This is for those who have been bitten by the pole bug. If you have not been ignited by this particular fire this blog post will mean almost nothing to you (unless you have some other vehicle you can transpose this information onto). When I say bitten by the pole bug I mean the type of poler who has seen the many different moves one body can do on a vertical pole and has become passionate about learning as many of them as possible.
There are over 200 cataloged pole moves from the simplest “that’s a legitimate move???” pose to the “how in the world….do they have a spine?????!!!!!” moves; there are dream moves and nemesis for everyone. But more advanced polers and teachers will tell you, not every move is for everybody. There are some moves I have accepted I will probably never get in this lifetime. I do have a spine. There are some dream moves I will get but it will take more than I have put forth at this time. Way more. Not to say I haven’t (in grand fashion if I do say so myself) achieved a few dream moves. Anyone around at the time saw the laser focus with which I went after each goal.
Then there are my nemesis moves.
From dictionary reference.com
noun, plural nemeses [nem-uh-seez] (Show IPA)
1.something that a person cannot conquer, achieve, etc.:
2. an opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.
Well shooooot according to that definition a nemesis move cannot be conquered. Not so. Just because every move isn’t for every body doesn’t mean you have to decide your body can’t do XYZ name your move whatever it may be. It just may take a very (very) long time.
Dream move vs. nemesis move
While I must again reiterate that not every move is for every body I do not believe that any move--if desired badly enough--is off limits. Let me clarify the difference between a dream move and nemesis move.
A nemesis move is a move you are physically capable of doing but either don’t have the correct technique to execute the move or you are too psyched out to do it. Usually this move is one you have gotten before but made so precious in your mind it scares you. It is a move that has earned a healthy amount of respect. Even though there are varying degrees of slippage ranging from a few inches to all the way off the pole and onto the ground anytime an attempt at a move produces an unexpected outcome it can have long lasting psychological effects. Okay if you read that sentence out of context it’s going to sound very dramatic and scary. Long lasting psychological effects --cue the music. But the elements of pole still apply and stones is a very big part of it.
This is a move that is sometime-y, you’ve gotten it before, or very close to it, you may even have video of yourself in it or close to it but right now, you do not own it. Maybe you’ve switched pole diameters and what was once so easy is now hugely challenging making you question your entire pole existence. Maybe the diameter is the same but you went from brass to chrome, or chrome to stainless steel. Whatever the reason for inconsistency this is still a move you could get today, all variables being favorable.
A dream move is a move that will probably take years to accomplish if ever. I’m not kidding, years. Hey, it’s something to do and besides you are still exercising. I digress because I covered that already see the link above. Dream moves are not unattainable, in fact they are achievable with commitment but they do not happen by accident or on the first try. You probably won’t achieve a dream move while trying to get another move.
This is a move that will force you to take on a supplementary strength and/or flexibility routine. This is a move the will require utter and total commitment to its achievement. You don’t always have to believe at every second you will get it but you do have to keep moving toward it. Once you start on a course of training, staying with it is the only way to reach the goal. You chip away at it little by little doing something to bring you closer with every session because that is how focused you are on the achievement of this move.
Dream moves are worked on all of the time little by little with every session.
Thus, when is the best time to work the nemesis pole move?
a. when you are at the top of your game, nothing can stop you
b. when you are returning to the pole for the first time after an unusual amount of time off.
c. when you feel all dramatic about life, pole, yourself and everything there is to feel bad about (cue some violins)
The best time to work the nemesis move is
If you know me already you know the answer is: all of the above!
Being at the top of your game probably gives you the best chance of success at a concept. The energy is already there and the odds are in your favor. In your enthusiasm remember the basics and warm up properly and make sure if stretching is required you have done so adequately. Just to be sure warm up for an extra 10 minutes or so to get really ready for the move and make sure you are not rushed and go for it. It may take several times and you may get close without success but you may just nail it. Video tape it to see where you could improve. If you don’t succeed this time move on to some other more comfortable moves that you own but might need polish. Focus on transition improvement or keeping your toes pointed at all time through moves.
It seems contraindicated but sometimes a break is exactly what a pole move needs. When you’ve been away from something for a while that you worked so hard on sometimes coming back to it after a break can breathe new life into the trick. This probably will not apply to time off longer than a month and a half [this observation is based on personal experience YMMV] because after a certain amount of time you may have to ease into things. But sometimes when you’ve been away from the pole on a cross training mission trying old nemesis moves might yield favorable results. One reason is muscle memory. There are many definitions of muscle memory and some argue whether it is in your muscles or a function of the neurons in the brain. It is both. There is way too much scientific research out there to do the subject justice in this short blog, but if you’ve ever heard of someone nailing something that previously seemed unattainable after time off, the phenomenon of muscle memory might be at work.
Then there are the times when life and circumstance have you down. Maybe you are going through it personally, maybe you are watching someone you love go through it and there is not a thing you can do about it. Whatever the reason things are not looking so great. You are in the state where finding something to be grateful for is a constant struggle and requires repetition of the question “what are we grateful today” probably about 50 times.
Why in the world would this be a time to try a move that the odds are at best 50/50?
Well, what do you have to lose? I mean, if it doesn’t work, really, does that surprise you, things have been crappy anyway. Keep hammering away at it for a little while and just like when you are feeling good, if it’s not working move on to something that you have and want to strengthen. Give yourself credit for working out when you feel so down and for trying something you know the odds are against, put on your heels (if you normally drill tricks for most sessions) and dance your old favorite moves until it’s time to stretch at the end. Make sure you have some really good inspiring music even if you have to change music every song, you‘ll need the break. [To each their own, don’t ask me what to pole to most of the stuff I dance to isn’t from this century.]
If it does work out and you do nail it, then nail it again. If that happens it completely changes your outlook and then your feelings. Everything flips from black, white and grey, to color. The high that comes from getting closer to a nemesis move can last until your next pole session. If you video tape it, whether you share it or not, you will have something to look at when you are down. I can’t say your chances will be better or worse at nailing the move when in this crappy state of mind, I can only say that should you succeed it could change how you feel. It’s the runner’s high they get from beating their best time or going a further distance than before. Any time you set and reach a goal (at least temporarily) it will make you feel better. Feeling good is really what it's all about.