Gymnastics 20110604

So my friend Nico and I have been looking for a gymnastics place with padding to practice moves on. About a week or so he came upon this one place called Sokol Baltimore that was right around the corner from us (figuratively speaking).

When I came in, Nico was doing some jumps on a straightaway trampoline over this huge cushion block.

I forgot everybody's names, but there was a person giving guidance and by the time I finished warming up, he had Nico doing handstands followed with a roll. When I joined I just did handstands. Amy was there, and he had her, Nico, and I do various movements across the floor.

1) We started with a slide-slide, without changing sides. Really get those toes pointed when you come in the air.
2) Then a slide-slide with a kick up with the other leg, then twist 180. There was some emphasis on the the twist coming after the first leg comes up, not during.
3) Then the butterfly, which is a turn of the heel. It's the one Nico does really well. Chest drops down, heels throw up. Among the many things I probably did wrong, getting more rotation in was something to be noted.
4) Then front rolls. Arms up, lunge forward with one leg, arms down, head down, nice fluid motion out of it.
4.5) We hopped into the front rolls. For this the instructor mentioned trying to catch yourself on the fall.
5) Add a 360 twist out of the front roll. The arms come up and twist. Make it nice and fluid.
6) Now instead of a 360 do a 540. It's possible I was getting close to a 540.
7) Then we did a roll going backwards. Spreading the legs, fall back, hands down inside, then they come around and close to your head for your legs to come up and over. At the time of writing this post, I realized, the same problem that plagues my back handspring plagues my success at this movement. I did one or two okay. But then after that, I started plopping on my butt. The floor was bouncy, so it didn't hurt, but it was totally wrong. The instructor thought perhaps I was leaning forward too much, instead of using the momentum. I certainly don't lean backwards enough into the back handspring.
8) More experienced gymnasts were doing a movement which instead of legs apart, legs remained together. It appears like as they fall down they slide into it, then roll back, come up into a handstand, and then finish. I noticed, one girl, in her handstand, had her hands pointed slightly inwards.
9) I sort of forget the exact order from here, but I'll just try to name off things we did. Lunge, handstand, then... Well it was either a front walkover, or something like a front walkover. For Nico and I, he said just to fall into a bridge. Though Nico's sentiments were it's easier to do the walkover than fall into the bridge, so he asked to do that. I just decided to fall into the bridge, and push out of it.
10) The next step was, I guess a front handspring. That's what it felt like. Two keys were the lunge, and then the kick the legs put into getting the legs over. You can really see the power with the more experienced people. Though as a beginner, I can share that I feel I would put myself in danger putting power into something I don't know how to control. One thing the instructor said was I should have my head look at my hands, i.e., up at my arms. Regardless of doing it wrong, it was not something I would ever think I could try.
11) Round off with a back handspring. I still have the issue of looking over my right. My right hand wanting to land first. And not leaning back far enough before the jump.
12) Round off followed by two back handsprings. Occasionally I could go straight from one to the other, but sometimes I just went to the back handspring from standing. I'm don't really have much experience with the round off. He mentioned it was not straight.
13) We did these handstand pops. Where you land into the handstand and then push off three times. It's all in the shoulders. I was bending at the elbows to get the power which was bad. Nico did it really well. Perhaps this exercise went before some of the above, because the popping action comes into play with some of the above.
14) We did cartwheels.
15) We did one-handed cartwheels, told to switch it up. I did one of each combination: right leg forward with right hand, right leg forward with left hand, left leg forward with left hand, and left leg forward with right hand.
16) They did front flips. Nico and I did front flips into this cushion pit.

Then the instructor had Nico and I do some trampoline work.
1) Three jumps. Use power from your toes.
2) Two jumps and a 360 twist. Arms up in the air.
3) Then we brought the block in, and we did a jump, you plant your hands and I guess also head on the block, then bring the legs kick over. I guess we didn't seem to be getting it, so he came over, and had us, from standing, just headstand onto the block and bring the legs over. This gave us the proper feel for going over the block.
4) Then front flip. Arms in the air. Then soccer ball arms to get the driving force for the flip. I had some trouble controlling my turn, it was often falling on my butt, or falling onto my knees.
5) Back handspring. I could hardly do this on the floor, doing it on the straightaway trampoline just felt weird.

He tried having Nico move over to the regular trampoline to test out some differences. Nico did some backflips.

Winding down, Nico and I did a little capoeira for people to see. Amy did some of her awesome breakdancing.

Some of the instructor's breakdancing movements:
1) Then the instructor had another person do the, I can't remember the word, but the movement where the one leg sweeps around and the other leg hops up to let the first leg pass.
2) Then there was the possibility to do both legs.
3) For the one leg, you can do that and transition into a handstand.
4) Then one where you prop yourself up on your legs and feet, like a crab walk, but with hips up. Then bring one leg up. Then hop up and switch.
5) Once you get that going you can have the alternate hand come up to reach the foot. And alternate.
6) Then there's the option to pop up both legs.
7) Then there's the worm. Lay down and arch up, propping yourself up on your arms. First we worked on rolling down and letting the legs and feet roll up. Then the feet come down and the butt pops up from the front. I suppose the motion would be completed by the butt coming down and the back arched up as in the final position.

Then we discussed some things that can be done with a partner.
1) One person can go into a handstand, then put their legs over the other person's shoulder. The person who catches the first person bends down and the first person comes over.
2) A variation is for the first person to finish sitting on the second person. It's interesting that this can be an intentional movement, since I accidentally did this in modern dance class one day when trying to do the first motion.
3) Then there's the double roll. Nico gets down on his back legs up. I put my feet next to his ears and he grabs my ankle. Then I grab his ankles. He bends his legs and I bring my head the ground. As my body comes down it pulls his up and then it repeats, by me bending my legs and pulling him up. The instructor mentioned that after one gets that down, you can choose to change direction and roll the opposite way.
4) Then there's one which we used a mat for, just to soften the landing. One person, the support, lies down on their back and puts their legs up. The second person doing the movement brings their feet close to the first person's but. And then rests their abs on the person's feet. Bend over and the second person grabs the first person's hands. On 3, 1, 2, 3, the second person comes up and brings the legs over. I'm pretty sure arms are straight. So basically you're clearing the first person with a sort of front flip. I imagine the first person's goal would be to help give the second person the proper forward momentum. Amy went first. Then I went. Then the instructor apologized and said he wasn't prepared to support Nico.

We finished the day with the instructor asking us to practice our round offs straight on a line. Lunge, hands, kick up, and land. All has to be done on a line.

I definitely recall the instructor saying one foundation to practice is handstands. He might have mentioned various other things we worked on, such as handstand rolls, round offs, and cartwheels, but I can't remember.

Overall, it was an exciting first experience. My original thought when coming to the 'Adult Workout' was that it would just be a place with pads and that Nico and I would just have to sort of teach ourselves various movements. But having an instructor give guidance works much better. It also pushed me to do things I wouldn't have tried on my own. Also to have someone more experienced doing some of the movements, helped me feel like I should at least try.

I don't know if it's the gymnastics or the b-boying, or my sleep position, but my entire upper back is aching. The shoulders are feeling it too.

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