Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ginastica Natural, Tiger Blood and Faster Hips

I'm starting to wonder if I'm not some sort of masochist. I apparently can only tolerate so much peace in my life at one time...as soon as salsa got comfortable (or dramatic...whatever), I started Chinese, as soon as Chinese got comfortable, I started BJJ...and what did I do once BJJ wasn't complete agony on my ego anymore? I started the deceptively taxing Ginastica Natural. I'm fortunate enough to have it offered three times a week at my gym since we house one of the only certified instructors in the state of Florida. It took 18 months of prodding from LadyBug and Fiona (not to mention regular prodding from GinasticaInstructor on Friday nights), but they eventually got me there. "It'll be fun!", they said.  "You can do it!", they said. Oh, they spoke the truth...but...

Movement is not my strength. I am neither fast, nor nimble nor agile. Starting Ginastica has been, in a lot of ways, like starting jiu jitsu. Every Saturday morning (I only make it once a week) I face my heavy hips, weak upper body and inability to squat with feet flat, head on. I genuinely believe that the biggest reason I waited a year to start wasn't just fear that I'd be tired or look like an idiot...I was well used to that from standing guard passes. It was that I simply could not see myself as a mobile person. What was the point? Adam (previously known as GinasticaInstructor) is great at starting new-comers at the shallow end of the pool and gradually amping up the difficulty, but I've still had to swallow a lot of pride. Though still fighting through my own sweaty struggles, six months in and I'm now comfortable with about 75% of the class. The only beast I have left is animal walking. 

I have...so many issues. I was never a physically active child--shunning playing outside in favor of books on Greek mythology, growing crystals and rock tumbling. I've got a lot of ground to make up and I blame part of it on my long femurs and funky hip ROM, but end of the day, it's all about just doing it and reshaping myself. I'm getting better at the toe walking (walking sideways while bent over, holding your big toes with your index finger...try it...just 3 steps...seriously) and I'm light-years better at the other animal-inspired movement exercises. My one nemesis? The tiger walk. We do it forward and backward...backward is fast. Backward is evil. I'm still learning how just not to sway my hips going forward. I wore my tiger shirt this past week for inspiration, only to be told that apparently, Ginastica works better in t-shirts with adult tigers...might have to give Brendan a ring.

I love this tiger. I wish the gis came in adult sizes

Mirrors (I hate them now) and animal walking aside, I've seen marked progress. After just two classes, I started noticing that coming to my knees required very little thought and rolling my 215lbs of self+opponent backwards was no longer frightening.  When I skip stop, I feel slower and less responsive when rolling. The classes seem to attract more agile people, but I would say it's absolutely essential for larger/immobile people who have any aspirations of being better movers. 

The biggest difference though, is mental. Since I'm not accustomed to moving, my mind doesn't even consider certain options/dimensions when training. If Ginastica does nothing else, it's opened my mind to new planes of jiu jitsu possibilities.

No comments: