Class 11 of 30 Recap: Flying High on the Trapeze

June 13th, 2014

The first thing I saw

The first thing I saw

It feels like I am starting to accelerate into the meat of the 30 Classes in 30 Days Challenge. Class 11 was undoubtedly the most exciting class yet at Trapeze School New York (TSNY) Beantown.

I never really thought about doing trapeze until someone suggested I do it as part of the challenge. Actually, I did not even know they existed. When you see me walking down the street, my 6’6″ 230 pound frame is not exactly something that screams “flying through the air with the greatest of ease.”

But hey, as Barney Stinson would say, “Challenge accepted!

Ground Training

So the first thing you do before you get up on the platform is a little ground training. One of the instructors takes you through some safety precautions and the preparation steps to jump. Everything you do on the platform and during the swing is on their call.

When she tells us the instructions she will be calling out while I am in the air, I paused. I am supposed to bring my legs up and get them around the bar to swing upside down? This should be interesting….

Hmm.... Am I sure I want to do this?

Hmm…. Am I sure I want to do this?

First Flight

So I get up on the platform, attach the harness (whew!), grab the bar with one hand, secure myself to the platform with my other hand, and dangle all ten toes over the edge.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? A broken bone or two? I have been there before. I signed the waiver.

The instructor tells me to put my other hand on the bar, and she grabs the back of my harness.


I bend my legs.


I jump and start to swing.

As I reach the other side, I hear “Knees up!” So I throw my knees into my chest to try and wrap my knees around the bar, but then I start swinging in the other direction. Uh oh.

I couldn’t quite make it. So I swing back and forth once or twice and drop to the mat, which is really fun.

Oh well, just the first try.

Is my face red?

Is my face red? Casper, high five!

Starting to Get It

I got a little coaching as I dismounted the mat and prepped to get back after it.

Standing up a little straighter, shoulders further back, holding the bar higher, and putting my hips more forward on the initial jump made a big difference. I never realized how everything would get so out of whack when you start just a bit off in the beginning.

On my second swing I was able to get my knees over the bar.

“Hands off!”

Now I am swinging upside down, and all the blood is rushing to my head.

“Hands on! Legs down!”

No problem.

I believe I can fly....

I believe I can fly….

“Ready to flip?”

Duh? Of course!

“Legs forward, legs back, legs forward”

I can feel my momentum building through the swing as I pump my legs and then dismount in a perfect back flip (at least in my mind).

With each of my next four attempts, I got progressively better, starting to get the timing down.

The Catch

I had no idea we were going to get to try a catch in the first class, but sure, why not? Then I looked at the poor woman who was going to catch me. So how does this work? I am more than two of her. She didn’t even flinch. Well, at least not to my face anyway.

So she starts swinging upside down from the other trapeze, and she calls out my jump to get the timing of the swings just right.

Join me for a swing?

Join me for a swing?

I jump, swing out, get my knees on the bar, and reach backward with my hands while arching my back to look for her swinging in my direction.

Near miss on the first try. The timing was just a hair off, probably due to a slight hesitation by me at the beginning. Remember what I said about the start throwing everything off?

On the next attempt, she modified the timing so when I was swinging her direction, upside down with my hands stretched back, we connected perfectly, and I released the bar with my legs.

Mission accomplished!

The Experience

First of all, I have to say that the staff was amazing. Two of the women instructors started two years ago in the same class and were hooked right away. The whole team is incredibly nice and upbeat, always with words of encouragement. Having great instructors in anything you try makes a huge difference, and it definitely did for me.

I can see how this can be addicting. Flying through the air is a rush, but it is not a scary rush, probably because you are concentrating so hard on what to do next or listening for the next instruction. Exhilarating is probably a better adjective.

I also thought I would be a little sore today, but I am actually fine with the exception of a little stiffness in my calves due to hanging my huge body from the bar behind my knees.

If you have ever thought about trying this before, stop procrastinating, and do it ASAP, or you might never get to it.

Me and the TSNY Beantown Staff

Me and the TSNY Beantown Staff