Last week I posted about the Chopper dropout Hoop dismount, and how scary and empowering it is. As much as it scares me, I keep doing it, trying to perfect it. I was spotted for the first couple times, and then I told the instructor that I felt comfortable enough to do it on my own. I’ve done it on my own a few times since I’ve learned it, and I didn’t have any problems.
Well, OK , maybe one. Like I mentioned in my initial post, my drop is quick and I don’t hold the Chopper. I asked my instructor and my classmates if they had any tips. They did: tighten up! They all said that they were contracting their muscles the whole time, controlling their descent. It’s perfectly sound and reasonable advice, and I’m certain it will work. My problem is that I don’t remember to do anything but hold on for dear life as I swing down.
So, I wanted to keep practicing this crazy thing, using their advice. I decided to exit the hoop with the dropout in one of our sequences. My first one went off as quick as it usually does, without any issue at all. Since that worked alright, I thought I’d try it after a sequence again. I backed my bum up, poised my right hand in-between my thighs and my left hand, still on the hoop, ready to grab in the same spot. As I released, that left hand to grab that spot, I fell forward….
And landed on my hands and feet in a crouched position, right on the crash mat. I was not hurt in any way– once I had started falling forward, I had reacted in preparation for that landing. Oddly enough, I was not scared or upset when I reached the ground. Actually, thought to myself, “Well, that didn’t go as planned. Let’s not lean so far forward next time!” Then I began chuckling. When you make a mistake and you’ve survived it just fine, what else can you do but laugh at yourself, and try not to make that same mistake again? When I stood up completely and looked around, those who had been watching me were surprised. I had definitely scared my instructor, who told me that she didn’t want me doing that without a spotter anymore. No arguments from me there!
It made me think! This kind of thing happens more than we like to admit. Whether it’s a newer move, like this dropout was for me, or something that has been tried and tested, things can go wrong. What separates the fearless and the fearful is how they react. The fearful refuse to do that move ever again, or make a great effort to avoid doing it, they’re afraid that they’ll fail, that they might fall, that they’ve now lost their ability to do the trick.
The fearless know better. The fearless know that mistakes are a part of the process, and they get back up and try that move again. They know that they could fail, but they accept it as part of the process. The aerial arts are a frightening thing sometimes, and we all need to pull that fearlessness from somewhere inside us and keep working on what ails us.
I elect to be fearless. I might sound like I’m talking myself up now, but hear me out! If I don’t get back in that hoop and try that move, I’ll never perfect it. If I don’t try it again, I’ll never build my confidence in it and in my abilities to do it. If I want to keep getting better, which I do, I need to be fearless. If I am not, I will never grow, never accomplish my goals.


Minimal fearlessness needed…. just hold on with your stiff arm and your stiff neck 🙂

I still have my moments! There are still some moves, that I just can’t convince myself to do–like the Suicide Spin. If you follow the link, it looks pretty straightforward. Even watching it I think, “Yeah, ok, no problem.” When I stand at the pole, ankle in hand, knowing I have to fall forward and trust in myself and my grip completely? Eh…. it’s in progress.
Fearlessness is a journey. Sure, some people just have innate fearlessness. I like to think that most people are like me–their fearlessness is built over time. It’s built by taking those chances to trust yourself, your grip, your skills, your aerial ability. Here at Aerial Dance, I swear those chances are built into the curriculum. In every class I’ve taken, the instructor always finds a way to help me go just outside my comfort zone. I never feel unsafe, but I always feel a leeeeeetle but of motivating fear. The fearlessness that I’ve built thus far has served me well, but I’ve got a ways to go yet!
So, are you the fearful or the fearless? 🙂