Creativity, Gymnastics, and Gestures. The Italian way

( Semi-serious article on one of the characteristics of us Italians)

  1. Is the atavistic laziness of us Italians justifiable in practicing sports?
  2. At the same time, is it possible to make sense of our colorful way of communicating?

Presenting a single answer is difficult as the questions seem to deal with two distinct topics.

But is it really so?

Let’s start with the gymnastic-sports theme:

We Italians are a people notoriously not inclined to sport activities (but more to ” extra-sporting ” ones :-)).

If in Asian cultures the care of one’s spirit passes through gymnastic rituals such as Taijiquan in China, do we men and women with long boots have some gymnastic-spiritual discipline to move our muscles ?

Yes, let’s think of prayer, where the faithful exercise hamstrings, gluteus maximus, quadriceps, and calf when they kneel as a sign of devotion and obedience.

Also joining the palms of the hands, also they are trained forearms, biceps and triceps.

It is a discipline with a history of two millennia, the result of the thrust in the Christian faith which in recent decades with the waning of religious passion is less and less practiced.

The new times have become the stadiums that see 22 Semi-Gods playing football on Sunday.

From the stands, thousands of spectators celebrate with dances and shouts the result of 90 minutes , thus creating a new type of spiritual-gymnastics (Figure 1)

Figure 1

But the luminaries of the gymnastic sciences claim that any sporting activity must be practiced several times during the week.

Does Football “Help “?

Since every 3 days, there are games of every value, it would seem so.

The only drawback is that the cost/benefit ratio is economically so disadvantageous that this activity can not be counted as mass sports.

Note1: There are those who claim that getting up from the sofa while on TV their team scores the decisive goal is a gymnastic moment. This is not really true since:

  1. It is said that his team always wins matches. (we are not all fans of Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG, Real Madrid ………)
  2. The sporting gesture (click) is always minimized by the presence in the hands of beers, chips, and sandwiches
  3. Monthly pay-TV subscriptions are often expensive (Dazn, Sky, TimVision …) and not suitable for all budgets.

Have we therefore lost the game with oriental cultures?

The genius Italica responds with all its strength by shouting NO!

For millennia we Italians have added to verbal communication a series of gymnastic movements that have become distinctive of our culture.

Let’s talk about the famous “Italian Gestures” that make the messages between the interlocutor’s clearer since they reinforce the nuance of the meaning.

Let’s think of the classic ” What do you want ” (figure 2)

Figure 2

which becomes almost a threat if the hands become two (figure 3)

Figure 3

There are thousands of them, a good initial collection is represented by figure 4:

Figure 4

Some are so funny and complete that they were brought back in a 2011 comic GAG by the late actor / teacher Joan Peter Sloan :

Now the crucial question:

Can gestures be a form of gymnastics capable of responding to daily movement needs?

If we assume that they are complete exercises (science does not help us here), then we need to know how many gestures are done daily.

According to theguardian, the number is equal to 250, thus confirming that ” the gesture world ” is a free gym!

It is also one technique so well developed , which can be used without to have in front of any interlocutor , (for example during a phone call with earphones) and which can be practiced in any place , (from own home to a public park ), on any transportation means , (from your own car to a bus or still in plane )

I imagine the new motto of Italian language schools for foreigners:

Learn Italian, you will have to gain in health!

Finally, we can now answer the initial questions, asserting that gestures are a type of gymnastics that also helps to improve one’s communication making it even more effective.

The gesture that I consider more ” fun “?

It is the one described so well by the actress Jessica Chastain in a 2018 interview in the program “ The Late Show with Stephen Colbert ” per minute 4:00 . A beautiful performance. Thanks Jessica !