(I actually wrote this post before my last couple posts, but in light of the turn of this discussion toward legitimate semantic differences, I didn't post it right away. It repeats some points that have already been brought up--sorry! I've modified it slightly to try to maintain the line of the discussion.)
Si, I do hope you're not implying that great rotary skill equates necessarily to powerful rotary movements, at least as I have described it. Or that my advocation of rotary skill suggests advocation of inappropriate or "excessive" twisting forces. We've been over this ground many times, and my position on this is very well documented. What I would say--and have said--is quite the opposite: gross, unrefined, inappropriate, or excessive rotary movements are a sure sign of a LACK of rotary skills! And they are an indication that "rotary skills" (not "more rotary") might well be the best topic for a particular ski lesson.
I'll bring up the car analogy again. Someone with great steering skills is much more likely to make subtle, fine, smooth, refined movements of the steering wheel, moving it only as much as needed--or even moving it not at all when appropriate--than someone with less steering skill. The same is true of braking--skillful drivers brake only when, and only as much as, necessary.
I do not believe that my point of view (that all three basic skills are critically important and equally fundamental) is one of several equally viable alternative perspectives. I suggest that it is the only one that makes sense at all! And I don't believe that Harald would disagree with it either, on a fundamental level (although we might well use different and possibly contradictory-sounding terminology at times).
Here are some bullet points that describe the premises for that assertion. If you disagree with one or more of them, then we may reasonably disagree in our conclusions as well:
- SKILL is a good thing. The more the better.
- The ski is our primary tool in skiiing, and we operate it with our foot.
- There are three things you can do to a ski with your foot attached to it: turn it left and right, tip it on edge or flat, and push and pull on it in different places and intensities.
- We can develop skill in any one, two, or three of these things, as we choose.
- Anyone who suggests that NOT becoming skillful in something is preferable to BECOMING skillful, is simply not thinking clearly.
If you don't disagree with any of these points, then you must agree with the conclusion that, therefore, it makes sense to develop rotary skill, along with the other two. How could you not?
Again, sound rotary movements (leg steering) are probably the least intuitive of the three basic movements. They are, arguably, the hardest movements to teach and perhaps to understand. In my mind, that is sufficient reason to make SURE I address them as needed.
But I have heard more than one instructor, even at the very highest levels, emphatically state that, because they are the hardest skills to teach beginners, we should not teach them! That's an argument I just don't buy! Do you?
And I will ALWAYS have a problem with any instructor or "teaching system" that proclaims that rotary skills--or any others--are categorically bad, that they are obsolete, or that they have no use in modern skiing. That modern skis can do many things with much less rotary input than skis of the past (or even no input at all) is all the MORE reason to address the SKILL of rotary--if only to refine its application to the bare, essential, minimum. And as Ott has pointed out, there are many situations, from novice level to World Cup, where powerful application of twisting forces is vitally important.
I honestly do not believe that Harald Harb, or any of the top trainers of PMTS, would argue against that--indeed, Harald's "liftline manuevering device" (braking wedge) alone is proof that he does not. I guarantee you that I can put you in many "typical" situations that you could not manage without some sort of active rotary application--and that the basic PMTS progression does the same! Try simply walking/sliding around a small circle on the flats without actively turning your skis with your feet. Any progression that involves "Thousand Steps" involves active (and sound) rotary mechancs, and develops the rotary skill. Since I know that Harald is a big advocate of such stepping drills (as am I), I think that anyone who simply says he "doesn't teach steering" is misrepresenting him most unfairly! (His "Harb Carver" learning progression, for one, uses "the PMTS ... Progression, combining stepping and tilting to create immediate direction changes" (his words).
Stepping (at least the diverging step involved in this progression) and tilting, I might point out, clearly invoke rotary, edging, AND pressure control skills, involve turning, tipping, AND pushing/pulling movements. All three basic fundamentals!
Harald may--and quite clearly does--use a different operating definition of the term "steering" than I do, and I have no problem with that (except when he or someone "speaking for him" criticizes my points based in HIS definition!). He does often equate it to forceful twisting or pivoting, and even to pushoff (negative, tails-out) movements--movements that I fully agree are incompatible with fundamentally good, modern turning technique. But again, it would be highly unfair to him to suggest that he does not teach some of what I have described as sound, essential, steering activities, by MY definition. Get past the semantic differences, and you will see that in many respects, we advocate much the same things.
"Bob says steering is essential." (True!) "Harald suggests that steering is bad." (Also arguably true.) "Therefore they fundamentally disagree." Nope, not necessarily, and not on this point, at least!
Harald may not like the word "steering"--it may connote all the wrong things to him, and again, that's fine--he shouldn't advocate it, in that case. But he--and you--must also accept that others use the term differently. I rarely, if ever, use the term without describing just what I mean by it. Object to the concept, if you like, but don't object to a good thing just because you don't like its name!
Finally, you can ALWAYS count on my vehement and unrelenting objection to any unqualified suggestion that "rotary is bad," because it is simply bad advice!