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In the center.

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Over the years I've noticed changes in the words that I use in my lessons. For example; turn the feet, evolved into guide the skis. I've been aware over the past couple seasons that I have replaced the word balance with the the word center.
I refer to someone being centered or seeking the center. A skier in the center is in control. One must be centered to move accurately on their skis. Etc. The first four days on snow this year have given me an insight into why this may have happened.

DavidM's first couple posts on the Balance thread got me to thinking about how we adapt from our everyday world (which is a high friction, level, revatively slow,gravity dominated enviornment) to the skiing enviornment (low friction, tilted, fast, and filled with forces other than gravity). In everyday life I balance against the force of gravity. Skiing I must not only balance against gravity but I must balance against the force generated by the ski traveling across the surface of the snow and i'm going fast enough to have considerable kenetic energy to have to deal with. So, rather than just being in balance I have come to think of myself as finding the center of a complex web of forces, from which I can then direct those forces to move me around the hill.

Now, does this make any sense to anyone out there or do I just have too much time on my hands because can't ski until tomorrow?

post #2 of 9
It makes a lot of sense. In that off slope everyday world you refered to, we move about by placement of out feet from one spot to another such that they guide and support the directional flow of our CM. In skiing acomplish much the same by continously sliding out feet around relative to our CM as we interact with the forces and new variables of the tilted environment you mention.

When you watch beginners, their balance seems "upside down". When they first get into ski boots their feet feel trapped, lacking their normal agility. You see them balance by moving the CM around over stationary feet with big arm and body movements.

I think beginners need time to aquire what I call "skier specific balance reactions", by getting used to the equipment and the sliding of the feet for balance. This is why I give a high level of importance to focusing their activities on the flats to moving their feet, even before skis are put on. Tipping the feet, schuffling, scootering on one ski, figure 8's, etc. Once they have a chance to attain some degree of movement comfort, their balance starts to get back to normal by balancing a quieter CM over more active feet.

Jus think, if it wasn't for that "tilt", we'd all be cross country skiers.
post #3 of 9
This time of year we all have too much time on our hands.

But, you hit it right on the head. Times have changed and 20 years ago you couldn't do enough to get people forward. The emphasis was pressure on the front of the boot to lighten the tails for the weight/unweight action necessary to turn.

Moderate shapes brought us into "push through the shovel", not quite centered but heading that way.

With the more radical sidecut, now more emphasis is on lateral movement across the ski ..... even more centered.

PSIA Centerline and the gliding wedge took us again to center.

Did we finally get it right? [img]graemlins/evilgrin.gif[/img]

All of the old martial arts have taught us to be in the center. In Karate you find your "hara", somewhere around the pit of your stomach and all techniques originate there. In Aikido, old Usheba use to talk about whirling about with your opponent at the center of all your actions... [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]

[ November 17, 2002, 09:18 AM: Message edited by: yuki ]
post #4 of 9
Isn't it amazing how simple Eastern thought ("hara") is from Western Science (the traditional academic approach)? The one is like a poem, straight to the heart of the matter, where the other is a detailed dissertation in mannered form, utilizing the strict formula of hypothesis-antithesis-synthesis-thesis.

Do you haiku? How do we get to the simplicity on the other side of complexity? How do we restrain all the knowledge we have acquired in understanding the complexity, to distill it to one word like hara?

I think we all intuitively know what hara is. One doesn't need a Ph.D. to access the concept. This goes to the wisdom that all learning is pattern recognition. In most cases, intuition is the part of us that first recognizes a pattern. (This is an empirically untested statement--purely IMHO.)
post #5 of 9
I've always felt that given an empty mind our body will simply treat those other forces you speak of just like gravity. I mean, can our body really tell one from the other? Our mind certainly distinguishes between them. And who amoung us has an empty mind? Not me!

With beginers I do what arcmeister does, I spend time getting them familiar with confines of their ski boot, and tipping and directional movements before they ever get a ski (single) on. Gotta learn how to stand and move before we can go.

Move like a river, stand like a mountain. Rooted, with a relaxed natural connection to the earth. Nolo, I know you want to learn something from me, but I'm just a begining grasshopper on this journey. :
post #6 of 9

Makes plenty of sense to me. The core or center drives all forces. These can be actions, reactions or conscious thought. Centering is about finding balance. Sort of creating a calm inner place to counter or "control" the forces swirling around one. With skiing centering can start off the hill to achieve the micro goals of centered skiing.

Pilates is my call to kick start the musculature related centering process before you hit the hill.


taking your line
intuition is the part of us that first recognizes a pattern
one step further "recognition of a pattern is what kick starts the centering process" IMHO


[ November 17, 2002, 11:02 PM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #7 of 9
skiing enviornment (low friction, tilted, fast, and filled with forces other than gravity).
I think the biggest difference between our everyday life and skiing is that when skiing we are effectively on a moving surface whereas in our everyday life we are pretty stable.

Balanc ing is the key more than balance. You are right about it coming from your core.

On another note, I always prided myself on my balancing abilities, but I am finding that as I get older it is a skill that is diminishing over time. It's worrisome because it wasn't something I noticed until recently. I decided that it is a skill I should work on and thus have been going to a Core Board class once a week.

post #8 of 9
OH YEAH! WV Skier goes to Core Board Class once a week! Awesome! Core board class is great, since the balance challenge is not extreme. Beacuse of this, you are able to practice your balance in a highly dynamic way, in constant motion! I often see people on some of the more extreme balance toys, simply trying to hold a stable position.
Unless I am totally off center about technique [pun intended} I don't think this is what skiing is really about.

Something I notice in many activities, is people's tendencies to have their base of support behind their center, as opposed to over it. If you belong to a gym, watch a step class to see what I am talking about.

In the same way that some people think of balance as only a static activity, many people seem to think of their center as being static. In Centered Riding, the author asks us to think of our center as a floating ball, a MOVING center, so to speak.
post #9 of 9
Just another thought.

Athlete’s in general what to be in a neutral stance. Why? In a neutral stance they can commit to change in any direction. If you see a corner faked out in a football game I would bet he was leaning! In skiing to me neutral is dynamic making it a lot more difficult to find. Some how neutral makes more sense to me. I am not forward or back but neutral. Neutral allows me to balance and re balance based on snow conditions and terrain. Neutral allows me to tip the ski using the whole curvature of the ski and not get hooked around by tip pressure on the widest part of the ski or not have the ability to release the edge by too much tail pressure. Neutral allows me to release, and steer or pivot, or slide the whole ski as I wish, sometimes of course! Neutral allows me to move forward, aft, or lateral but it is a place I go back to as soon as I can. Neutral is just another word for me but it seems to fit into my vision of where I must be to balance and ski. I kind of like neutral. [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ November 27, 2002, 02:00 PM: Message edited by: Learner ]
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