Originally Posted by oisin
With respect to the significance of semantics:
Would you regard all skiing as a matter of falling in this sense or would you make a distinction based upon control? I mean does being in a controlled descent mean that you are not falling? Does a release of that control which involves resistance to the force of gravity to enable gravity to take over (as in to enable crossover) imply that you are falling then? If the fall is a controlled fall in the sense that the outcome (as in the landing) is controlled, still said to be falling? I think it has been stated that a skier jumping for example is not falling. How do we distinguish with these use of the terms between falling and falling down? Is it purpose that maintains the distinction? I think semantics here, as has been pointed out, make it difficult to follow. I mean that most people would tend to make a distinction between falling down and skiing in control.
If I understand you, though. you are saying that in trying to teach a purposeful movement to allow gravity to pull you down the hill in a momentarily uncontrolled matter falling effectively communicates to the student the movement. How do you work to reassure the student that this is safe?
I want to start by apologizing for splitting hairs and being stubborn about certain words/definitions. To quote Popeye “I am what I am.”
Whether you are in control or not does not diminish the fact you are falling. It does however have a great impact on the landing and it may also affect your willingness to partake in the activity.
In judo an ankle sweep works well because you wait for someone, who is in control, to shift their weight from one foot to the other (as in walking) and once they are past the point of no return (i.e. falling - just prior to the foot touching the ground and too much weight off the other foot), you sweep the ankle and they fall. The opponent took the control away because it wasn’t secured. You can’t really sweep a weighted foot and sweeping an unweighted foot without the rest of the body in motion (i.e. standing still) does no good because you need to have the weight leaving the planted foot. The way around this of course is to not have your feet leave the ground. Not very efficient but it usually denies ankle sweeps.
My point of all that is to point out that most folks are in control when they are walking unless there is something else going on (impaired or dizzy). Folks aren’t concerned about walking on a flat surface on level ground, but that is a perfect spot to sweep an ankle.
Why bring Judo into this? One, it’s all about balance and two I’ve had the mountain “ankle sweep” me twice. The most memorable time made me the proud owner of a torn rotator cuff. The only difference was that I wasn’t walking but I was at the point of no return with regards to how I was balanced and I was just starting transition. The details of the incident were that my inside ski went into a large block of ice that was left over from the groomers. I didn’t see it and the block of ice caused my foot to come up in the air (ankle sweep) taking out the other foot and I hit the ground hard going about 25mph.
Without gravity and falling, gymnastics would be boring but because they are skillfully falling, it’s exciting. Also in gymnastics, the fall or landing, is graded as critical as the double back flip they just did. Pretty much anybody can do a flip but landing on your feet and not your butt makes it difficult.
I also disagree that a skier jumping isn’t falling. They aren’t falling on the way up, but like jasp’s ball, what goes up, must come down. Again, it’s all about “sticking the landing”.
A diver might be in perfect control on the way down, but they are falling.
As far as teaching this, that is why I said early that I start with “let go”. Lots of side slipping and the like so folks get used to being in “no edges” area. Also gets them to learn where the edges are. I don’t know that I would use the term "fall" to someone that was learning how to control the fall. To me that’s a discussion for more advanced students that are already comfortable and in control. I wouldn’t start a never ever class with “Let’s go learn how to fall down the mountain.”