Thursday, May 20, 2010

Doing cartwheels

A lifetime of training for just ten seconds!
        Jesse Owens, American Olympic sprinting gold medalist.

There are some children who can automatically hurl themselves into cartwheels and do so with ease, spinning and whirling along the grass, and others who just don't get it.  My lot are the latter with their 'solid bones' and a strong, natural preference for staying upright. 

Until they saw other children cartwheel, it had never even occurred to them that feet could be lifted so far off the ground or that trunk and limbs together could be propelled upwards against gravity. 

The best my three little puddings can do is tumble off the armrest of the big,old leather lounge or launch into some pretend gymnastic manoeuvre on their beds, and even then, we're lucky some-one hasn't cracked their skull. Thankfully, it usually just ends in a fit of the giggles.

As I am completely incapable of demonstrating the moves, sharing this ineptitude with them as I do or rather, having granted it to them as their shonky genetic inheritance, I have located the instructions for a front-to-back cartwheel, as follows, in the slim hope that we can master the moves with a little know-how, sheer determination and practice.  Let's begin.
  1. Stand in a lunge; your "favorite" leg in front, knee bent slightly, arms up by your ears.
  2. Reach forward with your right arm, kicking your left leg up as you do so.
  3. The left hand should follow very quickly, and as it touches the ground, your right leg should be off of the ground also.
  4. You should pass through a straddle handstand briefly. Your left leg will reach the ground first, followed by the right, which you will place in back, finishing in a lunge, just as you started, but with the opposite leg in front.
  5. The trick, really, is the rhythm of the skill, which is 1,2,3,4, or "hand, hand, foot, foot", and getting through vertical. Most gymnasts tend to kick around the side when they are first learning this skill.
Oh, well now, that's cleared it up. (!?) In truth, we still can't get past the bit that says 'kicking your left leg up'.


Image: Pop Art Machine


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