Ignorance was bliss but the more educated you become, the harder it is to sit back and just bite your tongue.
In the beginning of my aerial journey I was so naive on rigging, tying of silks and overall safety to be honest. For some reason most don’t put a huge emphasis on this unless something bad happens. Well I am here to address the giant elephant in the room:
AERIAL CAN BE DANGEROUS
I know, harsh words from someone who’s majority of their life is now dedicated to it. But it’s the harsh reality of it.
When we first start some of us can be very untrusting of the fabric and overtime you build trust with it, which is wonderful but sometimes that’s not the part you need to trust.
Who tied your silk? Did they do it properly? Is it the correct height for you? When was the last time the rigging hardware was checked for frays, etc? Is there a mat beneath you? How much training has the instructor had?
These are all completely valid questions and thoughts; and ones we should have more often.
Some studios think, well I have liability insurance and they signed a waiver, so it’s all good. I wish this wasn’t the case, but sadly it is for some places. A studio and/or instructor’s first thought should always be the client/student’s safety. PERIOD.
Yes, I know learning new and cool tricks is the main motivation for going to classes but if your hammock or sling isn’t tied correctly it could come undone while you are in it trying out your new trick and could end with you seriously injured.
Why am I suddenly ranting about this, because last night I had a big scare in one of my classes. I was teaching at one of my usual studios when i look over to my right and notice the person dropping about a foot a minute in his hammock. Then the person on my left, the same. The rest of the class had actually brought in their own hammocks/slings (thanks to covid 19) so I knew they were ok, especially since i had tied all of their slings for them. I immediately asked them both to stop using their silks. That’s when I looked up and saw that both were hanging by a thread before they were completely untied. My heart stopped. Both were so close to getting seriously injured.
I was embarrassed and so upset at the same time. How could someone have so carelessly tied them and not given a second thought about anyone else’s safety. Whenever I tie a hammock I always personally test it for them, so that I know it’s completely safe for them and if, God for bid, something went wrong it would be me that got hurt and not them.
After last night I will be taking extra precautions in all of my classes where I was not the one that tied their hammocks to make sure they are completely safe before we start the class. One of the people affected by last night told me, after I reached out to her, that she always feels safe in my classes and I want to make sure she never has a reason not to.
The point of this post was not to put blame or anger towards anyone. It’s to make all of us more aware of what’s going on so that we are all safe and can enjoy the class.
If anyone reading this has any questions, concerns, needs help tying their hammock, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Ego’s mean nothing if they end up leaving you physically in bruises.