Unrecognized Figure Skating Turns – Orphan Turns Part 1 (Nick Perna)

Nick Perna begins a discussion of what he calls “orphan turns” in figure skating.  He calls them orphan turns because these “forgotten” turns don’t belong to any family and they have no formal names.  These turns are generally ignored and certainly not taught formally.

In this video, Nick explains the basics of turns and the concepts of turning in a “natural” rotational direction and a “counter” rotational direction.  Turns on one foot on a circle have names.  Nick describes three-turns and brackets to illustrate his definitions and clarify the basic ideas.  He says, “So in one case when we have a natural rotation on a circle we call it a three turn.  When we have counter rotation on a circle we call it a bracket.  They both have names.”

Then Nick proceeds to discuss the classic forward inside mohawk which also has “natural” rotation on the circle.  But then Nick does a mohawk that starts on a forward inside edge and exits on a back inside edge but turns counter to the natural rotation direction.  This is a turn that has no formal name in figure skating and Nick calls it a “forward inside orphan mohawk.”  He suggests calling it a “brackhawk.”  In upcoming videos, Nick will detail additional orphan turns.

By the way, most skaters love this kind of discussion and exercise because it’s novel and challenging.  Asking skaters to try something that has no formal name or that few people do feels like “playing” on the ice.  Nearly every aspect of figure skating has been formalized in some way, so giving skaters the freedom to explore these orphan turns can be extremely fun and engaging to them.


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