Eike von Stuckenbrok leads an exciting life in the truest sense of the word. The acrobat, who discovered a love of exercise from a very young age, is a shining example of how leading an active lifestyle can be fun. He shows us that you can push your own limits bit by bit – if you are willing to be persistent.
If Eike von Stuckenbrok goes on a summer vacation with his friends, they won’t be lazing on the beach. Instead they’ll be throwing each other into the water or jumping off bridges. When the 24-year-old wants to express his happiness, he doesn’t go for a glass of celebratory wine. He does a somersault in the middle of the street.
“Exercise is everywhere in my life. Even my everyday life,” says the young man, who lives out his desire to keep moving especially at work. The acrobat has toured throughout the Middle East and Australia and has already spent years as part of the young, creative artist scene in Berlin. And these inclinations were apparent early on.
Judo, Cycling, Skating and Parkour: Sitting Still Was Not for Eike
Growing up in the countryside of Brandenburg, Germany, Eike led an active childhood. He was never one to sit quietly. Eike preferred to make the 25-kilometer journey to school by bike rather than taking the crowded bus. As a teenager, he tried his hand at judo, kickboxing, and skating. From the age of 14, the exercise fanatic was dancing spontaneously and sharing it with Berlin through the internet.
“My parents knew a normal job would never be right for me,” says Eike. “And they were the ones who suggested I go to art school.”
The curriculum of the Artistry School included math, dance, theater and German. It was a mix for developing the body and mind alike. That suited Eike perfectly – but even his classes weren’t enough. He continued to participate in theater in the evenings, and on weekends he practiced parkour. And so – climbing, rolling, jumping – Eike moved through life.
300 Shows a Year – And Every Day a Relaxing Bath
Shortly before final exams, Eike dropped out of school due to arguments with the faculty. His friends in the artistic world had done the same long ago. So as a result of his newfound independence, he began filling his days with performances and engagements. Eike dances, jumps and leaps every day on stages throughout the world.
“If I have eight or nine shows a week, my bones hurt and crack every morning when I wake up. So I lie in the tub for a while to get sorted again.”
Eike knows that he can’t do this job safely forever, and that ultimately his body will go on strike. “I’ve been on stage for seven years, doing around 300 shows a year. Someday I’ll have to bow out for my own safety and do something else. Maybe then I’ll start producing shows, or I’ll direct.”
Eike Doesn’t Just Want to Let His Body Talk
Eike can now do one-handed handstands or double somersaults with his eyes closed. And he still incorporates dancing in his shows. To him, dancing is “something like both a language and a feeling,” he says. “Dancing relaxes me, even if it’s in a club for five, six hours.”
But Eike, who loves eating burgers, doesn’t just want to focus on a toned body. He also wants to develop his spirit. Therefore he’s now planning to expand his range.
“Language is a form of communication that still seems to me to be short-changed in my shows. I am into non-verbal communication with the body, but theater performances still excite me currently. A challenge I would now like to address is to work more with my mind.”
A Fidgeter With a Silent Hobby
Eike constantly has new projects in mind, as to him it would be boring to slow down at all. But when the 24-year-old has nothing planned, he indulges a hobby that might seem unusual at first glance: drawing. In peace without any motion, it seems that even an “exercise fetishist” has to relax sometimes.
And Now It’s Your Turn!
Most of us probably last attempted a handstand in childhood. But why not throw our feet into the air when we’re in a good mood? It only takes a little practice and trust. Here are a few tips for when you need to do a handstand of happiness:
1. Loosen your wrists: Do a few stretching exercises before the handstand to relax your joints.
2. Practice against a door or tree: To be safe, you should first practice doing handstands against some sort of wall, preferably with a helper.
3. Gain momentum: Get momentum by swinging your leg to get into the handstand – but not too much. Practice to learn the correct amount of swing.
4. Maintain body tension: Straighten your arms and legs and avoid a hollow back. Your body should form a straight line.
5. Return to your starting position: Slowly lower your legs to the ground afterward. Later you can learn to unroll out of a free handstand: bend your arms, “crouch” your legs, keep your chin to your chest, gently roll forward – and stand up!