Learn to Balance with

This is written for the teacher more than the student.

Peacock feathers can be obtained in bulk online. Smaller numbers are available at some floral shops and in any China Town.

  1. There is a great transfer of skill from a feather balance to a more difficult balance.
    • The balance is almost always lost by moving too fast - seldom too slowly.
    • The fear of being hurt slows learning of challenging/dangerous balances.
    • Fatigue also slows learning - there is little effort required improving balance with a feather.
  2. Unicycle or rola bola students taking a break, doing a bit of feather balance will show improvement in riding skills.
  3. Physical therapy for stroke/accident victims will achieve improvement with a similar break.
Walking forward to get the peacock feather in balance.
  1. Place a peacock feather on your hand - see the stick-man illustration.
  2. Look at the eye of the peacock feather.
  3. When you are teaching, demo by placing the feather on your hand and letting it fall away from you.
    • Walk forwards to get it in balance.
    • If you show the balance standing stock-still students assume that is the way it works.
    • Fully a third of them will stand and watch the feather fall off their hand if you show it under control from the beginning.
  4. Remind them to look at the eye They tend to look to see if you are watching and lose the balance.
  1. Walk or run while maintaining the balance.

    I find working brief periods (ten minutes or less) every few days or even weeks apart more productive than long, frequent sessions.

  2. Throw the feather and catch it on the other hand.
    • Push the feather straight up; look down at your hand for the transfer and immediately back at the eye.
  3. Try various parts of the body as balance points.
  4. You must be able to see the top of the object to control the balance.
  5. Standing on one foot and balancing the feather on the other is particularly challenging.
  1. Move on to other long objects such as a 3-foot dowel (or a yardstick).
  2. Gradually work on shorter objects.
  3. A baseball cap balanced on the nose makes a nice looking trick.
    • As soon as control is lost, lunge forward, dropping the hat on your head.
    • It is less frustrating than dropping the hat on the floor plus it looks like that is what you intended.

A good substitute for a feather is a piece of cardboard (soda/cereal carton) cut in an 6x18" oval and cupped slightly along the long axis.

  1. Go back to the peacock feather and learn to balance two or more at a time.
  2. Start with one on each hand, and then try one on the face and one on the hand.
  3. Next one object on each hand, one on the face, one on one foot, standing on a rola bola.
  4. Get an agent! (Oh, and post a video on YouTube :)
  1. Balance a peacock feather on your forehead, knees bent, feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Tilt your head back until the forehead is nearly parallel to the floor.
  3. Now switch to a 6" ball firmly inflated - soft is erratic.
  4. Use low bounces and do not correct with your head - move your feet.

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