Friday, March 17, 2006

This is great! Richard's blogging!

Oh, man, this is great - Richard is blogging!

Or rather Manhattan Kayak Company is. Richard's the one whose posts I'll really be looking forward to seeing, though.

This is the guy who I can unreservedly say...oh, I don't even know where to start, how about just my story about how I got that (seemingly) plain vanilla but OH so crucial efficient forward stroke? I came out of my first 3-hour class (taught by Eric, the MKC founder & sole proprietor at that time) with the mental concept that the torso was supposed to be heavily involved in moving the boat, but somehow that concept wasn't making it south of my neck. Richard saw what was going on & one day, as I was gamely plodding along at the back of the pack, he dropped back & paddled along next to me. At first he just watched me. Then he began to give me suggestions of how to clean up the stroke, engage the torso, and get those pesky arms out of it (I think the hardest thing in learning the forward stroke is convincing your arms that they aren't actually supposed to pull the paddle back, but just connect the paddle with the torso, which moves the paddle back by rotating).

After each suggestion, he'd watch again.

The first suggestion didn't work. The second one was worded differently - that didn't work either. Third one, ditto.

I can't remember how long this went on, and I can't remember any of the suggestions, except for this one:

"Think about paddling with your two bottom ribs."

That one, unlike the others, I remember perfectly - and that's because that was the one that worked. Plus later that ended up also being an incredible mini-lesson for me about how to teach, (subcategory "teaching & learning styles) (you see, he knew all the learning styles - there are several basic types of learners & he & a good instructor can adapt his or her teaching style to fit any of those - the trick is identifying the student's learning style & that's what Richard was doing with me - patiently working through different teaching styles until he found the right one for me - emphasis on "patient", too!)

Anyhow, still busy, but I'm psyched to see that MKC has a blog, and I hope Richard does have time to post occasionally (although the guy is painfully busy so I won't be surprised if he doesn't - but even if it's infrequent, I think whatever he does have time to write will be good stuff) - he knows an awful lot about kayaking, guiding, and teaching; one of my real regrets about not being at MKC anymore is that I learned so much from him while I was there, both directly & just by watching him work with other people - leaving MKC ended that - if he does have time to write, I might get to start picking up ideas from him again.

The really funny thing is that I found Manhattan Kayak's blog via Spain. Go figure.

OK I've got work to do, I'm just psyched.

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