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Crossing the Void – 3

Dear Ninja Jasper, the gap between the newbie freeflyer and the experts is massive!!! How am I ever going to reach my goal, to be a freefly ninja?

A Greenhorn

Jasper ready to exit above Holland  — by Martijn van Dam
Jasper ready to exit above Holland  — by Martijn van Dam

Dear A Greenhorn

Yes. There’s a massive gap indeed between newcomers and very experienced freeflyers at the top of their game. And luckily so. It’s part of what makes the sport so cool, the fact that there is so much to learn. And when you’ve learned it all, you turn around and find yourself staring at a new gap to bridge, as the sport has already evolved so much in the mean time.

Practise

Obviously, talent can play a role, but only partly. Not everyone is a future world freefly champion, and only very few people will be pushing the sport forward in just a few years after they start tunnel-flying. But almost everyone can become a really good flyer who can tag along with the highest level group at any freefly boogie. It’s actually not that difficult, it’s just that we don’t get so much time to practise. Just compare it to skateboarding or breakdancing, where you could get the equivalent of 10,000 jumps in just 5 weeks.

Become a Tunnel Rat

Windtunnels changed the game, we all agree. And if you can get a job at a tunnel where you get to fly a lot, that’s like pushing the fast forward button. Without tunnel flying, it’s hard to catch up these days. But not impossible.

Mindset

Our newest teammember (René Terstegen) is a super ninja with hardly any windtunnel experience until a few months ago. What I see in him is the mindset that all people I’ve seen crossing the void at lightspeed have in common: passion, motivation and pure dedication.

You cannot be serious! — by Martijn Van Dam
You cannot be serious! — by Martijn Van Dam

Let’s put it like this: If you have no money but you’re willing to clean toilets to get 2 jumps a day for free, you’ll get there. If you’re continuously looking at freefly videos and laying awake at night visualising the moves, you’ll get there. If you see every situation as an opportunity to practice your headdown orientation, like underwater swimming or yoga, you’ll get there.

Tips to Cross the Void

My advice to someone who wants to progress fast is this:

  • Try to fly as much as you can, there’s always a way.
  • Make a plan: what goals do you have and how do you plan to reach them?
  • Get coaching, it’ll cut your learning time in half.
  • Have fun and enjoy every minute of it. The day you become too serious you might as well stop, because life is never about the end goal.

First article in the series: Crossing the Void by Ninja Domi

Second article in the series: Crossing the Void by Ninja Mikey

Next week: recent ninja Elke Vermoesen explains how she crossed the void!

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