World's Weirdest Natural Phenomena
The snake man from Nizhny Novgorod: a phenomenon or a result of training?
Alex Kalashnikov - film stunt performer, choreographer, fitness instructor in body plastics and creator of the author's program Alex`stretch body. In addition, he has phenomenal flexibility, which is why he was nicknamed the Snake Man. It is not so easy to find people with such plasticity in the world.
Very soon anyone will be able to see Alex's performance live and ask him all the questions of interest. The Snake Man plans to attend a large-scale festival of music and technology Alfa Future People, which will take place from August 10 to 12.
Photo: From the athlete's personal archive
- Alex, how long have you been doing sports?
- I've been doing sports since childhood. It all started in the kindergarten: there, at the age of six, I first sat on the twine. The background was as follows: a boy who was engaged in some kind of martial arts went to the same group with me. He periodically showed us boys different tricks. Once he sat down on a split and invited us to try it too. I agreed. Then there was the era of films with Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude van Damme. It influenced me a lot, especially van Damme, he is my biggest idol and inspires me to this day. Thanks to films with van Damme, I started karate at the age of seven and became a candidate for master of sports. Also at the same time, at the age of eight, I enrolled in the capoeira section. I discovered it for myself after the film Only the Strongest with Mark Dacascos in the title role and achieved significant success in it. In 2005, he passed certification from a master from Brazil and received a yellow belt.
- You are also a stuntman. How did you start doing this?
- One of my idols is Jackie Chan. He is known throughout the world not only as an actor, but also as a stuntman. As a child, I learned that there are stunt associations in Moscow, I even planned to join there. Later I found out that we also have our own local company in Nizhny Novgorod, which makes regional stunt films, films with action scenes. One of the guys with whom I did capoeira invited me there. And so since 2003, in parallel, he began acting in films. My specialization is in staging combat scenes: beautiful hand-to-hand fights, various falls, acrobatics.
- Do you continue to act in films?
- Yes, I can take part in the filming if you like the plot and role.
- You are also a clinician - tell us more about it.
- I am a performing artist, but not an artist circus. The genre in which I work is called clinics in the circus; artists of this genre are called clinics. Klishniki are mainly men who demonstrate male plasticity of the body, flexibility. The term appeared back in the 1930s-40s. This is one of the rarest genres, today there are practically no clinics left even in circuses.
There is another rare circus genre - rubber. The difference between the two genres (rubber and cliche) is that in the first, all the tricks are built on the back: this is asplendid backs, double and triple pleats. In clinics, a very complex articular work is going on, the hip and shoulder joints are included. To better understand what I am talking about, watch the video from my speech.
- How did the idea of performing appear?
- There is such a person - Mukhtar Gusengadzhiev, the most flexible man on the planet, the Guinness Book of Records holder. Once I accidentally saw a video of his performance on the Internet. Under one of the videos was a link to his website. There I learned that he would have a seminar in Moscow, and decided to go there. I was amazed at how he owns the body. When I came back from the seminar, I started to work on flexibility.
- How much do you train and how did you manage to achieve such results?
- Everything that I have achieved, happened due to very long and hard training. I train for an average of 2-3 hours every day. During the workout, I work the whole body: from head to toes.
- Why is it important to do stretching exercises?
- If a person will do stretching , then, undoubtedly, he will feel better, become more mobile. In addition, it helps to keep the figure in good shape. Even if you don't lose weight, you can tighten your whole body.
- At what age can you start doing stretching exercises?
- You can do simple exercises with a child from childhood. The optimal age for starting classes is 3-4 years.
- You said that as a child you watched a lot of films about sports. Please name three films that have inspired you.
- Bloodsport (1986) with Jean-Claude van Damme;
- Kickboxer (1989) with Jean-Claude van Damme;
- Police Story (1985) with Jackie Chan.
Photo: From athlete's personal archive
- When did your nickname appear - The Snake Man?
- The nickname appeared after I started performing. Some viewers after the show started calling me Snake Man. Then it stuck.
- When did you come to the fitness industry?
- I came to the fitness industry in 2015. I give stretching and flexibility workshops and workshops at Etant en tete half-dance studio and fitness club. I also conduct personal training. I have my own Alex`stretch body workout program. It is aimed at developing a person's physical data.
- Do men come to classes?
- More, of course, girls sign up for classes. Men were trained only a few times. Now they mostly work out in rocking chairs.
- Do you follow the diet?
- Since June 2013, I have changed my diet and do not use a lot. For example, I don't eat meat or dairy products. According to the sensations of my body, I will say that from meat the ligaments become tight, and this affects the flexibility and elasticity of the ligaments, muscles and tendons. Dairy products cause swelling of the body, and thisaffects flexibility. Of course, I do not urge anyone to give up these and many other products, but they affect me personally. I mainly eat plant foods: honey, nuts and dried fruits. My favorite dish is buckwheat, I can always eat it, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also eat cereals (buckwheat, pearl barley, millet, oats), cereals cooked exclusively in water, rice, vegetables and fruits, herbs, and boiled food. I don’t use fried foods, sauces (mayonnaise, ketchup), various semi-finished products, soda, all kinds of lemonades, white bread, pies and donuts, gingerbread, cakes and pastries, sweets, chocolate, marmalade and other sweets. It is extremely rare that I can afford to eat something harmful.
- How do beginners start doing stretching exercises?
- You need to start with simple exercises, then move on to more complex ones. My principle is from simple to complex: fewer words - more action. Beginners should train 2-3 times a week for 1 hour, of course, if there is time, then more is possible. If you want great results, then 1 hour is not enough. You need to listen to your body, your body. The main thing is not to be lazy! It's also important to be patient. At first, you may not notice progress, but over time it will certainly be. And of course, it's important to find a good coach who sees your potential! Flexibility isn't just genetics, it's a lot of hard work.