I want to introduce a friend of mine, Johannes Lierfeld, as he’s made a big effort of turning up for the Århus Kettlebell Cup in March and will come once more to Denmark for the Nordic Kettlebell Cup in September.
He’s an eclectic lifter and he likes to train in some rather unusual places, seeing the terrain and odd things laying around as his privileged toys.
TS: Johannes, please tell us something about yourself!
JL: Well, I am 33 years old, I work as a writer/producer for my own production company – YOUR MOVIE Genre Pool. Besides I teach screenwriting at the university and work as instructor for our partner enterprise PT1 International. This might sound pretty busy, and indeed it is! But for me it´s a blessing because I can make a living out of something I do with passion.
TS: What about your sports background and how you got into kettlebells?
JL: Well, I spend half of my life now engaging in strength sports and can look back to a little bit of a traveling through different worlds already. I started off at the age of 17, doing most likely raw powerlifting. I had no coach, just some equipment I bought, and I worked my ass off in the cellar of my parents. It was a crazy time going for heavy sets on the bench without spotter! When I went to university I started to train boxing, but I wanted to compete in strength sports, so I looked for an association, a place where I can seriously lift, learn and compete. Luckily I found this place – it was the second oldest German weightlifting club, AC Marburg 1888. 4 months after starting to work with the guys I went to my first competition and took 2nd place.
This was the time when bench shirts and all the equipment stuff came up and I went along, always doubting that this is the real way to lift, never getting the results out of the equipment that my opponents gained.
So I focused a little bit more on raw lifting and put up some nice numbers in the raw bench press: 170kg at 90kg (162,5kg in competition) and 165kg at 80kg (160kg in competition).
I still practice martial arts occasionally. I got hooked with the whole grappling game and studied Luta Livre, the brazilian way of submission wrestling. After some really heavy years where I carried around 100kg well-fed kilos I reduced my bodyweight to 80kg again and competed in some local grappling tournaments. To be honest I got in touch with kettlebells at a local grappling tournament where I saw – and touched – those iron bells for the first time.
TS: How did you get started doing kettlebells?
JL: I didn´t know about all the technical aspects at first. My goals and my whole approach where totally wrong: I wanted to lift the biggest bell around (which was 48kg) for ONE time (I didn´t care about reps like most powerlifters). Soon enough I realized that it´s not the challenge to lift a kettlebell ONCE but OVER & OVER!! Since then everything is different: I started to study the particular technique as a science in its own right. I started to work with Russian lifters, and I started to compete where Russian lifters do. There are people who are seeking fame, and there are people who are seeking truth, and I regard myself to belong to the second category. I wanna compete to learn and to know where I´m at. I wanna know the truth about me, haha!
TS: What´s your favourite GS event?
JL: I am not into dogmatism, I challenge myself in girevoy sport and kettlebell strong sport as well as grip competitions (another nice hobby and by-product of working with kettlebells). However, I prefer the press, the jerk and the long cycle over the snatch. I have no official ranking yet but did StrongSport with 32kg biathlon & long cycle (easy) and failed at attempting with 40 kg long cycle at the Århus Cup .
This year I competed in 4 girevoy sport events and won the German nationals in all 3 events I attended. But I know that I can´t stand my ground on international level yet, there´s a ton of work to do!!
TS: What do you think about the growing community of GS enthusiasts?
JL: It´s great! A short while ago, I competed in Turbigo/Milano. It was a great event organized by the amazing lifter, coach and personality Oleh Ilika (MILLE GRAZIE!!) and I met unbelievable athletes like Anton Anasenko or Mattia Amodio. I would be so proud if one day I would be able to achieve half of what they achieved already. Our sport is so great because it´s international, it´s about great people, and it´s about evolving – yourself and the sport!!
Mange tak, Thierry & we´ll see each other in Copenhagen in September!