I was working as a professional strength and conditioning coach and I wanted to find something that would mean my shoulders would permanently stay located in their proper place. I’d done all the physio work in the book and none of it had worked. I thought that if I could learn to handstand, that would give me some confidence.
So, whilst overlooking the ocean on a visit to South Africa’s Western Cape the journey began. I was 33 years old at the time and had no gymnastics experience. Over the next 2 weeks, I failed a lot and was entirely humbled by my lack of ability, but I loved it! After sharing my experience with Jacko, who I had recently met at church we started playing around in the gym. Literally messing about and having fun whilst trying to figure out how to do things that felt “impossible.”
Throughout my career, I’d experienced a number of head injuries until the last one stopped me from playing in 2014. Without having a game at the weekend to work towards, I still found myself continuing to do what I had always done. I remember one day being stood in front of a mirror doing bicep curls and thought ‘what I am doing’!
At the same time, Tim had started playing with some calisthenics so I thought I’d join him. With such a long training background I was pretty confident until I tried to do a frogstand for the first time and hit my face on the floor! But there was something about having to leave my ego to one side and learn to move in a new way that was addictive and fun.
This means that over the years we have learnt to see the human body and the training environment in a unique way. When we combined this with a detailed understanding of exercise and human movement science we were able to unpick the calisthenics moves we wanted to learn starting with the human flag and back lever.
We had to go back to the basics ourselves because there was a lack of good quality educational information available. Most people teaching calisthenics had a gymnastics background and no one was making it accessible to two broken rugby players in their thirties with busted shoulders!
Everyone laughed at us in the beginning and then we learnt a few things. Soon after people wanted us to teach them, so we put on a workshop and taught a group to do the human flag in 7 weeks.
We have created a progressive and systematic approach built on exercise science and years of coaching experience that can teach anyone, any move in calisthenics. It’s just a matter of following the process, earning the right to progress and redefining your impossible.