As part of the Gold Challenge, I have to do some gymnastics. Officially, they want me to do trampolining, but it’s just not as easy as you might think to find a nearby trampolining club that is also happy to let hairy, angry-looking men stroll in and ‘have a try’.
Instead, therefore, I set myself the challenge of going to gymnastics classes and learning to do a back flip. Or a back somersault. Or whatever the official name of that move is – the crazy one, where you’re almost certainly going to land on your head. (I believe it’s called a back tuck).
Luckily, the people down at the Wycombe Judo Centre have taught more people to do back somersaults than I have eaten steaks so, within an hour, they had me spinning around in mid-air!
If you don’t believe me (because I am generally inept at most things), I managed to catch one semi-successful jump on camera. It wasn’t my best one, but alas I was a bit busy landing on my face over and over and over again to have the camera set up the whole time.
As you can see, my arms don’t come up high enough, fast enough or straight enough. I don’t lift my knees enough or tuck them in. I look too much over one shoulder, so spin slightly in midair and – when I land – I land late and ungracefully. Even so, it’s not bad for an hour of trying it out.
We started on trampolines, just learning to jump upwards and land on the back of our heads on a pile of crash mats. Yes, the OPPOSITE of everything I’ve ever been told to do. As we continued, went went further and further over, until we were doing full somersaults from the trampoline.
Then is was off the trampoline and onto a less bouncy surface, for more somersaults. After that, we started incorporating cartwheels and round offs, like this:
At this point, I couldn’t quite keep up. I’m going to blame my painful elbow (from a wrestling competitions on Sunday). Also my lack of gymnastic ability, from the 3 hours of training I have thus far had.
So – onto the next challenge!