Allunaariaqattaarneq, “games performed using harpoon line” (rope gymnastics), are known throughout the arctic. The rope gymnastics performed at the Greenland championship are a mix of techniques from both East and West Greenland. Rope gymnastics is an ancient Inuit form of sport, which demands and develops balance, strength, flexibility, coordination and pain tolerance. The exercises toughen the hands which may allow you to paddle long hours without developing blisters. Many of the maneuvers are extremely strenuous and painful. Performing them helps to build mental and physical toughness, qualities that were very useful for the hard life of a kayak hunter.
An overview of Greenlandic rope gymnastics including rope setup and instructions with photographs for nine of the maneuvers.
0.9MB mpeg. This rope gymnastics maneuver is the most similar to rolling a kayak, although the mechanics and feel are quite different. The technique builds strength and flexibility and also teaches independent control of your upper and lower body, all good for improving your kayak roll. Demonstrated by Greg Stamer, Qajaq USA.
"The Little Green Book". Traditional Greenland Strengthening and Conditioning Exercises for Kayakers. A brief notebook donated by a Greenland National Kayaking Competition participant documenting the rope gymnastics techniques performed at the event, with point totals. Excellent information. Also available in PDF format.
Maligiaq originally sketched these drawings of basic rope gymnastics maneuvers to complement the article above.
Ropes Gymnastics Competition Scoresheet
The Qaannat Kattuffiat scoresheet used for event scoring. English translations for these maneuvers can be found in the competition rules. In 2003, Maligiaq Padilla was the first athlete to score over 500 points for the rope gymnastics event.
John Heath briefly provides an overview of rope gymnastics and includes some information on setting up your own ropes.
Maligiaq at Camp Arrowhead, Greenland Technique, October 2-4 1998
Although an unpolished "home movie", this footage by Marilyn Vogel, email:firstname.lastname@example.org, features two paddling demonstrations by Maligiaq Padilla on his first visit to the U.S. and contains rare footage of Maligiaq performing the Inuit rope gymnastics. Video and audio quality is rough in places but it contains some unique pearls of information. Price is $30.00 USD, with half of the proceeds going to Qaannat Kattuffiat. Send check or money order (no charge cards please) to Marilyn Vogel, 2210 Finland Road, Green Lane, PA 18054. Please allow two weeks for delivery.
For video clips of rolling and stroke techniques, please see the Greenland Kayaking Video Clips ».