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Standing on the Shoulders of Giants



November 6th

Last weekend I made my annual trek to North Carolina for the 19th Bouncing Bulldogs rope skipping workshop. I've been going every year since 1996 (minus 1 or 2 years for unforeseen scheduling conflicts). As always, there were loads of jumpers there from around the U.S. as well as a team from Japan and one girl from Germany. Friday was spent doing 5 shows around the Chapel Hill/Durham area before taking the night off and getting ready for the workshop on Saturday.

Saturday morning we headed over to the gym at 8:30 and started working on some routines for the show that evening. During the show the previous day, I had seen a few tricks that I wanted to learn so I tracked down the people and started learning. As the day went on and we got into the workshop, I taught the Double Dutch section with one of the guys from Japan (Toshi, though that's not quite how you spell it, but my memory isn't the best). We had a great time as both of us taught and I translated for him when the students had a hard time understanding him. We both went back and forth teaching and learning from each other quite a few skills.

I have to take a quick rabbit trail here. A couple months ago I received an e-mail from a Danish coach I worked with about 14 years ago. He lives in Germany now, but every once in a while I get the impression that he checks out what's going on in the jump rope world. He pointed out a video to me online that had just been made and made the comment that he remembers when my team and I were making up all those skills and it brought back some fond memories for him.

The fact is, I've been around a long time, there are a ton of skills that I either made up or helped develop with other jumpers, but here I am at camp, learning skills from people that haven't even been alive as long as I've been jumping. I fully believe that greatness is achieved when you're humble enough to realize that you don't know everything and are willing to learn from others. I spent some time talking to a group of high school age jumpers about how things were when I started. I talked about how much more complicated things are today, but all the difficulty that's present today wouldn't ever have come around if we hadn't spent years first developing the building blocks that they've put together into the intricate routines that are being done today. The giants of today only look so tall because they're standing on the shoulders of others who stood upon the shoulders of others. My goal is to always improve and that's why I take time to learn from people that come much further down the ladder than me. What's your approach? Are you too good to learn anything? Are you humble enough to learn? No matter how good you are, there's always something that you can learn. If you're new to a sport, don't be too proud to ask the older people how to do it. They've been around a long time and can help you get better faster than you know. Giants only get that way because they start with what others have already done and then take it from there.

We all have a certain level of pride, I like people to see that I can still jump, but I do want people to get better than me. I have spent the last few years doing something that most people in their prime would never consider. I teach everything I know. I've spent thousands of dollars pouring my knowledge into instructional videos to help people learn how to do what I know. I want people to be better than me, but the only way that will ever happen is if they learn what I already know. If you haven't picked up any of the instructional DVD's I've put out, get them today. You may know a lot already, but I want you to be better than me, so get the videos and learn what I know then make it harder. Do something I don't do. Make me look bad. I want you to be a giant.

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