We all know how awesome gymnastics is. Small and muscular males and females tumble, jump, and do all the maneuvers only superhumans can do.
Impressive, it’s all I can say about gymnastics.
But sadly in my hometown I had never had a chance to take any gymnastics class because it was never a popular sport. Soccer, basketball, volleyball, swimming (all of which I never quite liked) were way more popular among people in my hometown.
So it took me like forever to finally find a gymnastics coach that is really professional, experienced, and willing to train me with all these skills.
And I cannot be grateful enough to God that I moved to Jakarta and in 2018 ran into Jonathan Sianturi, who used to be a competing male gymnast in Indonesia. He won several international medals, one of which was Commenwealth Game, I suppose. And his gymnastic artistic prowess was no joke. He had a long career as a pro gymnast and also is now training a lot more young boys and girls to compete as well. He founded his own gymnastics club named Jonathan Gymnastics Club (JGC) at Gedung Senam, Buaran, Jakarta. This is a place to go when you feel you’re too old for a gymnastics class but still want to give it a try. Jonathan opens a gymnastics class specially designed for adults here and hence I signed up instantly once I got the information.
In February 2018, I started to take up the class and have always liked and enjoyed it (well, there are just few moments of desperation of course but they were nothing compared to the joy and satisfaction it had brought in my life).
So when I saw on YouTube the BuzzFeed videos, I totally can relate to what BuzzFeed’s Spencer Althouse stated throughout the video.
Mind Over Matters
Imagery, that’s what my coach always says when I get stuck with my back handspring. I have been experiencing obstacles in the process of mastering this particular acrobatic skill.
A lot of things that gymnasts do in their routines look risky and too crazy to do but are actually doable just because they can focus their mind. This is made possible of course after the physical body has been prepared through an intensive conditioning session prior to every skill training session.
So when all matters are well prepared, now it is the time to work on the mind. Don’t be scared!
Trust Yourself (and the Coach)
I cannot stress more about this self confidence issue. I have some issues with my confidence and trust. I am no athletic-built person. I am small, tiny and short (that sounds so degrading but …). But guess what, in the gymnastics training I gain my confidence because of all of my aforementioned ‘weaknesses’!
I am tiny and thus I am light. Carrying only 48 kg body, moving is a lot more efficient. Of course, I still have to improve my overall endurance and strength but this lightweightedness that I have always seen as a setback is in fact an asset to start making a real progress.
As a result, I love myself more even after each class. This helps me embrace myself, with all the strength and weakness, plus and minus, without condition.
And training gymnastics also teaches me how to trust people. For example when I am told to jump backwards, which is kind of scary to me, I hold myself back a lot and that obstructs my progress, says my coach. “You don’t seem to trust me,” he says whenever I fail to throw myself back. I giggle, only to say it true in my heart.
Gymnasts have to observe certain ‘procedures’ in their training. There are steps to take one at a time. It’s like building a skyscraper. Get a brick as a foundation first and patiently lay it on the ground and put another brick on the previous brick and it continues over time. Little by little, a mountain of skills and builds up.
No shortcut, no cheating, no complaining.
All hard work, all perseverance, all determination.
You just have no other choice but observing all these fixed and fast general rules.
I know some people just see me as the same person. But inside I feel a lot different, better than myself before.
There are some people who do gymnastics training to get a better-looking body or six pack abs, or bigger biceps.
I’m lying if I say I don’t want them all. But we have to see these as bonuses instead of the ultimate and final goal of our training.
If you want to get that super ripped, jacked, muscular body, go to a nearby gym and lift those weights. Gymnasts do sometimes lift free weights but more often than not they have to lift their own body weight.
I went to the gymnastics class to be able to do handstand effortlessly. And I start to have a grasp of the skill after a year of practicing. And this is cool because I had been practicing handstand for years in my yoga classes but to no avail. I failed over and over again. In gymnastics class, I was taught to be strong from the foundation (i.e. my palms and wrists). And this approach is something I never learned in yoga classes where I was almost always told to kick up, which later I found to be a lot more challenging to hold the pose. The yoga handstand approach failed me but gymnastic systematic approach helped me effectively master it.
Now that I have been doing gymnastics for over than a year and reaped some benefits, I think I will continue doing it for the rest of my life to maintain my overall fitness and health, and above all, my life quality. (*/)