Friday, June 28, 2013

The Story Of My Jade

I guess when the split gods decided to shower their blessings in the world, I was tucked in pike position, legs closed and asleep in bed. There are just people who were born to split, and others needed a bit of effort to get in there. Baby ballet and baby gymnastics didn't help widen my hips and when some of my classmates were naturally in a wide 180-degree straddle, I was still struggling to reach forward with a flat back. Studying in a Catholic all-girls school didn't help though because when our bones, joints and ligaments were still pliable, the straddle had to be snapped back closed because ladies should always sit with crossed legs. As a result, over the years, my already tight and stiff joints stiffened up and as a result, flexibility went from 1 to 0.5.

How should I know that years later, I'd be taking up dance regularly and then later on would be doing things which would require a split? Of course, day 1 in pole dance didn't require a split, but eventually, we started working on our splits by home exercises and flexibility classes because later as we progress, there would be advanced tricks that would need a good split to make it prettier.

Such that I share with everyone the story of my Jade.

A jade is a pole trick that we start learning at Beginners 2 level in Polecats Manila - when you finally get your basic invert and outside leg hang and get stable with your pole sit and hip hold. At first, it will start first as a V shape (or L-shape to some of us) and eventually, progress to a very pretty and flat line like this, shown by pole champion Crystal Lai.

photo taken from Crystal Lai's Facebook page. In a perfect and splitty world, it should look like this
In a perfect world, it should look like an inverted split. The jade just doesn't entail an automatic split. You need to know how and where to grip and the points of contact to stay there. 

As for my jade story, having no split to start off with, here I'll show you my jade progress:

Erratum on the July 2011 photo. It's actually July 2012.

I remember last year, CD had a Jade campaign thing going on in class where her mixed class on Mondays would be working on flexibility, jades, and splits and working on flat jades come Christmas time. And yes, it's possible to finally get that flat because there are girls who don't have splits to begin with that eventually got their splits and their jades. So I knew there was hope because 1. I got a split already on my right side thanks to exercises 2. There are exercises to be done that can work and open the hips and finally 3. there are ways to make a flat jade even if you don't have a split to begin with. With a bit of patience, I was able to get to a quite picturesque jade come Christmas of 2012.

A flat jade was actually in my Christmas list, and I worked harder towards flatness, with 3 teachers hammering it too. It obviously didn't make it to my list of tricks come my first-ever pole competition.

It did make an improvement come summer of this year when I met Crystal herself and took her Pole Artistry workshops where she taught us tricks to make it prettier and more even and to make our numbers look badass and effortless.

 Here she is spotting me making sure I'm all pretty and even as I struggle to get my split right and my body not topple over.

Several flexibility classes and homework later, I revisited that trick that I've been working on for 2-1/2 years a while ago, compiling what I have learned from the now four instructors who have helped me hammer my jade to flatness:

1. point those toes and lock those knees (a must!)
2. push the hip with my left hand.
3. pull the front leg close to you
4. squeeze the butt like it's closed for business
5. squeeze your hoo-ha

and by miracle of all miracles, this is my latest Jade photo dated June 28, 2013:

From all the photos, it's a big improvement from the jades of my past, and I know that it will get better. It's so much flatter and more symmetrical. It just pinches a lot on my left thigh but when did pole dance ever not hurt?

I remember the very splitty Margaret of Polecats Manila say that we will all eventually get to our goal tricks as long as we keep working and trying to. With effort, I will work on it getting prettier and eventually get into an oversplit soon, and eventually work on my other side jade.

As I write this post, I'm currently having my left foot propped on a block for more oversplit madness, but that's another story.

No comments: