Head down thoughtlessly
  How-to.gif (33320 bytes)    (c) 1997 by Pat works ...  from a draft of Chapter 4.
Morph your body into a badminton birdie --- your legs-feet are the feathers... to keep the arms out of the way, lightly touch your elbows.


Be soft. Remember that you are not trying to take a position; you must instead let head-down happen.

At first, just do this: Take the shape of a badminton birdie or dart to fly rock solid head-down. Said another way, if your center of drag is around your lower legs (the feathers,) your mind is coasting in neutral, and the lead point (your head) is leading, you will fall head-down. Fact.

Here is a recipe for practicing this on the ground—in front of a mirror or understanding friends or on a random street corner, depending on your taste for adventure:

  • Stand straight up with your legs spread side-to-side in a straddle position.
  • The body is straight.
  • The feet are pointed forward.
  • Press out to the side with the sides of your legs and feet.
  • The upper back, neck, and head are very straight.
  • The hips (pelvis) are thrust forward; tuck your butt in. Check to assure that there is no bend where your thighs join your hips.
  • Fold your arms across your chest, lightly touching each elbow with a finger.

Now, imagine that you are pressing out with the sides of your legs and with the sides of your feet as the wind pushes them back in. Press out as hard as you can. (If you are like 90 percent of people, you are not pressing nearly hard enough.) Press really hard! You must press hard enough to capture the center of drag with your legs and feet. (Other ways to get the center of air pressure around your ankles include: Do 100 side-leg-lifts each morning with weights; wear size 16 shoes; wear three pairs of oversize heavy trousers; wear no shirt; shave your head; dip your head in olive oil; tie bed-sheets to each foot; undo your pants and let them fall around your ankles… you get the idea.) Doing these things, beam yourself up to jump altitude and exit. Assume the position! You will fall head-down or your money back!

Let’s inventory the critical success factors to head-down. Distribute your weight so that you feel centered (yep, closing your eyes and breathing helps you "feel".) Tuck in your hips and roll your bottom under (do a pelvic thrust.) You don’t want your tailbone pushed out, so you gently roll your pelvis forward. Keep your back comfortably straight from your waist to your head. Do not tilt your back or allow your butt or stomach to stick out. Your waist should feel rather relaxed. Your knees are slightly flexed and movable, not locked straight in a fixed position. Try it.

lo-Ring.jpeg (6002 bytes)

Overusing the arms is one of the most common mistakes in head-down. Another related error is having the shoulders arched back. Your arms should hang loosely from the shoulders like clothes on a hanger. For starters, don’t press them out against the wind (this moves your center of aerodynamic drag toward your head—bad.) Don’t hold your arms tight against the body as this causes your shoulders to go forward.

Even when you use your arms, they are never held above the shoulders until you are an expert. Hands are always visible and slightly in front of you. This allows the shoulders and chest to remain in the obligatory neutral position.

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