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Author Topic: Skating in southern South Korea  (Read 362 times)

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Offline sampaguita

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Skating in southern South Korea
« on: December 19, 2017, 09:03:07 AM »
I'm be moving to South Korea and I'm looking for some advice. I read a thread by TheAquarian on how the skating scenario is in Seoul, but would anyone know about good skate pro shops, skate sharpeners, etc in the southern area of Korea (Busan and nearby cities)?

I also checked out the rink this year. Just as TheAquarian said, the area in the middle is off-limits except to those taking lessons, which means if I don't get lessons, I get to share the ice with speed skaters. There are also only 2 figure skating coaches in the rink, and none of them speak English...and apparently, semi-private lessons are the norm here, where you share lessons with 3-4 other students, each at a different level. (So while you practice, the coach is teaching another student, then gets back to you, and so on.)

I'm especially interested in where to have the skates sharpened though. Seoul is too far. Does anyone know where to have skates sharpened in southern South Korea? Thanks a lot!

Offline Loops

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2017, 12:08:46 PM »
I wish I could help you with the sharpening info.  But what I will say, is that I lived in France for 3 years before I started skating again.  And that time, because I was a stay at home mom with 2 kids, was in an English bubble (my husband and I speak English together). So my french was less then meh. Once I got back on the ice, my French improved dramatically!  None of my coaches speak English, and there are definitely still some language barriers, but it works and it's OK.  I would say throw yourself in there.  The group lesson thing is fine- that's the system in France (except that we're ALL in lesson at the same time, and the 2 coaches work with us individually from time to time, then let us to our own devices).  It will be hard, and you'll both be frustrated a lot, especially at the beginning, but it will be worth it.  And your Korean will get good quick!  Is there an adult synchro team?  I encourage that too. Great for making friends and meeting other skaters.

Good luck with your new adventure!

Offline sampaguita

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2017, 12:50:13 AM »
Thanks Loops! I will have to see if I can afford the lessons though. I'm moving there for studies, and we get a stipend. Skating lessons were apparently not part of the computation for my living expenses  ;D But ice time is relatively cheap, I notice.

Offline Loops

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2017, 01:13:31 AM »
What?  In what kind of cruel universe do they not consider skating needs in a stipend?!  Even if Korea has an amazing health care system, you probably can't get it covered under "mental health needs" either.....  :nvm:

One of the things I appreciate about the group lesson system is the price.  There are definite drawbacks, (but the only real alternative is to not skate, so........) nevertheless, I pay for a year less than what my parents paid for a month in the US back when I was a kid.  And this INCLUDES the extra bit I have to pay up front for synchro expenses....like travel and lodging at competitions.  And dresses if we're changing. Hopefully you're in for as good a surprise as I had when I signed up!

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2017, 12:13:37 AM »
I do know that South Korea is extremely well known for their speed skating programs. Some of the most popular speed skating coaches come from South Korea, including in my part of the U.S.

I suspect that isn't what you are looking for. But sometimes it is fun to get the type of sports training that is locally available at a high level.

BTW, I don't know if that is in "southern" South Korea.
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Offline sampaguita

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 08:22:08 PM »
So I've been here for a few weeks now and I thought I'd update :)

I'm in the city of Pohang, and there's a rink here. Like most recreational rinks in Korea, the center part is reserved for lessons, while the outer part is for the general public. The inner part is shared between figure skaters and speed skaters though, which means there is little space for practicing stroking (because the speed skaters tend to get the outermost part of the practice space, in addition to a part of the center).

However, you *CANNOT* practice figure skating on the outer circle, especially during busy times (usually, school breaks). Most Koreans can skate without falling, so there's usually a continuous flow of skaters there. And a coach also told you're not really supposed to practice there, because toe jumps ruin the ice, and that's dangerous for recreational skaters.

Which means, if you're going to practice here, you *have* to take lessons.

In my rink, there are only two figure skating coaches. Since the first coach I approached was fully booked, I got the second coach, who speaks no English at all. So we're communicating mainly by body language. So far, it works.

Interestingly, figure skating in Korea is heavy on spins, less heavy on jumps, and even less heavy on skating skills. I just do basic edges, backward stroking, backward edges on ice and people look at me like I'm some good skater.  88) I was able to attend a group class here, and though they really could spin even at the lower levels, their skating skills are below par for their level, compared to, say, a skater trained in the Western curriculum.

Can you believe that for my first lesson, my coach wanted me to do a scratch spin???? And I couldn't even do a basic one-foot-spin! And she didn't ask me to do any edges at all, just forward and backward crossovers.

The cost is also reasonable -- I paid KRW130,000 for four 30-minute lessons, including ice time.

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 09:27:59 AM »
The cost is also reasonable -- I paid KRW130,000 for four 30-minute lessons, including ice time.

The exchange rate of KRW=>USD came up in an internet search with:

"130,000 South Korean Won converts to 119.45 US Dollar"

I thought that was for a single half-hour lesson and thought "Wow.  Am I coaching in the wrong country!"  lol

($30/30 mins. is the average rate for a mid-level experienced coach here in the US.)
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Offline Bill_S

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 10:50:32 AM »
Sampaguita: Interesting report. I'm surprised that the basics aren't stressed as much as spins and jumps. I'd have guessed that the zen-like practice of basic movement would have greater appeal there.

It's sad to see a skater who jumps and spins, but moves across the ice in a clumsy fashion and can't hold an edge. I'd rather see solid basics in any skater.
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Offline Loops

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2018, 02:25:55 PM »
The exchange rate of KRW=>USD came up in an internet search with:

"130,000 South Korean Won converts to 119.45 US Dollar"

I thought that was for a single half-hour lesson and thought "Wow.  Am I coaching in the wrong country!"  lol

($30/30 mins. is the average rate for a mid-level experienced coach here in the US.)

Haha, it's probably true on some levels, but you also have to figure what the cost of living there is.  If a coffee at Charbucks is going to set you back the Korean equivalent of 20 USD, then, maybe the119 for a skating lesson is OK. Sampaugita can comment further on that.  Plus I think the USD is kinda low right now so.....

Sampaugita- I found that my French improved quickly and dramatically once I started skating again.  Hopefully this will be fantastic for your Korean!  Are there other adults at the rink?  I was lucky that there was an adult synchro team at mine (was really the draw for me, but I'd skate anyway).  Adult synchro teams rock, it's a great way to improve your skating while, and perhaps more importantly, make friends in a new place .  Are you enjoying the rink culture there? And learning a lot?  Sounds like your spins are going to get lots of work.....TBH, spins are so friggin hard, that on some levels it doesn't surprise me that they start 'em young there.  More to the point though, are the kids learning back spins?  Those are crucial for doubles and beyond...


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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 06:45:21 PM »
As to the basics, I think it will be fairly acceptable if you skate like Kim Yuna by the time you return. :angel:

Are you attending the Olympics?
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Offline sampaguita

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 03:55:33 AM »
@Loops: There aren't ANY adult skaters here at all! Figure skating is a minority sport where I am, despite Kim Yuna being a superstar here. Short-track speed skating is still where most kids enroll.

@FigureSpins: Actually, it should be around 40-50 minutes. My second lesson was around that long.

@Query: Yes!!! Expensive, but it's a once-in-a-lifetime event, I thought. At least I'll be saving on accommodations.


For the second lesson, the coach asked me to do some forward and backward edges, but small lobes due to space constraints. It seems she think my edges are too good for my spins haha.

But I can say I have made much progress on the one-foot spin! (Amazing really -- I never thought spins could be taught that way). My spin travels a lot, and I make only a few rotations, but now I'm working on crossing that leg. Coach wouldn't accept the standard one-foot spin -- she wants a real scratch spin!

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2018, 01:25:29 PM »
Wow....disappointing that there aren't any adults....Perhaps that is your new calling- recruitment! 

My scratch spins travel terribly (like, "I need a visa" terribly- international boundries could be crossed), despite my efforts.  Fwiw, I've noticed that when I take time on the entry, and bend my skating knee to the point where I feel like I'm going to sit on the ice, AND look hard over my skating shoulder, I can get a nicely centered scratch spin.  Now if only I could do that every time.....  But if it helps you, more the better.

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2018, 03:17:25 PM »
One theory seems to be that edges, power and speed can be improved at almost any stage of life, whereas it is possible that spinning and jumping are very difficult to master when you aren't quite young, as some of us have found. E.g., I think kids find it easier to learn to "feel" their center, and to feel when they aren't spinning around it, whereas those of us who didn't learn that young, may have largely lost the ability to learn to feel the center. Of course, I'm only saying that as someone has has never properly learned it. Likewise, the courage to jump may be much easier to gain when young.

Besides, let's face it: Spins and jumps are much more fun.  If you pushed most young kids to work too much on edges, power and speed, they would quit. :stars:

Relative to ice dance standards, most U.S. coaches' implementations of LTS classes are somewhat based on the same theories. I.E., real emphasis on edges is generally delayed until after all the major single jumps have been learned, from what I can tell. I think it's mostly ice dancers who place early emphasis on edges.

Quote
But I can say I have made much progress on the one-foot spin! (Amazing really -- I never thought spins could be taught that way).

What clues can you give those of us who have trouble with spins? :)

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Offline sampaguita

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Re: Skating in southern South Korea
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2018, 06:16:52 AM »
One theory seems to be that edges, power and speed can be improved at almost any stage of life, whereas it is possible that spinning and jumping are very difficult to master when you aren't quite young, as some of us have found. E.g., I think kids find it easier to learn to "feel" their center, and to feel when they aren't spinning around it, whereas those of us who didn't learn that young, may have largely lost the ability to learn to feel the center. Of course, I'm only saying that as someone has has never properly learned it. Likewise, the courage to jump may be much easier to gain when young.

Besides, let's face it: Spins and jumps are much more fun.  If you pushed most young kids to work too much on edges, power and speed, they would quit. :stars:

Yeah, I think you're right. Edges are in general quite boring unless you're dedicated to the sport.

Now for spins -- coach gave me the order to do stuff. Basically go around, straighten the leg, place the leg forward, and cross, making sure my posture is upright throughout. As for actually doing that, I have a long way to go haha. I'll let you know if I make any real significant progress worth posting hehehe