With this article I want to introduce a way to give the art of skateboarding a deeper meaning that goes beyond its superficial use as a board sport to get a fun workout for staying fit and healthy. By utilizing the qualities of being true, good and enduring in skateboarding, it can gradually have an impact on our character in general, eventually also affecting our life outside of skateboarding in a positive way. But before going into detail I would first like to explain the reason for bringing this mental component into my skateboarding right now and why I’m using exactly these three qualities.
The development of the COVID 19-pandemic during the last year and its ongoing influence on the whole world was a trigger that made me contemplate why different epidemics and pandemics have regularly occurred throughout the history of mankind. In search for an answer I remembered what I had learned years ago during the time when I was practicing cultivation to achieve true knowledge about cosmic coherences and spiritual liberation. It became clear to me that such global occurrences cannot be fully understood without answering the basic question about the reason for our existence and the way we as human beings should actually be living. To find an answer I finally ended up looking into the teachings of the school of cultivation I used to practice in the time right before distractions in my everyday life caused me to eventually give it up. By doing this I recently realized that I had given up something very precious and that it is important to resume my cultivation now in this special time period.
To make it short: The three principles of truth, goodness and endurance are derived from this cultivation practice for body and mind which is rooted in buddhist tradition. Its essence is to assimilate the life of the practitioner to the universal cosmic principles which are revealed in their highest form as Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance. This way of cultivation is today commonly known as Falun Gong and was first made public in China in 1992 by master Li Hongzhi.
(For more information on this practice please visit: www.falundafa.org)
Persecution of truth, compassion, tolerance
This way of inner cultivation according to the characteristics of Truth, Compassion and Tolerance has already proven its effectiveness. In the early years of its spreading it attracted millions of people throughout the whole chinese society and received more and more positive publicity for its good results on the health and moral standards of its practitioners.
However, over time the communist party feared to loose its absolute control over the lives of its citizens and prohibited Falun Gong in 1999 while beginning a large-scale persecution of its dedicated followers. At the same time the government started to destroy the reputation of Falun Gong amongst the chinese population and across the whole world with vicious slandering propaganda. This cruel persecution, where practitioners are imprisoned and tortured in labor camps just because they don’t want to give up their belief and practice, has already lasted for more than 20 years now and is still going on; mostly hidden from the perception of the majority of the worlds population.
As a practitioner of this cultivation way it is my duty to make this injustice known to the reader and to tell the truth about the positive effects of practicing Falun Gong.
How it works
Before now coming back to the actual topic of this text, I want to make clear that what I am writing about here is not a component of cultivation in Falun Gong as taught by master Li Hongzhi, nor is it in itself meant as a way of practice to refine the Chi (vital energy) or to try to reach enlightenment by way of skateboarding. It is just a concept to give skateboarding a deeper meaning by connecting it to the qualities of truth, goodness and endurance based on my understanding. I see it as a chance for me to connect to these cosmic principles and to work on evolving my character while performing a delightful activity like skateboarding that I like to do regularly. Instead of skating only for my own enjoyment, where I would progress my skills only to satisfy my own self-centered expectations, I shift the purpose of my skating activities to feel and express truth, goodness and endurance. I’m sure that once connected to these principles, it will lead to experience a higher kind of satisfaction while skateboarding. Maybe by doing so it can also have the power to inspire others to look at their skateboarding in a different way and to use it as a starting point to connect with these positive forces.
As skaters we all know that skateboarding is not just a sport but more like an art. The endless possibility of moves, tricks and styles can be easily compared to other bodily arts like dancing or the martial arts. That’s why it’s possible to express the qualities of being true, good and enduring through the art of skateboarding.
How can truth be experienced and expressed in skateboarding? The answer lies in understanding the reason for our skating. It might be simply the attractive feeling of gliding along in a standing position or to use it as an effective way to clear our minds from everyday trouble. The reason might also be to use it as a fun workout to get fit and healthy or to use it as an ingenious way of simple but effective transportation from one place to another. If we become clear about this we will be able to integrate skateboarding as an inherent part into our lives, in contrast to regarding it merely as a temporary fashion. It will also enable us to create and perfect our skating style according to our realization and to become true skaters, who will support their kind of skateboarding under all circumstances. This honesty of staying true to our realized principles can then be carried over into other aspects of our everyday life.
In my personal skateboarding, the quality of truth can be particularly associated with the style of chi-pushing, as its principles are focused on finding a way to efficiently and effortlessly use your skateboard for transportation. In this way it is a quest to find the truth about ergonomic usage of the body for pushing a skateboard. The correct body posture together with relaxed and centered movements to let your blood circulation and chi flow freely for achieving the best effect are all meant to manifest the true way of performing basic skating movements. Although I initially derived the principles of chi-pushing mainly from Tai Chi, they are actually very basic kinetic principles that have been found to be correct and effective in any scientific concept of human body movement. From this point of view the principles for the body posture in Chi-Pushing can also be derived from the exercises of Falun Gong, although, they of course do not have the same final purpose.
Goodness can be expressed by performing a skateboarding style in a beautiful and exceptional way so that others will be affected by it in the best possible way. Smoothness and efficiency of the movements are important aspects that will naturally attract others. Whenever we skate we have the chance to do our best to keep up the stoke in the community of fellow skaters and also to spread the stoke of skateboarding to people we meet. If someone wants to learn skateboarding because of our impact, we have done something good because we have provided the possibility to enrich the life of that person with a pleasurable activity that can be of benefit in many ways and can also be good for fitness and health. By skating consciously in a caring mood of goodness or kindness, this spirit can influence others. At the same time it can help us to grow compassion in our hearts, which is the corresponding higher characteristic of the cosmos, aiming at ending the suffering condition for all sentient beings in this world.
In my opinion the quality of goodness can be particularly associated with surfskating which brings skateboarding back to its roots of surfing and naturally includes a lot of beautiful and stylish looking moves. During all of the surfskate test events I have participated, I could always see smiles on the faces of everyone who tested our surfskate boards. That’s also because the feeling of the turny trucks is so exceptional and addictive that a lot of people get attracted right away and start to feel happiness immediately.
Endurance in skateboarding will be expressed whenever we learn something new or work hard to improve our style. To make progress in skateboarding we need time and consistency. Often we will have to really dedicate ourselves to get a trick done or to develop a clean style. It is also very likely that we will fall and get hurt. Usually we have to try again and again before we can achieve the desired result. That’s why in skateboarding we can experience the universal principle of „having to loose in order to gain“ in a very direct way. Only if we can endure and will be able to leave our comfort zone, we can let go of emotions like fear or laziness which are restricting our progress. In this way we can use skateboarding to develop endurance as an important aspect of the characteristic of forbearance which is a powerful virtue in everyday life as well.
Looking at the very basic skateboarding styles, I would say that the quality of endurance can be best associated with skogging, the style of switch pushing and pumping. This initially is a big challenge for most skaters and definitely needs a lot of persistence to master. As skogging is predestined to be used as a way to skate for long distances, it is in itself the manifestation of a skateboarding style that stands for endurance of body and mind.
Mix it up
Of course all three principles can be expressed in each of the skating styles of chi-pushing, surfskating and skogging to a certain extent and they can also be shown in many other skateboarding disciplines. Skating to be true, good and enduring will not only give skateboarding a positive philosophical significance but can also help to influence our lives and to change our character for the better. In the end only the moral improvement of human characters on a large scale will have the power to eliminate all the severe threats and problems existing for our human society.