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Welcome back to the Off The Pole Podcast, where we help you train smart so you can dance more. Episode #6 features Jazzy K as my guest – she found pole dance in 2009 and quickly got into teaching and competing.
She’s been a finalist in the Felix Cane Pole Championships multiple times, won Pole Theatre Switzerland in the Classique category and Exotic Level 4 at the PSO Europe Edition in 2017. As an XPERT trainer she teaches at Gravity Arts in Zurich, and when she’s not there she’s traveling the world teaching workshops.
But what I really wanted to get her on to talk about was her change in attitude with her training – highlighted in a recent Facebook post which was hugely popular as I think so many people related to it. Enjoy our chat!
Really hope you guys enjoy the 6th episode in the podcast series – you can subscribe to our pole podcast on iTunes to keep updated with all the latest episodes and it would mean the world to me if you could leave a review!
Hit play above or watch or read the transcript below.
Sarah: Welcome, Jazzy. Thank-you for doing my podcast. Much appreciated you little Swiss beautiful creature.
Jazzy: Thank-you so much, Sarah.
Sarah: I’ve already given a little bit of an introduction about who you are, where you come from, how long you’ve been doing Pole. But I’m sure everyone knows you already because you’re everywhere. But I thought we could start off with maybe you letting us know, what are your plans or your pole goals for 2018?
Jazzy: Pole goals? Like one … I don’t have a goal that you can say, “I want to do this trick”, or, “I want to be able to do this”, for me at the moment. It’s actually really about getting to play more. To enjoy myself more. Again, I do pole for eight years now. Sometimes I kind of lost the play in pole. For me it’s also that I really set my goal for 2018 to go and play more and do different things. Explore pole more without having to be like, “I want to do this competition”, or, “I want to go to this showcase”, or whatever. It’s, just get the joy again.
Sarah: You did a lot of competitions last year. Can you remember how many you did?
Sarah: Okay. Almost too many if you can’t even remember how many.
Jazzy: I think it’s –
Sarah: Do you feel like you lose that sense of play when you are competing because there’s that extra pressure to get a routine done? Or do you actually feel like you get more creative when you have the pressure of a routine that you have to do?
Jazzy: It is kind of both. Competing always gave me a platform or a chance to improve, because it put me under pressure. But at the same point, I feel like I lost so many opportunities to just explore more of what my body can do, or where I want to go. Being free of having to do a routine, being on time pressure, and a lot of teaching. Sometimes I felt like I couldn’t have that much time to spend more time improving my teaching as I wanted to. I think it was a good thing. I did it, for four years now, kind of a lot. But in the last year, I got to a point where I actually felt like I lose the joy. I didn’t want that to happen. I love pole, and that’s why I set myself a goal, two max a year, nothing more.
Sarah: That’s even, that’s a lot for most people.
Jazzy: I know.
Sarah: That’s more than I’m doing!
Jazzy: Three in three months.
Sarah: You did three in three months? You lunatic…
Sarah: You were everywhere. Goddamn. You don’t repeat routines either. You do a lot of fresh routines all the time, so fair play. Do you find that when you’re doing competing, that you have to add in more recovery or look after your body a certain way? Or is it literally, I’m just going to get through this and just get the competition over and recover afterwards”? Or do you have specific things you do along your competition prep to keep you ticking over?
Jazzy: I really look that I, when I know I have a competition coming up, I try to really be careful with my food so that I get all the nutrition. I feel like when I get too much junk food I just can’t function properly. That’s really important for me. Good food. Nutritional food, and enough sleep. Definitely enough sleep. If I don’t get enough sleep I really feel it.
Sarah: Do you get as hangry as … Was there another one for sleep? Tungry? Tired and hungry?
Jazzy: Yeah. Definitely.
Sarah: That would actually be better than hangry. Hungry and angry. If anyone doesn’t know, if they’ve been around Jazzy when she’s required food then they’ll see another side of her.
Jazzy: Asking for food.
Sarah: It’s not a bad thing. I think it’s good if you know your body and you’re like, “Now is the time I need to eat, and everyone else is just going to have to deal with that until Jazzy gets food”, which is fine. You know your body well.
Sarah: Much respect. But yeah. Sleep and food and she’s happy.
Sarah: We made sure that she ate before this podcast as well, people, so don’t worry. She’s like, “I think I’m going to be a bit late. I haven’t had food yet”. I’m like, “Dear God, make sure you have some food”.
Jazzy: I was like, I said to my boyfriend, “Sarah knows me”.
Sarah: It’s all good. You did a recent Facebook post which was hugely popular. I think a lot of people could relate to it. I’m going to tag it down below in the transcript on the blog so that people can see it. It went through a little bit more about where you were with training to where you are now. Could you maybe give a little bit of a detail about that?
Jazzy: Yeah. I may have to say especially, I do pole for eight years. I started when my teachers back then were one of the first in Switzerland. Nobody came from the fitness industry. What I learned had nothing to do with healthy training. I didn’t know anything at all. I wasn’t trained in that field yet. I did many mistakes that I know now what to do with my body. I put my body into positions that it could not support.
Some of it I didn’t even realise until two years ago or one and a half years ago when I was really in pain. I looked for help, and I was actually looking more, help for getting more flexibility in my hips. Not really about my shoulders. “Well, shoulders. I’m a pole dancer. It’s normal that your shoulder hurts”. It’s not normal.
Sarah: It’s normal for us but it shouldn’t be.
Jazzy: I met Hunter, Hunter Cook. He actually looked at my body like, “Girl. There is more wrong with you than just your hips”. That’s when I found out how much my body was not capable of doing the things I just did all the time. It was pretty shocking, actually. I was thinking a long time about this pose because it’s a really sensitive area, I guess. Many are training in a field that they have not that much knowledge about. I didn’t want to feel like the people, or I talk bad about people or accusing anyone of doing a wrong thing. But I think it’s really important that people, especially teachers, they learn more about what they’re doing because they’re working with human bodies.
For me it helped a lot. After this point, I think it was 2016, end of 2016. From that point my training changed a lot. It went from just trying to achieve moves or tricks or certain positions for a picture or a video, to way more training in healthy, to keep my joints and my body healthy. It changed my mind as well a lot.
Sarah: Yeah. I think there’s a big pressure on people to always be pushing the new trick, and not necessarily looking at the longevity of even, obviously we all hope that we can do pole forever and ever and ever. But there may be a point where pole could affect us to the point that we can’t continue, or even it could affect our everyday life. Not necessarily just our ability to pole. I think when people start looking at the bigger picture like you started to, and I have also with my own training, looking at, “Oh god. If I continue with certain things then that’s going to massively affect things further down the road”.
I think it’s really important that the more people talk about it, and even if you might get upset with, or you might get worried that people get upset about it, you kind of have to get past that. It’s our responsibility I think as people who are going through it to be like, “One sec. Maybe look after your body just a little bit more”.
Jazzy: The thing is, sometimes it’s not even because they choose to do wrong. It’s just, people don’t know better. It’s like, we just have to push more so people get educated. They read about it or listen, and they learn how to do it better. That’s the thing. We do pole. Pole is pretty young as a sport and we don’t know what it’s, how our body is going to be in 10, 20 years. But I for sure don’t want to be in pain in 20 years.
I was also expecting way more negative feedback. I know that many are training a different way or living a different way. But there was so much positive feedback, and also people were like, “I feel the same. This makes so much sense”. I was really surprised. I was really surprised, but positively surprised.
Sarah: What would you say is the main thing that’s changed? I know you said your mindset has changed and your training has changed. Without going into specifics because I know it’s quite difficult to verbalise it, but what’s been the main shift in how your training’s changed?
Jazzy: I have fixed routines where I do exercises for my mobility. My active flexibility. My joints, to keep them in a good range of motion. Train my whole range of motion, and actually trying to increase my range of motion. But really have set trainings where it’s about my health, and not about doing a new trick or a new combination. It’s in my schedule, and it’s fixed.
Sarah: How many times a week would you say that you have a fixed health session?
Jazzy: Two to three times a week, definitely.
Sarah: Would you say that’s more across the board? Or you think it’s very personal depending on what people’s bodies are like, and how they should look into it themselves?
Jazzy: It’s definitely very personal. It’s so hard to say without seeing someone or to know their body. To see what they are capable of or what their body’s capable of or isn’t capable of. You can’t, it’s so hard to say, “You have to do this exercise or this exercise”. It’s just not possible without seeing someone and seeing what is wrong.
That’s why, many wrote me also in messages asking me questions. I can’t tell you what you have to do, because I need to see you, and even I am still learning so much. I would always recommend to go see a physical therapist first as well, because I don’t have that training. But I can, with my learning that I do now, help at least at some point, and with basic knowledge. But with so much, people are coming with so much injuries. I really tell them to go see professionals first so we know what we’re dealing with.
Sarah: Yeah. That’s really good advice. I know it’s difficult because people, they almost want a magic pill or something to be like, “What do I do? I don’t necessarily have access to the people that you have access to. I don’t have the training. I don’t have the knowledge. My instructor doesn’t know”. All these things. I think the best thing to do is just to start trying to look into it. You can’t really, there’s no wrong education. You’re going to learn, even if it’s not the right thing for you-you’re going to learn that it’s not right. It’s going to push you on a path that’s going to put you towards something that is going to help you. I definitely agree with going to see a professional. Especially if you’ve got any pain or injuries or impediments or anything like that.
Then just start learning about the body. That’s where it all started for me, was just, the more you learn the more you realise you don’t know. Which is also quite depressing. But the more you start looking into it, then the more you can actually start helping yourself along the way.
Sarah: Good advice Miss Jazzy.
Jazzy: Yeah. It’s really, that’s why people who are asking me also about doing a workshop, and how can you book, I always tell them I try to work on it. To actually build a workshop that I can give on the basic knowledge. Or so they can actually work with their own body. But so much information and understanding. It’s going to be a lot about talking as well, because people need to understand how their body works before they understand what doesn’t work.
Sarah: Pole is a difficult creature. We want the big fancy fun tricks. Then you get to a certain point and then you’re like, “Oh. Now I have to go back to school and learn how the body works and moves and levers and physics and anatomy, and all that stuff”. You don’t have to, but I think it’s going to massively help the more you do learn. But it’s not as fun.
Jazzy: It’s not.
Sarah: It’s not, I think of posting, it’s not Instagram worthy what you’re doing.
Jazzy: It’s not.
Sarah: The really useful stuff is boring to look at and very repetitive, and doesn’t look like you’re doing anything. But that’s the actual stuff you have to do.
Jazzy: I know. Actually sitting in a gym or in a studio, and especially when I do it in a gym, my work for my hip mobility, I just sit there. You don’t see me actually move, but my face changes. I’m like, I’m looking like it’s really had, but I’m not moving. People are like, “What is she doing?”.
Sarah: Strange gal in the corner, breathing and talking to herself.
Sarah: I like it. Well, we had a couple of people in the group, because I posted up in my Facebook group that I was going to be doing an interview with you. I had a couple of questions. One is from Sara Bibby. She wants to know, “What did you focus on to keep your motivation up, and self-control strong, when you decided to change your training?”. Her back has been injured for about six months, and she wants to know, how does she find the balance of training and rehabilitating without going mad? Obviously, as we’ve just said, it’s a bit boring to do the rehab stuff. What did you do to help keep motivated?
Jazzy: Well, the pain was pretty motivational. I was like, “I don’t want to be in pain anymore”. Just thinking about, where do I see myself in five years? In 10 years? In 20 years? I just realised if I go on like that, I may wreck my shoulder and I’m not going to be able to pole or live without pain anymore. I just don’t want that. Hunter also told me pretty well that this is not going to be the future.
I think it’s hard because it’s also, especially if you earn money with pole dancing, I mostly do at the moment, you always feel like you have to learn new stuff. Post it. Do new things. Stay on top of your game. I think to find the right balance between healthy and caring for your body, caring for yourself, and still have fun with pole, it’s not easy. But I think she has to really decide what she wants to be able to do at some point. You have to think about longevity so much more, because pole is so young and many people do it just for three years. What is three years, in comparison to a sport for a dozen years? It’s not the same.
Sarah: It’s definitely different.
Jazzy: It is fun. But I think to work with actual professionals, and get a training plan and a fixed training, these exercises to really be fixed in your plan is helping to get a routine. As soon as you’re in there and you actually feel that your body feels better and that you don’t have any pain anymore, it’s worth it. Then you’re like, good food. As soon as you’re in it and you feel better, it’s way easier to stay on track than when you first start.
Sarah: Yeah. Sometimes you think that the chocolate cake’s going to make you feel good. Then you eat it and you feel terrible. You have a really nutritious meal and you’re like, “It’s boring”, but then it actually makes you feel amazing. Like training. Good metaphor. I do like cake metaphors. I seem to always come back to the cake metaphor.
Jazzy: Yeah. People can relate to cake.
Sarah: People love cake. Anyway. The next question I’m going to ask you is from Derek Hamilton, also from the Off the Pole group. He asked, “Do you have any particular rules when it comes to assessing whether you’re approaching the line where you’re overtraining or something?. Is it time to back down for a while? Or is it just a case of ‘suck it and see’ depending on how you feel that day?”.
I guess the question, in summary,y would be, how do you know when you’re over training, versus whether you just need to get down and actually get on with it and train? Because pain is part of pole training. But the right pain. Skin pain or muscles can be sore. But we don’t want to hit the point where we’re causing injuries and pulling things out of place. How do you feel about that?
Jazzy: Well I also feel it kind of emotionally. I think I’m an emotional person.
Sarah: Really? I’ve seen how you are with food, so.
Jazzy: It’s also when I train and I get really in a bad mood, or I’ll repeat something over and over and I feel that I get kind of moody. I don’t know. I think it’s the way also my body tells me to, “Calm down girl”. That’s something. When I train something too much in a repetition and I feel not as hyped as in the beginning, or happy. It sounds weird, but that’s really an indicator for me to be like, “Put it to the side. Maybe do it next time again”.
Also in general with recovery, also mood and daily time. If I feel that I’m moody out of no reason, I know, “Maybe my body needs some time off”. Also to get to feel your body. To know when is the time where I just feel like it’s a bit lazy, or I feel cold. Or is it really your body telling you, “Take a break”? I think that’s something that’s really hard for us, is to actually take a break. To rest and not doing anything. Or just take time for ourselves to do something. Read a book. Just don’t move, or gently moving. But our brain is always telling us to do more and more and more. The more you get to know yourself, the easier it is to find that balance. It is kind of hard. But you have to just say sometimes, “Take a break”.
Sarah: Yeah. I think I’d say you seem like you’re quite in tune with your body. You know what food works for you. You know when to maybe take a break. It’s a lot of it, you’re talking about it being emotional. But I think there’s a big brain-body connection that, sometimes people, if they ignore one or the other, that’s when you start going into trouble. It’s not because it’s a physical exercise doesn’t mean that it’s not massively connected to how you’re feeling mentally. If you’re feeling a bit depressed or you’re not sleeping properly, or things are getting you agitated. That is all signs of overtraining. People, I think just wait for the signs of, “Am I in pain? Am I feeling weak”? They just look for the physical signs. I think it’s really important to get the emotional side of it as well.
Jazzy: I actually was, I think it was 2014, I actually was overtrained. I saw a specialist. Because I was always getting weaker. I didn’t have any energy. I couldn’t do anything else. Really in a bad mood all the time. It was really bad. I saw him, and he made a stress test with me. With just questions, “When did you laugh the last time? When was the last time you felt really happy?”. When I filled it out I was like, “Wow. I’m a really sad person”.
Jazzy: No. Then he was like, I did, I don’t know, I was tested in English. Spirometry? When you’re on the treadmill or driving the bicycle and you have this breathing mask. They measure your oxygen. I did that. He was looking at me. He was like, “This is …”. I was so stressed out. My body was just screaming for a break. I had to really … If you’re at the point where you really over train, it’s so hard to get back. You have to really take a break. That’s why I learned to listen more. Because I don’t want to take a break of that much time anymore.
Sarah: No, because you’re a very active person. It’s like, you don’t want it to be all nothing. You want it to be a consistent good level that’s going to keep you happy, rather than just 100 percent or having to take two weeks off. Definitely.
Sarah: Awesome. What I wanted to finish with, last question, was if you, do you have any go to Off the Pole exercises? I know you recently did a really good one for the mobility blog that we did on my website. That was the 90/90 hip one. But do you have any others that you’re like, “I have to do this or my body falls apart”?
Jazzy: Yeah. I do lots of the rotator exercises. The stretches and the strengthening. Especially because I did have problems with my shoulder one and a half years ago. I’m really sensitive to that one. I really love that, and the forearm strengthening, with the rotating.
Sarah: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Jazzy: Because I have baby hands, and it’s really true. My hands are tiny. It’s really, for me, important to strengthen my forearms. Otherwise it’s so hard for me to grab the pole and be strong in it. That’s a really good exercise I do as well to get strong.
Jazzy: With my baby hands.
Sarah: “With my baby hands”. Well I have big hands and big forearms.
Jazzy: Happy for you.
Sarah: The swan. I mean, I do like to strengthen my forearms though, because it’s helped massively. If you have strong forearms you have a strong grip, and that helps you do stuff on the poles. I would agree with these also. Nice. I’ll try and get links to those as well, put down underneath. Where can people find you if they want to be following Jazzy around the world? Where can they find you? I’m going to link to your social media and stuff, but are you touring? Are you travelling? Are you doing workshops around the globe? A website they can go to?
Jazzy: I’m just going where people want me to. If you want to see where I’m at for workshops, or for private, just look on my Instagram or my Facebook site. I’m always posting the regular schedule. Mostly around Europe in Spring. I’m also going to be at Pole Theatre UK. I’m at amateur for judging. I’m also for workshops there. I’m actually going to be quite a lot in the UK in the next half a year.
Sarah: We’ll get the Jazzy fix, and I’ll make sure I always have snacks. Just to throw snacks at you when you’re feeling angry.
Jasmine: Just be sure.
Sarah: Yeah. It’ll be awesome to see more of you.
Jazzy: I’m actually pretty, yeah. Happy to teach more and spread my passion for healthy training and pole dancing and exotic pole. It’s just so much fun to connect.
Sarah: I’ll make sure that I link all of the social media places that people can find you.
Jazzy: Thank-you Sarah.
Sarah: Well thank-you for coming on and answering my questions. I’d love to have you back on again. I know this is quite targeted, but I wanted to talk specifically about your recent post and stuff, which was super helpful, and I’m sure loads of people related to that as well. Thank-you very much for sharing your knowledge bombs.
Jasmine: Thank-you so much.
Sarah: Speak to you soon, Jazzy. Love you. Bye!
Next up on the OTP Podcast is Dan Rosen, so be sure to tune in in a fortnight for episode #7 to hear from the “mother of all Susans”! xX
TRAIN SMART – DANCE MORE
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