Skill Level System

John Stimpson wrote:
>Am I the only person on this list that thinks the Skill Level Certification
>System is silly? For one thing - a certification system for unicycling? For me
>and everyone I know, unicycling has been completely informal, and we try to
>learn whatever tricks we feel like. Unicycling for me is more a fun form of
>transport, and a lot of the cool stuff I’ve done/seen done has had a lot more
>to do with terrain and obstacles, or the ability to do normal things while on a
>uni, like pick things up off the ground, (which is requisite for) playing
>frisbee, basketball, etc.
As a total novice I for one was glad to find such a system mapped out,
especially when I found out that a demonstration videotape was available.
Isolated geographically as I was/am, I would have never guessed that so many
skills were even possible and I feel that my progress has been expedited
greatly. I probably wouldn’t go as far as tracking down an examinator and being
tested, or buying the USA patch and Level chevrons, but it’s nice to know where
you are and get an idea of where you want to go. IMHO the Skill Level system is
a good basic set of skills to acquire. Of course one may add, embellish or
improvise. For instance, idling. The Skill Levels prescribe two footed and one
footed idling. They don’t mention double idling (I read about this in Jack
Wiley’s The Unicycle Book) or rotating clockwise or counterclockwise on a
point while doing any of these skills. I sort of discovered that myself. The
Skill Levels prescribe hopping 5 times, and when I got this I learned to rotate
clockwise and counterclockwise while hopping. In one of the videos Ken Fuchs
sent me, I see John Foss hopping on the pedals while holding the seat in front,
also transitioning from riding forward/seat in front to riding backwards/seat in
front by doing a 180 degree hop twist. I too am interested in using my uni for
transportation. I can stop at stop signs and lights and idle until the light
turns green and ride off curbs (still working on hopping up curbs though) and I
feel that working up through the levels has given me a more polished set of
skills and techniques to accomplish that. Scratch a unicyclist and you’ll likely
find a latent exhibitionist peeking out. I love to do tricks and it’s fun to
bring that look of amazement to the faces of people around me. The world is full
of people who look no further than the daily routine of work/rest/work. Getting
them to lift their noses from the grindstone for a few seconds and feel
amazement is a wonderful gift not only for them but for me as well. I guess the
message here is take what you find and use it, but don’t be limited by it.
Dennis Kathrens