Control your mind and your body will follow –
In the jungle, a short walk from Tonsai beach in Thailand facing the fear of tearing 2 shreds of skin out of my back, far from a hospital I became the 28th person in the world, the first Australian and the third person at this location to attempt free fall body suspension. Not only that, I am the first person in the world to carry out their first body suspension in the same day as their first free fall body suspension.
This was the most intense, scariest but rewarding thing I have ever done, and possibly will do.
Here is the short video, it shows just the jump. I suggest turning the quality up on youtube a bit or if you think you will be interested in this I highly recommend skipping straight to the full length video. It is 25 minutes but it shows the whole process from practice jump, piercing, suspension, the jump as well as the after care! I also suggest reading the article before watching the video.
Here is the full length (25 min) video. It shows everything I went through before and after the jump. It may make you squirm in your seat at times, though it is really worth spending the time to watch. Also, if you have a decent connection turn the video quality up.
I am very proud of my achievement, I partly did this to improve the strength of my mind, and it rewarded me far more than I imagined it could.
What is Body Suspension?
Body suspension is a form of body modification, ” A body suspension is the act of suspending a human body from hooks that have been put through body piercings. These piercings are temporary and are performed just prior to the actual suspension ”
What is free fall body suspension?
Free fall body suspension is getting piercings and shackles fitted through the skin, then carrying out a free fall jump using a rope swing (sort of like a bungee jump) only using the shackles fitted into the skin and dynamic climbing ropes to catch you from the free fall. You will notice in the photo I am wearing a harness. This was for safety getting up to the exit point, and as a back up in case I slipped or jumped in the wrong position and the shackles ripped out of my skin.
I thought to myself – If I don’t take the opportunity to do this jump now, than it goes against everything I am trying to do personally , and everything my blog is all about
Around a month ago I saw a photo in my news feed of a Russian jumping into a cooling tower using 4 shackles through his skin. I thought it was one of the craziest things I have ever seen. I was talking about it at work the next day about how absolutely nuts it was. I had no idea that, only a few months later I would end up being served vodka in a bar by this Russian. I stopped to speak to him about BASE jumping, a sport I am obsessed with at the moment. Little did I realise that over the next hour I would learn this was the dude jumping into the cooling tower and was going to be given the opportunity to do a free fall rope swing, only to be caught by 2 shackles hooked through the skin in my back. He actually didn’t offer, I asked if I could do a jump the next day, but due food poisoning and getting intensely sick everything was delayed a few days. According to Stas I am the only person who has decided to jump this way. Everyone else had planned the jump and sometimes travelled from different countries to jump. It must be fate that I met Stas at Tonsai, at the perfect time in my life when I am pushing my limits.
But what was important is deciding WHY would I do this? I started this blog and recording my journey to show people how dope my life is, and to motivate others to live a life of awesome also. I always have conversations with people teaching how to not be scared doing activities that really are usually in a safely controlled environment, that you are just fighting years of evolution that creates fear. I needed to test myself on a greater scale. I have also been focusing on removing my lust for materialistic items and letting ego control my actions. As I knew there would be many cameras rolling, and I would have this story to tell for the rest of my life I had to make sure it was not to be some super tough hero or get my blog publicity. Now, lets face it… I’m a bitch for pain and I promote doing dangerous things safely. My reasons for doing this are because I love adrenaline and wanted the intense high, I want to see how far I can push myself when it comes to fear, I want to push my self to extremes and out of my comfort zone. Not just with extreme sports, but in all aspects of life. I also like to show what some people think is impossible, is in fact possible. I also had the crazy thought of, I deserve to put myself through this as self inflicted karma for all the times I went fishing and dragged poor fish through the water by their mouths with a hook for my pleasure. Something I now consider a horrible practice unless it is purely to eat. I wanted to see how far I could push myself and how I would react in a possible case of trauma. There is also the obvious, I love heights and I love free falling. I am keen to try all forms of free falling as I can possibly find, as long as it is calculated with little chance of death, I love my life. I decided I had to chance to experience something that very few people have, though it had risks involved I believe they were all calculated. I also wanted to test myself when it came to pain and train my brain to deal with pain and discomfort. With all the activities I do, though I try my best to keep safe there could be a chance one day I am stuck in an isolated place with a decent injury. Training my brain with this jump helped prepare me for such a scenario.
Who is the Russian that made this happen?
Stanislav or ” Stas ” as he is known, is part of the ” Sinner Team ” (Sinner Team Vimeo). As well as almost 100 BASE jumps he has carried out many body suspensions and all of the free fall body suspensions. He is the man pioneering the practice. He has great plans to do a world record jump that is ridiculously high, I believe higher then 200 metres to see what strains this puts on the human body we don’t know about yet. Part of his reasoning for this jump is to give others confidence to do smaller jumps. I know he plans to train other crews around the world how to carry out the practice, I hope he can not only pass on the technical aspects, but his style of mentoring and preparing someone for a jump. I can’t emphasise how much respect I have for Stas.
Before the jump
Stas showed me how to exit on the ground, and I did a practice jump wearing a normal climbing harness and chest harness. He was happy with my body position so we continued.
Stas first marked out where he had to fit the shackles, I was happy when he pointed out my skin was good for body suspension. Then he pierced my back with a sharp needle, then used that to push the bars of the shackles through and fitted everything so it was all fitted tight. Everything was out of fresh surgical packets that had been sterilised in a machine for single use. Obviously Stas used gloves and did everything the same as if you got a body piercing, just we were in the jungle. The pain was about what you would expect from a needle that size going in. Any one could manage it. Though it did increase fear, and suck a huge amount of confidence out of me. I was certainly thinking ” What am I doing, this is insane, can I actually do this”. Once the shackles were fitted I could walk around and they were painless. I was just scared I would trip over on a rock or something and rip them out in my now more fragile state.
My first body suspension
Stas set up a rigging system off a U bolt on an over hanging cliff that is used for rock climbing. It was funny because there were people climbing in the exact spot so they saw me walk around the corner with shackles fitted to my back. The idea was for me to be lifted and to experience a suspension, to know the feeling of what I would feel being lowered down post jump. Also to give me the confidence that my skin wouldn’t tear out, and that everything would hold. It was also good to do the suspension for the experience. It was really weird, hard feeling to describe. Panic sets in but I had to meditate through it. I had an amazing view over the beach and cliffs of Tonsai that added to the experience. I was only suspended a minute or so before I was let down. It did suck more confidence out of me and make me wonder if I could go through with the jump. It is not something I would really find that exciting or worth going through all the piercings effort personally, but I can understand why people do find body modification and body suspension enjoyable. I also love the artistic aspect, though without the jump it is not something I’d look to experience again. Saying that, I was not suspended long enough to have a full body suspension experience that Stas would have put others through in the past, which meant that I did not have enough time to relax and enjoy it as others might.
Straight after we did my suspension we walked back to the jump site. I had doubt in my mind. But with Stas guidance I decided I could still do the jump. He started fitting the rigging plate to my back and everything was set. I had to climb a really tricky ladder made of ropes and branches of trees all the way to the exit with the hooks moving in my back. This was a very nervous time with doubt going through my mind, but I had enough strength and control to climb on. Once I was on the exit there was happiness, I was up there I was excited, but super scared as I waited for Stas to climb up to the exit with me so he could hold the ropes in the correct position for the jump as well as complete his mentorship and guidance. After I checked all cameras were on, I gave a count down (the count makes it much easier for me to jump without hesitation as well as let everyone know I’m about to exit) and jumped. There was no hesitation, there was a short moment before I jumped but that was for my mental preparation. The feeling leaping through the air was crazy. Nothing else mattered at that moment. There an overwhelming feeling once I realised I was ok and the skin in my back was still all in one piece. I did panic at first hanging in the air by my skin and want to be let straight down (you hear me scream “ let me down “ ruins the footage, but shows the pain and panic I guess), but then I controlled my mind and relaxed. I did let out some frustration though as they were letting me down really slowly. My new friends assisting on the ground did not know how to use the equipment very well. It is a pretty amazing feeling to fly through the air and have such a small amount of skin catch you. I think the pain that was involved only increases the adrenaline. I would possibly jump again, but not in the same place, only somewhere else in the world if the jump was much bigger.
Watching the videos I notice I let out screams and look like I am in far more pain than I remembered. I think these screams did include some joy, though it looks nothing like that!
After the jump
Once on the ground it was a crazy feeling. Greatest adrenaline rush I have ever had. I was so happy. I was so proud of myself for going through with the jump and the way I did so. I was so happy with my personal achievement as I felt I had accomplished so much. I was completely off my tits for the next 4 hours giggling, smiling, laughing and struggling to do the smallest thing like put a camera back in its bag. Was easily the best high I have ever had. Writing this article a week or so later I still keep laughing to myself and smiling when I look at the piercings healing in the mirror. Overwhelming happiness.
The hooks were then taken out and my back was cleaned. Then the air had to all be pushed out of my back and patched. This all did not hurt very much. However about 4-5 hours later I got inflammation from my neck/hair line all the way down to my lower back. It was pretty painful. This had a lot to do with the fact there was still lots of air in my back. This was sore to sleep on but it was just discomfort. Also my glands / lymph nodes or something in my neck swelled up really bad due to the mild trauma. This was scary, though everything settled pretty soon. Any one could go through this. It was the worst part of the whole procedure. Saying that, 24 hours after jump I was rock climbing again.
The piercings have healed up nicely. I had friends cleaning them and putting on antiseptic for a few days. But I will love my 4 little scars that will be like a branding of achievement for me. They will mean more to me than any tattoo ever could. Though I am sure they wont be visible for very long. Maybe 2 years.
You would have also seen in the video I spray painted a bird, this is tradition and everyone who makes a jump at each site gets to spray paint the bird!
The whole time for the climb to the exit I was on a safety line connected to a normal climbing harness. This harness was also connected to the rigging plate in case I jumped incorrectly and the shackles ripped out of my back. This would prevent me from hitting the ground. Also I have had all the travel/disease vaccinations available, but I was not worried about Stas ability to pierce me with out risk of infection. The rigging system was all doubled up on a shared load. So there was a back up for everything in case any part of the system failed. The rigging was excellent. In the worst-case scenario I had travel insurance, good health cover as well as income protection. I do some crazy stuff but it is all calculated.
I can’t thank Stas enough for making this happen. As well as everybody that was there on the day that helped me in little ways with support and cameras etc. The footage and photos came out better than I expected. I am so thankful for those who helped me with that. I now have more confidence to successfully record my journey on camera with other activities I get up to around the globe.
There weren’t many people there but everyone that was helped to make it happen.
This jump proves that if you control your mind, your body will follow. I hope that reading this article it inspires you maybe not do try something as extreme, but realise that having great mental awareness you can really push your and body.
If you enjoyed this please share my site, as there will be many more articles similar with activities the average person can give a shot, or at least relate too. Along with my positive psychology and motivation philosophy and ideas on creating a higher self and a smart lifestyle.
If you would like to jump, I am sure Stas would love to guide you through it some where in the world! We want to see this practice grow on a massive scale! Another reason to share this article!
Please feel free to comment and ask questions about information I missed.
Hi, I’m Ian and I have made it my life mission to travel and experience everything this world has to offer. Follow me on my quest to live outside the boundaries of conventional society and see the world through the eyes of all our fellow inhabitants. I hope to inspire and motivate you to make your own path in life and push your own limits.