ose Calucchia is GMB Lead trainer and a Handstandcoach of mine since I started the GMB apprenticeship. It didn’t end after I became a GMB trainer. Rose always supports and inspires me. That’s why I am so happy she said yes to an interview about a passion of us both: the handstand.
1. When did you start practising the handstand?
I took gymnastics for a few years as a kid but never had a handstand that I could balance. Then I started training handstands again in 2004 as an adult. And I’ve been training them on and off ever since.
2. Why did you start practising the handstand again?
As an adult I was working with a dance/acrobatic performance company, learning acrobatics and the handstand is a basic foundation for all other acrobatics. I didn’t like handstands when I first started training them. They were very challenging and uncomfortable, and I was not good at them. They grew on me over time.
3. For how long are you teaching handstands?
Not long after I started training in acrobatics, I started a teaching apprenticeship learning how to teach kids. Handstands were part of that. However, handstands grew into something I loved teaching, especially to adults. I’ve been teaching beginner/intermediate handstands pretty consistently since then, so for over 15 years!
4. What are the 3 biggest things you have changed during the years you teach people handstands?
- I rarely spot students anymore. And I rarely ask students to spot each other. I find that students learn faster working at a level they can control on their own.
- Teaching the GMB method that includes the split leg kick up is the easiest and fastest way to get a student balancing on their hands.
- Flexibility and mobility work are just as important for the handstand as being upside down, so I include a lot of that in my classes.
5. For GMB you teach people online the handstand. What are, in your experience, the top three benefits and challenges of teaching online?
The three benefits are (there’re actually four):
- You can help students all over the world, not just in your area.
- You can read more people at the same time.
- It helps the student to build their own personal practice – they aren’t relient on a class.
- Also, taking video of your work helps you actually see things more.
The three challenges are:
- Sometimes it’s just easier to show someone something in person. There can be limitations with video.
- It can be harder for students to stay self-motivated without a class or scheduled session.
- It can be a lot to write out – for the teacher and student – explaining things or giving feedback.
6. What is the top 3 most asked questions?
- How do I conquer my fear of being upside down or moving away from the wall?
- How long will it take me to balance longer?
- How do I get “x” skill? Walking on hands, presses et cetera.
7. What is your top 5 tips to people who want to learn the handstand?
I only have three:
- Consistent practice (doesn’t have to be long, just 10-15 mins a few days a week is great).
- Patience – enjoy the process. Handstands take time, so try to find the joy in learning.
- If you plateau, get a coach.
8. Why are handstands important for you?
Being able to do things on my hands makes me feel strong and empowered in my body. If I can have the patience and dedication to my handstand practice, this translates into having patience in a lot of other areas in my life. Working at something over the long-term (big picture) keeps me grounded in the day to day practice rather than chasing skills.
9. Are there other things you want to add?
If you want to learn to handstand, do it! It can be hard and frustrating at times, but it will teach you things about yourself and your body.