Monday, April 23, 2012


Here are a few thoughts concerning the nature of foundations and how they relate to skateboarding:

a) Foundations pervade an entire structure:

Once, an individual approached the Alter Rebbe, the first Master of what was to become the Chabad-Lubavitch movement, commenting that Chassidic teaching seems to repeat concepts over and over again. The Rebbe replied, 'Though books merely repeat letters of the Alphabet, that doesn't mean they are all the same!'

The idea is that in every discipline, skill, or endeavour, there are foundations which are reiterated constantly. Yet, they do not stifle creativity - they facilitate it.

Hence, the Ollie, Shuvit, kickflip, etc - the basics of skateboarding - are repeated in ever more complex tricks, only in different combinations and variations.  

b) If a foundation is weak, it may go unnoticed at first. However, as one attempts to build upon it, its structural weakness becomes increasingly apparent. For instance, if one builds two towers with building blocks, one with an infirm foundation, the difference between them may remain invisible until the towers are quite tall. For then, the unsteady foundation cannot support the structure. Similarly, a skater's weakness in fundamental tricks may go unnoticed until he begins to attempt complex or 'big' manoeuvres.

c) The foundation is the the most vulnerable part of any structure. Hence, if one wants to topple a building, he should aim at its foundations rather than at one of its stories, and certainly not at a window. In skating, therefore, if one wants to have solid performance of any trick, skate fundamentals must be well mastered.

d) Foundations are usually concealed under the ground. Hence, if in a game of skate, a skater performs an Ollie or a basic Manual (Wheelie) competitors may view it as somewhat peculiar. For the individual is performing a trick that is so fundamental that it is usually taken for granted.  

e) Foundations are points of bonding, they hold fast many different elements of a structure together.

If, for analogies sake, we compare the centre of a circle to a foundation, and imagine lines extending from it in every direction unto the circle's perimeter, we find that the closer the lines are to the foundation, the closer they are to each other.

Now, if each line signifies a different skateboarding trick, it follows that one lacking strong foundations, even if he has mastered several tricks, may find it unduly difficult to master other tricks - for the distance between the lines is great. One, however, who has solid foundations can more readily master all different kinds of tricks - as the distance between the lines is much smaller.

It follows from all the above points, that if we are finding it difficult to master a certain trick, we may, at times, need to dig beneath the earth to examine the state of our foundations and strengthen them if necessary. Subsequently, we can ascend up our structure of skills and build upon them with a greater likelihood of success...                    

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