jo skates

Thoughts about skating and the practice of everyday life

Snow dharma

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So last Monday we got over a foot of snow in just a few hours. Needless to say, it made driving tricky. I made it to the rink okay (that was midday) but by the time I left my office it was really slow going. It took me nearly an hour and a half to get home (and it’s usually only around a 10 – 15 minute commute).

I have a good friend in Tokyo, and she said that it snowed heavily there as well, which is a big deal. She sent me a picture of her campus where students had built a snowman, or as they call them there, yuki daruma. This is based on Bodhidarma, the well-known Buddhist monk, who is called Daruma. The snow version only has two spheres, rather than our typical three-ball American version.

I love the idea that even though Yuko and I are many miles apart, it snowed for both of us on the same day. I also love this new variation on the snowman, and how I finally understand why this sculpture in our sculpture garden has only two spheres.

IMG_7049

Gary Hume, “Back of Snowman” (2001)

The yuki daruma, or snow dharma, reminds me that there is something more to snow than just inconvenience. Time to contemplate, appreciate, and commemorate! Such big words for simple actions.

Speaking of simple actions, here are some notes from last week’s lessons:

  • I heard a lot from both coaches about the principle of bending your ankles rather than your knees. When I bend my knees, I tend to let my backside go out and pitch my upper body forward (like doing a squat). So Laurie told me to think about my shins like levers being activated in the “forward” position. Wow, this works really well. We did this on my warmup forward swizzles, with an emphasis first on the inside, then the outside edges. Part of my issue is still unequal amounts of weight distributed across the blade (my right ankle is still stiff, so the lever on that side requires more concentration).  We also did this with swing rolls and cross rolls. Success!
  • Inside edge swing rolls need more attention so they don’t start off flat.
  •  Forward outside three, back edge: don’t back out of step forward.
  • Back crossovers: should be little effort with more speed, and equal pushes.
  • Inside rocker, change edge, back outside three. This led to a much more focused session on. . .
  • Inside rockers: really think about the position of the free leg and how the skating leg and free leg motion work against one another (turning out and in). Also think about upper body lean, which requires speed.
  • Outside brackets. Haven’t tried these in a while. Still challenging, but I’m getting a better idea of what direction I’m supposed to go.

 

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Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

4 thoughts on “Snow dharma

  1. Oh wow – I had no idea that the Japanese snowmen only had 2 spheres! And I can totally relate with the ‘squat’ position you’re describing when bending my knees. That’s the “loaded diaper” position that my coach likes to tease me about! LOL

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  2. Eva, I’m going to be thinking about loaded diapers all day. Eewwww!!!

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  3. One could guess that the snow creation is in Japan because it’s especially cute. Look at those eyes! Actually it looks a little bit like an owl. I suppose that’s appropriate since both owls and Buddhist monks are wise. Foot of snow and you were still driving, you Midwest girl? Don’t try that in Seattle, LOL.

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  4. I love the idea of a wise snow owl, Mary! I would rather not drive in the snow, but it’s really unavoidable here. Oh well, at least rinks are plentiful here too.

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