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Becoming more ninja

Some of you may just assume that I practise a lot and that I’m already quite ninja. This is true, but only to a certain extent. I practise a lot less than I have done, even though more structure and more coherence have made me stronger today than I’ve ever been before. This is what I do now in terms of physical activity:

  • Gymnastics, twice a week, roughly three hours each time
  • Occasional workout in the gym, perhaps a few hours per month
  • Diving, three or four times a month, approximately two hours

If we sum this up, it becomes roughly 36 hours a month or 9 hours a week. I think I’ve practised more than twice that amount a couple of years ago, so this doesn’t really count as very much (although I realise that it’s above average, but as usual, I compare only with myself, not with others). Also, take into consideration that some of this time is horrendously inefficient. It’s not as if I spend the three hours practising gymnastics doing handstand push-ups, no, I’m more likely to discuss said push-ups with a friend or simply chat.

A solid foundation, but no ninja yet

This is a solid foundation, but I do think there are some things lacking. I could identify more than two things, although I will limit myself in this post. Since I intend to spend more time in these two areas, they have to be fairly restricted and adding other areas will have to wait. These are the first two steps on my ninja course:

  • Become more flexible
  • Get good at handstand

The first area is quite self-explanatory, even though some introduction might be necessary. To begin with, I’m already quite flexible when it comes to the movements important for diving (such as pike). I’m also okay in some other areas, but the problem is that I completely suck at everything which involved bending backwards. This includes hip flexors, shoulders and abs, which are all too tight and stiff. Changing this takes practise over time, and even though I have improved, I’m not satisfied. Therefore, I pledge to spend at least 15 minutes/day stretching, with one day off a week. Stretching can be of any kind and of any muscle.

The second area might seem more puzzling. I can quite easily stand absolutely still on my hands for a minute, go from handstand to elbow-lever, do handstand push-ups and so on. This misses the point, however. I could do all these things a year ago as well. Simply put, having reached this level, I won’t advance if I don’t pay particular attention to handstand. I really like this kind of practise, so there is no reason I shouldn’t. So, to improve my handstand, I pledge to spend at least 15 minutes a day on my hands, also with one day off each week. This time should be interpreted loosely, I don’t meant 15 minutes effective time on my hands (i.e., I will count rests between sets and so on).

Encouragement and reporting

I’d appreciate any help and any encouragement, but remember that I don’t really need it now, but in a week or so. How about asking me regularly how things are going? I will probably write something about this later, but in the meantime any help is appreciated!


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