What Is Your Name?
by Einat Meiri-Vatner, MA
The word "hand" is used in many expressions to describe us and our way of living. "You are my right hand," we say to someone who helps us and has a significant part in our life. Mystics use the hand as a practice of fortune-telling and to discover our deepest aspects. But what about the aquatic moves? I decided to share my thoughts with you, make suggestions and learn from each other.
I recently recorded video tips on how to use creative hand movements during water running. In the videos, it was easy to demonstrate the move I had chosen. When I got to the video subtitles and to create the associated theory, I ran into a big problem. When I tried to describe a whole movement, it sounded like this, "Run, and move the hands from a frontal position and cross them alternately in front and back of the body". What? One word to describe the legs and a full sentence for the hands. So, I adjusted to "alternately cross" the arms.
My mother tongue is not English (but Hebrew) and yet my instinct was to find a name in English to match the known names of the exercises. I turned up the AEA Aquatic Fitness Professional Manual where I found explanations of the upper body moves, described by the joint action of the shoulders and elbows. But I was looking for names.
We, as professionals, experienced or new in the field, want to share knowledge – articles, research, photos, videos, and also in simple words. Clear and simple words like “running” or “ski” or even the abbreviated “JJ” for jumping jacks bring to mind a specific activity. Similarly, I would like to be able to briefly and clearly describe the hand movements, whether for my personal use (writing lesson plans and cueing in class) or for our aquatic community.
We lead classes from the pool deck, where participants can watch us and our movements. But sometimes we are hidden from an individual’s visual field (e.g., our position on deck or another student in the pool) or the individual has visual limitations. Either way, it can be helpful if to have spoken words to reinforce visual demonstration.
We even have names for impact options that relate to the body’s position in the pool, such as levels I, II and III. The arms also make movements in relation to the surface of the water. I personally refer to these positions in the following manner
Level 1 = arms at water surface or slightly deeper
Level 2 = arms straight down at the side of the body
Level 3 = arms out of the water
I also would like to suggest a few names for the hand movements, as I read them in my videos and presentation. Of course, there are many more, but I chose a few samples.
I just hope the hands are not offended at this point ...
Each of us can create names for the arm and hand movements; I know some of you have already done so. Or together we can consider and share some agreed names, using social media platforms; and whoever wants, will use them. Feel free to reach out to me, by email (Einat.firstname.lastname@example.org) or my website (https://www.aquamove.co.il/), with your thoughts. I would like to thank AEA for their willingness to hear opinions and thoughts from around the world and look forward to hearing from you.
So, do you choose to take part? If so, good luck on our new challenge… or should I say, “break a leg”?
Einat Meiri Vatner, MA, is an aquatic fitness instructor in Israel certified by AEA and BECO aqua college and the owner of Aqua Move Israel. She specializes and loves high-intensity workouts as well as exercises based on dance movements and rhythms, as if these two represent the two parts within herself. She instructs various populations including children, pregnant women, and athletes.