This is proof that not only women can join our classes. Muay Thai Instructor Richmond Sia shares his first encounter with the pole. Read on and find out why real men do pole dance
Real Men Pole Dance
by Richmond Sia
Ever heard.. “It’s all fun and games ’til someone loses an eye”? Well.. the story which I am about to narrate to you is as foreboding as that oft quoted saying…
No no no I did not lose an eye.. though I did chip a tooth and I think that is just as macho.. hahaha.. But seriously what has this all got to do with pole dancing? Before I can answer that question. I need to tell you a little about myself..
My name is Richmond Sia.. 37 years old, married with kid.. boring pencil pusher by day in our family business, gym owner and operator by night. I am also what some might consider a fitness professional (though my body does not agree with me so much these days). I use to be a fighter, having fought in a few tournaments here and overseas.. but now I have retired to being a certified Muay Thai Instructor. I also had brain surgery which is why I had to give up fighting.. that an I’d rather be knocked out in a fight rather than have my wife knock me out.. (oh yes she could!!)
Whilst I lay there in the hospital bed after surgery contemplating what to do with my life now that I can’t fight anymore, I thought I’d take up either B-boy street dancing (ala Step-It Up) or pole dancing..both of which were of cuorse said in jest to somehow lighten the mood.
After my stay in the hospital this carried on for a while.. days led to months then months led to a year.. I still joked about it.. because seriously.. me?!!!! Pole dancing??? Oh c’mon!!! If a pole had to be involved there better be some poor mammal impaled in it and roasting in some pit, preferably from Cebu.. (ok I’m salivating.. yuuuum!)
So it’s all fun and games til someone loses an eye right? Well here goes… apparently I went too far and started posting on facebook that I was gonna try it and how I was going to use the classes to explore alternative forms of core and functional strength training exercises (more on this later). All my male friends started making fun of me and said I was just using it as an excuse to ogle at women (c’mon now!! I’m married!) but boys will be boys right? By this time I have put myself out there that when a friend who takes up classes with Polecats suddenly asked my wife to join her.. next thing I knew I was being asked to take her.. So then I asked if there were co-ed classes and I was informed that all classes were women only and no guys are allowed to watch.. WHEW!! What a relief.. I’m off the hook!!! or so I thought ….
Apparently Polecats are having a mens pole dancing workshop.. and it was on a holiday.. so I cant use work as an excuse. So I had to put my money where my mouth is and attend or forever be branded as a coward by my peers, talk about poking my own proverbial “eye” out eh. So Monday June 20, 11 was D-day..
Oh what the heck right.. I decided to march in there guns a-blazing. When I got there I was expecting a room full of awkward men who were dared by either their friends or gf’s who have done pole dancing before.. what I was not expecting were a strong graceful group of guys.. and I was kinda ashamed to admit that I too had this stereotype of pole dancing as being erotic in nature.. rather than something that is both athletic and artistic in nature..
I was also expecting to do “ok” as a first timer since I am rather strong as a former powerlifter and as a fighter who does muay thai and brazilian jiu jitsu.. both of which demands a lot from your core and grip strength. And I was wrong again.. I was hanging on for dear life and trying to salvage whatever remnants of self respect I have for myself.. I simply cannot allow my ego to be crushed by a smallish lady doing a pole climb and invert so effortlessly right?
Push came to shove and I resigned myself to the fact that I was never gonna beat these guys and gals.. I’ll just need to do better.. so much better. So much so that I can’t stop thinking about the movements. The dynamics of the movement, how and what muscles I needed to use, how I should grip the pole, what and how I should train in order to do better.
Yes it was difficult… yes, I did feel like fish out of water..yes I did feel self conscious as my competitive nature and pseudo alpha male ego dictates that I do well in any athletic feats that involve strength.. but.. hey.. that what makes poles so challenging right? Hehehe
I am so eager to try it out again. I just cant wait.. though I must admit I have been surfing youtube for tutorials on pole dancing. It’s still not the same as doing it in a group..and yes since I’m in the steel and fabrication business.. i have made myself a 2″ diameter polished stainless pole to practice on.
My friends, being the guys that they are, scoffed at me and even had a good laugh among themselves. My students.. well.. I’m pretty sure they were too scared to incur my wrath and subsequent punishment, but I’m pretty sure they were laughing. Haha.
But in all seriousness. pole dancing as feminine or dainty as it seems.. does demand a lot of static muscle control..and grip strength. Not to mention overall core strength to perform certain movements or poses.. so I had a few people interested when I pitched the idea to them of pole dancing as a bonafide strength training workout.
As a fitness professional I see poledancing as a great workout and an integral part of a wholistic approach to strength and fitness training..
Strength training itself involves weights and moving as much weight as you can in a progressive nature. But unfortunately our bodies will only get accustomed to working on either one plane of motion that does not really translate to functional strength. Even worse, over time it is possible to overtrain and put excesive stress on certain joints. This is one of the reasons why bodybuilding is so archaic and functional training now is the way to go..
There will be other forms of training like TRX, gymnastic rings for fitness, gymnastic natural, kettlebells, crossfit.. and the list goes on, but training in only one aspect of these for an extended period of time will not only lead to overuse injury but will negate the training effect supposedly being introduced by these training systems..
Enter pole dancing… all the above mentions full body workout systems focus on developing metabolic conditioning, functional strength and core activation… but what all these systems lack is what pole dancing demands..static strength or isometric strength.
Maximal muscle contractions in athletic activity is either push and pull.. concentric phase or eccentric phase.. but not in between.. being able to move that weight and lower it is one thing..but holding it in static contraction is another thing..which explains why massive bodybuilders find it difficult to do a simple move such as a “lift” then transitioning to an “invert” (cough cough hahaha).
I can go on and on and on about this.. but that’s another article and I dont want to bore you guys to sleep..
So.. pole dancing– it’s bloody hard! But every man should try it.. you wont regret it!