Vertigo Stick

You know the great art of stripper pole dancing that we see performed at the local gentleman’s club? Turns out everything-is-from-India-Uncle could be right… pole dancing it turns out IS from India. Watch and thank me in the comments (thanks Sushil).

I mean… did you see when he….. how did he….. what the heck……? Did that hurt???

Mallakhamb was introduced as a supporting exercise for wrestlers. “Pole mallakhamb” was started by Balambhattdada Deodhar sometime between 1800 and 1810. The mallakhamb pole used in competitions is a straight pole made of teak or sheesham wood, standing 2.6 metres (8.5 ft) in height with a circumference of 55 centimetres (22 in) at the base. [wiki]

Pole dancers in the West could learn a move or two from these Mallakhamb acrobats. I’m just saying.

This entry was posted in Memes, Sports, Video by Taz. Bookmark the permalink.

About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

33 thoughts on “Vertigo Stick

  1. Taz: I saw this on TV yesterday. Would you believe in my young days – growing up in Ahmedabad – I used to do most of these excercises on Mallakhambh (literally means wrestler’s pole) in our local “Akhaada” {Gymkahna). One needs to wear a “Langot” – a loin cloth – to do these intricate moves. Now all I do is just visit “Bally” once a week and brag about it. Who knew then, that preety ladies in some bar in America have also learned these tricks ;-) )

  2. Traditional form of gymnastics from Western India. There is one form in which the pole is suspended from a rope. The school I went to had one in the playground – but the last student who ever used it was graduating the year I started.

    It is interesting why things like this evoke giggles (pole dancing ?) while stuff like pommel horse and high bar routines seem cool. Ideas of coolness are pure convention, it would seem.

  3. It is interesting why things like this evoke giggles (pole dancing ?) while stuff like pommel horse and high bar routines seem cool. Ideas of coolness are pure convention, it would seem.

    It’s cheekery, not derision. These dudes could totally serve ANY actual pole dancer I’ve seen. That’s the funniness, at least to me. Plus, they look way better than the average pole dancer- no implants, makeup, extensions, or grotesque body art here.

  4. I know it’s intended in jest, but it’s pretty demeaning to describe it as dancing or compare it to the routines of strippers. It’s a serious physical discipline and sport, and hopefully this video, apart from producing laughs, will also drive some towards taking an interest and learning more about it.

  5. This is remarkable. This is as difficult as gymnastics with the 2 parrallel cables – whatever you call that. I hope that in 20-40 years, that the Indians can surpass the Chinese in gymnastics. But I’ll settle with the Indians overtaking the Chinese in economic growth.

  6. “but it’s pretty demeaning to describe it as dancing or compare it to the routines of strippers. It’s a serious physical discipline and sport”

    So is dancing/stripping…. Pole dancing is totally a serious discipline and sport…

    http://www.twitvid.com/B8W4V Warning: NSFW

  7. “Warning: NSFW” conflicts with “Pole dancing is totally a serious discipline and sport”. BTW, I agree with the latter statement.

    Just because something turns guys on shouldn’t make it obscene.

  8. i’m double jointed. anyone else? it’s a heritable trait (i was told my a geneticist that it’s recessively expressed).

  9. I am. I didn’t realize it was recessive though. My parents are a cross-caste, cross-state couple so that’s surprising.

  10. Dude. Blown away. The pole business, and also the link to the rope business… totally amazing. It looks impossible. If I didn’t see it, I wouldn’t believe it. I always watch the gymnastics in the Olympics but, man. This takes the cake. They really need to diversify the Olympics with other styles like this.

    Also– I think the titters may be due to the speedos more so than the insane muscular strength.. they are a bit… ahem.. distracting (I don’t really mean in a good way…)

  11. Also– I think the titters may be due to the speedos more so than the insane muscular strength.. they are a bit… ahem.. distracting (I don’t really mean in a good way…)

    Join the club. This is pretty much how much of the world looks upon the female athletes at the Olympics. ;-)

  12. india should totally do better in the olympics. people make all sorts of dumb arguements about how indians arent athletic for some fundamental genetic reason. This just proves thats BS. If these guys can do this, then clearly the gymnastic events are winnable…

  13. I clicked the video prepared to start giggling but within a few seconds my jaw dropped. This guy is shockingly good!

    Soo.. how about we grab this guy, his friends, and whoever coached him and start training him for the Indian gymnastics team? He obviously can handle the pummelhorse and such?

  14. If only he’d stuck the landing, he would have replaced Mohini Bharadwaj as the gymnast of my dreams.

  15. that second guy was super hairy!! but still v. impressive… no shaving to improve aerodynamics i guess?

  16. I was going to comment on the apparent attraction from members of the opposite (and same?) gender for these incredibly flexible and strong atheletes. Many a young boy has seen a gymnast or acrobat and pondered the bedroom possibilities. As you get older you realise that arcane positions aren’t everything, but a healthy heart and strong limbs do count. I doubt the top Mallakhamb competitors have any problems getting dates.

  17. Malkhamb – I dont know whether Wiki states this or not – my info is from current practitioners, was popularized by Shivajis commanders to keep their fighters physically fit. If you have to be a warrior, you need to be extremely fit. And these guys were fighting on foot, on cavalry, as guerillas, as conventional troops against the best Central Asian Muslim troops the Mughal empire could throw against the Marathas.

    Todays, Maratha Light Infantry of the Indian Army, follows Malkhamb.

    http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/mp/2005/05/07/stories/2005050703730100.htm

    They had an exercise with the Marines (US) a year or so back. Where the US Marines looked at these guys doing Malkhamb and were ??!!! and also noted that the MLI had amazing training and discipline.

    The Martial heritage of the Marathas lives on.

  18. I second what a few people said- these guys are ATHLETES. Therefore, no excuse why Indians cannot/do not compete in more traditionally accepted (and highly rewarded) gymnastic styles such as those in the Olympics. Come on India, what are you waiting for! ~the “India-can-do-better-Auntie”

  19. Therefore, no excuse why Indians cannot/do not compete in more traditionally accepted (and highly rewarded) gymnastic styles such as those in the Olympics. Come on India, what are you waiting for!

    I must say I love your attitude. Unfortunately, no way, it’s not gonna happen! It’s partly because Indians generally aren’t athletically predisposed, but the big thing is that the culture just completely goes against athletics, doesn’t it??

    I remember an interesting interview with Sushil Kumar (A rare Indian medalist in ’08 Olympics. I wish I could find the link right now). He said Indian pehlwans are some of the toughest guys in the world. But they have so few luxuries and such poor support compared to athletes from other nations that it makes it very difficult to be successful in international freestyle wrestling competition. The same is even more true with other sports.

    I was forbidden from playing sports as a child by my parents and was berated for competing in high school. I wanted to scream at my parents, “WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!??” I’ve met a lot of 2nd generation Indians whose experience was similar. I bet even in Maharashtra, indigenous sports like mallakhamb are very much frowned upon by many. I don’t know, maybe things are changing. But how can a culture that hates sports and has a defeatist attitude towards sports produce athletes that are good at sports??

  20. Guys,

    This video has become the laughing stock of the world. It was featured on Tosh.0 , and the whole audience had a field day heckling this video. This video is much less remarkable – and slightly barbaric – when compared to watching the Chinese demo their ping-pong talents.

  21. I was forbidden from playing sports as a child by my parents and was berated for competing in high school. I wanted to scream at my parents, “WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE!!!??”

    Your mileage may vary. In high school I was an officer in 3 different clubs while also playing tennis for school and competitively as well as doing tae-kwon-do all on top of normal schoolwork and my parents would still say that I wasn’t involved in enough athletic/cultural activities.