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Intro: riding over things kung fu master style

“Kung Fu. It means, ‘supreme skill from hard work.’

“A great poet has reached Kung Fu. The painter, the calligrapher, they can be said to have Kung Fu. Even the cook, the one who sweeps steps, or a masterful servant, can have Kung Fu. Practice. Preparation. Endless repetition. Until your mind is weary, and your bones ache. Until you’re too tired to sweat. Too wasted to breathe.

“That is the way, the only way one acquires Kung Fu.”

– The master Hundred Eyes, in the Netflix show Marco Polo

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In case you’re looking for old fashioned manuals, in which you hang your carcass off the back of your bike, you won’t find them here. I practiced and taught lean-back manuals for years, and I even used them as the first step in a hop. But I’ve learned a lot over the years — as a rider and as a teacher — and I believe most riders learn faster, have more fun and stay safer when they practice a simple style that keeps them balanced on their feet and uses a small number of essential movements in lots of cool ways.

This “Riding over things: kung fu master style” section teaches the techniques the best riders in the world use by instinct, and it’s how Lee rides and teaches these days (it took him a while to catch on). These methods require more coordination and strength than the old fashioned ways, but you’ll be way more stoked in the long run.

Advantages:

  • You always stay balanced in the middle of your bike. This means you’re always safe. When you’re hopping a log in the old style, and you smash into the log while you’re still heavy on the back wheel, you might get catapulted over your bars. When you hop a log in the new style, you might not clear it perfectly, but you’re balanced so there’s no catastrophy.
  • The dynamics are simpler. You’re executing fewer, more powerful and more adaptable movements.
  • As you improve, for example as you start real bunny hops, you don’t have to learn new techniques. You’re simply making the core techniques cleaner and more powerful.  

Challenges:

  • These techniques require more coordination and body awareness than the old fashioned techniques (as seen pretty much everywhere else). Many of the best riders use these cleaner kung fu techniques. Are they great athletes because they ride this way, or can they ride this way because they are great athletes?
  • If you’re used to the old way, the new way will seem strange. Change is tough.

Are you ready to take the red pill?

OK, let’s go!