You’ll Never Know Until You Try!

Rhythmic Gymnastics has always been a “rare” sport that has interested me. It’s “rare” to me because it’s one of the only sports that I have ever wanted to learn. As discussed in my first entry, I never actively sought out to be a part of a sport’s team or partake in clubs that promoted sports. I never had any negative feelings towards sports teams or sports in general. I respected players and believed that the players were able to develop their skills through hard work.

Although, I have never attempted to try rhythmic gymnastics, I was familiar with the sport because I was a fan of Son Yeon Jae. I watched her performances and wanted to be like her. She seemed graceful, confident, and strong.

Here is a video of one of her performance from London Olympics in 2012:

I did not realize how rigorous the sport was until I began taking this course. With little background on rhythmic gymnastics, including the few performances I had watched prior to the course, I began to unfold the details about the sport that cannot be conveyed or explained just by watching one video. I learned through the articles that we read, analysis of other scholarly articles, and practicing the sport myself, that the sport is more than aesthetics but about extensive training as well.

One of the main frustrations that I faced when trying to be an active participant in the sport was that I was unable to find an institution that would teach me how to be a rhythmic gymnast! I was shut down multiple times because of my inexperience and age. I did not expect age to be a hindrance towards my participation in the sport. I realized that one’s sex was not the only thing that could stop someone from doing a sport. A challenge that I faced was lack of resources/items necessary for some activities. I wanted to do the more intricate dance moves with the ball and bells but did not have those items in hand. If I took an actual class I’m sure I could’ve tried. I am currently thinking about renting them out. Although I could not purchase the ribbon, I was able to create 2 DIY ribbons that my roommates and I were able to use.

As a result of my inability to find an institution, I made do with what I had! I decided to attempt rhythmic gymnastics, more specifically the ribbon portion, by following pictures and youtube tutorials that I found online. I tried to copy the body language of a professional in a picture during my first attempts, which turned out to be the funnest part of my research through practice project. It was a fun but also very painful experience. I was left sore for two days after my first attempt. My roommates also tried to attempt to copy the athlete and it became quite clear that the “simple” jump actually had a unique form fit to the athlete.  The soreness that each of us experienced after attempting to copy just one photograph made us realize that the sport is not as easy as we thought. We all proclaimed that we could perfect it in one try, but all miserably failed. A success that I gained from this experience was that I learned about the difficulty of the sport and got to try the sport!

Here is the picture we tried to attempt:

What I really enjoyed about practicing the sport myself was that I could do it with anyone who was willing to learn. Thankfully, I have a spacious living room so it was fun for all three of us to try to attempt these pictures and videos together. Usually the performances that I watch include athletes with very detailed outfits, but many of the training videos I watched featured athletes in comfortable clothing. I wore comfortable clothes that didn’t get in the way of me doing the moves. Practicing the actual sport made me determined, excited, and happy. I don’t necessarily see many pains from trying the sport besides the physical pain. I learned a lot about myself through practicing the sport. It allowed me to be both innovative and athletic.

Here is my attempt of the ribbon portion:


The tutorial/ribbon tips can be found here:

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1 Response to You’ll Never Know Until You Try!

  1. Sarah McCullough says:

    I’m so glad that you persevered in trying to learn this sport despite the obstacles you encountered. Your experience demonstrates the role of the Internet and social media in expanding educational opportunities. Who knows, perhaps you could gather enough other novice rhythmic gymnastics learning via YouTube to justify to local professionals and instructors that they should have a class for adults! I like that you made your own ribbon as well, demonstrating that when learning sometimes it’s best to work with the resources we have at hand rather than investing heavily from the get-go (provided we even have that option financially). You, like other in the class, seem to be drawing friends into the project as well. I find this so exciting and demonstrative of the power of sports in our lives. It can be a powerful site for drawing people together in shared physical striving, learning, and pain. I’m glad that your engagement with rhythmic gymnastics is enhancing your appreciation of the sport.

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