Saturday, March 26, 2016

more technobabble

Prior mumble focused on "shin to win" and "be on the balls of your feet," and now arrives that concept's cousin for more ...uh... inquiry as to why things get mis-communicated and then turn into mantras of wrongness.

Here's where the buck-toothed cousin arrives at the upscale dinner party:

Maybe I should have phrased the question like this... "Technically speaking, why should one's hips be over their feet in the bottom third of a turn?"

The father's sister's son reveals his prominent beaver-biters with this: hips over feet.

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The origins here again are similar to those with "get on the balls of your feet."  You'd tell someone "hips over feet" if they habitually sit back and lever their turns with the swing of their big behonkus (as my brother would have said it in jr high).

Once again, it's a matter of addressing symptom rather than cause.  So, really:  why is this skier using his/her ass-pelvis-femurs-spine consortium to create turns (or at least ski-torquing/ski-braking forces) when it should be starting down at the feet with everything else happening to remain in balance, with the greatest economy possible.**

Ideally such a skier should be projecting the core down the intended line, and not using the hips/ass as a move-initiator or gravity-resistor.

Once again the skier needs to ratchet way back on slope difficulty and learn to move with the skis rather than defending against their movement.  That's the only way to un-make the hip/ass bias in the skier who gets told, "hips over feet."  And the advice "hips over feet" might be a useful cue, as long as it's understood as a cue for getting the core moving in the ways it should be moving.  But it's easily misunderstood as a mandate to have an artificial position of literal hips-over-feet-ness.

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Let Bob Barnes show why he's the guru.

Why do you need to believe anyone? Whenever I lead an instructor clinic, or a lesson, one of the first things I tell the participants is that they must not believe anything I tell them. Question it, challenge it, test it, and only then will you begin to understand and learn. Plus, of course, I could be wrong. (I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken....) But they must likewise not believe that anything I tell them is wrong, either, without questioning and testing it. (It just might be right!) Furthermore, they must not believe anything anyone else has told them. And they must question even what they themselves already believe. If you learn and believe what I tell you, you'll gain "knowledge" (but how will you know if it's right?). Only when you question it will you gain understanding. With understanding, you won't need to remember the "right answer." There will be no need to believe me, or anyone else, anymore!

Question everything. Question even--and perhaps especially--your own beliefs. Believing and understanding live on opposite ends of a spectrum--if you understand, you don't need to believe, and we only have to "believe" things we don't understand. In everything in life, we have the choice between questioning and believing--that is, between questioning and not questioning. It's your choice.

This may sound cynical, but it is far from it. It's really just being scientific--seeking evidence, and being open to evidence that is contrary to what I thought was true. It is amazing to me how often many people--including experienced instructors and race coaches--will see an image or watch a skier clearly demonstrating something that runs counter to their belief system, and yet somehow refuse to believe their eyes. They see what they look for, and turn a blind eye to contrary evidence. As CGeib often says, "believing is seeing"--there is no limit to how much our belief systems can color our perception. Even more interesting to me is that the higher the level of accomplishment, the more difficult it often becomes to "see." Questioning means opening your eyes!

The topic of this thread--fore-aft movements and managing fore-aft pressure--includes some of the the least-questioned and deepest-seated bits of conventional wisdom in all of skiing. You must be forward--it's one of the sacred canons of skiing. It's doctrine, it's dogma, and the mere thought of questioning it is out of the question, ... right? Well, in my opinion, the more something is unquestioned, the more it should be questioned. And when you take a good, hard, questioning, scientifically skeptical look at these issues, I believe (!) you'll find that a whole lot of the dogma is just, plain, wrong! (But please, don't believe me.) Why is there so much confusion about fore-aft movements? Simple--because so few people question it! Although really, I suggest that the problem is not so much confusion as ignorance. Confusion requires thought--questioning, letting "contrary evidence" in to challenge your belief system. When you believe without question, you are never confused. Confusion is not such a bad thing, really, is it? Ignorance is blissfully simple and clear. Learning requires the will to embrace a little confusion!

So how do you know who to believe, you ask? You don't need to believe anyone. Once you understand something, you won't need anyone else to tell you whether it's right or not. Mahatma Gandhi said, "Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear."

Question everything--especially me. I'm probably wrong. But you'll never know until you question!

You should own a copy of this if you find technobabble interesting.

And to clear up the way you have been thinking about forward-ness, in the context of skiing at least, just read Bob Barnes' later post in that same thread, here.



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** Though Nigel West Dickens and the cosmotarians may like to say I don't understand economics, I assure you that when it comes to efficiency in athletic movements, in conceptual logic, in reasoning, in argument, in rhetoric, in mechanical operation of a device or group of people (factory) -- I know economy and efficiency very well.  And I don't think many economists actually do, as their eye tends to resemble a bean-counter's.

1 comment:

Chet Redweld said...

It might be that one of those Born Masters would say this in response to the linked Barnes post about forward-ness:

"But he's talking about carving, I'm not trying out for ice capades."

Yes, that may be true, but if you're really at such a high level of skill and accomplishment already, you must know that riding a clean edge is the foundation for a controlled smear/drift. You get to the ability to smear at will after you've learned how to ride a clean edge, not before.

If you really are in a hurry to bypass all that hard snow and clean edge focus, you can come at improvement through the mogul comp route. They're disciplined there, and good bump skiers are just as good as racers when it comes to efficient, effective movement. Each category has the potential for one-dimensional focus. I've known racers who hated bumps and ungroomed crud, and bumpdogs who hated running gates -- even for fun challenge.