Friday, March 25, 2011

Powerbocking : Leaps and Bounce !

First to create a new design of stilts from Karantaka

Not many people can run like a gazelle, jump like a kangaroo and make
nine-foot-wide strides like a giraffe, all while balancing on stilts.
For Raghav Anil Kumar, an Engineering student of SJCE, Mysore, who has
learnt Powerbocking, it is not a difficult task. In addition to his
Powerbocking feats on stilts, he has also created a new design of
jumping stilts and fabricated it. Raghav is said to be the first from
Karnataka to do this.

Explaining about Powerbocking he said, "It is not yet famous in India.
Powerbocking is a sport of jumping and running using specially
designed carbon-fiber-graphite spring loaded stilts strapped to one's
legs. Each boot consists of a foot-plate with snowboard type bindings,
a fiberglass leaf spring and a hoof. The performer can jump upto a
height 6 feet. These jumping stilts were used in the closing ceremony
of the Olympic Games held in Beijing in 2008."

Says Raghav, "Powerbocking is an extreme sport and these stilts can
provide a full body workout, reducing cholesterol, helping to lose
weight and also build a great deal of strength."

Learning Powerbocking is very exciting and can be a lot of fun. It
generally takes a day or two to get balance and a month to get the
basics right. Speaking to Express, Raghav said, "At first I built my
own pair of stilts. I used scrap materials picked up from the junk
yard and fabricated it. I designed the stilts by studying their
structure and mechanism from a video that I came across on Youtube.
Once they were ready, I was eager to test."

"I practiced walking, running and jumping with them. Soon I realized
that they required some modifications, but the materials required,
especially the springs, could not be found here in the Indian market."

"Now I am regularly practicing with the stilts. It’s a great exercise.
Being a gymnast, I can now perform gymnastics elements on hard floors
using these stilts, with greater ease and power than I could do
barefoot. With the stilts tied, I could even jump over a car with a
little more practice."

"I would love to see more people taking up this sport and join hands
with me so we could form a team and make it popular in India. I'm very
fond of creating new designs and I dream about practicing on them. I
had the confidence that I could make my own stilts and I did it," he
explains. "Thanks to my father, Anil Kumar and his friend, Yogish who
helped me a great deal in some of the technical aspects of designing
the stilts. And my friend, Boraiah, who practices along with me and
helps me out in learning new tricks."

The future for Powerbocking in India looks quite promising as it adds
a new dimension for any sport. One can play Basketball, Volleyball,
Hockey and others, by wearing these stilts which give super human
abilities to the wearer. There is plenty information available on the
internet. You can also check out videos of Raghav on youtube/raghav91.

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