We love bringing people together at CircusMASH – and if we get a chance to bring them together and then turn them upside down that’s even better! We’ve just wrapped up a weekend of hand balancing; hosting two phenomenal teachers over two days of inversion training. Our lovely Kings Heath Circus HQ was full of new faces beaming ear from ear as they accomplished the impossible. It took a lot of hard work to get there though…

Sixteen upside down enthusiasts joined us on Day One to be taught by the fabulous Felipe of Salt and Water. It’s hard to describe Felipe, because he insists that he is not a great teacher, or a master, but is still a student himself, learning every day. So how to describe a master hand balancer and talented teacher who insists that he is neither? Let’s describe instead his infectious enthusiasm for the art of hand balance, his striving to develop the art form, and his ability to coax incredible feats out of all of his students. Don’t be fooled by his incredibly happy and friendly demeanour though, his warm ups alone are BRUTAL. In the nicest possible way of course! ? Nine Cross Fit athletes were gasping for breath within the first 5 minutes, and as group we bonded very quickly over this shared experience.

Check out Felipe do his THAYYNNNG…

Over the next few hours we learnt drills, practised kick ups, and even ended with a bit of one arming. There were attempts at the infamous Zombie Pull to Press too, as well as a flow from hand stand to head stand to air baby and back again. Challenging in all areas, and the improvements in a few short hours were incredible to witness. We closed with some deep stretching, some very welcome massage, and a couple of minutes of peaceful reflection on our practice.

Day Two saw some new faces join a hard-core group from Saturday for a workshop with Matthew, recently returned from a fantastic performance run that included Glastonbury amongst other well-known venues. Matthew entered all smiles and happiness, but if there’s one thing our group had learned; the more they smile, the more difficult the warm up. And we were right! Matthew pushed us all to develop our hand stands through various shape drills, including some useful ground work. I don’t think any of us are going to forget that drill on the mats in a hurry! He didn’t let the energy flag for one second, and almost before we knew it we were working on straddle ups and straight one arm rocks. The individual tips and advice he gave to each one of us ensured that every single person in the class made huge leaps forward in a short amount of time.

Here is Matt on the right doing his crazy….

Overall, a challenging weekend that left all participants with a well-earned sense of pride and satisfaction. It’s not just about the time spent training though; we all left with the knowledge of how to carry on developing our hand balance, and many new friends were made. The chance to train with two such dedicated practioners of the hand balance art in one weekend is one that doesn’t come often, and CircusMASH was delighted to host them both.

Felipe is returning in October, and again in December for his incredible 3 day workshops, and Matthew is available for private lessons and workshops too, so if you missed out last time, make sure you join in soon!

And before you go… here are us… pretending to be Matt & Fellipe!