Ward Willis

Ward Willis

Kenzai Member
Head Trainer

From the Desk of Patrick Reynolds:

A few years ago I created a program called Kung Fu Body to help people discover their speed, flexibility, agility, and balance. I was never happy with how the program turned out so I put it on the shelf.

Kenzai Member Watson Jordan (https://kenzai.me/watsonj/blog) recently approached me with the idea to run Kung Fu Body again as a community challenge - 60 days of Kung Fu Training over email using the old materials. Sure, why not!?

This will include daily email lessons and workouts sent to your inbox. It won't include diet or trainer supervision, it's a self led course. The program will start June 4th and run for two months.

If you're curious what a Kung Fu Body workout looks like, check out this link for a preview of the Day 17 exercise plan. Of course the lessons will explain how all of these movements are meant to work!

Want to sign up? Email info@kenzai.com and tell us "I want to sign up for Kung Fu Body!" and we'll pass on your information to Watson who's handling the daily mail schedule. It's a different and fun way to get to know your body and what it's capable of!

Who's in?

Song of the Day: Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmfudW7rbG0

Stick Itchy Itchy 

I love Bells. I love training with Team Valhalla. This has been a crazy stretch. Highs (Evan's graduation) and lows (the passing of a great friend). All the while, my Bells and Team were there as a touchstone. That's the way it should be.

In terms of next steps. I'll be on the bike and in the hills as much as possible. I have some plans to use this space to roll out some new bells moves to demonstrate how the principles of the sticky bandit workout can be applied to "flowing" with bells. It'll also force me to up my tech game and keep me out of a program. Which isn't a goal suitable for everyone. But I'm ready to lean on all I've learned over the past three years for a few months of maintenance fun.

Stay tuned, friends!

Song of the Day: Ring the Bells by The Kinks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrFoWZ311zE

The Graduate

So proud of my guy, Evan S. Dude crushed University of New Hampshire like a boss. Three years. Two degrees. A minor. And he's off to Columbia in the Fall.

Let's just say my time at the same institution of learning many moons ago was spent....much differently. His determination, sacrifice, and accomplishments will be a bit of added inspiration for these final days on Bells II.

Song of the Day: We Are Young by Fun ft. Janelle Monáe https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv6dMFF_yts


Happy Monday Kbell II Valhalla teammates. Like the manic fool that I am, I just added a three mile run and an extra set to today's Day 36 workout.

I had a little extra steam in the engine so I let it rip. Fin gon be a wild finish. Hold on like the broncos you are. The Halls of Valhalla will ring with the chorus of our victory songs!

Song of the Day: I Will Survive by Cake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7KJjVMqNIgA&index=20&list=PL4Qm-7-c6mFcV9Ir4ekYCfNnMzj7sg4X3

Give Me, Give Me

Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can
walk undisturb'd,
Give me for marriage a sweet-breath'd woman of whom I should never tire,
Give me a perfect child, give me away aside from the noise of the
world a rural domestic life,
Give me to warble spontaneous songs recluse by myself, for my own ears only,
Give me solitude, give me Nature, give me again O Nature your primal

-Walt Whitman

Give me some freakin' 'bells to swing like a wild eyed demon

-Ward Willis

Photo Credits: Bobby Two Shoes

Song of the Day: Electric Relaxation by Tribe Called Quest https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHRnvjCkTsw

Extra Credit

I'm logging some serious extra credit now that Jack aka Tukey the Wonder Pup, is in my life. Dude gets me out for an additional three miles of walking per day, minimum. And as spring has sprung I'm finding that it's a great way to slow down and smell the roses. You can't check your email with a Beagle/Parson Jack Russell mix at the end of your leash. Shiiit.

The Bells II program (by far my favorite way to train) is swinging along nicely. I've had to dial down the resistance sessions to 4 instead of 5 times a week per my Docs advice/insistence (lat, neck, jaw - nerve and muscle shit is speaking up again).

Still on the hoops court twice a week and getting in the mobility work too. The diet is tight though there will be some serious indulging (likely over the 300-400 calorie allotted ) with Team Kenzai Portland, ME this Saturday. I'll try to toss up some post mayhem photos. How you indulging, Valhalla? How you swinging? Is Bells II the best? Yes. Yes it is!

Song of the Day: MJ by Nownowband https://soundcloud.com/nownowband/sets/nnmj


I work out at the local Uni here in (recently sunny) Portland, Maine. It's a gem. Old school equipment. Abandoned at all hours of the day. It's populated by professors, students, loads of folks over 70, and hoops heads. There are few meatheads and almost no one covered in ax body spray. Perfume wearing divas are workout killers!

I never workout from my phone. I'm a luddite. A scrap of paper with the workouts scrawled in my script will do. My phone is typically safely stored in my locker to avoid distraction. Today, I brought it out to immortalize on the Kenzai blogs, what I call, My Rainbow of Awesome! Six bells. 5,10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 lbs. respectively.

It kinda feels like these bells are mine. Cuz nobody else ever uses them. And if someone does, I get pretty territorial. What you doin' with my bells (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJd1RktjYTU)? Many thanks to whoever decided to pop them in the annex far away from the free weights. My precious (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk4Ntcq5uNg)!

Hope everyone is digging the Bells II sway. Dope course!

Song of the Day: New Song by Warpaint https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg_OThhfXh0&index=1&list=RDMM3pux_KDWqrM

Saved by the Padre

What is the most meaningful interaction you've ever had with a stranger?

At the end of each week on Bells II, we get hit with one of those questions that makes you go, Hmmmmm. Sometimes the answers are illusive. Other times you get struck by lightning and are brought back immediately to a moment, place, and time. This week's question....zap...lightning bolt!

When I was 22 or so, I spent six months traveling around South America with my former gal pal. We hiked, camped, got robbed, traveled by train, read books, met locals, kicked it at bull fights, tightened up our Spanish, drank shitty beer, and grew up a lot. There were no shortage of adventures.

*Note to self. Ward your mom, about a year ago, sent you all the emails you sent from that time period. Have you spent any time with them? No. But you should. Probably. Sigh, the epicure is always moving forward.

This one day, we found ourselves on the Chilean boarder. Turns out Melanie Griffin and Antonio Banderas were also in town, making us the second most interesting couple to turn up. Alas, our stay in town was brief. The banks were closed for 72 hours. We had no money. No food. And we couldn't massage our way into the hearts of any posaderos. So we did what any reasonable young people would do, we decided to walk the rural road out of town to Argentina in hopes of catching a ride and safely crossing the boarder.

Fast forward 4 hours with no signs of a ride and the walk had becoming miserable. Our spirits were low. The bickering had started. And the 30 kms to the border felt like a continent away. Enter the Padre.

In the distance we FINALLY saw signs of a vehicle kicking up dust on the windy dirt road. As the old Ford Bronco approached we tossed out our thumbs in hopes of catching a ride. The vehicle stopped immediately and out popped a very small man dressed in clerical clothing. He offered us a ride with a warm smile. Though he chastised us a bit. Nobody goes anywhere on a Sunday. You were very lucky I came by. In exchange for a ride, we need only accept his scolding and come along for a visit to his rural parish of which dude was SUPER proud.

The Padre proved to be fun, kind, and nurturing. It had only been a month or so since the events of 911. As Americans abroad we were not met with much sympathy in South America. But his thoughts and prayers were with us. Can't imagine where that day may have gone without him. Hope you are well Padre. Thanks again for the lift!

Song of the Day: On the Road Again by Canned Heat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRKNw477onU


'Bells II routine is rockin'. I gotta come clean though, I did have to miss a workout and close my laptop for a day of spring skiing (boarding) yesterday. Stoking the training motivation stores for me is all about getting outside and putting my training to the test.

Caught first chair and smashed loads of soft bumps 'til the bell rang to close up shop at Maine's Sugarloaf USA. My homie said, "I guess that Kenzai shit works. Your endurance is unreal." Hollar!

Song of the Day: Mullethead by Beastie Boys ft. MCA shredding!

Switch Flipped!

Week 1 was beery. Coming off a 30 Day moratorium on all things hops, I needed to get a bit loose before locking in again.

Week 2 is here.The training diet has dropped. I'm all in.

Last week I went 7 for 7 on the workouts with added hoops sessions on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. Final trip to the ski mountain this Friday. My wingman gets after it. I've made it 30 days, several of those on piste with him sans beer, so it should be a navigable pothole.

Love me some 'bells. We ready for more sets, team. I know I am!

Song of the Day: Slow Rider by Cuddle Magic https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pux_KDWqrM

The Wisdom of Calvin

Kettlebell Windmills anyone?

Song of the Day: 5 Fingers of Death ft. Brother Ali https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAu1WVtD1Xc

Let's Swing

Looking forward to making the training grade alongside this fantastic Kettlebell II bell crew!

Song of the Day: When I Get Low, I Get High by The Speakeasy Three



I'm back at it. Hoops. Snowboarding. Mediation. Light (ish) Kettlebell workouts. Stretching.

Sadly, I'm not all the way back and didn't cross the finish line on Sunday with the other Rangers. Good news, Ranger will return. We'll be rolling the challenge back out in early July. So would-be Rangers, keep your membership status up and your eyes on the prize!

Now, Ranger Graduation Roll Call! First, some stats:

35 members of our community sent emails confirming they were interested in joining the Ranger Challenge. That initial cohort was comprised of 7 staffers, 28 members of the community. 6 trainees were in a program and therefore were only eligible for the pre and post test.

Of those 35, 25 people completed the Day 1 baseline test and posted it to their blog (a requisite of the challenge).
2 of those trainees who took the baseline suffered injuries (yours truly being one of them) and did not complete the challenge. 15 trainees completed the final exam and posted a blog (a requisite of the challenge) as of today.

All 15 of these trainees, without exception improved in some areas of there training. And many met the Army's standard for admittance into Ranger School. So in other words, these are some serious badasses right here!

They are:

Ren - https://kenzai.me/renfield/blog/de-ranger-d
Fish - https://kenzai.me/jasonf/blog/ranger-challenge-day-28-final-i-wanna-be-an-airborne-ranger
Jimm - https://kenzai.me/jimm2015/blog/ranger-challenge-day-28-finished-it
T-Bird - https://kenzai.me/thomas/blog/8k-my-latest-gucci-purchase
Matty B - https://kenzai.me/mattbe/blog/ranger-challenge-day-28-final-test
Caw Robin Caw - https://kenzai.me/robin/blog/ranger-challenge-final-test
Ashish! - https://kenzai.me/ashishb/blog/rc-challenge-final-workout
Elmo - https://kenzai.me/liz/blog/ranger-challenge-complete
ANDY - https://kenzai.me/andyc/blog/final-test
Amy G - https://kenzai.me/amyg/blog/kenzai-rangers-finale
Rahul - https://kenzai.me/rahulgo/blog/ranger-challenge-complete
Ryan - https://kenzai.me/ryanha/blog/rock-n-ranger-the-final-test
Sandhya - https://kenzai.me/sandhya/blog/weeeeeeeeeee-that-s-me-thrilled
Shane - https://kenzai.me/shanep/blog/ranger-day-28
Mike T - https://kenzai.me/michaelta/blog/ranger-challenge-final-stats

*If I missed your Ranger post test post, hit me up so I can add you to this list!

Song of the Day: Tougher Than Leather by Run DMC https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFvYm-i3vls


Dang. First lesson was fun and snappy. It culminated in 7 minutes of "do anything". Good news, I've been practicing.

I took a peek at the timer with 23 seconds remaining. One of the goals of the lesson was to fail. Mission accomplished. FYI....in only seven minutes...I felt like 100 times better. Less achy. More focused. I know this shit works, bro. But DANG, this shit works, bro.

Moving forward, I'm gonna bank some "mellow" vis a vis meditation, yoga, cooking, with some snowboarding and hoops mixed in from now until May when I jump into Reach. Hopefully by then the witch doctors will have me sorted out for a muscly September!

Bells II....I will crush you. In due time.

Song of the Day: Rebel Rebel by Sev Jorge https://youtu.be/XwQhZ5B1F5w?t=46s


We believe in transparency here. So I ain't gonna fake it. Mail it in. Or play it anything but straight with yall.

I've never had to bow out of a Kenzai program before. There is zero shame in doing so, but things have always broken the right way and I've had the good fortune of completing all the programs I've started despite injuries. And yet...

This is the second time I've been sidelined during the Ranger Challenge. Last time around, I tore my ACL. This time around, things are far murkier.

Here's the deal. I've been dealing with some back, shoulder, neck, jaw, face pain. As such, I've been working with a Doctor specializing in Cranial Osteopathy. Things have been getting better, but last week I had a very clear directive. NO. EXERCISE. ZERO. EXERCISE. For five days.

The conversations went like this....

Doc: Ward, how many days of the year do you think you exercise?
Ward: All of them.
Doc: So not doing anything for five days in the grand scheme of things isn't a big deal?
Ward: Well I'm doing this thing for work.
Doc: What thing?
Ward: Ummm. The er...Ranger...ummm....it's kind hard to explain. It's pretty rigorous.
Doc: So you're getting treatment here and then going to play basketball, doing this work thing, and going snowboarding too?
Ward: Yeah.
Doc: And you wonder why things aren't getting better?
Ward: Well...ummm.
Doc: Five days. Period.
Ward: How about hot yoga?
Doc: No.
Ward: How about gentle yoga?
Doc: No.
Ward: Can I walk the dog?
Doc: I love dogs. And you can walk yours. But I don't want you to even pick up a rake to rake leaves.
Ward: Five days. Fuuuuuuck.
Doc: See you on Tuesday. Between now and then. No exercise.
Ward: Yeah. I got it.

So. Yeah. 28 workouts is the goal. I won't make that goal. So, it's a do as I say, not as I do type finish, Rangers. I don't go in for ego based training, except when I do. Ultimately, this shit freaked me out enough that I'm keen to listen to the Doc's advice and get my body right. I'm down a belt size since the kickoff and my diet has been super duper tight. Which is nice.

Going forward, I'm playing the long game. Because sometimes doing nothing is waaaay harder than doing something.

Song of the Day: Stillness in the Move written by Dirty Projectors performed by Solange https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34STLHtu97A

End of Week 7





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