Learning to idle

Andya5@aol.com wrote:
|> I also find I tend to stand up on the pedals instead of sitting. Sitting
|> helps because you can use your thighs to press on the seat and help steer. I
|> still need to work on setting down more.

The secret to smooth idling is keeping most of your weight on saddle.
Remember that the unicycle moves under you, while your upper body stays
more or less upright. Idling is definitely not merely riding back and
forth. Also, make sure the saddle is at the proper height – if it’s too low
you’ll tire very quickly.

I hope this helps. See my book for more.

Javck Halpern IUF Vice President

Re: Learning to idle; The importance of learning ambidextrously

Thanks Andy, for the wonderful ideas concerning idling!

Something I think Andy forgot to mention is: Please take time to learn with
either pedal down. You won’t want to be able to idle with only the right foot
down, for example, as this will limit your future possibilities. If you know how
to idle ambidextrously, one foot idling or juggling while idling may become
easier to learn. Plus it can occasionally be a bit embarrassing when one’s path
is blocked and thus one needs to idle, but the “wrong” foot happens to be down
at the moment.

Unicycling may not be the obviously ambidextrous sport, that juggling is, but
there are great rewards for the unicyclist who pursues all skills
ambidextrously. If one side of your body is dominant, then increase practice
time (even double it) and your weaker side will eventually catch up to your
dominant side.

Don’t give up on being an ambidextrous unicyclist. The Unicycling Force is
within us all. We just need to channel it into Perfect (Ambidextrous) Balance.
Remember, most ambidextrous unicyclists didn’t start out that way, they worked
extra hard on their weaker side to become ambidextrous in all their skills!

Please excuse me for getting up on the soap box and preaching Ambidextrous. I
just see too many good unicyclists who would be great, if only they heeded this
word (Ambidextrous) and lived it!

Well I’m off the soap box. Please send positive responses to the list. Send your
email “Pie in my Face” to:

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com>

P.S. Cherry pie is my favorite, at the risk of being Politically Incorrect (PI).

Re: Learning to idle; The importance of learning ambidextrously

>Unicycling may not be the obviously ambidextrous sport, that juggling is, but
>there are great rewards for the unicyclist who pursues all skills
>ambidextrously. If one side of your body is dominant, then increase practice
>time (even double it) and your weaker side will eventually catch up to your
>dominant side.

>Send your email “Pie in my Face” to: {Ken Fuchs}
>
>From my experience working with the National Circus Project, and with
hundreds of physical education teachers in hundreds of schools, ambidextrousity
is more of a disorder than a desirable characteristic. It is normal for a person
to have a dominant side, and a non-dominant side. A truly ambidextrous person,
as I understand it, lacks that dominance.

This is not to suggest that skills shouldn’t be learned with the opposite foot
(or hand)! Especially the basic unicycling skills, such as idling, mounting, and
perhaps riding one foot, should be learned with both feet. I don’t know if any
amount of practice can make the non-dominant side as skilled as the dominant
side, but it’s easier than you think to train it. The non-dominant side will
learn most skills more quickly than the dominant side, as long as the dominant
side already knows how to do it.

When you can do the basic skills with both feet, you will be a stronger, more
stable rider, and better able to recoup your balance in all situations.

The preceeding message was cherry flavored.

John Foss, President International Unicycling Federation unifoss@cerfnet.com
voice: (516)731-7613

Re: Learning to idle; The importance of learning ambidextrously

John Foss <unifoss@CERF.NET> writes:

>From my experience working with the National Circus Project, and with hundreds
>of physical education teachers in hundreds of schools, ambidextrousity is more
>of a disorder than a desirable characteristic. It is normal for a person to
>have a dominant side, and a non-dominant side. A truly ambidextrous person, as
>I understand it, lacks that dominance.

Please cite your sources, John.

I’m now convinced the that desire and persistence required to learn to ride a
unicycle may be more of a disorder than a desirable characteristic. 8->

You are certainly not suggesting that a non-ambidextrous person working hard to
become ambidextrous in his sport will develop a disorder rather than a desirable
characteristic.

>This is not to suggest that skills shouldn’t be learned with the opposite foot
>(or hand)! Especially the basic unicycling skills, such as idling, mounting,
>and perhaps riding one foot, should be learned with both feet. I don’t know if
>any amount of practice can make the non-dominant side as skilled as the
>dominant side, but it’s easier than you think to train it. The non-dominant
>side will learn most skills more quickly than the dominant side, as long as the
>dominant side already knows how to do it.

I don’t agree, the non-dominant side will take longer to learn a skill, since by
definition the dominant side always learns faster. Perhaps what you really mean
can be illustrated by the following example: A unicyclist who learned to ride
one footed five years ago with his dominant foot, and just learned to glide with
his dominant foot, decides its about time he learn to ride one footed with his
non-dominant foot. So based on his accumulated experience over the past five
years in other skills using both the dominant and non-dominant foot, learning to
ride one footed with his non-dominant foot may now be a “piece of cake” (take
less time than it did five years ago for his dominant foot.)

>When you can do the basic skills with both feet, you will be a stronger, more
>stable rider, and better able to recoup your balance in all situations.

It seems you are suggesting that ambidextrousness should be a goal for only
basic skills.

I have and continue to suggest that ALL skills should be done ambidextrously
(in every possible way you can define a skill in an ambidextrous sense - i.e.
hop with the right pedal forward as well as hop with the left pedal forward -
one footed skills are not the only skills that need to be worked on in an
ambidextrous sense!). Also start learning a skill with the non-dominant foot,
when you begin to have some success learning that same skill with the
dominant foot.

The IUF Achievement Skill Levels give a weighting to ambidextrousness between
our two extremes. Often a one-footed skill in one level must be done with both
the left and the foot in the next or second next level.

To be fair to you, John, I think you probably agree with the amount of
ambidextrousness that the skill levels require.

Hey, is this the beginning of our first controversy, here on the uni list? The
person that posts last wins! :sunglasses:

Stop on Top,

Ken Fuchs <kfuchs@winternet.com

Re: Learning to idle; The importance of learning ambidextrously

kfuchs writes:

>I don’t agree, the non-dominant side will take longer to learn a skill, since
>by definition the dominant side always learns faster. Perhaps what you really
>mean can be illustrated by the following example: A unicyclist who learned to
>ride one footed five years ago with his dominant foot, and just learned to
>glide with his dominant foot, decides its about time he learn to ride one
>footed with his non-dominant foot. So based on his accumulated experience
>over the past five years in other skills using both the dominant and
>non-dominant foot, learning to ride one footed with his non-dominant foot may
>now be a “piece of cake” (take less time than it did five years ago for his
>dominant foot.)

What you are talking about here is skill transfer from one system to another
(from the left hand to right hand, etc). There has been a great deal of research
done on this issue. I won’t bore you with it here, but there is a rather good
article in the juggling archives about skills transfer. The research shows that
working on a skill with one leg improves the other leg (or had, or foot, or
whatever). This means you are allways better off getting a skill to a good level
on the dominant side, before learning the skill on the weak side.

The article is called “Whats the Best Way to Practise Juggling?” by David
Naylor, its in the juggling archives in a file called naylor.practise. I’ve got
a copy if anybody wants it.

shaun

Re: Learning to idle; The importance of learning ambidextrously

>It’s interesting that you mentioned ambidexterity as a disorder.
>
>My mother refered to my “ambidexterity” as a left-right disorder and she
said
>that it could result in some confusion, though I don’t remember experiencing
>any confusion from it. I write right handed, but I can only ride my
unicycle
>left footed.

Why only left footed? Or is that how this whole thing got started, with a
discussion about learning skills on the non-dominant side . . .

>It might sound as though my intelligence may be lacking. If I had heard another
>person tell me this, chances are that I may assume the same thing. Yet, my IQ
>is well above average. On mathematical and mechanical aptitude tests, I have
>actually scored 100% on exams that people are not supposed to finish and at my
>university, I scored the highest and second highest in the William Lowell
>Putnam mathematics examination. The lowest grade I have received so far at
>Stanford has been a B+. In high school, I participated in honor bands and
>orchestras at the county and state level often being the youngest musician to
>be accepted, and I reached the all-star rank in 4-H at a young age.
>
>So, why can’t I remember three items or quote sentences back verbatem?
>Strange…
>
> Dan

Believe it or not, you fit the profile of many unicyclists. First of all, none
of us are perfect. Don’t worry too much about the little things. Secondly, many
of the unicyclists I know have overcome various obstacles in their lives, or
ride despite sometimes serious physical or mental disorders.

At the annual National Unicycle Meet, sponsored by the Unicycling Society of
America, Charlotte Fox Rogers (mother of rogers@isi.edu) gives away a trophy
every year in the name of William Jenack, the Society’s main founder. Over the
years, this award has been given either to long-lived riders, or to riders who
have overcome major obstacles in their lives. One boy was legally blind,
another was deaf, another had undergone several open heart surgeries in his
lifetime, etc.

My experience with left/right dominance comes from teaching juggling and other
basic circus skills witht the National Circus Project. From observing kids, and
from talking to hundreds of P.E. teachers, there is a general consensus that
lack of dominance is not necessarily a hindrance, but slows some people down
when learning physical skills.

This doesn’t really matter, since we all learn at different speeds anyway.
Nobody knows the full reasons why, so you just learn as much as you can, as fast
as you can, and be happy with the thing that separates you from 99% of the
world’s population; you can ride a unicycle!

John Foss, President International Unicycling Federation unifoss@cerfnet.com

Re: Learning to idle

Jack Halpern wrote:
>The secret to smooth idling is keeping most of your weight on saddle. Remember
>that the unicycle moves under you, while your upper body stays more or less
>upright. Idling is definitely not merely riding back and forth.

    Amplifying Jack's description a little: when idling, think of your
    unicycle as the pendulum of a grandfather clock. The pendulum moves
    back and forth while the face of the clock remains still. You hands
    shouldn't sweep around like the second hand of a clock, either (uh-oh,
    I've overextended my metaphore); use them to make small adjustments to
    your balance.

    If I wanted to mix metaphores, sports, and cultures, I'd suggest
    that everything from your hara (roughly, your belly button) on up
    should remain stable... actually, I'd want to verify such a
    statement first. :-)

    Please take the effort to practice idling with each of your foot in the
    "down" position. The lower foot provides energy on each down stroke, and
    stores it, like a spring, on each up stroke. The upper foot guides the
    unicycle lightly. This is sort of like the roles of the upper and lower
    hands in Japanese swordfighting... but again, I digress. :-) If you have
    a "weak" side, as many/most people do, idling and idling one-footed are
    good ways to train it.

                                    Craig Milo Rogers