CrossFit Rope Climb: How little Tarzan taught me the impossible


A wise man said: ”Every day can be an adventure if you let it” and those who had a pleasure of knowing me personally could testify that I had never had any problems with embodying that statement. Lately, however, my catalogue of adventures grew significantly since I started to participate regularly in CrossFit classes.

I assume that only people who are living under the rock don’t know what CrossFit is, so I’ll spare you the elaborated description. In a nutshell it’s a hell lot of weird and very tiring tortures (physical exercises), that will in many cases make you either puke (cardio) or die out of muscle fever (strength) – often simultaneously – which you are experiencing with a bunch of lunatics (other people, who signed up VOLUNTARILY) under supervision of the Satan (trainer).


And yes, once you try it, you’ll most probably love it and get gradually addicted to it because you are a masochist like that.

From a “surviving an Apocalypse” point of view, CrossFit is the best form of physical preparation you can get; it requires you to jump, lift, pull, crawl, throw and climb – all the basic skills you need to have if you want to stay alive in a jungle.

Or on a desert.

Or to fight a Zombie (don’t ask me why, but I always thought it is essential to learn how to fight a Zombie; considering what has just happened in the Game of Thrones season finale, my little obsession becomes more legit than ever).

CrossFit will also teach you how to:
1. Bruise and don’t feel it,
2. Breath like Darth Vader while sweating like a pig and don’t care if you’re watched by others (you are, btw)
3. And totally embarrass yourself from time to time yet not to give a single damn about it

So as you can clearly see, CrossFit is awesome. In fact, other lunatics and the Satan are awesome as well.

The CrossFit I’ve signed up for is kids-friendly; meaning you can bring your kid with you (that is, if you are ready to scare the shit out of a child, as by the end of the workout you usually look like someone who was dragged for 10 kilometers or so on a rope tied to a back of a truck).

Sometimes one of the Satans brings their offspring as well, but that usually turns out to be discouraging (for “lunatics”, not for the kids). See, these kids are already physically fit; I don’t know if Satans are training their babies secretly at home or is it simple genetics, but whatever physical endeavor you are faced with at CrossFit, those kids can do it better, faster and with a grace of a Spiderman.

When “Satans’ babies” are present at CrossFit, I get extra alerted. Not only I feel slightly embarrassed by a reminder that some kid is stronger and faster than I could ever be, but I’ve also seen “The Children of the Corn”, so I know “what’s up” (for those who don’t know “what’s up”, feel free to educate yourself on this “Stephen King’s short story- turns B horror- turns cult movie – turns seven sequels” piece of cinematographic art; back in a day, it made me “slightly suspicious” of any child that was physically able to kick my ass and “CrossFit babies” – only by their sheer existence – reopened that little fear of mine). Yet as time went by, I got used to the company of children which was eased up by the fact that we have no corn fields in the area.


How a kid taught me to Rope Climb 

So lately there was this class when the Satan attempted to teach us how to rope climb. Never have I ever tried that kind of thing and I automatically assumed I will suck at it.

I was right.

Of course, I was prejudiced from the start. I don’t remember climbing anything in my entire life, except that one episode when I was a teenager; I had to climb a huge gate to get my ass to a “restricted area” in order to perform some amateur spying for my dear friend. As I would do pretty much anything for friendship (how Meat Loaf of me) plus, I vaguely recall I had some “beers for courage” prior to this mission, it was a successful climb (meaning, I survived and did not suffer injuries).

Circa 20 years later and there is no gate but a rope. My motivation is not there as I have no mission or a friend in need that requires me to climb.

Plus I am sober.


Rope climb

The brain freeze syndrome

Satan starts to instruct us on a technique and he even makes an English dubbing especially for me and that other guy who doesn’t speak Danish; that doesn’t help at all as now I feel even more pressured to “get it” and “do it right” which I know AIN’T GONNA HAPPEN.

See, I have this really weird syndrome that whenever I’m being taught about any type of an exercise that combines 2 or more body positions or movements, I get a brain freeze.

The only thing I got straight from the beginning was how to run and do the sit up.

Apparently, I am very stubborn on activating all the wrong muscles and making all textbook mistakes. But when I finally get it, I see a real pride on Satan's’ face, something like “there you go little buddy” look that the teacher gives to that one slightly challenged pupil in the classroom, when he finally catches up with the rest.

The theoretical part is over and the Satan puts the timer on (everything in CrossFit is a time-based workout).

I know what’s coming and by now I’m not even stressed anymore; I gave up.

In the 10-seconds countdown that precedes the workout, I am trying to recall the technique: something about bending the knee, putting the leg opposite to the arm, jumping and lifting a leg which should result in “locking the foot” and magically teleporting me to the top of the rope.

I feel like Jon Snow – I know nothing and I don’t want to bend the knee as I don’t even know which knee shall I bend in the first place.


The arrival of Little Tarzan: Viking Edition

3, 2, 1 and here we go! Well actually everyone else goes and I just stand there, embracing the rope with a face of a scientist who is examining the chemical composition of fibers.

And then I feel the subtle poke on my arm. It’s one of the Satan’s babies, the one that looks like a little Tarzan, Viking edition.

I know this boy. If we played “mirror-mirror on the wall” he would be the fittest of us all.  He is not more than 10 years old, but his climbing abilities are legendary. Plus I ‘ve seen once how he did more than 20 burpees in a row. Respect (and a bit of anxiety, but controlled one, as I quickly recall again that there’s no cornfield in the area).

He knows I don’t speak Danish so he doesn’t even bother to talk. He just stands next to me and slowly, step by step shows me how to start the rope climb. I look at him and try to repeat exactly what he did and – surprise, surprise – I don’t succeed (unless getting tangled in a rope counts as a success). I’m convinced he will just resign, but nope… with an angelic patience, he repeats every single step (this time slower) checking out if I see it and understand it.

When he’s done he shows me a “thumbs up” and I can read from his face’s expression that he’ll wait until I reciprocate. So I “thumb up” as well, mainly because I am a polite person and I really don’t want to disappoint the kid.

I think he senses I am still not convinced so he changes his tactic – he goes to the rope next to mine and does the first move; then he waits until I repeat it on my own rope. Somehow it's starting to work, I am progressing and by the end, I even manage to make that god damn “foot lock”, but then something goes wrong and just when I’m about to climb, the lock gets released.


Now I really feel under gigantic pressure.

Meanwhile, little Tarzan goes for the last resort strategy: He simply starts to model me like a clay – He places my hands on the rope, bends my knee, lifts my leg and makes that fucking foot lock on me and for me.

I am finally in the right position and then he tells me something that I interpret as a polite version of “Move your ass, now”.

So I move my ass and I start to climb. And I actually climb!

I’m shocked and amazed that I’ve actually climbed that rope and now I am hanging on it. I look down at the little Tarzan, but he’s not here anymore. I search for him (now I have a REALLY good view) and after some seconds I finally find him –  he is back at his favorite bench, putting plasters on his palms, most probably preparing for some pull-up session (!!!).

I feel super proud and happy and I wish I could share this moment with him, but those plasters look really absorbing… That’s all right, I just made a FREAKING ROBE CLIMB so it doesn’t matter!

And then I notice from the corner of my eye that someone was actually looking after all.

It’s the Satan; he smiles at me with “that look”, that proud teacher look. We don’t talk but we get each other; our telepathic exchange goes like always:

“There you go, little buddy!”

“Thank you, Lucifer”