Thursday, July 14, 2011

In comes James Kennedy

James Kennedy, or JK as he's called by his friends, is the lead singer of Raph Brous's band. He's in his early twenties, not too tall, thin, with long brown hair reaching his upper back. He stands out at the skate park on account of his dynamism, the speed at which he performs his tricks, his overall 'gutsiness', and the incredible spring in his legs. One of the first times I saw him, he ran up a tree trunk and casually performed a perfect back flip off it just for fun. Since then I've watched him ollie over chairs from flatland, perform tre flips out of a bowl at shoulder height, and execute soaring varial heels over a hip [the point where two banks meet].

From my first impression I attributed his remarkable skating ability to a convergence of light weight, high energy level, explosive muscles, and rashness. However, on closer contact with him I discovered that there's much more to JK and his exceptional skateboarding skills. On one occasion JK noticed me struggling to land a 360 degree ollie. He approached me and told me to put down my skateboard. He then generously spent at least 20 minutes teaching me how to relax more when I skate, how to wind up my body to complete a 360 degree rotation in the air, among other highly helpful tips. In the months following, he kindly approached me in this manner on several occasions and offered me his instructions. He helped me learn to ollie properly, Kickflip, pop shuv it with height, tre flip, 180 ollie on a mini half pipe, nose slide on ledges, varial heel flip, and more. 

JK is an exceptionally considerate and generous person. He has a genuinely warm heart and enjoys helping people. This was made even more apparent when I suffered a gash under my lip and JK went to a cafe in order to procure serviettes to help me contain the bleeding. In terms of his instructional ability, I have never seen or heard clearer and more helpful instructions - and know, I have watched hundreds of trick tip clips on various websites from both amateur and professional skateboarders. 

I believe his advice is high quality for at least two reasons: his kindheartedness and genuine desire to help others brings him to inject much effort,  information, and personal experience into his instructions. It is also due to the nature of his intelligence. He has a sharp capacity for 'abstraction', that is, for stripping away the incidental and even physical elements of skateboarding manoeuvres and to see them as elegant skeletal forms or formulae.

James Kennedy exhibits high quality contributions at the three levels of human function: physical, emotional, and intellectual; body, heart, and mind...                         


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