Gordon's Sk8er Boi Blog

My adventures as an adult male figure skater in Tucson, Arizona Portland, Oregon Chandler, Arizona.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Bronze Moves Test - "Retry"

My Bronze Moves in the Field test at Copper State Skating Club's test session today.

I arrived at the rink just before 2 p.m. (my warmup was schedule for 2:50 p.m.).  After checking in I was told that there had been a cancellation and we were running a bit ahead, so I texted JJ with this info.  

Went on for my warmup at 2:46.  They gave us a couple of extra minutes for our warmup since things were running ahead.  I did some stroking, ran through a bit of the power-3s, started the 5-step, and was just about to start some perimeter stroking when we ran out of time.  I was feeling a bit nervous but okay.

I was the last MIF test of 4 in my warmup group - ugh!  Finally it was my turn.  I skated out to the judges (I had Wilma, Deb and Ken) and they spoke to me briefly, then I went out and took my position.  I looked back to make sure the judges were ready and got a thumbs-up, so off I went.

  • perimeter crossovers -- I was really nervous as I started and it showed in a bit of shakiness on the forward crossovers.  By the time I got to the BXOs I was feeling a bit better.  I pushed really really hard on the second BXO for some reason and was a little off-balance as a result, yikes :-(.  Overall I was reasonably happy with this move.
  • power-3s -- These went about as well as they have previously, still kinda forced.  I was just glad I didn't put my foot down or do anything obviously disqualifying.
  • BXOs to BO edges --  I thought these were relatively okay.
  • circle-8 -- ugh.  The RFO was fine but I got really nervous and had a not-so-great push on the LFO with the result that I had a hard time holding on to the edge.  I did hold on to it though! And the FI edges were better.
  • 5-step mohawk --a bit scrapey, as usual but relatively okay.  I remembered to pull my arms back on the BO edge so that was good.
After I was done I skated over to JJ (I had gone to him after each move to get water and calm down a little).  The judges said "Thank you" and I was done!

After a bit Walli came up to give me my results and said "I'm sorry, Gordon."  I was a bit short of passing.  I'm not in the mood to transcribe all the comments, but I will basically say that while some of it was definitely due to my nerves, the larger portion is that I just really need to refine some things in my skating -- more power on my crossovers, better control, and better 3s and mohawks.  I know all these things need work but I didn't think they were bad enough for me to not pass the test.  Oh well.  Here's a quick summary of the scores I got for each move (ordered by Deb, Ken, Wilma):

  • perimeter XOs -- 2.4, 2.3, 2.4
  • power-3s -- 2.4, 2.3, 2.3
  • BXOs to BO edges -- 2.5, 2.3, 2.4
  • circle-8 -- 2.5, 2.6, 2.5
  • 5-step mohawk -- 2.4, 2.3, 2.3
So my totals per judge were 12.2, 11.8, 11.9 with 12.5 needed for passing at standard Bronze.

Some thoughts.... 1) if I had taken it as Master's and had gotten the same scores (impossible to know, of course) I would have passed. 2) as I expected my circle-8 was my best move; but not over the 2.5 mark except from Ken.  If I had done it the way I'd done it any other day that week (minus nerves) that would have helped, but probably not enough. 3) as I expected my power-3s and 5-step were somewhat weak.  4) unexpectedly, my perimeter XOs and BXOs to BO edges were not at a passing standard generally speaking.

After my test I did have a chance to talk to Deb briefly and she did reiterate/amplify some of her feedback, which was nice of her.  She also mentioned some issues with posture (often a problem for me) and being up on my toes a lot (very true).

I talked briefly with JJ afterward (I couldn't stay long).  I am going to be off from lessons with him (and somewhat with Lynne also) due to travel and other obligations for the next couple of weeks.  We will have to give some thought about when to retest; and this point I'm thinking sometime in the fall.


Final Test Prep

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  This was our final prep for the Bronze Moves test this afternoon.  I did a 5 minute warmup with stroking and crossovers and power-3s, then took off my jacket and gloves and ran the test.  I was a bit nervous but it was okay.

Today's lesson:

  • test runthrough -- we ran the test pretty much without stopping.  It was okay.  I was a bit nervous when I started but it was better after a while.
  • power-3s -- we worked some more on holding the entry and exit of the 3.  Mmph.
  • 5-step mohawk -- Descratching the BO edge -- JJ reminded me about the arms and it really does help.  Also I need to make the 1st and 2nd steps a little longer and the 4th and 5th steps a little shorter.

So.. warmup at 2:50 and test at 3:34, they say.  Here we go!

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Bronze Moves

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  Session was a bit crowded as everyone is gearing up for the test session tomorrow and Cactus in 3ish weeks.

For my warmup I did stroking and crossovers, then ran the test.

Today's lesson:

  • logistics -- we discussed some details about tomorrow's test including what I'm wearing, what time to arrive and so forth.
  • power-3s -- main feedback on these was to hold the exit of the 3 just a bit so the judges can see I have some semblance of control.  I was able to do that, yay!  Still working on the BXOs and still not happy with them :-(.
  • 5-step mohawk -- these are still a little rough in places, especially on step 3.  My main takeaway was to not let the arms helicopter on step 3 (keep them close).
I have one more lesson tomorrow morning, then the test in the afternoon.  Eeep.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ice Dance #4

Installment #4 of ice dance class at Chandler.

For tonight's class we were missing several people including all of the other adults in the class!  A little weird.

We warmed up a little, and Naomi reiterated that she wanted to see us doing "pretty ice dancer" stroking.  So we did a little bit of that, then revisited our chasses and crossrolls/swingrolls.  Then Naomi introduced the tuck-behinds from the Rhythm Blues.  Yep, I still can't do these.  Although I do think I probably can do them at some point if I work on them -- I'm hoping for next week with Lynne.  We'll see.

Then we were back to reviewing the Canasta Tango... ugh.  Most of us (including me) had forgotten some part of this (not all of it, just pieces here and there).   I'm always surprised when people can't find or keep the beat though.  As a musician it's very natural to me but I guess a lot of our kids don't get any music at all :-(.



My lesson with Lynne on the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler.

We had decided to run this as if it were an actual test, so, I had a 5 minute warmup (just did stroking and crossovers), then we ran through the test in order.  I actually felt really good about it.  Then we came back and worked on some specific elements:

  • BXO perimeter stroking -- Lynne suggested I try to lean into the BI edge a little more to bring the edge around before the crossover.
  • BXOs to BO edges -- a little work on slowing the tempo of the BXO and making it more forceful; sit back on the edge more on the last BXO.
  • power-3s -- urph.  Still trying to get more into the BXO. At least I'm not touching my foot down any more but I feel like the BXOs are still not fully crossed and kind of ugly. :-(
  • 5-step -- trying to sit back on the BO edge a bit more as I'm really getting up on my toe.  The rhythm is good though and I think it looks reasonably okay.  Lynne said to try to keep my feet closer together and also to watch the arms on the BO edge so that I pass close.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2015


I took a long lunch hour and skated for 45 minutes at the Gilbert adult skate.  This was my first time in my patch boots for quite a while!

I ran through the Preliminary test as usual and then spent another 10 minutes or so working on waltz-8.  Still seeing some of the same issues as when I left it last, esp. on the RBO for the L side (cutting in too much). Then some time on serpentines and BO8.

All in all it was not nearly as bad as I was expecting, for which I'm grateful.  I'm going to try this time slot when I can until/unless Chandler has Ice Cafe again.

Monday, June 22, 2015


I skated the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler for moves practice.  Nice ice (looks like there was no one at all skating beforehand) and just 3 of us on the ice.

I spent the whole session on moves except for about 5 - 7 minutes on spins (got two 3-rev spins from a standing start, yay!).  I ran the test, then came back and worked on power-3s some more, then some more time on 5-step, then back to power-3s and more time on 5-step at the end.

I still feel like I would like to improve the power-3s more but that's unlikely to happen (much) by Friday so what I have is basically what I'll have.  Hopefully my nerves won't get in the way.  It's been more than 4 years since my last test.  Ugh.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bronze Moves!

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  I warmed up with Bronze Moves as usual.

Today's lesson:

  • perimeter XOs -- Not bad.  I was a little off on the BXO pattern; I hit the red line a little late.
  • power-3s -- okay.  Didn't put my foot down but the BXOs were lacking.  We went back and spent some time working on the BXOs.  I finally got them better by trying to make them like the BXOs I'm doing in the perimeter XOs; this made the BXO better but I'm struggling a little with the step forward.  I need to stand up straighter.
  • BXOs to BO edges -- not too bad. I tended to by up on the toe on the last RBO; I think it's a lack of concentration.  I re-skated and fixed it but I need to watch this.
  • circle-8 -- good.
  • 5-step mohawk -- Not bad.
All in all I still need to work a bit on the power-3s and I'm still a little concerned about them but with a week and a day to go I think it's looking pretty good.  I have a lesson with Lynne on this next week and two with JJ so I still have time to fine-tune.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ice Dance #3

Ice dance class with Naomi at Chandler, session #3.  Tonight we were on the east rink, instead of the west as we were for the previous two sessions.  That meant that we were after the previous LTS sessions and we had torn-up ice.  Yuck.

Tonight's class:
  • Russian stroking -- Naomi admonished us that for dance we always needed to have good form, so she had us practice our perimeter FXOs (Russian stroking) with pretty arms.  Since I am doing this for Bronze moves it was not too hard for me.
  • chassés review -- we reviewed the chassé, slide chassé and cross chassé.  Urp.  The first two are fine for me.  I really need to spend some time working on the cross chassé (cross-behind). I feel like I actually have the right position I just need to be braver and try it on the boards a few times, then someplace where I won't get run over by someone if I fall...
  • swing roll/cross rolls -- we practiced our swing rolls again and also learned cross rolls.  I can actually pretty much do the cross roll okay. The swing rolls are getting a little better so that is good though I really need to practice them more (I don't see that happening until I'm done with the Bronze moves test, though).
  • Canasta Tango -- we learned this dance bit-by-bit.  I didn't really remember it from before so it was a (re-)learning experience but really it wasn't that bad.
  • Dutch Waltz -- just at the end she had us go through the DW without any review really (it was a test to see if we remembered).  I mostly remembered it so that was not too bad.
I'm really enjoying this class.  I was afraid I would be intimidated by being in with the kids but really it's been okay.  I think I'm a much better skater than when I took the previous classes so that is probably helping a lot.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Bronze Moves

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gilbert.  This was a makeup lesson since we didn't meet last week.  I warmed up with Bronze Moves.

Today's lesson:

  • power-3s -- we spent about half our time on these, mostly working on the same issues with the BXO and step forward.  Some progress, I think, but they are still a bit weak.
  • perimeter XOs -- actually these were pretty nice.  Decent speed.
  • BXOs to BO edges -- not bad.  I still need to sit on the RBO and get the extension a bit better.
  • circle-8 -- really nice.  As I told JJ, "BAM! .1 over!" :-)
  • 5-step mohawk -- JJ had me work on keeping the free leg from flying around after the LFI mohawk.  I tried to hold some tension in it and that really helped make the mohawk less whacky.
We have another lesson on Thursday, yay!

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Spins, Power-3s, 5-step

My lesson with Lynne on the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler.

I warmed up with the Bronze moves as usual.  It went pretty well, actually.

Today's lesson:

  • standing start spins - 10 minutes on these.  Ugh, they were horrible.  Best was 2 revs.  
  • power-3s -- we worked mostly on doing a better crossover and stepping forward without putting my foot down first.  Some progress, actually.  Trying to bring the BXO around more so that I'm stepping forward perpendicular to the axis and not on a diagonal.
  • 5-step mohawk -- in general these are looking better.  Lynne asked to make the lobes bigger/deeper and I was able to do that.
Bronze moves test in 2 weeks!  Aaaaggghhh! 

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ice Dance #2

I didn't feel well this morning so I did not skate, but I'd already paid for my ice dance class... so off I went.  Naomi was there today along with another coach I had not met (Sarah?).

Today's class:
  • stroking -- emphasis on good posture, bent knees.
  • swing rolls -- we worked on these down the line, emphasis on keeping the arms in a strong position and moving under them.
  • progressives/crossovers -- more work on these, trying to keep the beat.
  • Dutch Waltz -- a number of times through this. It's getting a little better.  I am skating faster but still kinda wimpy on the swingrolls ("springrolls" as Cami calls them, lol!).
  • chassés, slide chassés and cross chassés -- introduction (review, for me) of these. I hadn't done the cross chassé before.  It's basically the same as the little tuck-behind in the Rhythm Blues except the exit is different.  Really scary.  I didn't quite manage one but I came close.  

All in all it's going okay.  I had hoped to work on swingrolls with Lynne this morning but I didn't get that.  They are really the weakest point for me right now.


Monday, June 08, 2015

Bronze Moves

My lesson with Lynne on the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler.  We have 3 lessons this week and in prep for my upcoming test we are spending a lot of time on moves until then.  Also, I had my blades sharpened yesterday (whee!) so didn't want to work on spins today. I ran the test for warmup.

Today's lesson:

  • perimeter crossovers -- not too bad.  Lynne had me work a little on the BXOs to get more power and hold that BI power push a little longer/more firmly.
  • power 3s -- we worked the BXO/step forward on the circle a little.  I'm still struggling with that aspect.  I've decided to do the RFO3s first just to get them done.   Still needs more work and I'm running out of time.
  • BXOs to landing position -- I'm pretty happy with these in general but the RBO is still a little fragile.  We worked on it a bit.  I need to practice just holding that RBO with head up and not being on my toe.
  • circle-8 -- really nice, actually.
  • 5-step -- not too bad.  Lynne said I should try thinking of the transition from step 4 to 5 (into the slide chasse') as a dance step.  That will also help to remind me to point my toes.
All in all some good work.  I'm really missing that extra 15 minutes from this session though :-(.  Grrr.  I'll be glad when the summer's over and they are back to 60 minute sessions.

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Thursday, June 04, 2015

Moves & Jumps

My lesson with JJ on the 7:30 a.m. FS at Gibert.  I warmed up with Bronze moves.

Today's lesson:

  • 5-step mohawk -- still working on the 3rd step.  JJ pointed out to me that when I helicopter my arms on the 3rd step it's throwing me off and getting me up on my toe.  We worked to have me move my arms back nicely (like I do on the BXOs to landing position) and this really helped a lot.  JJ also suggested I try to get a little push into the 4th step so that my flow is better.
  • perimeter XOs -- I wanted to look at these because we don't very much.  The FXOs were pretty nice.  BXOs... JJ said I need to work to get more power on the clockwise BXOs (1st, 3rd, 5th and end BXOs).
  • waltz jump -- JJ wanted to work on my landing.  I'm not happy with it right now as it feels like I'm not controlling the landing very well.  We worked on checking the landing better with some improvement but not a lot.  On the positive side the jump is reasonably springy.
  • salchow -- ugh.  The entrance is usually okay but my timing is still off.

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Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Ice Dance Class #1

Tonight was our first Ice Dance class at Chandler.  Alas, while Naomi Lang was supposed to be teaching, airline difficulties meant she was not able to be there tonight.  Ice Den found us a substitute, our very own Lynne Petta - AND - they are going to add a free additional session 7/22 for us.  Nice!

Tonight's class:
  • stroking -- emphasis on nice lines, pushing correctly, and holding each stroke on a 3 count.
  • swing rolls -- ugh.  Of course my swing rolls have not magically improved with disuse :-).  Although they were better than I remembered them; but still the same problem, I either need to skate a lot faster or have smaller lobes (ideally a bit of both).  Meh.
  • progressives -- well, not really progressives, just crossovers, but done in rhythm.
  • Dutch Waltz intro --  we pretty much learned the pattern (again, for me) for the DW.  It seemed easier than I remembered (though really it was never that hard).  If I had decent swingrolls I could totally do this dance.  Well, solo, anyway!
Class was an hour, and I was pretty whupped when it was done.  We had about 15 people in the class (!) with just Lynne and Tammy and Danette helping (I think Danette did not stay the whole time, but I'm not sure).  We had 5 adults and 10 kids, some of them relatively high level.  I was not the slowest, but I was close :-).  Lol.

It was fun!



I skated the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler this morning.  I ran through Bronze Moves, then worked on spins for about 20 minutes.  I didn't have any 4 rev spins but did have several 3-rev spins from standing start.  Did a few spins from windup and best was 2 revs.

After that I spent more time on power-3s, still working on fixing the back lobe.  I had some improvement but it's not consistent.

I mailed my test form and check today for the June 26th test session at CSSC.  Bronze Moves here I come!

Monday, June 01, 2015

Spins, Power 3s

My lesson with Lynne on the 7:45 a.m. FS at Chandler.  We're on summer schedule now so this is only a 45 minute session.  There is a specialty class following at 8:30.  We had 5 skaters on the session, a lot more than there were before summer but still quite workable.  I warmed up with Bronze moves.

When JJ and I talked last week we agreed that since I will not be able to work on figures this month I should use the extra lesson time with Lynne to do test prep.  Accordingly we will split our time between spins and moves.

Today's lesson:

  • standing start spins -- wow!  The first couple were just okay (2 rev) but after that I did a couple that were 4-rev, including one that was beautifully centered.  Yay!  I was doing a much better job of relaxing, and holding the free leg back, and actually finding the sweet spot on the blade and sticking with it :-).  Yay me!
  • windup -- alas these were not as good as the above.  Still rushing too much.
  • power-3s -- we spent a bunch of time working on back lobe BXO and step forward (on the RFO3 side).  Ugh.  We did make some progress in really pulling the shoulder back and turning the head, but it's still really rough and when I get in the pattern it is hard for me to remember to do all this :-(.
I'm really excited about my spin progress!

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