodied this triangle wiould succeed on every front.
Nicki spoke next, and gave a different opinion. She encouraged Affiliates to “Fly two Flags”, or give your business one name that included the word CrossFit, and another that did not. She explained that this would act as a form of “damage control”, and give you the ability to market to clients who had had “bad experiences” at other affiliates.
I asked Nicki if she had experience with any other method for dealing with weaker affiliates in her area. Nicki explained that this hadn’t happened to them, but their concern came from CrossFit impersonators using names like “X-Fit”.
OPT approached me later, “The answer to your question”, he said “ is to take some responsibility and reach out to that weaker affiliate.” OPT explained that like any business, it is your job to make sure your brand is well-represented, and if it is not, you need to take on a leadership role, forge a good relationship with that weak affiliate, and help them improve their product.
Next, Dutch and Robb discussed the pitfalls and failures that could easily arise from not being a “Quality” Affiliate, and Robb criticized CrossFit certifications for not requiring the same knowledge of anatomy and physiology as other certifications found in the fitness industry.
At the end of day one, the CrossFit Central staff put us through a fun, short workout. Thiel and Kepler moved through their staff, motivating and coaching CrossFitters. The rest of the Summit staff retreated to their own separate strength workout, ironically right after the emphasis on quality training.
On Saturday, Robb’s nutrition lecture covered the basics of indoctrinating new clients into the Paleo diet, and mentioned a number of helpful tools like Affiliate challenges, before and after pictures, and monthly nutrition classes to use for motivating clients. He also gave a number of examples of elite athletes who performed on an “Unweighed and unmeasured Paleo diet”.
After lunch on the second day, Greg Everrett took the floor and presented a power-point presentation on teaching Olympic lifts to CrossFitters. Dutch Lowy introduced Greg as a former CrossFitter, to which Greg replied “We all make mistakes.”
His lecture opened with his thoughts on the Snatch event in the CrossFit games, which centered on the poor technique displayed in a number of the lifts. This went on for some time, until Greg made his first assertion, that the winner of the Women’s snatch event, Tamara Holmes, needed more Olympic lifting training. He showed us video of her winning lift, a 145 pound power-snatch and shared his disgust at the appearance of the lift. He then showed video of Tamara easily power-snatching 165 at a lifting meet a few weeks later. Greg didn’t mention the context of it being Event 6 of the Games, but held that all CrossFitters needed more Oly-lift training based on this example.
Next, Greg showed us a still image of Annie Sakamoto doing a barbell clean superimposed next to what looked like a competitive Olympic lifter cleaning upwards of 200 kilos. Greg used this comparison to pick apart the form Annie was displaying, and the techniques CrossFit uses to teach the lifts. He claimed, while looking at a still image, that Annie had shrugged the bar up instead of generating the force with her hips, and said that this was incorrect, pointing out the low shoulders of the competitive lifter. He then showed us how the shoulders should float up naturally as an after-effect of the violent hip-extension in the clean, finishing his point with “I guess I go back and forth on this one”
Greg then moved to the next image, Nicole Carroll cleaning a Dynamax medicine ball superimposed next to another competitive lifter mid-clean. Greg laughed mockingly and said “I’m not even going to get into that”.
From the audience, Dave Castro spoke up, telling Greg to “Get into it”.
Greg looked at Dave and said, “Maybe later sweetheart.”
To which Dave asked, “Did you just call me sweetheart you fat fuck?”
After a moment of silent tension, Greg continued his lecture and Dave remained silent and seated until he was finished. Greg again mocked the photo of Nicole, and demonstrates the ineffectiveness of having ones feet “leave the ground that far” during a medicine-ball clean. The rest of Greg’s lecture consisted of weightlifting nuances, mostly targeted towards explaining how the methods both Rippetoe and CrossFit teach were incorrect.
At the end of the presentation, Dave approached Greg, and asked him to step outside where they could discuss what had just happened. I learned from Dave a short while later that Dutch Lowy had asked him to leave. As Dave was leaving, however, Thiel asked him to stay.
At the end of our second day, we all did a team workout consisting of pull-ups, deadlifts, wall-ball shots, and 800m sprints. While The CrossFit Central Staff worked to make the event happen, and Thiel supervised, the rest of the Seminar staff again retreated to a corner of the gym where they did their own strength workout. They didn’t coach or interact with any of us.
On Sunday, after a number of interesting and even moving lectures from OPT and Carey Kepler, we began a discussion on programming. All of the speakers present, with the exception of Thiel and Kepler, had expressed the necessity of using additional strength-building and maximal effort workouts when programming.
The weekend was wrapped up with Thiel’s optimistic vision of a stronger CrossFit community, and his thanks to the many participants who had traveled to his affiliate for the weekend.