There is nothing more annoying when you are an Acro student that invests in learning and building your skills then someone who shows up at jams but, never takes a class. Or wants you to tell them what to do so they don’t have to think. Or always does the same things because they don’t know what else to do. People will be much more open to working with you if you have something to offer and have a clue as to what you want out of the practice.
Practicing skills alone is valuable.
Even after three years of working together Francis and I still train handstands, yoga, meditation and functional fitness alone. We are different. Different bodies. Different experience.
Having this solo practice gives us time to be with ourselves. To feel what’s going on in our bodies and our minds. Are we getting stronger? What is our reaction if frustration and fear appear? What is one thing we can do each time we practice that allows us to be our best that day? Having a self-awareness practice will make you an incredible partner when you do connect with the right person because you are already aware of what is going on within yourself.
Start by determining the exact skills you want to improve on solo or in working with someone else in Acro. The key is to start small and stick with it.
THINGS YOU CAN DO SOLO THAT WILL MOST DEFINITELY TRANSLATE INTO YOUR ACRO PARTNERSHIP (ALL FREE RESOURCES)
Building a strong core with Carl Paoli’s Workout of the Day hollow body progression. Hollow body is important for so many reasons including body awareness and preventing injury, Antranik goes more in depth about the importance of hollow body.
Bye Bye wrist pain – get stronger and more flexible wrists with this thorough guide by GMB Fitness
Gain more physical and emotional strength at TurboDog Yoga with Steve and Talya Emmerman with this online class
Tap into the power of your mind and body using the Wimhof Method
Improve your handstand with Luis Sarabia
Begin conditioning from an acrobatic perspective while learning about the science behind it using the European Federation of Professional Circus Schools Instruction Manual for Theory, Guidance and Good Practice for Training
Start a functional fitness program with J&C training’s four week jump start program or gymnastics style training program with Gymnastics Bodies
Practice Technique With The Community
Going to Acro classes and jams allows you the opportunity to work with regularly with different people, even without a partner. It’s like Cinderella’s glass slipper. There is the perfect fit for a partner who you will eventually find. But, first is the search, the learning and trying on of the slipper (or different partners).
Classes are excellent for learning new things and improving your technique. Particularly, if you are not feeling challenged in the practice, not sure what to do or consider yourself shy. You simply show up and try your best. The rest is taken care of by your teacher. If you have the luxury of many teachers in your community go to the class that is most motivating for you. That will make you want to actually show up no matter how busy you are. Personally, I feel most motivated if it’s easy to get to, I resonate with the teacher and it challenges me.
The other option is an AcroJam. These give you an opportunity to practice what you learn.
If you’re not able to make it to class, it gives you an opportunity to find consistency in what you practice. A jam may be organized by a local group or can be getting a few friends together. To be a star of the Acro community it’s necessary to practice jam etiquette and safety, AcroTalk is an excellent resource to know more about this.
The key at a jam is to be constant in what you practice such as a specific pose, flow or transition. It can also be a mindset you apply such as being open to trying new things.
For example, if I were to go to a jam I’d pick 1-2 things to practice and do it with as many people as possible. Such as basing rolling up to thigh stand from shoulder stand as well as star. Practicing the same skills with different people teaches you what it’s like to work with different experience levels and body types. As well as become more confident in your skills.
What’s really cool is when you are not the only one using this approach. That way when playing with different people you each have 1-2 specific skills you bring to work on. Next thing you know you are working on anywhere from 2-4 new skills in one partnership alone.
If you want to advance, be consistent in what you do and play with as many people as you can at jams and classes.
Here’s How to Get the Most Out of Jams:
Decide if you want to base, fly or both.
Determine one or two poses, a mindset or an approach you want to focus on for the jam.
Some pose examples are:
Static Poses such as high flying whale or reverse star
Transitions such as cartwheeling into star
Washing Machines such as Ninja Star or 4 step
Potential mindsets or approaches are:
Show up at the jam with what you want to work on.
Make a goal of working with three different people while at the jam on the 1-2 things you choose.
Take time to reflect at the end of the jam on what you learned, how things went and what you liked and/or didn’t like.
Taking the time to plan ahead is an efficient way to add value to others in your Acro community and in your own practice. Especially if it’s the only chance you get to do Acro that week.
We call this approach being your best. It helps you gain body proprioception, L-basing basics, sensitivity, awareness and safety. Allowing for a better understanding of what you are doing and why. It also makes you easier to work with and more likely to find a regular partner.