Ted Charles Reveals How He Turned His World Upside Down
Esquire Singapore|October 2021
Handstand fanatic Ted Charles reveals how he turned his world upside down, and why it’s a vice he’d gladly be addicted to.
Joy Ling

We’re just going to say this upfront—it’s a pity having Ted Charles for Health Club. Sure, the guy can bust out a mean hollow back* on almost any given surface and looks like he came out of the womb walking on his hands, but there’s a lot more outside the physical ballpark that he can do too.

But hey, protocol first. Let’s get into the whole handstanding shebang you see on his Instagram account. Well, one of them anyway. “I haven’t really done a proper inversion class per se,” the 33-year-old Australian considers. “Only one intensive workshop in Thailand by French hand balancer and circus performer Yuval Ayalon back in 2019.”

If that sounds like going from zero to hundred, well, it kind of was. Charles had dabbled in yoga before, segueing from classes offered at the gym and realising that he actually enjoyed inversions. “It’s funny because I was training [headstands] and [forearm stands] on my own and when I first started handstands—I kid you not—I would go from a crow** and press from there. I know most people kick up but that was how I did 90 percent of my handstands initially because I had all this upper body strength, so it was actually a safer entry for me,” he laughs.

Before you start feeling sorry about yourself, rest in the fact that Charles has always been athletic since young. Count a year and a half of gymnastics as a wee kid, casual soccer as a teen and discovery of the gym after. Still, despite correcting the basic entry, his handstand duration posed a problem when signing up for Ayalon’s handstand workshop two years ago.

Passing over a minute of freestanding hold, Charles was beyond the prerequisites of the intermediate class. However, advanced level meant pros working towards one-arm variations and contortion poses. An audition video demonstrating your handstand abilities was required for admission, which he submitted regardless. It earned him a spot in class, mainly to fix the bad posture he held to maintain balance; another fundamental flaw compensated by brute force.

“You had to upload your video into a Facebook group introducing yourself,” he recounts, almost cringing at the memory. “The predominant majority was wondering who I was. Everyone was either a gymnastic or yoga teacher hailing from Taiwan, Canada… and I was like, ‘Yeah, wassup, guys? I’m a filmmaker!’

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