Sunday, 12 January 2014

Front Line Kosovo Royal Marines Commando to Pole Dancing Flat Line Scorpio

Front Line Kosovo to Flat Line Scorpio

As an instructor, assessor and trainer for Pole Passion, I’m forever intrigued as to who and why people choose pole dance for fitness.
My journey and intrigue has lead me to Pole Affinity, a South West pole school run by Miranda Goldring, who I met many years ago through the Miss Pole Dance UK National Pole Dance Championships.
I had the privileged of catching up with Harry Jones, one of Miranda’s new students,  who was until recently, on the front line in the Royal Marines.

Harry lovely to meet you –
-Hello Kay lovely to meet you too

How long have you now been attending pole dancing fitness classes with Miranda?
-I have been attending Miranda’s pole class for about three maybe four months now as a student

What attracted you to train in pole fitness?
-initially I approached Pole Affinity for the Photography, I wanted to expand my portfolio and work in an environment that would test my photography skills in a different way.

I love of the human body and form and to capture this on film was my focus. I agreed that Miranda would get the images for her own use.

I knew nothing about pole fitness and at this point and my only limited and somewhat naive, knowledge of pole was from my own experiences in gentleman’s clubs.
I presumed of course that this would be a training class for such clubs but had no idea what to expect so after a short chat with Miranda I realised that of course, I was totally wrong. Miranda welcomed me in to the studio, as did the female students and it’s here where my journey began.
After a number of visits taking photographs and eventually learning the techniques of when the girls were in position for the photo, I started to get the pictures that Miranda and I were looking for. I was amazed at what the girls were doing and how hard they were trying to accomplish the things that I had seen to be “effortless” on the stage, the support from the whole class and praise once the goal was achieved was lovely to see too.
I will admit that it sparked an interest in me, after 14 years as a Royal Marines Commando my body has taken a beating; ankles, knees, back and shoulders are fairly worn out!! They say that Commando training adds 10 years of wear and tear to your body.
I spoke to Miranda and asked for advice could pole help strengthen my shoulders?
I tried some moves and decided to give this challenge a go.

How different is the training on the pole to the training you are used to
-You have to understand that these are very different but some of the principals are remarkably similar. Royal Marines fitness training is based around being able to carry all the kit we need (8 stone back pack and fighting order) over large distances and everywhere we go. We are also required to carry less weight more quickly; these are just a few examples. But there are similarities, to climb the pole and to climb the ropes are almost identical except the pole doesn’t bend and you need to be generally fit and be very disciplined for both.

On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being maximum – how nervous were you attending your first lesson?
-ha ha this is a tricky one as I really don’t get nervous, but I will admit to a little apprehension, at this point I knew the girls but they hadn’t seen me face plant in all my “flailing limbs glory” yet ….. ha ha.

As a male in a predominantly female activity how do the ladies make you feel?
-I was made to feel very welcome in the class as a photographer and a student; I think as I entered their world with respect, I was treated with the same.  I have been told I am quite strong with the moves I can already perform (still working on the elegant part though... ha ha) but I do still struggle with some of the more basic moves due to the nature of my shoulder injury and feel very supported by the girls.  Regardless of this injury I will try most moves and often find myself the wrong way up wishing I had another limb to grip with!

What is your biggest challenge during pole?
-Personally my biggest challenge (forgetting injury) would be my flexibility, although I am quite flexible for normal male standards, this is nowhere near where it needs to be for the moves I want to achieve in pole, but that being said there are many I can do as I am right now, so don’t be deterred if you are as stiff as a board,  there are plenty you can still do.

What is your favourite move?
-My favourite move may shock as it’s not the hardest, or the most flamboyant by any means but it catches my eye every single time I see it, it has to be Jade and this is also my goal for this year .

What is your least favourite move?
Remi Seat

Do you have any other hobbies?
-I have not been able to participate in these for two years due to personal circumstances but my passions are, sub aqua diving (PADI rescue diver), parachute jumping, cross country driving (rep RM) snowboarding etc and of course now pole

What do your friends and family make of you doing pole?
-My friends didn’t know until I uploaded my iron cross pic (Iron X) to Facebook ha ha then I was bombarded by messages asking if it was me, am I now a stripper etc etc I must admit I expected worse, I explained what I was doing and they have been very supportive, some of my male friends have said they want to give it a go but none have stepped up to the plate yet !
One of my Royal Marine friends told me I was “gay” (banter of course) for attending these classes, I explained that I was attending a class full of lycra clad fit ladies who are training in the art of pole dance and they actually want me there, this ended the banter ha ha

Do you have any ambitions within the pole industry?
-I don’t do things by half measures Kay I will push forward to be the best I can be in anything I do, I may never achieve “Mr Pole Fitness UK” but that won’t stop me aiming for it, also I want to be a “Pole household” name in photography,,,,,,,, watch this space J

Would you like to enter a competition one day? Do you have a competitive streak in you?
-I would love to enter a competition one day but right now it’s all about the flexibility, moves and fixing the broken body just for me, it is in my nature to be competitive that’s why I joined the Corps J

Do you have any children and if so would you approve of them taking up pole dance for fitness?
-Yes I have two beautiful little girls, they are 6 and 10, they attended one of my shoots at Pole Affinity when I was making the transition to student, they were so excited when they saw what the girls were doing I could not keep them sat down, I spoke to Miranda and asked if the girls could have a quick “play” after class and she said yes, the girls then started attending a few classes, they were doing so well and I loved watching them achieving their goals.

To progress in pole you need to have a certain amount of body flexibility is there anything you are working on to improve your flexibility or would you say you are very flexible already?
-when I was younger I attended gymnastics and was fairly flexible, although a lot of this has been lost I am sure I will get it back, I have been speaking to some very helpful people in the pole / contortion world and the advice they have kindly given will get me there

Is there anything you would like to add that would encourage other males to come into the pole world?
-ooooph that’s a tough one, I would recommend this to any male who will enter with respect for other polers, this could be the best workout you ever have using your own body weight, big or small, old or young there is a good workout for you, I guarantee you will gain from attending just one class, you will either gain by finding a new way to exercise and have fun or if you find its not for you but you  will have changed your view on pole dancing, vertical dance, pole fitness.
Please feel free to add any other points of interest
-The last 4 years have not been the best for me, with my Fathers untimely death, break down of my marriage, deployments to Afghanistan, my career in the Royal Marines cut short by injury, battling against an unfair system through my divorce and finally a child custody battle. All this having happened I am now in a good place and much stronger with my girls by my side.
On a personal note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Miranda and the girls of Pole Affinity for welcoming me and allowing me to start this journey, supporting me and my girls along the way and looking forward to a great 2014
So from a Royal Marines Commando patrolling the streets of Kosovo to a full time father of two, photographer doing a flat line scorpio!!

Many thanks Harry and we look forward to you joining Mr Pole Fitness UK on 4th October 2014 :)

Kay Penney - Pole Passion Blog -

1 comment:

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