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HomeTech: Rope Gymnastics

Rope Gymnastics

Allunaariaqattaarneq, “games performed using harpoon line” (rope gymnastics), are known throughout the arctic. The rope gymnastics performed at the Greenland championship are a mix of techniques from both East and West Greenland. Rope gymnastics are an ancient Inuit form of sport, which demands and develops balance, strength, flexibility, coordination and pain tolerance. Originally done with harpoon line stretched between two supports, the exercises toughen the hands, which may allow you to paddle long hours without developing blisters. Many of the maneuvers are extremely strenuous and painful. Performing them helps to build mental and physical toughness, qualities that were very useful for the hard life of a kayak hunter.

Greenland Rolling and Rope Gymnastics; by Dubside
Comprehensive information for rope gymnastics (and rolling) including video for each technique, setup, low and high ropes, competition information and scoresheets.

Greenland Ropes site by Danielle and Nick Steffey
Good information on rope gymnastics, including diagrams and information on setup, low ropes, high ropes, competition information and scoresheets.

Sea Kayaker: Allunaariaqattaarneq – Inuit rope gymnastics by Greg Stamer
An overview of Greenlandic rope gymnastics including rope setup and instructions with photographs. The following 10 maneuvers are included; Qajaasaarneq "like rolling a kayak," Pakassumillugu “riding and pulling,” Illuinnarmik “riding, holding only one cord,” Tigusilluni “riding followed with a turn/roll,” Usiagalerluni. "qajaasaarneq while wearing a weighted backpack" Tallimariarluni. "qajaasaarneq done five times in rapid succession." Akulaammillugu “straddling the cord,” Ignilluni “turning from sitting position with arms spread out,” Tiguinnarlugu "high ropes, hauling your body up and over," Kisitineq "hang from the high ropes with your chin."

Rope Gymnastics Artwork by Maligiaq Padilla
Original artwork sketched by Maligiaq Padilla. These illustrations of basic rope gymnastic maneuvers were originally created for the Sea Kayaker article on rope gymnastics (above), but were unpublished.

Qajaasaarneq "like rolling a kayak"
0.9MB mpeg download. This rope gymnastics maneuver is the most similar to rolling a kayak, although the mechanics are quite different. The technique builds strength and flexibility and also teaches independent control of your upper and lower body, all good for improving your kayak roll. Demonstrated by Greg Stamer, Qajaq USA.

Ropes Gymnastics Competition Scoresheet
The Qaannat Kattuffiat scoresheet used for event scoring. English translations for these maneuvers can be found in the competition rules. In 2003, Maligiaq Padilla was the first athlete to score over 500 points for the rope gymnastics event.

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