House Gymnastics was created by two Nottingham
based arts students, Harrison and Ford, in 2002.
Since then the popularity of the discipline has soared through word
of mouth. There are now thousands of dedicated House Gymnasts throughout
the world from China to Broxtowe to Brazil.
Harrison and Ford have now released a book to aid House Gymnast
enthusiasts. We gave the book to a flexible friend - Joe Sinclair
- and asked him to give it a go.
Recently my house has taken on a whole new dimension. The hallway,
doorways and landing have become challenging new spaces in which
to maneuver. The couch, banister and toilet are now potential apparatus
on which to perform.
Inspired by Harrison and Ford's new book, I've
been getting carried away in the excitement of House Gymnastics.
The book contains instructions and diagrams
for 25 core House Gymnastic moves of varying difficulty.
The techniques - with names like Chair Chicken, Human Flag and xXx
- require you to balance, bridge and brace yourself in unexpected
positions around your home. The only rule is that you've got to
hold the move for three seconds for it to count.
It's a cheap form of exercise, encouraging
strength, balance and suppleness. But it's also a form of art.
"When someone performs House Gymnastics they become both artist
and art" claim Harrison and Ford in their introduction. Each
time you perform you are creating a unique and ephemeral human sculpture.
Like Free Running, House Gymnastics also makes
you look at and use your environment in new and imaginative ways.
I started with a simple couch headstand but
my childhood sense of adventure had soon taken over and I was hanging
off the banisters, forming human bridges across the hallway and
wedging myself in the upper corners of the dining room.
But it's not just a great way to relive your
childhood Spiderman fantasies. The book also offers some more practical
tips, such as how to cover up foot print marks on your ceiling.
The authors even claim that House Gymnastics may act as a "sanitary
catalyst", encouraging you to clean up your activity spaces.
Some of the moves described in the book seem quite
house-specific. But the beauty of house gymnastics is that you can
improvise, adapting the techniques to your own environment, and
stretching yourself - sometimes literally - beyond the core moves.
This is a book to stir the imagination and
once you've read it you won't be able to resist the urge to "bust
some moves" in the privacy of your own home.
Do try this at home.
House Gymnastics is published on January 1st 2004.