Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Throw your head at the ground and miss  

"I know Taido..." "...show me." (To the tune of Neo vs. Morpheus).

Seriously, I learned to front handspring today. A quick step forward throwing yourself down on your hands, and your body flips over you and just pops back up to a standing position, and, to my great surprise, I can actually do this. Repeatably.

I honestly didn't think it was possible for me getting a such a late start in karate at the ripe old age of 30. I mean, yes, I took karate in my early teens, and yes, I took it for about a year in college, but as far as I'm concerned I really *seriously* got started around 30. Despite that, after all this time I assumed that the young turks doing front flips and backflips and front and back handsprings were just able to do so because they were 15 years younger than me (I am now 35).

But apparently after five years of practice, you learn something.

While I'd been doing a great deal of component practice (handstands, cartwheels, a variety of tumbles, back arches, back wall hand walks, and assisted back flip practice) the first time I ever tried to put a back handspring together was tonight --- and thanks to great teachers and great encouragement from my classmates, it just frickin worked.

Don't try this at home, fanu, but it's just throwing your head at the ground and missing. No, more seriously --- lean forward on to your hands and flip forward over them, using your hands to hold yourself up while you pitch forward onto your butt. Sound easy? Ok, speed that up with a few running steps until you're comfortable flipping forward over your hands and onto your butt. Got that? Now watch the ground while you throw your body over ... your back will naturally arch while you fall on your butt. Ok, now kick your feet up like you're doing a cartwheel ... and surprise yourself when you pop back up onto your feet. Even more seriously don't try this at home --- get yourself a karate or gymnastics teacher and a big mat to practice on --- but once you get the hang of it it's amazing. By the end of the evening, I didn't even need a running start anymore --- I could practically do it in place.

I even found out, but did not get to try, *why* we're doing this insane stuff --- one of the black belts showed us how a front handspring could turn into a superfast (and devastating) ax kick.

So the moral of the story is, if you believe that you can't do something ... OR believe that something's too crazy to do ... OR don't put in the effort to learn all the pieces, you'll see people doing things that *look* amazing which you will *assume* are impossible ... but the reality is that if you assume it IS possible for you, take it on faith that it's worth doing, and put in the effort to build up all the pieces ... why, then anything's possible for you.

Next I plan to work on my hover.



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