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williamprowse

one arm handstand

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rambo5501

Ido I have a question. Why is it that in all circus performances and shows in general. If the performer chooses to do a planche they always do the straddle one? I mean I'm not saying that they are not strong enough to do the straight one. But is it that I it looks more appealing?

And sorry to kind of drift away from the main topic.

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Morphs

Hey Ido, by reading your posts I've noticed that you pay a lot of attention to the mental aspect of the OHH. But in your posts your opinion on bboys seems somewhat flattened. Perhaps your knowlegde about the bboy scene is limited, but you seem like a guy that would never say 'no' to knowledge so let me share some experiences I've had recently..

I've been bboying since 2001, almost 8 years. I can say I've learned a LOT during those years and I'm learning more and more every training. This year at an event called IBE (International Breakdance Event) I attented a 'powermove workshop' by bboy cico. He is one of the best powermovers out there at the moment, and currently holds the world record for the most 1990's (spinning in OHH position) with 27 rotations. Check the video out, this achievement can currently be done by only one person in the world:

I can say that I was very impressed by his approach. His workshop actually started with some yoga and he payed a lot of attention on the mental aspects when performing powermoves, like thinking in terms of "focus points" rather than "swing this leg, then that one". His expertise became very clear when he started helping people with their moves. He would be saying just a few words and someone would make an improvement instantly. True signs of a master. I've also talked a bit with him and he is a very nice guy. He seems to have found a certain 'peace' by reaching his level of expertise. I know he is not the only one .. there are many other bboys who explore the mental side of breaking and those bboys often happen to be the better ones. Kujo is another example..

As far as the OHH is concerned, while acrobats look for perfection of form, bboys look for exploration and creativity first..

To give an example, a video of the French bboy Dany, with an impressive sense of balance:

Here's a video about a guy doing a freestyle rap in a freestanding headstand. I don't know if he's a bboy of gymnast... impressive nontheless..

To conclude: you indeed won't find bboys who strive for the same perfection of form in the OHH. If they would they would have been acrobats! The development of bboyskills still continues at a high pace, and this is the very reason why I find bboying the most interesting scene: it keeps exploring and expanding. Nevertheless I extremely enjoy watching videos from acrobats and gymnasts since we're all busy developing ourselves on a physical as well as on a mental level..

(not all videos in this post fully contribute to this post, they are also meant for your enjoyment :))

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peja16_roller
Ido I have a question. Why is it that in all circus performances and shows in general. If the performer chooses to do a planche they always do the straddle one? I mean I'm not saying that they are not strong enough to do the straight one. But is it that I it looks more appealing?

I hope Ido doesn't mind if I answer this :D

A straddle planche allows for your bodyweight to be more distributed. Whereas, a planche with legs together the load is more concentrated on your arms.

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Guest Ido Portal

Rambo,

No, it is not a matter of balance. It can come from a couple of factors:

A. They are not strong enough to do it, considering the margine for error required from a performer. Doing a closed planche doesnt mean you can put it in your act. You have to do it with ease. Not strong enough. period.

B. If they are ex-gymnasts, they will always have the straddled version, even without training anymore on it, but the closed one is maintained without training only by ring specialist and exceptionaly strong guys, not every gymnast. So, they just do what they can. As an equilibrist, you dont perform a lot of strength work that is not specific to your act, and planche strength is only good for one move out of the whole act - not very time efficient training.

C. They want to press out of it to continue the routine, and pressing out of a full planche is even more difficult.

Saying all of that, I once saw a small asian boy doing an equilibre act with a full planche. I cannot find it now, but when I will I'll post it.

Morphs,

you could not have mistaken in your charecter analasis of me more than you did.

My opinion of bboys is not flattened. I apreciate their abilities and train with them and influenced by them. But physicly their field is not as developed as gymnastics, acrobatics, and other competitive sports.

What you presented is cases of great talent. I aknowledge that, but they are few. In circus, everyone stands on one arm. not just the talented. And they do it for longer and with more control and ease. Go to youtube and do a simple search.

Of course the circus world and gymnastics field suffer from stagnation, a lack of creativity and orginiality, this is obvious. Some people like 'Les 7 doigts de la main' and other progressive circus bands are a rarity in the circus world and are very creative and open and influenced by something more than 'point your toes-ab tight-squeeze your butt' kind of thing, so there are extreme cases in both ends of the spectrum.

You can be sure in one thing, though, if spinning on your hands was required in a circus act by a choreograph or director, circus performers would have counted their hand spinning in MINUTES and not in the number of spins. It is just a matter of programmed, structured, forced training that kills the creativeness in you, but produces extreme results in your abilties, as opposed to non structured, free, open training that encourage creativeness and new ideas but does not produce much in terms of abilty.

You cannot have the cake and eat it also.

And one other thing: I try to incorporate from both worlds in my training.

My opinion of bboys flattened? Anyone who watched my latest clip will strongly disagree - I have obviously been influenced by their work!

Ido.

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IvanPS
Rambo,

No, it is not a matter of balance. It can come from a couple of factors:

A. They are not strong enough to do it, considering the margine for error required from a performer. Doing a closed planche doesnt mean you can put it in your act. You have to do it with ease. Not strong enough. period.

B. If they are ex-gymnasts, they will always have the straddled version, even without training anymore on it, but the closed one is maintained without training only by ring specialist and exceptionaly strong guys, not every gymnast. So, they just do what they can. As an equilibrist, you dont perform a lot of strength work that is not specific to your act, and planche strength is only good for one move out of the whole act - not very time efficient training.

C. They want to press out of it to continue the routine, and pressing out of a full planche is even more difficult.

Saying all of that, I once saw a small asian boy doing an equilibre act with a full planche. I cannot find it now, but when I will I'll post it.

Ido.

I think I found the video you were talking about.

At 7:08 he does a full planche on a stack of chairs and then presses out.

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Guest Ido Portal

Ivan, no it is not that. And of course the press is not clean... Very impressive, though.

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Morphs

Hey Ido. Sorry if I might have upset you by using the wording "flattened". This was of course not my intention. I do know that you incorporate all kinds of styles in your own development. Heck, I've seen your video a few weeks back and it is in my favorites :) That is also why I found it surprising to read about your opinion on bboys and the OHH. But on the other hand can't really disagree on this point, acrobats are the masters of the OHH. And because of the young scene that bboying is (not even thirty years old!) it makes it hard to compare the two. I do appreciate the fact that you acknowledge the creative side of bboying compared to acrobatics.

Thanks for further elaborating on your stance. I've come across people with a "one is superior to the other in ALL respects"-attitude that I find disappointing and I could hardly believe you were one of them (notice the cautious use of "seems somewhat flattened" in my post). I'm glad this wasn't the case!

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palmcron

Hi,

I was very hestitant to start a project about the one hand handstand when coach offered it to me, because I believe this is an impossible task. I cannot create a perfect follow through 'how to' guide to the complete mastery of the skill.

What I am planning to do is provide something that will take you farther than anything else, but achieving complete domination of the skill will require hands on practice with a master/trainer that can hint with hands on corrections on the right path one should follow. I am being very frank here.

This is the best I can do, and I believe no other book to this date, especialy not these outdated projects with the closed shoulder angle and arched back are providing.

This is the only reason I have decided to write this piece, along with dozens of exercises, alignment issues, shoulder mobility and stability work, and much, much more.

Sorry for digging out this month-old posting; do I understand it correctly and you are writing an article/a book about one arm handstands?

When will it be finished (or is it already finished and I missed it?) and where can I get it? :)

Thank you for all your great postings about handbalancing!

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Guest Ido Portal

It is in the works. Stay around the forum for more details.

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Mikael Kristiansen

Hello, as my username suggests I am a handbalancer. I have never been a gymnast, but just registered on these forums to learn more. I did breaking for 6 years before starting to learn circus, so I find it interesting that the different techniques were discussed. Learning one arms is a really time consuming process, and I agree, you would most probably need a coach to be able to learn correct handbalancer technique. You see bboys doing it all the time, and I used to do it the same way, most often with legs straddled and arm bent. They usually balance by moving their hips to keep themselves from falling, and are less concerned with body alignment, compared to handbalancers. Even so I believe bboys have an easier time than most learning 1 arms, because most of those who learn it already have worked on 1 handhops, "Airbabies"(twisted 1 arm frogstand, knee to elbow) and other 1 arm exercises so that they are used to hold their bodies on one arm for an extended period of time. 1 handhops for example is a LOT easier than standing on one arm because as you jump you change your point of balance, so all you really need to do is to keep jumping.

I have now worked at handbalancing for 10 months, 4 of which with a coach. My coach is an american, who has studied under russian coaches in Montreal, at the National Circus School. As I said, I already had a one arm on my right arm when we started, but the technique was very off and unstable. With the coach we trained for 1 hour each session, every day, but I trained between 2 and 4 hours a day only on handbalancing during this period, and I still do. After cleaning up my handstand so that the body alignment was improved, I learned one arms pretty quickly, because of my previous 1 handed training, good coaching and an enormous amount of practice. I am now holding positions for over a minute on my right and around 30 secs on my left, and working on some of the more advanced stuff.

For learning without a coach, I would say most who are dedicated could learn the "bboy style" one arm to some extent, with rigorous training. The cirque style one, I would say is very hard to get without coaching. The problem with balancing on one hand is that there are so many parts of your body which can mess up and pull you out of balance, even when you are in the right position. Your legs could flop, your hips could twist, your free arm could give you too much weight in either direction, causing you to fall, your supporting shoulder could collapse from the weight, and the list goes on.

Before anything, one should strive to get a handstand which is as straight as possible. The picture of Yuval in this thread is a very good example. Shoulders should be pushed ALL the way up(shoulder flexibility is also an issue for handbalancers, I luckily have very open shoulders) so that your body gets perfectly aligned. A good exercise for this is to do handstands with the face to the wall. You go as close to the wall as you can so that your entire body is forced to be in one line by the wall, and you PUSH your shoulders out. You can well use the wall as support as long as you keep the line. Have somebody spot you to make sure you have a good line.

Balancing on one arm is also very counter intuitive. Take a look at someone holding a one arm straddle(who can actually do it). Most often the hips are slightly tilted over the supporting arm and(right side)the right leg is hanging a little bit down. However(I have seen this a lot, when teaching) people tend to tilt their hips the other way, so that the opposite legs goes down over their head, into sort of a capoeira kickish position, which results in a fall. A very good exercise is to just move your hips from side to side, without even trying to pick the other hand up, learning how to position the hips on top of your body.(filming it may work, so you can see if you are doing it correctly)

Anyway, I always recommend people to learn from a straddle, mainly because your centre of gravity is lower. Some teach legs together from the beginning, but I find that it is too hard for beginners(multiply the mess-up list by 10). Doing it with straddle you can balance a little with your legs, and you will faster work up your sensitivity. In a one arm you will always have some slight movement in your body, and the key is to be sensitive to how to smoothly correct yourself all the time so no movement will make you fall.

Perhaps the most important position to master, regardless of leg position is the supported position where you have leaned over your supporting arm and on the fingertips of the one which will be lifted. THIS position will teach you a lot. People tend to get excited and start to lift the arm, resulting with a fall, but common sense says that if you cant hold a supported one arm, you cant hold it by itself either. Start in a straddle, push your shoulders up, lean your hips over one arm, PUSH UP as you lean the weight over, go up on your fingertips, while still keeping some pressure on the fingers, perhaps 30%(you gradually reduce it) and STAY. Learn to stay in that position of a long time, a minute is a good goal. Also think of it this way: every time you try, stay in the support for as long as you can, and then try to lift. That means every attempt will get you more "quality time" in the position. Eventually you reduce the weight on the fingers until you can stay only on two or one finger, and you will be making a lot of progress.

Puh, this became a long post, I always get carried away with this. I could go on forever about this. There is just an enormous amount of details. Hope it is of some use at least.

Ido Portal: I read your stuff and you know what you are talking about. No way one can explain this in a forum post. If you need any assistance on this project you talked about, I can try to help out.

Here is the video of the chinese boy with the full planche by the way.

You are right about the planche, most are not strong enough, and for an untrained audience it looks just as good with a straddle. Also it look better on stage with straddle if the performer is doing it facing the audience, since you can see the legs in the air behind.

Finally a clip of rubberlegz, perhaps the best balancer among bboys. crazy hard stuff...

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peja16_roller

Handbalancer,

Thanks for this very informative post. It's good to have another hand-balancer share their expertise on this subject. Looking forward to reading more of your post.

I just stumbled upon that same video of the Chinese circus performer last night. I was gonna post it here because it was brought up before of a pressup from closed planche, but no one could find the video and you beat me to it.

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ketlot
It is in the works. Stay around the forum for more details.

I'm so eager to get that book/dvd you are working on... , Can you plan when it will be ready or it's unpredictable ...

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Guest Ido Portal

The book is in the works. Sometime during 2009 is my best bet.

But....

During May 2009 Gymnasticbodies is going to host a first time Equilibrists camp. Stay tuned through the forum, me or Coach Sommer himself will be posting some information about that, for the ones interested.

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thenail01

Did this book ever come out??

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Mikko Saks
Did this book ever come out??

Nope.

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Vagabond

I wrote a book (e-book) on handstands in French. I'm working on the second edition, and once I'm done, I'll translate it in English with my girlfriend's help (she has a very high - native - English level) and send one to coach Sommer to know his opinion. If you guys want, I can keep you up to date with it's development. In French, everybody who bought it were very satisfied. I know it's an e-book, but there's also cool advantages. Per example, once you buy it, you get the next editions for free and stuff like that.

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