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Have you tried Mr Woo?

Ahead of a demonstration and workshops, record-holding freestyle champ Archis Patil talks about his passion for the unique sport

When 25-year-old Archis Patil began his career as a freestyle footballer in 2010, things weren't easy. The Mumbai-based performer played professional football for Mumbai FC and Air India in the under-19 category. Due to injuries, Patil had to give up professional football. "India is a cricket-oriented country. It has not been easy. Initially, people would say, 'circus kar raha hai'. People are not used to accepting things that are different, easily. That made me stronger. I used to train for six to seven hours a day," says Patil. "I loved football and wanted to continue being associated with the sport. Freestyle football doesn't have any rules; you don't need background. It doesn't matter where you are from or what training you had but just how much skill you are able to develop. Anybody from 10 to 50 years can try it. You don't need to even know football!" suggests Patil, adding that he learnt the art from watching videos and tutorials of international players online. He was also deeply inspired by the film, Shaolin Soccer.

Archis Patil shows off his football freestyling skills in front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur
Archis Patil shows off his football freestyling skills in front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur

Patil, who dubs himself an entertainer and has a diploma in mechanical engineering, has performed in many countries, participated in reality TV shows like Roadies (2015) and has been a part of Bollywood films like ABCD. He is also a dancer and was part of the Breakdance group called Fictitious that reached the finale of India's Got Talent 2010. He enjoys teaching the sport too. "It's a very new, urban sport. I didn't have a mentor when I started, which is why I think it's very important for me to teach or help those who are starting out. The first thing is the 'wow' factor. People ask, 'how did you perform that stunt?'" says Patil who will hold workshops in association with Torba.

"I tried to adapt the style with my surroundings. I have friends who dance and perform styles like Hip-Hop and Breakdance. I started using those in my performances too," he adds. He believes that his technique as well as the sport has evolved a lot since he started out.

"Each country has its own style. The biggest moment for me in all these years was when my favourite freestyle Nam the Man from Ireland, whose videos I had watched to learn the art, invited me to judge a championship in Malaysia. I had met him as a fan boy when he visited India in 2010," says the Mumbai-based entertainer. "I'm a Messi fan, and my ultimate dream is to perform in Barcelona for the team," he
concludes.

On: Today, 4 to 6 pm
At: Torba Turf, Juhu. opposite SNDT, Juhu.

Dummies guide to freesyle football
Freestyle Football is the art of juggling a football using feet, knees, lower legs, chest, shoulders and head while simultaneously performing creative and skilful moves keeping the ball airborne.

Uppers: The act of juggling a football with the head, chest, neck and shoulders.

Lowers: This involves leg, feet and thigh movements

Sitters: A set of tricks performed while seated

Around The World: Balance the ball on your foot in mid-air. When the ball is steady, whip your foot over and around it, catching it on the same foot on the way down.

The Zidane: Let the ball fall to the left of your standing foot. Bring kicking foot behind standing foot in order to flick ball up on the half volley.

Mr Woo: While on your back, support your hips and moving legs in pedalling motion. Move ball from foot to foot using soles of the feet.

— Info courtesy: www.archisfreestyle.in

Winning streak
>> Represented India in two popular world youth tournaments — Gotha Cup in Sweden and Dana Cup in Denmark.

>> Guinness World Record Holder for India for the most shoulder spin rolls in a minute. He completed 63 rolls in 60 seconds by creating a world record in 2011.

>> Limca Book of World Records for the most number of consecutive side head stalls in 60 seconds where he completed 96 side headstalls in 2012.

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