CrossFit Kyoto > Our Team
Head coach (Japanese/English language plus a little French if he's given pâté)
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 and discovered Aikido soon after which quickly took over his life. In 1995 he moved to Kobe, Japan where he financed Aikido 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.
Coach (Japanese, currently learning English)
After graduating from medical college with a degree in nursing, Tatsuro spent a total of 6 years as a nurse at university hospitals. His path as a medical professional began as an elementary school student when he was hospitalized with a kidney disease.
Faced with many restrictions for the year after leaving the hospital, Tatsuro knew more than most what it meant to face pain, struggle, and agony.
As a nurse, Tatsuro often interacted with the elderly and saw many cases of people who had their illness treated but were unable to walk on their own. He questioned how to best help these people who had become so weak. It was during his struggle with this dilemma that Tatsuro discovered CrossFit. He met people, the same age as patients he attended to in the hospital, who were able to exercise energetically and he was moved by their physical and mental vitality.
For Tatsuro, discovering CrossFit helped focus his desire, to help people live with greater health and walk on their own two feet for their entire lives, into his personal mission. He decided to dedicate himself to becoming a trainer who could help people build healthy lives.
Tatsuro’s current goal is to become a Level 3 Trainer like Russell.
His plan is to create unique methods grounded in the knowledge gained through his studies to become a credentialed public health nurse and school nurse as well as his experience working in hospitals.
Gym Manager (English/German/French/Italian/Spanish/a little Japanese)
Ela's love of sport & fitness began at an early age. We think she may have started ice skating and skiing even before she could walk :). She competed in heptathlon from the age of 12 all over her native Switzerland, was a certified children's ski instructor and worked as a tour guide in Europe before leaving to travel the globe.
In Japan Ela ran a successful shiatsu & counselling practice for 18 years. She also taught shiatsu & its philosophy of health & fitness internationally with students in Canada, Greece, Indonesia, New Zealand and of course Japan.
In addition to her work as a therapist for mind and body Ela has a deep background in nutrition. Over a period of 10 years Ela was cook, head chef and kitchen manager at various retreat centres around the world and later developed health food dishes & drinks for a restaurant in Bali.
As CrossFit Kyoto’s founding partner Ela has been instrumental in its development since the beginning and her ability to make sure nothing and no-one “falls through the cracks“ is invaluable. Ela has been the guiding force behind many of our most popular events. She inspires people to make healthy food choices, both for themselves and the planet, in the hope of benefiting all life for the long-term by ensuring sustainability (one of CF Kyoto’s guiding principles).
Paul is one of our first members and CFK wouldn’t be the same without him. He has a great talent for capturing our members in just the right moment.
Paul has been creating many great memories that have been immortalized and bring smiles to all of us.
Paul is our in-house pro photographer and he is taking great shots that make everyone look good!
Based in Kyoto
Japan since 1995.
CrossFit Kyoto is run through the collaborative efforts of our management, translation, and cleaning teams.