Rodney Mullen’s No Stance Goal is Lofty, For the Rest of Us, No More Switch Mongo

On a recent check of my blog statistics I was surprised my entry on Rodney Mullen, , from December 2011, had the second most views out of all of my entries.  I wrote it about a year ago, and with recent searches I realize Rodney Mullen has spoken more on his ‘no stance’ goal. In the documentary, ‘The Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’ he is interviewed extensively as well. I embedded a recent youtube interview from the Ride Channel where Rodney Mullen explains the ‘no stance’ goal among other topics. Also I embedded a speech he did on the Ted program about a half year ago, and a few of his skate parts.  First off I don’t think Rodney Mullen is crazy, but he is talking about skateboarding and a dedication to skateboarding on a level way above 98 percent of people that skate. But I’ll mention in this entry on what the average skaters can take away from this to improve their own skating.

In this interview Rodney Mullen explains he had an injury where his hip locked in and wouldn’t rotate properly in a circular motion, but had constrained movement simply back and forth.  Also somehow the hip was connected to the leg bone in a way that was unnatural.  So with his Jeep he jammed his leg into the wheelbase to break the joint from the hip. And he did this most every night for months at a time.  After re-breaking the bone he was able to skate. My guess is that no medical person would recommend anyone do something of that nature. But then again a lot of medical people would simply tell him his career was over, to hang it up, and after years of therapy he’d have a decent life. Keep in mind Rodney Mullen is a millionaire from the sales of World Industries in 1998. From what I can tell he lives a frugal life, so it’s different from someone risking the ability to work to earn a living. This is definitely eccentric and not recommended, but he was the only one that could be hurt by doing this.

Rodney Mullen explains by doing this he broke down his skateboarding stance as well.   There are two stances, regular and goofy, decided by what foot is in front. Switch is simply the opposite of what a skater is used to.  Mullen also explains that for switch the leveraging of the feet feels different.  About a month ago I asked advice from a friend who does nollie kickflips well. He said to set the feet, get comfortable, and then go into to the trick. Then I noticed my back foot, the flip foot, moves, or I move it in a twitchy way, right before I go to flip.  Whereas for a regular kickflip I put my foot in place, have stability, and then do the trick.  I’ve heard other people use the word ‘muscle memory’ to describe the motions of doing skate tricks.  It’s a repetitive motion of doing the trick over and over. It’s not only learning a trick, but it’s doing it better and better. In the older interview that I embedded in the 2011 entry, Mullen says that part of the spark in skating is creating something that seems new, or is a new motion, compared to the constant repetition. So I think part of Rodney Mullen’s no stance is instead of thinking this is regular or this is switch to think this is a new trick, and unique. Anyway that is Rodney Mullen’s goal is to come out with something new, or at least try to keep it fresh.

Most people do not have the time to really experiment with all body motions as it relates to creating tricks on a skateboard.  Only people sponsored can even think to skate or attempt to skate at that level. But I have a simple solution for all the skaters that have full time jobs, school, and obligations.  I thought of this recently and I’m surprised I haven’t done this already. I also had a flu or cold so I’ve had some time to think.  From the next time I skate and into the future when I skate switch I’ll push with that back leg.   Now I push like a normal person while I ride regular, but when I skate switch I push with the same leg. This is a term I saw on a youtube comment, that is switch mongo.  Mongo was the negative name coined on pushing with one’s front foot instead of with the back foot.  So by getting rid of switch mongo means you are pushing with both legs.  That can only even up the muscles in the calves, and get one more into actual riding in the switch stance.  Also going from spot to spot, push switch. One should learn switch tick tacs, switch carves, and switch everything.  Riding both ways is the only way to get truly comfortable. This is not a new thought, skaters have done this since the early 1990’s, but I plan to try it out. Also on each session, I think regular skaters can always try something new or different. My guess is that it can only help.

No getting back to Rodney Mullen. His extensive interview in ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’ really adds to the film and puts some perspective on the sport. People might see these interviews and think of him as crazy, but in a way he’s given a lot to the world. In the early 1980’s, mostly in isolation from the rest of the skateboarding community in Florida he invented numerous flatland tricks that made the sport a force.  Rodney Mullen creating these tricks gave millions of skaters joy, and millions of future skaters joy. In the interview he says he’s 46, and he is still thinking of ways to create new tricks on the board.  To me it shows that the trick variety in skateboarding is limitless.

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