I want to write about my experience with air power.
The first powermove I ever learned was windmill. I learned it when I was 16. I knew how to handglide freeze and backspin going into it, but I didn’t really have anyone outside of YouTube tutorials to teach me and help me. Still, it only took me 2 months to learn the move. In 3 months I had multiple windmills already, and within a few months from that, I could do many clean ones and started to work on no handed ones.
I didn’t struggle much with other moves, so I learned a whole bunch of power. Barrel windmills, nutcrackers.. flares took about 1 year to learn one or two, and about another year to clean up. By the end of the summer between my freshman and sophomore years off college, I could do multiple, clean flares. Swipes were easy. Floats like cricket or jackhammer were also straightforward, even UFO wasn’t hard to pick up.
However, for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to do a goddamn airflare. I was so confused, like I had what I thought were the foundations - a solid handstand, clean flares. I could even start a flare from a stationary handstand just by winding my legs and going. But, no matter what I tried, I’d throw, fall, and sometimes hurt myself trying airflare.
Fast forward years later, I’ve injured my wrist and can’t practice airflare anymore (I’m building up my wrist durability again with pushups), but instead I have made substantial progress on learning elbow airflare. I can now do like two elbow airflares, albeit vertical ones. The important thing is that I’ve made it past my plateau, I am no longer stuck, and I finally understand what I had been doing wrong this whole time. First, the elbow airflare tutorials, the best ones I’ve found:
(airflare, but same approach)
The problem with my airflares is that I had been trying to just throw them by swinging the legs. I failed to jump upwards enough because fundamentally, I was scared to be in the inverted position, and I was hoping my swinging legs would compensate for the fact that I was uncomfortable with being inverted. Just having a pike freeze, and being able to handstand very well wasn’t enough - fundamentally, the heart of airflare isn’t flare; instead, airflare is a freeze transition. I needed to learn how to be more comfortable upside down.
Injuring my wrist and then being forced to learn elbow airflares made me take one step backwards, and two steps forward. With elbow airflare, I couldn’t just be reckless and throw the entire move. I had to learn from these tutorials which all suggest doing the vertical one with tucked legs. By following the progression, I actually made progress. Now, I am a lot comfortable with being inverted. I can do an elbow airflare slowly and very vertically, which puts me on the path to learning how to do many multiples, and then improve my form by just bringing them down. Then, in the future, when my wrist is 100% again, I will learn airflares again, and probably have a lot easier of a time than before
So some insights/takeaways from this
- “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. I wasted a lot of time being stubborn and trying the old method over and over again, even though I wasn’t making progress. Sometimes, giving up on something is good - when you concede that a path isn’t viable, you can explore the other paths
- Talent/affinity. I realize now that I had innate talent for doing ground power. Even though I didn’t have access to many tutorials, and got feedback from 0 other people in person, I was able to learn the move so easily by just trying it out in my house. It played to my strengths, so my natural talent compensated for any gaps in my technique. I didn’t have such talent for airflare - and some people do. Some people have talent for airflare like I did for windmill, and just YOLOing the move and throwing airflare attempts is enough to teach their bodies the right move. Because I don’t have talent for the move, I needed to focus on the base/foundational prerequisites in order to move forwards
- I’ve come to understand myself better over the years. I realize I’m way more of a goal-oriented person than I originally thought. Now, at the age of 26, I’m still young enough to be able to progress quickly still, but old enough that I can’t just waste any more time doing the wrong things. I derive more enjoyment and satisfaction from hitting my goals than just “having fun at practice” or something like that. I just want air power, and I’m going to work to make this happen without getting sidetracked or distracted