Some of you may know a young man by the name of Nate Apgar who has been teaching break dance, gymnastics, and kettlebell/TRX classes for almost a year here at HealthQuest. What you may not know is that Nate is pursuing a very interesting fitness style that he was introduced to at a young age. From June 13th to June 18th Nate will be traveling to Washington State teaching and demonstrating traditional Greenland kayaking and rope games. Greenland Rope Gymnastics is a fitness style created by the Inuit people (commonly known as Eskimos) to promote core and upper body strength and to improve mental and physical toughness in the harsh Arctic. This conditioning style was created due to the fact that the old culture of Greenland revolved entirely around the kayak. One might wonder how a young man from New Jersey got involved in this traditional sport.
Nate credits his father with introducing him to Greenland Rope Gymnastics. His father has been a small boat builder and paddler for as long as Nate can remember. At the age of 12 Nate’s father brought home a video from a New Jersey Paddle Sport Show. The video was made by a member of the Historical Preservation Society, Qajaq USA. It depicted a rope game that the Eskimos played called allunaariaquattaarneq, the English translating to “games played on a harpoon line.” Nate recalls watching the video with his sister thinking it was “dumb.” His dad quickly replied, “Hey, if you can’t do it, don’t knock the guy’s talent.” That challenge was all Nate and his sister needed! Nate’s sister immediately started learning the language while Nate took on the task of mastering the exercises. They then shared their knowledge with each other to be well rounded in the pursuit of this new endeavor. The following year at the Paddle Sport Show Nate and his sister taught Greenland Rope Gymnastics skills and style. At this point in time Nate and his sister had about half the skills mastered and knew the Greenlandic names for all of them. They were an instant hit because of their knowledge and since then have been demonstrating traditional Greenland Rope Gymnastics all over New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and now Washington.
Nate uses some different training methods at HealthQuest to master this unique craft. His typical workout consists of interval training, kettlebells, or any body weight resistance exercise from plyometrics to TRX. He uses some traditional weight lifting techniques but finds training for the ropes by using ropes and other body weight resistance exercises to be most effective.
Now demonstrating for 7 years, Nate hopes to tackle new challenges in his journey to master this traditional Greenlandic sport. His hope is to travel to Greenland to compete against the Inuit people in the next few years. Nate beat the old record of the current champion, but since then the high scored has more than doubled. His personal goal to be the best keeps him diligently training. In addition, Nate would also like to earn the permission of the Greenland Eskimos to bring allunaariaquattaarneq to America as a more popularly accepted fitness style. He feels the style is a great new challenge for competitive athletes and would be a comforting cultural link to our past. We all support Nate in his journey and wish him the best.