Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Not exactly pole dancing.
August 14, 2010 11:23 AM   Subscribe

Indian Pole Gymnastics

Mallakhamb is a traditional Indian sport in which a gymnast performs poses and feats while hanging from a vertical wooden pole or rope.

On a Rope.

More, and in Japan.
posted by empath (49 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is like some vertical breakdancing. Amazing.
posted by yeloson at 11:50 AM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


One night in Seattle, a friend of mine tried doing this on a tree downtown. I don't think he knew he was doing a traditional Indian sport though, or that he had stopped drinking. His ankle was swelled up for a week.
posted by hanoixan at 11:58 AM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. They must come from a long line of fakirs to be able to pull that off. Also, the really stocky hairy guy seems like he could throw a bus if necessary.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:59 AM on August 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


My interpretation of Nietzsche is that these are the closest thing to √úbermenschen.
posted by YouDontSmellBad at 12:02 PM on August 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


The Bollywood version of The Robin Byrd Show is much, much more awesome than the American one.
posted by PlusDistance at 12:13 PM on August 14, 2010


Holy shit!
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:16 PM on August 14, 2010


Testicular fortitude!
posted by Tube at 12:18 PM on August 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


That rope video is amazing. I was going to say that if I tried that, I'd probably end up hanging myself, but then I realized that I wouldn't even make if off the ground.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 12:19 PM on August 14, 2010


Amazing. The rope one is reminding me of aerial silks work. I'm kind of amused that this hasn't been an Olympic sport -- it just makes sense. We have gymnastics on horizontal balance beams, parallel horizontal bars, why not a vertical pole?

If I ever see a pole dancer do that move to get on the pole, I'll empty my wallet immediately.
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:25 PM on August 14, 2010


That's something else!
posted by unliteral at 12:34 PM on August 14, 2010


They must have noclip turned on in India. I'm pretty sure human bodies don't work this way. *boggle*
posted by PontifexPrimus at 12:36 PM on August 14, 2010


This is one of those things where I say "Oh, yeah? Well, if I was ten years younger...!"
posted by P.o.B. at 12:38 PM on August 14, 2010


There aren't enough $20s in the world to stick in their underwear.
posted by DU at 12:55 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Exclamation point!
posted by pyrex at 1:03 PM on August 14, 2010


I imagine these athletes would cringe at these pole dancer jokes. And I imagine pole dancers would cringe at these stripper jokes.
posted by gilrain at 1:23 PM on August 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I would watch this in the Olympics.

Especially the single-moms event ;)
posted by swimming naked when the tide goes out at 2:07 PM on August 14, 2010


This is awesome. I can't believe I haven't seen anything like it in a martial arts movie yet. Like that scene in Tom Yum Goong where he had to fight the Wushu guy, the Capoeira guy, and the giant wrestler? There should have been an Indian pole dancer in there.
posted by emyd at 2:29 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


holy crap! thanks for this!

Like that scene in Tom Yum Goong where he had to fight the Wushu guy, the Capoeira guy, and the giant wrestler? There should have been an Indian pole dancer in there.


quoted for truth.
posted by jammy at 2:40 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But can any of these contortionists make a solid potato salad?
posted by benzenedream at 2:41 PM on August 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um, not what I was expecting.
posted by oddman at 3:39 PM on August 14, 2010


I raise you Sarah Cretul (results may be NSFW)
posted by fistynuts at 3:44 PM on August 14, 2010


I want to see a video game with this in it. Platformer, fighting game, whatever.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 4:06 PM on August 14, 2010


"I'm on a pole."
posted by zippy at 4:40 PM on August 14, 2010


Haven't we seen all this in Cirque du Soleil and the Pink concerts? Not that I'm dismissing the impressive athleticism and artistry of it, but I've certainly seen this before.
posted by PigAlien at 5:09 PM on August 14, 2010


Fabulous. Thank you.
posted by googly at 5:15 PM on August 14, 2010


Exoticism. Not very interesting at all except for exotic appeal, close to watching "natives" perform a "ritual dance".
posted by eeeeeez at 6:38 PM on August 14, 2010


Meh. Very unimpressive on the pole. Many of these guys just don't balance well at all - swaying all over the place, especially when they climb the tip. The routines are not interesting either - absolutely nothing you're surprised to see the human body do - unlike so many acrobatic displays elsewhere, including pro level gymnastics. A big pass overall.

The rope thing is charming and graceful enough (not super, but OK), though not athletically astounding. Still, as an art form passable - even if, again, so much better has been done in any of the cirque productions.

Not bagging on the FPP at all - it's interesting from a cultural point of view that such disciplines are pursued in India; I certainly enjoyed learning about this. However, if the aim of the performers was to impress vis a vis world class standards, all one can say is "that's all you got?". Different strokes etc., JMHO, standard disclaimers apply.
posted by VikingSword at 7:22 PM on August 14, 2010


Does anyone know the Indian name for these activities?
posted by brenton at 8:04 PM on August 14, 2010


Oh, there it is in the original post. Nevermind.
posted by brenton at 8:07 PM on August 14, 2010


The interesting thing is that it is not some specialized Cirque de Soliel thing, it is an organised sport. Lots of people are doing it, and I've never heard of it.

Does it have to be "the best" for you meh people to give these folks props?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:28 PM on August 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Does it have to be "the best" for you meh people to give these folks props?

The short answer is "yes". However, the issue is not about giving any particular people props - in person, sure you're going to be kind and complimentary and supportive and so on. Just as should you come across chess enthusiasts at a park, you are going to be kind and admiring. But it is quite different when you are posting to a website about the "best of" - the park games are not going to be anything that's liable to excite those who look for the best games period. When you advertise something as "amazing", it better be amazing, and not "amazing for South Bend Indiana and a string of qualifiers to follow". If you want to point out that something is amazing for South Bend Indiana, fine, but that's not the same thing.

Again, though, that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with making an FPP out of this - I enjoyed and was interested in learning about this cultural practice. But I enjoyed it in that cultural context, and was somewhat puzzled by multiple exclamations as to how amazing the physical prowess of these performers was... after all, nobody said "amazing for amateurs" - that particular special pleading didn't appear until it was pointed out that there's nothing amazing about this physical performance outside of its cultural context.

A lot of bean plating here :) - anyhow, that's all OK. People are free to express any degree of amazement they wish... including being underwhelmed, no? Cool then.
posted by VikingSword at 8:55 PM on August 14, 2010


Whoa. No wai.
posted by Doohickie at 9:02 PM on August 14, 2010


The best of the web is meant, I suspect, to convey the most interesting of the web, not necessarily the the best examples of things on the web. In that light, this is obviously a very interesting post.

And in your example, a thoughtful look at the culture and people of a park chess group very well might be preferable, or at least as good as, a post covering grand champions.
posted by gilrain at 11:25 PM on August 14, 2010


And in your example, a thoughtful look at the culture and people of a park chess group very well might be preferable, or at least as good as, a post covering grand champions.

Absolutely. But we wouldn't claim that the chess is amazing. At best, we might claim it was amazing for amateurs. To simply say "amazing chess" without that qualification, is to invite posts like mine, pointing out, that no, it is not amazing vs grand championship levels, so that qualification absolutely needs to be there. And it wasn't, as any perusal of the posts will show.
posted by VikingSword at 11:45 PM on August 14, 2010


there's nothing amazing about this physical performance outside of its cultural context.

As an aerial dancer (trapeze artist), I think this statement is ridiculous. If you really believe this then I can only assume you are a professional mallakham player, and I look forward to your YouTube video.

The amount of strength required for this is just short of superhuman. The stuff that Pink does is beginner to intermediate level aerial work, and the trapeze and silk sling that she uses have resting points. That makes a huge difference. On the pole, you have to hold all of your body weight WITH YOUR ABS the entire time you are up there. The rope version is only slightly easier because you can give some weight to the tiny space between your first two toes.
posted by Eumachia L F at 2:48 AM on August 15, 2010 [10 favorites]


"The rope thing is charming and graceful enough (not super, but OK), though not athletically astounding. Still, as an art form passable - even if, again, so much better has been done in any of the cirque productions."

I don't know if I should envy the fact that you live in a world where this sort of thing is so mundane or pity you for being so jaded.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:54 AM on August 15, 2010


VikingSword: "The routines are not interesting either "

I agree with you, but if you watch the first video again, it seems like there's a basic routine that all 3 performers are doing with a little variation at certain points.
posted by beerbajay at 7:08 AM on August 15, 2010


The beefy guy looks like he could punch his feet through the floor of your truck and run with it, Flinstone-style, if necessary.
posted by creasy boy at 7:18 AM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


These videos are extraordinary.

And slightly disturbing to see a short hairy guy perform a supercharged version of routines that, west of India, are almost exclusively found in strip joints.

Also, I hate being the health and safety killjoy, but those landing mats are crap. The second dude limps off. The other two guys are much smaller but still and with a hell of a thump. Love your knees, pole gymnasts! They're useful for walking on too.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:30 AM on August 15, 2010


Meh. Very unimpressive on the pole. Many of these guys just don't balance well at all - swaying all over the place, especially when they climb the tip. The routines are not interesting either - absolutely nothing you're surprised to see the human body do - unlike so many acrobatic displays elsewhere, including pro level gymnastics. A big pass overall.

Yeah, im guessing this is what Indians say when they see the athleticism involved in something as American as baseball.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:06 AM on August 15, 2010


Wow, that was fun! Loved learning about this mallakhamb thing. Mallakhamb with a candle on the forehead.
posted by nickyskye at 8:51 AM on August 15, 2010


This is cool as hell. I admire the athleticism, and would like to forward this video to friends, but i am a gay, and social conventions forbid me from sending my parents videos of young Indian boys in gym shorts writhing on a large pole for five minutes, even if I insist it's just for the impressive athleticism.

Still, cool as hell.
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 9:09 AM on August 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, im guessing this is what Indians say when they see the athleticism involved in something as American as baseball.

Yeah baby. Baseball is for wussies. What's with the whole thing of not being on the pitch after scoring only four runs anyway? Cricket is where the real deal is; we play for days together, aiming for 300+ runs in a single innings.

(ducks and runs)
posted by the cydonian at 9:22 AM on August 15, 2010


I used to watch lumberjack challenges whenever I could, and I was always impressed by the pole climbs.

This puts it to shame.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:24 AM on August 15, 2010


The video "in japan" made me realize that music is essential to the enjoyment of that sport.

The "on a rope" video me me realize how sexy a rope can be.
posted by zephyr_words at 12:13 PM on August 15, 2010


Hopefully, this will supplant parkour as the 'cool' urban male thing to do for a while, until it becomes just as tedious, and then we can trawl the world for something new to replace it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:38 PM on August 15, 2010


I love parkour, and I love this, too!
posted by apis mellifera at 4:36 PM on August 15, 2010


Yeah, I just get annoyed when things like that get co-opted by advertising. There've been at least a handful of parkour-based ads in the past year or so.

Right now, I'm hanging out for an ad that shows people parkouring around an aquarium, so we can see on film the precise point at which they jump the shark.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:36 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's what happens when you set it to football music.
posted by Eumachia L F at 12:06 AM on August 24, 2010


« Older Monster Commute: A webcomic about the hell that i...  |  Dorchester Publishing (an orig... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments