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Christopher Schwab

Losing sanity over handstands

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Daniel Burnham

I think several of us have lost sanity because of handstands :shock:

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Marcelo Rodrigues

I wouldn't say much about this topic. People should stop and listen a bit.

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pdb_atfn
I have read this bitchy debate thoroughly and a massive point has been overlooked by all of you!!

pdn_atfn says: Hours spent training is not and can not be a better predictor of, or more important in creating, handbalancing ability than one's "strength and technique".

This statement is bollocks!

So do you think the opposite is true? If you wanted to know how good a handbalancer someone was and you could have knowledge of ONE of the following pieces of information, which would you choose?

1) how many hours training he had done

2) how strong he was and how good his technique is

As I said from the start, 2) is hopefully what results from 1), if done properly. Many hours of training is a necessary but not sufficient condition to reach good levels of handbalancing. To say that 1) is "the biggest" factor out of the two is not right.

Would anyone ever think, "hmm, my strength and technique haven't improved but I'm really racking up the hours of practice - and that's the biggest factor. I must be on the right track!"

Well, sadly, people do think that, I suppose.

Let me give you some more analogies, which I propose are incorrect or muddled thinking:

"In sprinting the biggest factor in the end is not how fast you are or how good your technique is, but how many hours you spent running."

"In painting the biggest factor in the end is not how skilled and able you are, but how many hours you spent painting."

"In university the biggest factor in the end is not how intelligent and knowledgeable you are, but how many hours you spent studying."

In each, the "practice" factor LEADS TO the resulting ability, which is presumably what we're all aiming for. No one goes on stage, or posts a video or whatever, and just stands there saying "I've done over a thousand hours of training this year, impressed?!" - no one gives a shit about that. Instead they just show what they can do and people marvel at how strong they are and how good their technique is. That is to say, the end result, and by definition the most important (only) final decider of how good a handbalancer someone is.

How can I possibly make this more clear? Please, if anyone here understands what I'm saying perhaps you could rephrase it and explain to the others that I'm not on some crusade against training.

TECHNIQUE COMES FROM PRACTICE!!!....IN EVERYTHING!

Remarkable.

Pdn_atfn, You can't say 'strength and technique is all you need to do handstands...Not hours and hours of practice'.

That statement doesn't make sense!

Then it's a jolly good thing I didn't say it, eh?

you also can't say "it's not how strong you are or how good your technique is, it's how many hours you put in', because that also doesn't make sense!

uh oh, guys, he contradicted Yuri!! GET HIM!!! :evil::evil::evil:

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Paul SONNEVILLE

Hey, long time not been around here.

I couldn't agree more with repetitions. I am a Qigong practitioner, and you only get results with practicing each and every last one of your goddamn days, those not succeeding simply don't have the will to do so and won't admit it, most of the time.

But I can also understand that people willing to spend a good time at the gym' just exercising a bit and talking don't want to do the same thing again and again and again. As for me, I can't do something if it isn't to get good at it, therefor I take great pleasure in doing the same routine for 2 months and taking my time for improvement, just as with qigong.

Cheers guys, don't all go on this dude's back, it's just opinions we're talking about it's fine to keep an exchange of ideas as smooth and enjoyable as possible ( only my point of view though ... ).

Godspeed ! Only way to get the answers is exercising ;)

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Craig Mallett

I think for the most part people are arguing over wording rather than actual practise.

I figured I'd chime in though because I just put a post up on my website (link in my sig for anyone who's interested) about this very subject. I am a firm believer that there are no shortcuts to anything.

Whilst mindless practise (doing something over and over again without thinking about what you're doing wrong) will obviously not get you very far, mindful, repetitive practise is the key to high levels of skill. Applies to any subject. The person who has practised their scales in music, explored all the possible variations and different ways of doing it, and has done it so much that its as natural as breathing, will be far better than the person who practises all the "technically difficult" music pieces over and over again without attending to their scales. I would go so far as to say that the technically difficult pieces are only necessary to brush up on intermittently and even in advanced stages, they should just be working on the subtleties of making the flow of their scales perfect.

A perfect example of this is a friend of mine, who is a squash player. He used to play games over and over almost every day, but he told me the point that changed him from a beginner to a professional was when he stopped doing that and started practising his backhand. Just his backhand...over and over and over again, for HOURS every day. He didn't play many games, he just repeatedly worked his backhand, again and again. He still played a game every now and again and his skill improved DRAMATICALLY. His backhand was unbeatable, he could place the ball where ever he wanted. He went from a non-competitive local player, to a national team member, and last time I spoke to him he was coaching one of the australian girls squash teams. He attributes this ALL to his backhand practise.

Using my own martial arts as a further example, I've spent the last year focussing exclusively on basics, really working them out and trying to understand them properly. This includes all of the "boring" work. Line drills, over and over and over again. Even the most basic stepping drills. Stance practice for hours. Basic kicks in lines. I have not looked at my forms save for a quick revision every few months to make sure I remember them. And they are better than EVER. Far better than when I was using the same amount of effort to practise the forms without basics.

So how does this apply to handstands? In my opinion, the OP needs to look at his belly to wall handstands. Work these until they are good, then work them till they are even better. Be relentless in making sure the shoulder is properly open, the back is flat and the line is straight. Make sure your palms are inches away from the wall when you are belly to wall. See what happens when you get even closer. Cant get close yet? I would say don't even WORRY about freestanding handstands if this is the case. See if you can lean out from the wall and pull yourself back in. Use a mirror or a video camera or have a friend with a good eye spot you. And as Yuri said, put in the time. Even the BEST in the world still do their wall handstands. Gotta keep on top of the basics, as coach says "take care of business".

Then add in your "exercise snacks". Every time you got a spare moment even if its just once, kick up into your freestanding or wall handstand. Get as much of this volume in as you can.

my 2c

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Juri Krainjukov

I will take some fire on me.

I applause pdb_atfn for replaying to every unrelated claim and still be sane and not very mad.

I think that the most important skill people lack here is reading carefully before responding. Nobody here actually contradict what pdb_atfn has said, and many actually support it unintentionally.

I try to paraphrase him here, pdb_atfn, correct me if I'm wrong.

What's he saying is that the quality of your skill is determined by your technique and strength, not by how many hours you spent learning this skill.

So, technique & strengtg => good performance

Did he say that you don't have invest your time in learning skill ? NO.

But does time invested always translate to quality of skill ? NO. That's why people like couch Summer write books, to help us practice more efficiently, and eventually acquire skills faster.

"If you want to learn to do handstands, just do handstands", that's what people say here.

Sorry, but have to argue with that. If I would say "to learn somersault, just do somersaults", many people would kill themselves, and some lucky ones will eventually be able to do that. But with little help of other exercises that build necessary strength and technique elements, you'll get there much easier and faster, that's why nowadays every gymnast can do it, although 200 years ago almost nobody did, people just learned how to train properly to get there. Will they still need to spend long hours training? Absolutely

Yes, eventually you will have to do lot's of handstands, but then why there're so many exercises to help you get there, like wall handstands etc, even frog stands can be helpful to learn balancing, however doesn't look very close to handstand, even simple planks are useful if your level is strength is not enough yet. So smart practice + long hours will be always better then just any practice + long hours.

Also, talking about recovery, isn't it the same taking time off, resting doing nothing to get you muscles back in form. So doing some hours of training several times a week may be actually more beneficial then training every day for 15 hours. So again smart practice is always better.

There was a good example of piano playing, which is a skill that demand lot's of time to acquire. I think lot's of piano teachers have met student's who trained with improper posture, held their hand improperly and therefore their performance was poor. Maybe they had spent long hours practicing this way. And yet their performance may stale, not moving anywhere, and even GET WORSE, because of fatigue, injuries, and plain frustration of not being able to play beautifully. Would it be beneficial to just push forward play difficult pieces and hope that it will improve? May be it will. But, it would be much better to go back to basics, learn the proper posture, learn relaxation.

Will he still have to spend lot's of time to practice, Of course. But, I think, it will be much faster, that just mindlessly tapping keys.

To many times after spending lot's of time for some skill, I got a good advice from somebody, and learned it in 5 minutes after. What if I got this advice earlier ? Right, I will have the same skill much faster.

And, please, before responding try to read the whole thread, and pay attention at pdb_atfn's replies. Too many people argue about the things, he actually DIDN'T claim.

And the last, I think doubting authorities (even Couch Sommer :)) and asking additional questions is always good, even if you're not as proficient as they are. Good teachers continue to learn from their students.

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Craig Mallett

Juri,

Some nice points. If I may use your post to highlight a point I made in mine:

There was a good example of piano playing, which is a skill that demand lot's of time to acquire. I think lot's of piano teachers have met student's who trained with improper posture, held their hand improperly and therefore their performance was poor. Maybe they had spent long hours practicing this way. And yet their performance may stale, not moving anywhere, and even GET WORSE, because of fatigue, injuries, and plain frustration of not being able to play beautifully. Would it be beneficial to just push forward play difficult pieces and hope that it will improve? May be it will. But, it would be much better to go back to basics, learn the proper posture, learn relaxation.

Will he still have to spend lot's of time to practice, Of course. But, I think, it will be much faster, that just mindlessly tapping keys

Your example would be a case of not having mastered the fundamentals before trying to move onto more difficult pieces. If the student had practised their proper hand posture for their many long hours (the boring practise) rather than trying to play the piece for many long hours (the fun practise), then they would not have this problem and in all likelihood would be very skilled. Unfortunately not many people want to take this route as it is long, tedious and not terribly exciting in the beginning.

Of course as you mentioned, the trick is to knowing *what* the basics are. If you don't know about poor hand posture, how can you correct it? Guidance can go a long way, however in my opinion it should compliment, not replace, your own thorough and honest exploration of any skill. Don't do it just because Coach says so, practise and explore the movement so you understand *why* he says so.

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Ian Myers

We all need to learn something from this.

All Pride aside, I don't think anyone who has attacked pdb can honestly tell themselves that they were justified. I also agree with what pdb has said as far as his credibility being ENTIRELY associated with his performance in comparison to Yuri, a handbalancer who has become proficient through countless hours of practice. Pdb simply thought that Yuri was not emphasizing the importance of GOOD practice versus just practice, and those who initially argued back against pdb did not realize that despite him not mentioning practicing as an indicator of ability he acknowledges the necessity of practice to attain the strength and almost instinctual technique of a well trained performer.

This forum needs to stop arguing over semantics and syntax.

This forum also needs to cool down when it comes to arguments. My suggestion is to imagine the person who you are about to rip apart over the internet is your sick grandma that you've loved since you were a child lying on her deathbed. Let's keep the anger out of here.

Please let me know if anyone disagrees with anything I have said or suggested.

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Juri Krainjukov

Craig,

you're right

If the student had practised their proper hand posture for their many long hours (the boring practise) rather than trying to play the piece for many long hours (the fun practise), then they would not have this problem and in all likelihood would be very skilled. Unfortunately not many people want to take this route as it is long, tedious and not terribly exciting in the beginning.

That's why I emphasized many times, that thinking about better ways to practice doesn't mean that you won't still need many hours to acquire the skill.

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Archbishop o balance

My two and final cents:

If I had continued on the same path I started on in handbalancing, just trying to figure things out myself, I would still be looking like a limp spaghetti, I probably wouldn't be anywhere near a one minute handstand, have an okay Press HS nor be making progress in one-arm work IF I had not been so fortunate as to have met and received excellent guidance from guys like "Handbalancer" and several on this forum, which have put the PERFECT(ish) in my practice.

BUT

Had I been taught the perfect way from the beginning, but not bothered putting the time in, I would have nothing.

You need both. Time and perfect practice.

Over and out.

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Nic Branson

I lose power from the Hurricane (still out am at a public wifi) and people start getting uppity. Thread is old has some good info but is ultimately outdated and derailed. I will leave it up but am locking this one.

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