21 June 2012

Turnikmen – Street Gymnastics – Ukraine Style

I think it was George Bernard Shaw who said that youth is wasted on the young. Well, not these boys, that’s for sure. I haven’t seen so much youthful joie de vivre on video for quite a while but I do have to add the caveat that I suspect these boys are all mad bonkers.

Many of the stunts that these boys pull off here will slacken your jaw. Setting the scene, both of these videos were shot in Ukraine. The first was taken at school #1 in the town of Sambir (whence SoN who shot this hails). 

The boys all identify as Turnikmen – street athletes who perform strength exercises of varying complexity in an outdoor setting.  They combine acrobatics and gymnastics using a conventional horizontal bar.   Some of the things that they do here look dangerous to say the least but it is done with such swagger and confidence that it makes you hold your breath but still believe in their ability to pull off yet another spectacular move. They did, however, have to learn how to perform these amazing moves.  I suspect their mother’s probably live in constant fear and expectation of another trip to the local hospital!

See what I mean about mad bonkers? As an educator in the UK, who teaches the age group depicted here I have to say that the management of my institution would have three fits and a faint if anything like this was attempted on site – health and safety regulations would simply not allow it. Yet here the bars and straps seem to have been provided by their school. Different strokes for different folks I guess!

The second video above is once more filmed in the Ukraine – from Sambir again but also the towns of Drogobych and Kalyniv.