Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tallulah’s Skiing Report

Author: Bernard Chesneau

Before we talk about Tallulah fabulous skiing, it is required to become familiar with the philosophical structure of my ski coaching.

Background, Philosophy and Strategy

I live to express a higher version of myself and I ski to awaken the expression of that higher version of myself.

Therefore as a coach, my objective is to let skiers access the higher version of their own selves.

Expressing a higher version of self requires that a precise structure be used and properly followed:

The structure that I use is based on the “enneagram of processes” shown bellow.


This particular enneagram is built for skiing and is designed to set anyone free from skiing limitations. Notice that nine words are contained within a geometric pattern, all of which has very significant meaning. Also notice the two heads inside the geometric figure. The one on the right, along numbers 1,2,3,4 is conveying aspects of doing, whereas the left one beside numbers 5,6,7,8 represents the higher aspects of being. With this process, we have a tool to move out of fear.

Naturally great performance is achieved by bringing into proper alignment the interconnectedness of the many parameters governing skier’s actions.

Amongst these parameters we have:
  1. What is conditioning skiing, what makes skiing possible!
  2. What is the individual’s relationship towards outside conditions!
  3. What is the individual’s relationship towards self!
  4. How to optimise these relationships to best serve the skier!

Lets get started – Gravity – Number 9

The word GRAVITY is at the top, above number nine, is the master word. Skiing only exists because of gravity. Thus all skiing is conditioned by gravity. Gravity is the power source and it is what moves the skier. The law is that gravity is the mover and that the skier is the one being moved. It is how well the skier accepts being moved by gravity that governs performance.

Moving on to number 1- Slope

The pitch angle of the slope regulates the intensity of gravity’s power. Steeper slopes unleash more of gravity’s power and is felt as a jolt on the skier’s body due to the acceleration. The steeper the slope is, stronger is that jolt and how the skier responds to the jolt will determine the kind of relationship that the skier has with gravity, with circumstances and with self.

Two arrows shoot off from every point. I will explain the arrow’s significance further on down.

Number 2- Balance*

The “acceleration jolt” from the slope’s steepness will challenge the skier’s balance, which will need to be resolved.

*Note on balance for Ian only.
Ian I am fully aware that balance is not the word that you would use, but please accept it as I do here in the terms of the layman.

The most significant definition of balance that I have encountered is: Balance equals immortality, and immortality equals “un-manifested” potentiality. When balance ceases to be, “potentiality” is tripped into action and the dynamics of “physical manifestation” are set into motion. Thus in the physically manifested world, what appears to our senses and to our science can never be in… balance; for it were in balance, it would cease to physically exist. More on this when we have dinner.

(Not wanting to interfere with Bernie's excellent approach I've placed my own footnote regarding balance at the end of the report... Ian)

Number 3 - Technique

The resolution of balance problems is achieved with “technique”.

Number 4 - control

The successful application of techniques brings control and the skier feels that all is fine and most end the journey of their skiing progress right here at point 4 instead of moving on through point five, six, seven and eight where the higher and the naturally joyful aspects of self are to be found. Skiers failing to move on end up decaying on the “terminal intermediate” plane. Why is that?

Skiers fail to move on for several reasons:
  1. Sociological statistics reveal that the need for control and the need for security are the two most strongly and universally held beliefs in the mind of mankind. Man is so massively programmed to want to control everything. To a skier, the need for control translates in the need to control gravity.
  1. Gravity is not controllable, so what is the thing that skiers need to control but are not aware of?
  1. In skiing the thing that skiers are trying to control but are unaware of is their own emotions. The need for control exists, however is not the thrust of gravity that needs to be controlled, but one’s own emotions.
The ability to control emotions is what is required to access the higher-level of self.

To integrate the mechanics of higher self-expression and move beyond point 5, emotions need to be managed. 

To better manage emotions, let us remember this about gravity: Gravity is the mover and the skier is the one being moved. Therefore a proper working relationship needs to be established for it is how well the skier accepts being moved by gravity that governs performance.

When you are on top of a ski slope, imagine yourself on a date with Gravity and because gravity is the mover, it is the one who is in charge of taking you out, who is showing you around and who is in charge of bringing you down the mountain. Gravity is in charge of your movements, not you. Your role is welcome gravity’s power and to allow it to flow through your body in the most fluid and harmonious way possible.

Only those who are able to Cooperate (cooperation point 5) with their date instead of opposing it may move on because from point 5 onwards, the emotional focus is governed by the desire to cooperate with gravity instead of working in opposition to it. This is where the relationship with self begins. And this relationship with self is the true “raison d’être” of skiing. Better is the relationship with self; greater is the absence of emotional burden. In other words, external circumstances no longer condition response.

Once free from the effects of external circumstances, it is possible to exercise your will and choose the best actions to elevate your skiing onto the plane where everything flows harmoniously and without effort (harmony point 6) because gravity is doing the work for you. As gravity works, parasitic body tensions disappear to leave you with a wonderful sense of freedom (point 7). From this freedom the attainment of the expression (point 8) of the higher version of self is now yours.

We have now moved through every point of the enneagram. Let’s consider the arrows.

Arrows are the emotional guidance system.

Each point on the enneagram has 2 arrows stemming off of it. How well emotions are managed is shown by where the arrows are pointing. Arrows may point towards emotional liberation or towards emotional imprisonment.

Looking at the arrows stemming the Gravity point 9.

From the Gravity point, which is also the top of a triangle outlined by points 3,6,9 and whose dynamics allow for correction; we are either drawn towards Technique (3), or towards Harmony (6) depending upon the nature of our love/hate disposition towards gravity.

Wanting to control gravity will stimulate opposition-based techniques, whereas moving into cooperation with gravity will promote the harmonious flow of movements. Fortunately for the skier stuck in technical opposition, atonement is made possible by replacing feelings of opposition into feelings of cooperation (with gravity). This is also how technique will mutate into the technique of harmony. This atonement is shown with the arrow that joins points 3 and 6 at the base of the 3,6,9 triangle.

Stemming from the Slope point number 1, we have arrows going towards control in (4) and towards freedom in (7).

If the pitch of the slope is too steep and the speed and acceleration is too much for you, you will want to repel gravity’s power instead of letting it work through you. And the date you had with gravity turns into a disaster, then and out of neediness for control your emotions will rush your body towards the control point (4) regardless of what your skiing looks like.

If you choose a slope that will not overwhelm emotions, and if you intend with your will and before you start the descent, to honour the flow of gravity’s power by letting it work freely with and through you, then you’ll have the opportunity, if you so desire, to experience the freedom (point 7) that comes from being moved effortlessly.

The Balance point number 2

When balance issues remain, the attraction is towards the control point (4) whereas when balance issues have been resolved, the higher version of self can finally become active and take you towards point 8. Point 8 is where all the magic gets to happen.

Notes on balance: On the technical front all balance result in from poor grounding with earth and on the existential plane, fore/aft balance issues relate to time. Learning back is the result of hanging onto the past, conveying the inability to embrace the present. Being centred stems from being at peace and in agreement with the present situation, and being forward is the anticipation of a future suggesting a discontentment for the present.

The control point 4

This point is a cull de sac as none of the arrows offer a direct exit into the desirable zone in 5,6,7, 8 where you should go. To get into the clear, slope and balance issues in points 1 and 2 must first be resolved.

The Cooperation point 5

This point is a wonderful fortress to be residing in because both arrows point towards what is highly desirable which is freedom (7) and Expression (8).

So how well did Tallulah access the higher level of self using the guidelines offered by the enneagram?

Starting with Gravity

Considering that Tallulah who is 5 years old had no issues whatsoever when taken up to 3449 metres because this is where the only beginner terrain is, shows Tallulah's extraordinary good willed nature towards Gravity. This good relationship with gravity was not only confirmed but also affirmed throughout the week. Tallulah’s personal nature is definitely orientated towards appreciating gravity power, if anything, I had to make sure that she doesn’t go OTT in the bombing department. He nature is definitely one “to go” which is great.


Slope issues could have been a real problem because we only had the ultra gentle beginner terrain at 3439 metres or the much steeper terrain bellow with nothing in between. No an easy proposition, let alone for a 5 year old. As there was nothing in between so we had to make the abrupt jump. I held Tallulah in my arms so that she could float over the tricky portions. In my arms she was relaxed and confident and eager to hit the go button once her feet were back on the ground. By the end of the week, I no longer had to carry her at all, even in the steep and narrow portion near the base of the Vanoise lift. Despite the potentially bullish aspect of the slope, the slope never discombobulated her. The need to hide into the control prison does not exist in Tallulah’s universe. Well Done Tallulah.


Tallulah has very good core stability and strength allowing her to stand nice and upright on her skis without any leaning back, which is exceptional for a five year old. This good core strength may probably be what is securing her bombproof confidence. The body has a strong and reliable connection with the ground and she is never fazed by the steepness of the terrain even when going a little too fast. When going fast she spontaneously made the adjustments without falling over.


The objective here was to introduce techniques that lead to harmony and this is where Tallulah’s go-for-it nature is a real bonus because she is not one to be wanting brakes. So I got her to experiment with edging her skis through her ankles so that she could experience “being turned” by the inbuilt turning radius of her skis. Kiddie’s skis are great because they have a tight 6-metre arc, which inspires much confidence. Again, because Tallulah is not afraid to go and has great core stability she does not feel the negative need for control and which is keeping her clear of most of the parasitic rotational movement that skiers are plagued with, she does most of her turning in carved mode like ski racers but at her level of course.


Even though I go on about cultivating the art of letting go of wanting to control gravity, Tallulah who likes to go fast, had ME needing to apply some tricks to keep her speed and her impetus in control, so I had to show her pizza slices and chips.


Tallulah spontaneously lets ALL of gravity work through her, which is why it is important that the next time she skis that she is kept on appropriate terrain so that this quality can mature a bit more so that if can more effectively be transferred onto skis.


Again the good core, and the go-for-it attitude, which is never burdened with counterproductive rotary movements, is very promising for the future.


Good core, well grounded balance and the wonderful desire to go, Tallulah is a little freedom machine.


Tallulah loves skiing and I loved discovering all of her wonderful attributes and we had great and surprisingly mature exchanges. I was forewarned that there could be trouble if she would not have liked skiing so I stayed very attentive and it has paid off because she now loves skiing. The fabulous weather also contributed to bless every moment.

Thank you
Bernard Chesneau

Footnote: – from Ian, regarding Balance. 

Its not an issue of terminology!

Perhaps your use of the word “balance” is to refer to the combination of stability, centering the body along with the perpendicular component of gravity (to the slope) in a passive role and appropriate coordination in relation to the function of the skis – also mostly in response. I would use roughly this collection of terms instead. You do use similar terms later on in the report so there is no apparent contradiction here for those particular goals.

The “layman” or “medical” term “balance” or "dynamic balance" would normally be applied to walking. The closest this comes to reality is in the "dynamic balancing" of a rotating object such as a wheel so that it doesn't wobble (which is technically a different issue altogether) however the doctor and ski teacher are actually referring mistakenly to d'Alembert's fictitious “dynamic balance” which is used in both professions – totally in error.

However none of that covers my reasons for studiously avoiding “balance” - not just in terminology – but literally physically and psychologically. The use of the term “balance” should at the very least respect Newton's three laws of motion. Balance is only found in the first law (statics) and skiing is exclusively about the other two laws. If the “layman” doesn't understand this – then back to school please because it's part of compulsory education – at least in the UK. The issue is not one of terminology but of a complete paradigm shift – one that Newton himself changed the world with. However I also know that the French are not taught Newton's laws other than their application through mathematical calculus – so even many highly respected PhD level engineers do not understand the paradigm at all. They end up believing mistakenly in the physical existence of fictitious forces that cause the fictitious “dynamic balance” - a mathematical trick developed by French mathematician Jean Le Rond d'Alembert  - one of the chief protagonists of the "Enlightenment". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_le_Rond_d%27Alembert – and the source of endless confusion to experts, medical doctors and laymen alike. Ironically he named “dynamic balance” to warn people that it is fiction (intrinsic contradiction of terms). However – all physicists do understand this very clearly because they are neither involved in nor hijacked by the mathematical techniques of engineering.

This issue is not about theory, it is about the practical aim of achieving the diametrically opposite set of physical actions and emotions that are unfortunately attained by looking for fictional balance or even responsive, passive control:
  • it is about generating dynamics by active use of the body and ski design through vigorously generating disequlibrium
  • trying as hard as possible to fall over and discovering that you absolutely can't and that gravity is not the master by a long shot (thanks to fundamental interaction with intelligent ski technology)
  • that balance is your greatest enemy and a huge deception leading to massively incorrect instruction worldwide and inappropriate individual intentions and results on a personal level. Trying to stay in balance and trying to fall over are absolutely not the same thing. Instability and fear mostly come from dealing with the consequences of a tenacious fiction.
The dynamic act of forcibly falling combined with the organisational effect of the ski causes the body's reflexes to be employed to spontaneously create a well-centered stability. This is an active - feedback driven - disequilibrium system - with the emphasis on "active", "dynamic", intelligence, reflexes and equipment design. Confidence comes spontaneously from sensing this mechanism clearly, unambiguously and related to reflexes. 

However – with intelligent guidance (as from Bernie) people can explore much of this naturally and by feel without ever realising how it works. They might just not reach the moon – like nobody would have without Newton. It took humanity until 1666 to wake up from being totally incapable of even understanding how a rock moves (Aristotle had it totally wrong and the whole of Western education copied and propagated his errors for 2000 years!) So the apparent simplicity of the issue hides a potential trap for all humanity – based on extremely counter intuitive realities. Newton gave us the key (thanks to Galileo) so any 13 year old schoolboy can understand it if he really wants to. Sticking to a false “layman's” understanding is as good as adhering to the stone age in comparison.

Note: Newton's Third Law has a catch! The two forces involved in equal and opposite reactions must not be acting on the same body. ie. A glass sitting on a table experiences two equal and opposite forces - gravity acting downwards and the table (elastic force) acting upwards. Both forces are on the same body so this is an example of the first law only - statics. 

Note: Based on the enneagram model (which appears to be very useful and effective) I would probably change out "balance" with "disequilibrium". "Self Organisation" would have to find a place on the other side (perhaps replacing "cooperation") - as it is the underlying basis of all learning (Edward De Bono invented the term "lateral thinking" to refer to the mechanisms of self organisation) and (at some level) everything complex that emerges in the universe - but only as part of  an open, dissipative, adaptive, feedback driven disequilibrium system - which all matter, information and especially life happen to be.

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