Goth on Ice: Continuing to progress.

No clever quip for the title this time.

I am still working on several specific things going forward. In addition to the things I noted in my “2 1/2 years progress” video, I’ve been working on several things in specific.

First thing is that I note that when I finish Adult 6 and move forward into the “Free Skate” track I’ll need to be very confident with my backward skating. And, so, during those public skate sessions where there’s little enough traffic that I can safely practice, I’m spending a lot of time doing simple backward skating:

However, in order to finish with Adult 6, I have to get that two-foot to one-foot spin down. And in order to do that, I have to get the basic two-foot spin to a much higher level than I had been. Unfortunately, there are problems:

Instead of spinning in place, I “spin” while moving across the ice (completely out of the frame in that first attempt here). That’s called “travelling” and is a decided flaw. Since I took the above video I’ve been doing better but…still need to work on it. I’ve only felt solid enough to try doing the one foot spin twice. One time I got about two rotations on one foot before I had to step down from the spin. The other time I, well, I may have felt solid enough to try it but I wasn’t there yet. I managed to avoid falling anyway.

Part of the backward skating that I need for more advanced work is holding back edges. One of the elements that I have to learn for the first test to qualify for “entry level” at United States Figure Skating Association competitions requires continuous edges on a line, forward and backward. That’s basically alternating edges, one foot for half a circle, switch to the other foot, and proceed across the ice in big “S” curves. There are four you need to do: Forward Outside Edge, Forward Inside Edge, Backward Outside Edge, and Backward Inside Edge. Well, I’ve been able to do the forward edges adequately for level for some time. The backward edges, however? Not so much. So, recently, I’ve started working on them, having that exercise take the place of my backward edges on a circle work:

I did surprisingly well with the backward outside edges. The backward inside edges, however, were a different matter. I had a lot of difficulty getting a good “push” to generate momentum in the edge. I’ve been working on it since taking the above video and…it’s slow. Still, I can remember when I was at that point with the forward edges so I have confidence that with some time and effort I can get there.

And that’s where I am with my skating right now. We’re close, really close, to completing Adult 6 and I have a good start on a number of techniques in the Free-Skate series. There remains work to do, but we’re getting there.

One of the things I noticed about figure skating. Back when I was in martial arts (a couple of traditional striking arts and judo) is that I always had what I thought was pretty good proprioception, that’s the ability to “feel” what your body’s doing so you can get good control over it.

Figure skating, however, was a whole different world. What was good enough to seem me through Isshin-Ryu, Chinese Kempo, and Judo (among others) is totally inadequate for figure skating. The margin of error is much smaller and, unlike many techniques in martial arts you can’t compensate for imperfect form by muscling through. It’s been an eye opener and makes for an exciting challenge.

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