Trybe is not your ordinary gym. Founded in 2017 by a team of movement-enthusiasts, the 3,500-square-foot space in Wong Chuk Hang is an adult playground for handstands, tumble-turns and beyond. The programmes in acrobatics, gymnastics and dance all meticulously designed to enhance strength and make you move better. We sat down with Teddy Lo, one of Trybe’s co-founders, to talk perfect handstands and what makes a wellness business successful.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey towards becoming the founder of Trybe? In an effort to transition away from a lifetime of unhealthy habits, I looked to take control of the body via a mix of weightlifting, gymnastics and martial arts. I first co-founded Crossfit852 in 2012 and my thirst for continued knowledge and self-improvement led me towards movement and circus arts.
My own personal practice involves learning as many different things as possible and currently encompasses Acrobatics, Capoeira, Adagio, Juggling, Muay Thai, Weightlifting, Wushu, Calisthenics and various forms of dance. My training has taken me from Phuket to Australia to Canada and across the states in order to meet different masters of their craft and take whatever I can from them. I have competed in athletic competitions and also perform with international and local circus troupes, I enjoy nothing more than “converting” people from traditional fitness to a movement based practice.
The biggest challenges I faced in Hong Kong were two-fold: I had few training partners and we had nowhere to train. In a grossly understated summary, Trybe was formed to facilitate these two needs. To build a community of like-minded individuals in Hong Kong and offer them a home where they can continue to hone their skills. I am fortunate to have found partners willing to dive into this endeavour with me but even more grateful for every new student that walks through our doors willing to give us a shot.
What makes it different from a traditional boutique gym? To be honest, Trybe is more of a circus than a gym. We believe deeply in the circus culture of movement innovation, skill building, and putting community first. There is a place at Trybe for everyone, regardless of age and ability. Also, we focus primarily on movement, acrobatics, gymnastics, strength, dance, mobility, and callisthenics. These are all physical skills only require a bit of time, patience, and a good group of people to help you get there. In short, Trybe strives to provide a space for all bodies, cultures, and all skill sets to get together and learn from each other.
What are the most rewarding moments you’ve had during your time at Trybe? We have so many wins all the time it’s very difficult to pinpoint! I know for one I will never tire of watching people’s expression when they land their first backflip. I mentioned earlier that I place high value in cross-training and trying new disciplines; whether its seeing yogis attempt an acrobatics class, or a weightlifter work his splits in full body fix, I enjoy nothing more than someone diving into the deep end.
At Trybe, we teach a very friendly contemporary dance class every week, for most people coming from a traditional gym background this is probably the most intimidating class we offer: I remember there was one week where we had eight men in the class, they were feeding off each other’s energy very well and above all having fun. It was so enjoyable to watch that I found myself on the floor next to them within a few minutes.
What do you think are necessary requirements for a wellness business to have if they want to succeed in the competitive Hong Kong market? There is a lot of readily free information available on the internet now, and your average clientele in Hong Kong is very smart. Focus only on what you are passionate and good at, a small piece of the pie in a big city like Hong Kong is more than enough to feed you for a long time. Trying to do too many different things is one of the fallacies a lot of business owners will find themselves falling to. Be patient and build those 10 clients who will stand by you no matter what first, the rest will snowball from there.
What is the secret to getting into and holding a handstand? Without trying to be too pushy on sales, please find a coach. It doesn’t have to be me, but find someone who has a handstand that makes you go, “Ah, I want to look like that,” and learn from them. Not an online video, but a pair of eyes that are watching you and a pair of hands that know how to adjust you into the right position. Bad habits take twice the time to undo so the earlier they are identified the better.
The main components of learning a good handstand are:
- Use the wall to help you but do not rely on the wall to balance you. Your practice should involve as much freestands as possible.
- Everything you do on your hands is the same as your feet. Use your bones to support you and your fingers to balance you.
- Practice mindfully: you learn nothing throwing yourself at the wall for 20 minutes. Think and adjust something every attempt.
- It should go without saying, but fight for it: most people don’t.
What kind of classes does Trybe offer and who can join? Our current listing of classes includes: Handstands, Acrobatics, Tumbling, Partner acrobatics, Rings, Full body fix (mobility), Superhero flex (stretching), Dance, Calisthenics, HIIT and Strength training. We also offer kiddie versions of all the above as well. Everyone can join our classes and I say that with confidence. We have national level athletes that cross train with us to improve their main sport. Newbie gym goers looking to learn something new, weekend warriors, families, investment bankers, vets, pilots, actors, chefs… There is something here for everyone, and all of our introductory classes are designed for people with no prior experience.