Of Movies and Gymnastics

Photo by Eugene Lim on Unsplash

One lazy afternoon while watching re-runs of gymnastic competitions, I got a sudden urge to check out movies about gymnastics. There were three which were consistently on the list of several movie aficionados. These include "An American Girl: McKenna Shoots for the Stars" (2012), "Stick It" (2006), and "The Gabby Douglas Story" (2014). I made a mental note to watch these movies soon.

Gymnastics Equipment

When watching movies like these, scenes showing gymnastics equipment are expected. But of course. So it was inevitable that during my search for these movies , I came across references for gymnastics equipment as well.  One in particular caught my eye. 

The main reason being that I have no idea as to how it is used and so my curiosity got piqued. This is called an air tumble track. It comes in different colors and sizes including the airtrack small. It even has a fun factor attached to it as it allows you to slide while combining the benefits of having a trampoline, spring floor, and a landing mat in one for serious gymnastics practice.

A quick look at the site reveals a wide variation of air trak mats for sale

Going back to movies about gymnastics. While flipping through the channels on tv,  I stumbled upon this replay of an episode of the animated show, Family Guy, on Fox. I was not able to watch the entire episode, but I was able to watch one specific scene specifically, wherein one of the show's main protagonist, Stewie Griffin, voiced by the show's creator, Seth MacFarlene, makes use of "Gymkata" to save a woman. After watching the scene, I thought to myself, "what is Gymkata?", and "why is this referenced and used for a gag?" 

I did some research, and from my discovery, Gymkata is actually an obscure 1985 martial arts film starring real-life gymnast Kurt Thomas, and is directed by the man who gave us arguably the most notable Bruce Lee film of all time, Enter the Dragon. Long story short, after reading about this typical 80s-themed, weird yet interesting film, I too wanted to learn more about this art, which is a fusion of karate and gymnastics.

From all of us here at Dateline Movies, we hope you too can learn a little Gymkata as well. Remember to get yourself an air track or two to make learning more interesting. If you are still at a loss on what the practice really is, take a look at the film's trailer here, and stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!


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