All the while the world is turning to noise
Oh the more that it’s surrounding us
The more that it destroys
Turn up the signal
Wipe out the noise – p. gabriel
Talking about rolling and body position can be a challenge on land. Inevitably we find ourselves standing there, reaching far over our heads to practice (or demonstrate) paddle placement on the surface of the water, sweeping the paddle, and recovering over the kayak. It doesn’t work, mind you. In fact, the more you ingrain the reaching over your head movements on land, the more you or your students will be reaching toward the bottom of the lake once they get out in the water. Still, there is just something in our crazy brains that makes us want to always reach UP.
As you know, when you’re upside-down in your kayak, and you set up to roll, physically your curving your body down, not up. It’s actually quite easy to show the set up position while sitting in a chair. Sit down, turn your body to the side from the hip, aligning your shoulders with the side of the chair. Then bend down so that your fists (with or without a paddle) are lined up with your hip. Next, tuck your upper body forward (in the airliner crash position.) When we roll, the paddle really never moves from this vertical position on an imaginary grid, it stays about in line with our hip & the surface of the water throughout the roll. We never reach UP.
So here’s my thought today. I think when we are learning to roll we should really make an effort to avoid ingraining bad body memory. Reaching over your head is not part of rolling your kayak. Reaching under your butt, is more correct.
As an instructor I know it’s very easy to find yourself reaching over your head to think through a roll, or to demonstrate sweeps, hand positions and whatnot. It just feels right. Still, we probably don’t help ourselves with students if we set that example. As soon as our student starts miming us under water, they’ll be reaching to the bottom of the lake. Even if we are saying differently, I’ve learned that students most often do what we do.. not what we say.. (Good life lesson by the way!) In fact I wonder how much time is wasted teaching bad body motion on land or standing beside a kayak, only to have to waste more time deprogramming what we just accidentally taught our students to do? ( Demonstrate, Deprogram, Do) I’d like to say I would never do such a thing.. but, well, you know… Yarg!!
Well, that’s my random thought for the day..
Oh, and speaking of rolling, if you’re on Facebook check out this storm roll video from Eiichi Ito.. It’s fantastic. (No arms over the head either!)