jo skates

Skating in the key of life

Skating chimp


Okay, so I feel like my life is full of skating epiphanies these days. These usually have to do with realizing that I’m not really on an edge, or not really pushing, or not transferring weight in the right way.  Oh, and not really using my free leg as an effective counter to my skating leg (but that’s another story).

This means that the correction is pretty basic-level stuff. But at the same time the “aha!” moment of each of these realizations feels quite profound; to be honest, I sometimes feel like my head will explode because everything just feels so darn different from what I’ve been doing in the past. Every week there’s some new cosmic shift in the way my skating body feels.

It is just a little hard to get my head around. An added issue is that that’s the end of the semester, and I am just tired to the bone. Not a lot of brain-space these days, which is why this blog entry is somewhat late.

I’m supposed to let go of thinking about these things quite so much. This past week, I was telling Laurie how much less effort it takes to skate on edges and with the proper lean (duh!). And she told me that her big break-through moment was when she was in the ice show and saw skating chimps. She realized then that skating just isn’t that complicated.

I just had to find some videos of skating chimps. So now I’m jealous–so agile! So versatile! So fearless!

Lots of lesson notes! Much less entertaining than the skating chimps, but too bad, that’s my world these days.

  • Shaffer push off. Make sure you set your edge, and use entire blade (especially the back part, the forward part spins. Use push to send hips over blade (rather than just extending foot forward), steady upper body position.
  • European threes. Push onto flexed ankle, use free leg as counter to rotation of forward outside edge. Make sure you push onto the back outside edge, then rise and allow the head to lead. Really accentuate the positions on the outside edges (both forwards and backwards) before releasing to rise and rotate).
  • Inside rockers. Practice maintaining inside edge during ankle flexion (bend, rise, bend). Exit edge is “forced.”
  • Reverse Kilian and Starlight patterns.
  • Inside mohawk, back three. Don’t “tick tock” on the mohawk.
  • Inside three, back three. Accentuate the fully extended leg after the push back; this will ensure that your weight is fully committed to the new skating leg.
  • Outside mohawk, back outside three.
  • Outside edge into either three turn or mohawk (skating edge feel like it describes a “J” shape)
  • Inside edges. Carry free leg in a more neutral position; use glutes.
  • Forward inside threes. Allow rotation to happen.
  • Back outside threes. There are three different possible positions with the lean and upper body. Mine is more forced (leaning out of circle); I should move towards the “middle” with body upright. Engage the foot and ankle, don’t break at waist to deepen edge.
  • Forward outside threes. Make sure you send your hips forward powerfully.

Author: Joskates

Don't see me on the ice? I may be in the classroom or at the theater, or hanging out with my family and friends.

4 thoughts on “Skating chimp

  1. That was the best video ever! I keep thinking to myself, if a chimp can do a spread eagle, then I should be able to as well! (No, I can’t.) Looks like Laurie has you working on many of the same exercises as me. We’ll get through these together – and hope that we can skate like those amazing chimps!


  2. My favorites are the backflips and the flying sit spins! I’ll be happy if I can even do that hydroblade thing with the rope! The exercises will help, I hope.


  3. I can’t imagine that there are any skating chimps anymore, but that was an interesting glimpse into a bygone era. Chimps are so darned strong and athletic! My skating epiphanies also tend to be of a very basic sort: things like, oh it really would help if I actually bent my knees or got on an edge. Wish I could just go for it as these chimps evidently do.


    • I wish I had that “go for it!” thing too, Mary. I think Laurie’s point is that I shouldn’t have quite so many skating epiphanies but rather just SKATE without thinking about it quite so much. Sometimes it helps not to overthink it. Then again, I think I’m past the age when just flinging myself around was an option. Sigh.


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