Head Coach Russell
Russell was born in Plymouth, England in 1974. From the age of 15 he was obsessed with rowing, aiming at being on the UK team for the 1996 Olympics. He won gold at the UK National Championships in 1992 but discovered Aikido soon after and it quickly took over his life. In 1995 he moved to Kobe, Japan where he financed his Aikido habit by teaching English.
In addition to teaching Aikido for 3 years in Kobe Russell gained a Kiatsu massage certification in Osaka and in 2002 became one of the first certified Pilates teachers in Japan.
Russell moved to Kyoto in 2005 after meeting his meditation teacher Doug Duncan and ended up helping to establish Clear Sky Meditation Center in Cranbrook, B.C., serving on the board for 2 years and running meditation retreats part-time.
It was through Clear Sky that Russell was first exposed to CrossFit. In March 2008 he was part of a Clear Sky film crew on a trip to Bhutan. He wanted to be ready to carrying piles of equipment up and down mountains and a quick google search for functional fitness led him to the CrossFit website. After a few months of scaled WODs running up a Bhutanese mountain with a bag full of sound equipment was no problem.
Returning from Bhutan Russell continued his pursuit of CrossFit, taking to heart its philosophy of improvisation, adaption and scalability, using the convenient pile of millstones around his house instead of barbells (see pic above) and constructing his own pull-up bar out of bamboo and webbing straps. He got his first muscle-up in 2008 and his 35th birthday present was a head to floor handstand push-up, all thanks to CrossFit. Russell attended his first Level 1 Cert in September 2009 and decided to open CrossFit Kyoto after receiving permanent resident status in Japan at the end of 2010.
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