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Thread: Winning Ways

  1. #31
    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    I can't forget a video that was posted here a while back where Daisuke met a famous Japanese ballet dancer and got some tips from him on posture and flexibility. What stuck out for me was the astounding self-confidence of the dancer and the deep humility, or lack of confidence, of Takahashi. It was like the ugly duckling visiting the swan or the peasant meeting the king. You'd never have known from the way he carried himself that Daisuke was a skating star. I believe this was right after he won Worlds.

  2. #32
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    Takahashi was completely star struck by Kumakawa. But I don't think he showed lack of self confidence. He came face to face and visited with someone he had admired, along with almost the entire population of Japan, and the purpose of the visit involved consultation. He came to pay respect to and learn from a famous and highly regarded star/national hero, so his natural humility is very much in evidence. He wasn't thinking of his own star status. Just another human being, a humble and eager-to-learn one, meeting his idol.

    Kumakawa did exhibit a supreme self-confidence. Takahashi said he couldn't take his gaze. Some people do have such radiant power.

  3. #33
    Rooting for the divas with Kwanford Spun Silver's Avatar
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    Oh, so that's his name--you helped me look up the video, but unfortunately it's been taken down for copyright infringements.

    What I don't get it, isn't Dai a star in Japan too? The episode seemed very one-sided to me. Kumakawa didn't express any admiration for or even awareness of Takahashi. He (Kumakawa) was definitely fabulous, though. And I can see why he admires himself so much. (I love the way he grins through the performance, you don't see that too often - he is so in the zone.)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uClWoItv_6g
    Last edited by Spun Silver; 03-04-2011 at 12:54 PM.

  4. #34
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    Not considering personality factors, Kumakawa had been a big star for a long time whereas great success and popularity was only newly achieved by Takahashi. He still had to get used to it while it was probably already a part of Kumakawa's self-identity. Takahashi was likely aware that skating stardom could be fleeting. If he didn't keep up with his training, it could be gone quite quickly. No hard work, no winning.

    Then there is the cultural factor. Kumakawa is the elder whom Takahashi should be deferential and respectful to.
    Last edited by SkateFiguring; 03-04-2011 at 01:19 PM.

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    Why do you think there's such a difference between Japanese men and women in skating (at least until Yuzuru)? Is this true of other areas of competition in Japanese society? For instance, competing against each other at their work, in school, are women more likely to be openly competitive while the men remain friendly? This is the exact opposite of most other societies I know of. Why do you think that is?
    I can only speculate, but I guess it is something to do with the difference in the depth of field and sheer competitiveness required to win a spot at the Worlds and Olys. Ladies field has been very deep and very competitive in Japan for a long time. The personal rivalry between Fumie Suguri and Shizuka Arakawa is legendary. There have been a number of Japanese ladies who could win not only the National title but the top 10 finish in the international stage - Fumie, Shizuka, Mao, Miki, Yukari, recently Akiko and Kanako... The fight to win the ticket to the Torino Olys in Japan Nats 2005 is legendary. Any of the ladies in the final flight had a chance. (Except Mao who was too young to qualify.)

    On the other hand, when it comes to Men's field, there was a long reign of Takeshi Honda, who was one of the top men in the world, and the rest were struggling to advance to the free skate at the Worlds. Then there came Takahashi, who took over the status, followed by Oda and then Kozuka. Even now, we kinda knew it would be those three who would go to the Worlds this season without waiting for the result of Japan Nats, while we had no idea which of the top four ladies in Japan could win the ticket to the Worlds. There is a still a considerable 'gap' between the top 3 and the second tier of Japanese Men - though it can change with the accent of Yuzuru.

    Also, I often meet many very competitive woean in the field where it is hard for them to be the top elite - I mean in some professional worlds where being a woman can be a disadvantage to begin with - much more competitive and driven than top men in the same profession. When you need extra drive and competitiveness to be successful, gender difference become less significant.

    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    This explains so so much. I always thought Yuzuru's costume had some really Johnny-ish embellishments. I used to think they were homages, now I find out it's just Johnny's lack of creativity.
    I wonder what Yuzuru himself thinks of that pink costume. Even if he had been disappointed with the design when he'd received it, I am sure he could not have possibly said no to it.
    Last edited by mot; 03-04-2011 at 04:54 PM.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by mot View Post
    I wonder what Yuzuru himself thinks of that pink costume. Even if he had been disappointed with the design when he'd received it, I am sure he could not have possibly said no to it.
    How can you say no when your object of worship, aka idol, wants to creat you in his own image?

  7. #37
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    In reference to the original question of why some skaters want to do a quad at all costs, perhaps because of personal pride, this came up on the Ladies thread in the Worlds folder. In the olden days, ladies took pride in showing mastery of all six kinds of jumps and would always, if they were able, present all five triples and a double Axel in every LP.

    This seems to be a loser in CoP judging. It is better to do two Lutzes and two flips than to do two Lutzes, a flip, and a loop. Programs are often designed around avoiding elements that a skater can't do very well.
    Last edited by Mathman; 03-04-2011 at 03:56 PM.

  8. #38
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    The olden days may not be that old since jumps, especially triples, weren't even done in the real olden days.

    It might be "pride" but it might just be the way to score (invisible) points under 6.0. Doing all jumps impressed the judges who then placed you higher. It worked then but not under the current CoP system where every element is analysed and scored accordingly. Naturatlly the strategy becomes to maximize points with the highest scoring jumps and combinations you can do.

    Evolution is often misconstrued as survival of the fittest but it's really survival (and thriving) of the most adaptable. Adapt and win. Competitive skaters know this well, or should.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    The olden days may not be that old since jumps, especially triples, weren't even done in the real olden days.

    It might be "pride" but it might just be the way to score (invisible) points under 6.0. Doing all jumps impressed the judges who then placed you higher. It worked then but not under the current CoP system where every element is analysed and scored accordingly. Naturatlly the strategy becomes to maximize points with the highest scoring jumps and combinations you can do.

    Evolution is often misconstrued as survival of the fittest but it's really survival (and thriving) of the most adaptable. Adapt and win. Competitive skaters know this well, or should.
    Voila, Rachael Flatt

    Thanks, but no thanks :sheesh:

    ETA: regarding "invisible points" it seems likeI can recall the scandalous revelations from last season regarding Cop and TR. Talk about "invisible points

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando View Post
    Voila, Rachael Flatt

    Thanks, but no thanks :sheesh:
    She has medalled including Gold, and is a direct entry to Worlds. Winner or loser?

    ETA: regarding "invisible points" it seems likeI can recall the scandalous revelations from last season regarding Cop and TR. Talk about "invisible points
    The points were there for all to see, or get from you. It was the TR that was invisible.

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    It's not "that he had practised enough and was thus prepared" that ensures "he could do it whatever happens". It is the "knowing" that could allow him to believe he could. And when he believes he could, he can.

    His analysis was correct that the cause of his implosion was nervousness (and shame and guilt). Note the insufficient training itself is not the direct cause. To prevent such nervousness in a way that is congruent with his beliefs, he had to put in the work of physical practice and training. With the lesson learned and if he keeps to it, such implosion will not happen again. From a mental perspective, he could have adjusted his mind over the situation, using every happening to stay positive instead of building negative thoughts. He could have also done a lot of mental practice of his skating when physically limited. There have been experiments conducted that show mental practice is almost, if not equally, as effective as physical practice.
    I wonder if another skater who relies on 'knowing one has done enough' to gain confidence is Mao. Her crazy hard work is well known, and I read her new coach, Nobuo Sato, told her to change her practice regime to be more paced and focused, rather than just spending long hours on ice.

    But is it really the case for those two skaters? I am sure there are many others, all over the world, who feel the same. Not only knowing their own technical / physical / mental shortcomings, but also lacking in confidence because of that awareness to start with, drives people to train hard to over come their inferiority complex, and harvest confidence and self-belief through knowing how hard they worked - it seems all natural and logical to me.


    One of the reasons why I am fascinated by figure skating (and come to love and root for headcases) is that it is a sport where a competitor's psychological journey is somewhat visible in their performance. You can read their mind and soul in their performance as if it was an open book, and follow their personal journey through their career. Also as I stated elsewhere before, I have a feeling that such (somehow painful) sensitivity can give a skater an ability to produce a performance full of nuances and emotionally engaging details and power. Mind you, having emotionally invested in headcases, my beloved Daisuke, Tomas, Jeremy, Alissa, Carolina, etc, my life must have been shortened by at least three years by now.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    I rolled my eye at Morozov's interview, especially at his basically calling the Japanese men ugly. What were the reactions to his comments in Japan? Maybe it didn't get any press because it was done in Russia?
    I am not sure whether that particular interview was publicised in Japan, but he did give an interview to Japanese press after 09 GPF, really attacking Daisuke and Mao's teams, saying they did not know what they were doing. I guess, when reading this, most Japanese fans just shrugged their shoulders and went 'here we go, that's Morozov again...' Well, I did anyway.
    Last edited by mot; 03-04-2011 at 04:40 PM.

  12. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    The olden days may not be that old since jumps, especially triples, weren't even done in the real olden days.
    Very good point. Women didn't even start doing the triple lutz regularly until the past few decades.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    It might be "pride" but it might just be the way to score (invisible) points under 6.0. Doing all jumps impressed the judges who then placed you higher.
    Back in the 6.0 days and after the Zayak rule (which came about before women even regularly did all 5 triples anyway), knowing and doing all 5 triples was the most reliable way of doing a 7 triple program (women had 8 jumping passes back then, and one must be an axel). It wasn't so much invisible as just straight up counting the number of triples a skater did. Not that different from what we have now.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    It worked then but not under the current CoP system where every element is analysed and scored accordingly. Naturatlly the strategy becomes to maximize points with the highest scoring jumps and combinations you can do.
    It's not that everything is counted and scored now, it is how they're counted and how they're scored. If some of the COP rules changed, doing all 5 triples could absolutely be all the rage again (for instance if women were only allowed 6 jumping passes, one jump must be an axel, and no jump takeoff can be repeated). Under the current COP, there is no great advantage to doing all 5 triples for most female skaters given the combinations they're capable of (the only exception I can think of is Yuna Kim, whose consistency is the 3lutz/3toe and the 2axel/3toe along with all the limits the COP places on jumps means that she would gain considerable points from doing all 5 triples in the FS), and a lot of risk in forcing it.

    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    Evolution is often misconstrued as survival of the fittest but it's really survival (and thriving) of the most adaptable. Adapt and win. Competitive skaters know this well, or should.
    That is a very important point. Being able to do 5 triples doesn't make one the strongest skater under the current system, not remotely. And that's not inherently wrong.

    There are so many truly great female skaters who just couldn't cut it at one type of triple or another. Kristi Yamaguchi couldn't do the triple sal 'cause of her pairs experience (not sure how that worked but I believe it in her case). Yuna couldn't 3loop due to injuries. They are still incredibly strong skaters. If we insist on a system skewed towards 5-triple ladies skater, they may not have been as successful.

    If we go with the evolution motif, the system is also deliberately and consciously changed to shape the evolution of its inhabitants. When we consider change to the current system, we should try to map it to the past as well to see what results that would get us. If it isn't the results most of us want, then those systemic changes aren't good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hernando View Post
    Voila, Rachael Flatt

    Thanks, but no thanks :sheesh:
    Given the post you were responding to, I am construing that you meant that the COP doesn't reward skaters for doing all 5 triples, but instead encourages adaptability, and so we wind up with a skater like Rachael Flatt? If that's what you meant...

    Well Rachael Flatt can do all 5 triples without any edge calls even though that doesn't give her any particularly huge advantage under the COP. Nor is she particularly adaptable to many of the COP's demands. Her lack of flexibility really holds her back in spin levels. Her lack of speed and power holds her back in the PCS. Despite all that, she has managed to be very successful, but by no means is she the ultimate product of the COP given that she has strengths it doesn't reward and weaknesses it picks on.

  13. #43
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    The olden days may not be that old since jumps, especially triples, weren't even done in the real olden days.
    By "ah, back in the good old days," I mean way back when Michelle was skating. By "amazing and wonderful skaters with all five triples" I meant, like Michelle.

    By "skaters with all six triples, incl;uding the triple Axel," I meant, like Ludmila Nelidina. They just don't make skaters like that any more.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsUAJLe16RM

    (I saw this live. Ignore Peggy's and Dick's commentary on the performance. ) )

  14. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    By "ah, back in the good old days," I mean way back when Michelle was skating. By "amazing and wonderful skaters with all five triples" I meant, like Michelle.

    By "skaters with all six triples, incl;uding the triple Axel," I meant, like Ludmila Nelidina. They just don't make skaters like that any more.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsUAJLe16RM

    (I saw this live. Ignore Peggy's and Dick's commentary on the performance. ) )
    Wow! whatever happended to Nelidina? and she had a text book Lutz with counter rotation as well. No attempts nonsense. She went for the real thing. How many skaters today have a text book Lutz?

  15. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by mot View Post
    I wonder if another skater who relies on 'knowing one has done enough' to gain confidence is Mao. Her crazy hard work is well known, and I read her new coach, Nobuo Sato, told her to change her practice regime to be more paced and focused, rather than just spending long hours on ice.

    But is it really the case for those two skaters? I am sure there are many others, all over the world, who feel the same. Not only knowing their own technical / physical / mental shortcomings, but also lacking in confidence because of that awareness to start with, drives people to train hard to over come their inferiority complex, and harvest confidence and self-belief through knowing how hard they worked - it seems all natural and logical to me.
    I think there are two reasons for reliance on hard work for success in various areas of one's life:

    1. The concept that hard work will bring success, e.g. money or winning competitions, has been drilled into almost everybody's head by people with great influences, such as parents, teachers, bosses, etc.

    2. Hard work is something a person, e.g. an athlete, has control over. While so many conditions for winning are mostly out of a skater's control, body types, natural talents, family, financial resourses, decisions by authorities such as judges, governing federation, etc., a skater can always work hard by his/her own decision and resolve.

    Never mind hard work, at least on its own, is not the deciding factor in success. Witness most people who work hard are struggling to get by, and the hardest working people in the world are the poorest. They are called slaves. Is is possible for most people to work twice as hard to make twice the money? What about those who make ten times more than you? Or a thousand times more? They certainly can't and don't work ten times or a thousand times harder. Most beliefs are myths but as long as people hold these beliefs, they will not, and will refuse to, see facts.

    But skaters can use the belief to build confidence and to calm their nerves at competitions. It's one thing that is up to them, that they can control, so their dedication, determination, and ambition can be demonstrated by training hard, hopefully giving them a leg up on their rivals. Of course training and practice are necessary and important, but one can overtrain. It's like driving, difficult for beginners, demanding full attention on driving skills. But such skills become natural and automatic with practice, but attention is still very important, on the road and on the environment, ensuring timely and proper reactions. But someone who has driven for too long becomes a dangerous driver, due to fatigue and inability to focus. Same consequences apply to an overtrained athlete.

    I suspect the more a skater feels limited in contol of other factors, the more powerless and the fewer options they perceived as available, the more they may tend to overtrain. Maybe they should expand their power, explore other options of improving their skills and winning chances, and learn to boost their confidence with other means. Even if they need to train hard to compensate for real or perceived inadequacies, they can find ways to train smarter and effectively. A holistic approach can certainly lessen the over reliance on training.

    One of the reasons why I am fascinated by figure skating (and come to love and root for headcases) is that it is a sport where a competitor's psychological journey is somewhat visible in their performance. You can read their mind and soul in their performance as if it was an open book, and follow their personal journey through their career. Also as I stated elsewhere before, I have a feeling that such (somehow painful) sensitivity can give a skater an ability to produce a performance full of nuances and emotionally engaging details and power. Mind you, having emotionally invested in headcases, my beloved Daisuke, Tomas, Jeremy, Alissa, Carolina, etc, my life must have been shortened by at least three years by now.
    I love skating for its combination of athletism and the artistry. It's human species at its most beautiful.

    As I became more and more interested in human mind and spirituality, skaters become even more fascinating. Such adorable subjects to study! (Many subjects in this world can be depressing to know and to be near.)

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