Monday, June 13, 2011

Skate Psychology I

Kabbalah teaches that there are three primary cognitive faculties: Chochmah - raw experience, Binah - Understanding, and Da'at - application. All three are important for optimal progress in skateboarding. As I'll explain.

Chochmah involves observing people performing tricks. Binah involves analysing and articulating one's observations by identifying parts of a trick and the order in which they're to be performed. Da'at is the ability  to execute the preceding two levels of thought in action.

Let's use the Ollie to illustrate:

Chochmah: In observing another skater performing an Ollie one gets the general impression of what an Ollie is.

Binah: On analysis one finds that an Ollie consists of several parts performed in a sequence:
1. correct foot placement; 2. crouching down in preparation for the trick; 3. slamming the tail of the board on the ground with the back foot in order to cause it to pop up; 4. jumping up with the board by springing off the back foot; 5. sliding the front foot up the board in order to level out the board mid-air; 6. remaining centred above the board; 7. landing with feet directly above their respective set of trucks; 8. crouching down again in order to absorb the impact of landing.
Da'at: Having formulated such instructions in one's mind on how to perform an Ollie one puts them into practice.
These three stages really form an ongoing cycle. As one attempts to perform the Ollie he typically finds it harder than he thought. The correct sequencing may be different to the way he imagined, the amount of force needed for each part of the trick is gradually gauged, and each part of the trick is focused on and individually analyzed, etc. The feedback from experience results in a refinement of one's conception of the trick, which, in turn, feeds back into one's performance of the trick. It is by oscillating between practice and thought that a trick is eventually learnt.

But this is only the first stage of another set of three...           

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