Saturday, 6 October 2007

What is Physi?

Just incase you are wondering about my choice of utube videos over to the left. Physi is the short or nickname for Physical Culture. This is one of the sports that my kids do.

In the 1892 Hans Bjelke Peterson (uncle of the QLD Politician), who was soon after joined by his brothers Johannes and Harald, and his sister Marie started Physical Culture as a form of discipline and exercise for men. At some stage young ladies also started doing this sport and by the 1950's it had become a female dominated sport.

This form of Physi has become known as BJP. Although there are a few outside clubs that do similar work but are not associated with BJP.

To this day, a lot of the women and girls that compete still wear that 50's look with pride, they Boof their hair, tan so dark that they go orange and look like pretty female OompaLoompa's wearing leotards. Not all the girls do this, but there is still a huge percentage that do. The younger girls are not allowed to tan or wear more than a smidge of lippy, they also cannot wear the shimmers and fishnets that the older girls and ladies wear.

In 2005 the official reintroduction of boys occurred. However even in its third year, there is still a lot of resistance from the old school girls who firmly believe that boys do not belong in the physi world.

My DS has been doing this sport since 2003, although those first two years he was not officially recognised and was not able to be registered to compete. He did it alongside his baby sister, learning the baby girls work, to help her have the confidence to get up on the floor as the only baby our club had. She happily did anything her big brother did and as she needed to do Physi to help strengthen the muscles in her hips and knees (to stop her feet and legs turning 360 degrees in any direction), DS was encouraged to get up and help her do the work (didn't take much encouragement, he had been wanting to do Physi since he was a baby as our friend and babysitter did physi and he had seen her perform, so when she became a teacher he was going to do it, sister or no sister lol).

Now a lot of people think - oh well you are training your son to be gay (this was an actual comment at the Sydney Boys National Physi Event in 2006 by the lady manning the entry booth when a mother came running up to say her boy had won the event, much outcry happened about this comment and we hope that lady will not be working there this year). Just because my boy is learning to be flexible, to touch his toes, to move with rhythm and grace does not make him gay or will teach him to be gay.

My grandfathers era, all the men went to the dances every week or month, thats how they met the girls. Being able to dance with rhythm and grace meant you were more likely to pick up the best chicks. And most of those men then became the ANZACS, who were renowned for being tough resilient buggers. Tell me dancing made them soft, weak, gay?? So why would it do it to the boys now, and have a look at their work, it includes punching, kicking, pushups, reverse pushups, situps, bounces. Its tough work their routines, even the teachers, who have been doing physi for years, they work up a sweat teaching and practicing the boys routines with the boys. The girls who are lucky enough to have boys in their club, think the boys work is cool and often get up the back of the hall and mimic the boys work.

The girls work is pretty standard, each year they do five routines, all flowing one after the other. They get different music and different choreography each year, but it always has standard positions that were originally designed by the Bjelke-Peterson Brothers as medical gymnastics. Strong yet graceful arms, powerful legs with pointed toes, yet able to one minute look like a swan and the next leap as powerfully as a gazelle. 8 year olds onwards start doing the splits. The 15 year olds through to the Seniors do the most energetic and tough work and then the ladies come onto the floor, their work isn't the easiest, but they are no longer required to do the splits or big leaps, they don't do a frenetically paced dance, instead they do an "impulse" which is like a dance, but sways with the pulse of the music.

If you get a chance, go spend some time watching one of the Physi Comps, the girls are amazing and compete at Zone around Vic, NSW, ACT & Qld and then at National level at Homebush and then the 15's, seniors and ladies compete for the ultimate titles on the stage at the Opera House each year during November. The boys don't have a Zone competition as there are not enough of them year in most zones (our zone has three, the same three that are part of our club), so they go straight to Sydney each October and compete against any boy who has had the ability to attend.

This is why Virgin ticket specials from Brisbane, Gold Coast and Ballina going to Sydney in the months of October and November sell like hotcakes in July and August. Because each level of Competition is on a different day. For instance, my DD has Zone on the 20/21st of October on the North Coast of NSW. The following weekend the ladies and seniors have zone at the same location that DD did the week before, and the ladies are the same day as the Boys compete in Sydney (not great timing as there were a few mums that were going to compete this year that will now be flying their child to Sydney instead). The nearly every weekend in November is taken with the National finals and then the Opera House night.

Anyway, that's just a bit of information whether you needed it or not lol.


Precious_1 said...

My biggest girl did physi until the lady doing it moved town. It was great. My Lou was never very sporty - well actually she is anti sport, a complete clutz - had to have a lot of OT when she was little to help her coordination type kid. Physi was great for her!! Yay Physi!!

Dollfinn! said...

Precious, I wonder if she would go back to physi now, might help her with other things and if its something she already knows a bit about, then she might feel more comfortable doing it. If you look at the main Bjelke Peterson page (i linked it in the main post) they have a page with most of their clubs listed, there may be a teacher close to where your Lou lives now.

Anti sport and complete clutz, describes my DS as well.