Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Balance VI: The Cedar and the Reed

' flexible like a reed, and not rigid like ceder...' 

Flexibility is important for balance. This is visible in the way reeds endure strong gusts of wind. Unlike the rigid ceder which snaps or uproots, the reed accommodates the force of the wind, bending with it, and remains intact. Similarly, one inflexible when skateboarding, be it physiologically or psychologically, will have difficulty staying on  his board when he's unexpectedly tilted off centre. One who's relaxed and pliable, however, tends to yield to the force by bending with it, and resiliently returns to an upright position.

I experienced this when learning 180 degree Ollies on transition. I'd often fail to complete a full 180 degree turn and would land on an angle as I came back down the ramp. This often caused me to tilt back and come off my board. In response, I began stretching my abdominal, inner thigh/groin muscles and my quadriceps. In only a few days I found that when I landed my 180 Ollies on an angle and was thrust back, I could accommodate the force by arching my back somewhat. Though I looked as though I was about to fall backward, on the most part I was able to remain on the board and regain my balance.

This principle also applies to human character traits. When an individual is rigid in his views, he becomes intolerant of opposition and easily snaps and angers. One who's more humble, however, has the psychological flexibility to appreciate other people's perspectives alongside his own. He's thus more tolerant of other people's opinions and viewpoints, and is less likely to 'snap'...                    

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