Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last shred session of the decade

Hurry up and get your shred on today, last chance of the decade!

Today is 1107 days in a row shredding with my favorite Footbags ( I am only gonna be able to play for an hour today, so my plan is to warmup fast with shred sprints, then work on big add trix. Skool barrages and other versions of same.

Thinking back to the turn of the century, I was the Current world champion in Footbag freestyle routines. My son was 2 years old, I was working with our family business. In that time, I took another two 2nd place finishes at worlds, and managed to stay on top of my game. I now work for a major company, my son is now 11 and just got his first pair of Lavers ( and on that same day he increased his own personal best consecutive score to 102 kicks in a row. I have been married for 18 years and my wife is still a freestyler too. For both of us, Footbag freestyle is our primary exercise, Valeria does other exercise, and I am planning to work on my upper body every other day in addition to freestyle every day. We want to bring Kick For Health to play a larger role in helping to reduce childhood obesity and adult onset diabetes by doing more school workshops and more actively promoting the concept.

Thanks to everyone who made this last decade so great for us, even when the economy didn't do so well. We are fortunate to be where we are starting into this next ten year span.

I can't wait for this next decade! Bring it on!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I can't get enough of this sport!

Is there such a thing as 'too much' freestyle? If you ask me, no. You might get a different answer from those around me, depending on when you ask the question. I think everyone would agree that my seemingly obsessive behavior surrounding Footbag ultimately has provided nothing but positive results in all areas of my life, with the possible exception of the financial area.

After a busy holiday week and a major Footbag tournament, my legs are surprisingly NOT sore. It may be partially because I gave been skooling hard every day for the past 1105 days in a row, but I think it is because I didn't get 'enough' play time at New Years Jam. As event director, getting to the site early each day and setting up, staying late to clean up is a small price to pay to bring an event like this to life. This event provides a place where other obsessed individuals such as myself can unite in our unique commonality to play together, learn from each other, reach out and teach kids, and even compete with each other. I personally believe every club should host a footbag event at least once a year! Get on it !

I'm going to do a double jam session today, lunch AND evening. Gotta return the sound system too.

Shred notes: 12/29/09 and 12/30/09
Day after a big event is usually hard to play. Not this time. Noticed a recent deficiency in barrages, skooled them. Hit Gyro Barrage. Is that called 'Garage'?

- enlightener

25th Annual Midwest Regional Footbag Championships - Wrap up and Results

Dec. 27-28, 2009.
25th Annual Midwest Regional Footbag Championships - Wrap up and Results.

About 50 players united for two days of shredding. Milan Benda from Czech Republic, Ken Somolinos from D.C., Brian, Emily and Goldberg from central CA, among others from Toledo, St. Louis, Wisconsin and nearby states!

Thanks to our sponsors!
World (WFA)
Kolo Sport
Chicago's Mayors Office of Special Events

Results (draft)
Footbag Freestyle Routines
-1st Place - Milan Benda
-2nd Place - Scott Davidson
-3rd Place - Ken Somolinos

Circle Contest
-1st Place - Ken Somolinos
-2nd Place - Milan Benda
-3rd Place - (name temp. missing)

More results:
Trick request contest- Milan Benda
Novice Consecutives: Alex Davidson (102, personal record)

Once I get these results completed here, I'll cross post them to and

- enlightener

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chicago Sports Festival starts tomorrow!

Tomorrow the Chicago Sports Festival begins at McCormick Place. Dec. 27-28, '09.
10-4 free admission, discounted parking on Martin Luther King Drive lot.

Come by and play with us!

So many great players are coming out, this is the premier footbag freestyle event in the country. We will also be introducing the sport to passersby all day.

Please come join us!

More info:

Best regards,

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dehydration is highly avoidable!

Dehydration is a serious matter, that is entirely avoidable, especially with a bit of behavior modification. Logically, I think I am most susceptible in the summertime. But I think it is this time of the year (winter) that I am most at risk. In the summer, everyone is focused on dehydration issues, athletes at least. However in the winter, it can slip up on you without noticing it coming on. I personally drink lots of coffee in the morning, then lots of water in the afternoon, and whatever I want at night. If that includes alcohol then I will probably come out in a net negative. Coffee and alcohol are both diuretics and cause you to expel more water than you benefit from, ending in a net negative. When you drink water, without sweeteners or colors or carbonation, you can make up for that but you have to stay on top of it. Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.

I remember about 10 years ago, Sam Conlon (perhaps the greatest female footbag freestyler ever), I'm pretty sure she had to stay in the hospital because of extreme dehydration. It took her a long time to recover fully, even after her visit to the hospital.

Water toxicity can happen if you drink something like 2 gallons in 1 hour so don't over do it, but other than that there is no such thing as too much water. When I drink water, I drink large volumes of room temp h2o.

Oh, if you are dieting and feeling hungry, try drinking a large glass of water at room temperature and see how hungry you are about 3 minutes later.

Here is a site that explains it in plain language... or

Shred Notes: 12/22/09
Worked on unusual surface strings, worried about pain that feels like a bruise in the top of left foot. Ended up getting very warm, skooled a lot of tricks that end landing on right leg. Almost hit inspinning symposium whirl.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Three years of playing every day!

So todays playtime concludes 3 years of footbag shredding on a daily basis. I have many insights from this experience which I won't go into right now, as I have little time at this writing. I wanted to thank my wife Valeria for allowing me the time to do this, and for doing the laundry. By my estimates, over 400 extra loads of laundry were caused by my daily obsession, and this is no small task. The only environmental impact that shredding has is all the extra laundry, but that is another topic.

3 years, yay! Now on to 4!

Shred notes: 12/19/09
Worked on routine for NYJ.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Measuring 'impact' of footbag freestyle relative to other sports...

The sport of Footbag Freestyle is underfunded and under-studied. I would love to see this change, but because of the current state of the economy and the loosely organized young players, it is unlikely we will see any new injections of funding or research anytime soon.

Other sports have been researched, and we can tell a lot about our sport by comparing it to these other sports. Among the comparable sports would be aerobics, boxing and running... to name a few.

So in future articles, I will compare some of this research and how it can be applied to the sport of footbag.

Shred notes: 12/12/09
Hit Sailing Butterfly today. That is a pixie atomic set back to the same side butterfly. SWEET!

Shred notes: 12/14/09
Hit Sailing butterfly on video today. Couple of good runs through my music for NYJ

Shred notes: 12/15/09
More good runs through NYJ music for performance.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Years Jam is just weeks away!

The 25th Annual Midwest Regional Footbag Championships and New Years Jam is just weeks away!
Be there! We are gonna shred big time!

We also will be reaching out to the youth of Chicago, over 50,000 people, to give them an opportunity to experience this beneficial and fun sport. The benefits of health and mind are clearly tangible.

Some of the things that go into the event... Arranging the site, and insurance. Contacting sponsors, notifying the players, spreading the word. We hand out 300-500 (cheap) footbags to kids who try the "footbag challenge" (to kids who want to play 'hacky sack'), and we have a sound system that I pay for out-of-pocket. This year we are having a t-shirt for all entrants that I pay for up front out of pocket, but I hope to recover some of it through entry fees. I am making a kick for health banner for the event, inviting onlookers to come over and try the sport of footbag.

We are greatful to the City of Chicago for providing the site, and to all the players coming out. Our sponsors, Freedom Footbags and World Footbag Association ( have provided prizes for our players. To the IFPA for sanctioning the event, and to all the support that IFPA's website,, provides to the event. I am greatful to all the players who have attended, and competed at the MidWest regional Footbag Championships over the years, this being our 25th year in a row. We are extremely thankful that Steve Goldberg is so committed to the sport of footbag that he took his mileage benefits to bring the current World Footbag Freestyle champion to this event which further helps us to attract new players. I have sent out a wave of press releases, and am about to send out my second wave of them. We have had great support from WGN and local television stations, and hope for more opportunities there. Of course, thanks to the CIC (Chicago Inner Circle) footbag club who have helped to promote the sport to the players and to run the events at the tournament. It is all the effort that goes into an event like this that makes it a success.

A new wrinkle, we have to provide insurance to McCormick place this year. That is an unexpected expense that is necessary to keep this event alive.

Shred notes: 12/11/09
Hit Gyro Butterfly Swirl on my solid side and almost on my flipside. Otherwise, a solid jam session.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Music selection is critical!

When I train for a performance, it is imperative that i carefully pick music. There are so many variables...
First, beats per minute needs to be close to my 110bpm with rare exceptions made for the feel of the song.
Second, I look for songs without words, especially for international competitions (except I haven't gone overseas lately).
Thirdly, I like it to have periodical tempo pauses to facilitate frozen tricks done on beat
Fourthly, I need to 'relate' to the song because I'll be meditating with positive mental visualization techniques whenever I can get my headphones to my ear.
Fifthly, the audience needs to 'get it'. The relationship between player and Footbag needs to be glaringly obvious. I'll be videotaping it today and reviewing it tonight to see if, upon review, all my assumptions from above are working for me.
Not in any particular order.

When I drafted this post yesterday, I thought I knew which music I would be performing to. It had all the elements above except BPM. So it is back to searching for music. Damn.

Shred notes: 12/8/09
Skooled routines. Did 'wind shreds' for 30m. Need new music. Filmed another contest video.

- enlightener

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Longevity is IN the shoes!

Literally. I wear Spenco insoles in every pair of shoes I own, and I have done this since 1985. I competed at 20 consecutive World Championships, I won the Singles Freestyle World Champion title in 1999, and have shredded hard (more intense than 'high-impact' aerobics) every day for the past 1081 days since I turned 40, and I stand all day at work, 5 days a week.

While having a sensible daily training regimen, and a healthy diet play into my longevity. When it comes down to it, every time my foot hits the ground, it has landed on a Spenco insole. A simple combination of nitrogen injected neoprene and a green fabric layer that create the experience of walking, standing and landing on clouds.

I started wearing them when my shins hurt in 1985. Made a special trip to an indoor mall in Boulder, CO, scoured several stores and found the Spencos Insoles (I prefer no arch support). My pain went away, and I keep Spencos under my every step.

I would hereby like to make an unsolicited endorsement based on empirical experience, that Spenco insoles are a huge part of the secret of my longevity. Not a secret anymore though.

I still compete (whenever I can afford to travel) and train daily in footbag freestyle, and while most of the people I am up against are half my age, I am still considered a threat when I enter a competition. And in every pair of shoes I wear, I have a set of Spenco Insoles between the ground and my feet!

Shred notes: 12/5/09
Day 1081. Stuck diving same symposium whirls on both sides and both on film. Couple of other good strings too.

- enlightener

Friday, December 4, 2009

Economy of motion

When I visualize atomic sets, I start to think about economy of motion and timing. Doing tricks that require two and three dexterity elements requires finding the most efficient path. In the case of atomic and nuclear tricks the challenge for me was to learn the 'hippy' method of reverse mirage. From there I could apply it to many tricks.

Atomic sets require throwing the first dex over the upward moving Footbag, so a traditional reverse mirage motion that happens at the apex isn't fast enough. To achieve atomic, the set and leaping hippy dex happen simultaneously.

Economy of motion is the key to refining 'tough' moves and developing new ones. Well, that is the physical challenge. Sometimes the mental block of dismissing something as 'impossible' is a larger obsticle, because if you never try something due to it's percieved impossibility, then how could you get to the part where you would refine the motion to make it possible. Believe!

Shred notes: 12/4/09
Just a typical day. Some good strings at the end. Indoors.

- enlightener

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Enlightener enters video contest! Vote Now!

Footbag freestyle needs exposure. Enlightener has video camera. Well, you get the idea. I need u to vote! Now! And three times a day for the next ten days. Please! at the upper left corner, click the vote button.

I promise to enter many more video contests, and inject Footbag into every entry!

I need access to a HD camera soon. Hmmm...


- enlightener

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Warm-up Strings serve a purpose!

Thanks to Dennis Jones for this inspiration!
I endorse the use of drills in training. I have a need to get warm quickly, and a need to always be skooling my foundation 'set' moves like butterflies, osii, blurs and blizzards, whirls and barflies.

Back in the early 90's I was sponsored by my wife's company to go to the Heart if Freestyle tourney run by Kendall Kick and attended by Everyone! I think of this event every time I hear the song 'Love Shack', what a great event! The year prior to this I had lost 50 pounds and proved my comeback at worlds a month earlier, this is the event that I was inducted into BAP, one of my proudest moments in the sport.

Anyway, Dennis Jones was there, and he was really good at short patterns like infinity-butterfly-infinity-butterfly and osis-butterfly-osis-butterfly. When I spoke with him about it he argued that these drills help the foundation of your game, and I immediately made some drills for myself. Those drills are still great, and important for every player.

For me, these drills have evolved into what I call 'warm-up strings.'. Every day I use these strings to get warm for bigger and better strings. And because I do them every day, I am confident that they can get me warm in a predictable 15-20 minutes. They also guarantee that I practice my basics every day!

Make your own patterns, based on your skill set, and play everyday!

Big announcement today... Coming via facebook later today.

- enlightener

Monday, November 30, 2009

Footbag freestyle in confined places

Shredding in oddly small spaces seems to become the norm in the winter months in the midwest. My living room is 6' x 8' and has precariously placed obstacles, like the 65"tv, the cushions protruding from the couch, and the cat walking through whenever he feels like it.

My double-secret space is 7' wide x infinite length, a hallway always under the possibility of eviction given the particular Paul Blart I encounter. Mostly they tolerate me though, and I'm thankful for that. I keep it pretty low key, high energy.

Sometimes half the battle of playing every day is procuring a place to play at. Beggars can't be choosers.

I think string length can be affected, so I have to consciously make an effort to work on long strings in small spaces. Being aware of the limitations of the playing area, I can focus on more specific components and new trick development (developing tricks that are new for me). I really miss the open space of "Mammoth Springs" parking lot, and I know that when I get to play in an open space again, that I am going to really take advantage of it and move around alot. Fliers and long strings, oh to dream.

Shred notes: 11/29/09
Played in LR today. Have been filming spec commercial projects for online video contests, finding a way to inject Footbag into each entry. Learned many things about camera angles, image resolution and export profiles. I plan to start working on atomic again on the side that used to hurt. I'll let you know how that goes. Had a hard time getting through my warm-up strings today, but eventually got into my groove.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

'85 World Championships - Old stories

Thinking back to my first World Footbag Championships (of 20 in a row). I have to take us back to the summer of '85, when I met Jay Moldenhauer and Greg Nelson for the first time. We were all attending a tournament in Athens, MI that included appearances by Andy Linder and Pat Bieber! Back then I was still using leather 2-panel hacky-sacks, and mine got wet on Saturday. We have come a long way! That finals day , I won a 'soc sac' signed by boy wonder Pat Bieber.

Jay Moldenhauer wanted to go to World Championships, and had to go thru Chicago to get there. I am so glad he approached me to ask if I could drive with him. He'll pick me up and go from there. I really wanted to go, but I was pretty sure my parents would shoot the idea down. When I got home from that tourney, I eagerly asked their permission (and funding)... And by allowing me to go, and encouraging me to pursue the sport I was so passionate about, I had officially started down the path that now lies behind me. I have no regrets about the path I took, and I can't wait to experience what lies ahead!

Shred Notes: 11/28/09
Gyro barfly is still challenging. Hit both, but not on tape and not for lack of trying. What does rippin call that pendulum style bag transfer.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks to Footbag!

Thanks to Footbag! For all my friends! To John Stalberger and Mike Marshall for inventing it! For all that well-spent time in my mis-spent youth! For all the excuses for traveling! For all the great events! For all the TV appearances! For my supportive family! For teaching me to deal with stress! For giving me something to teach! For my great and supportive job that allows me the time to host events and to train for them. Thanks for my parents who encouraged me to find my own path! Thanks again to Valeria and Alex for putting up with me along the path. And once again, thanks to Footbag!

Sidenote: coming up on 3 years where I have shredded hard, every day! Less than a month!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Footbag may not be the cure, but it is at least good preventative medicine!

Cases of childhood obesity and adult onset diabetes (Type 2 Diabetes) are symptoms of an epidemic that causes a myriad of health and emotional problems in our youth and young adult populations. People are trending towards poor food choices and sedentary 'activities' in place of balanced home cooked meals and being physically active. The US Surgeon General says on their website: "To ensure a healthy future for America's children, we must—
Help Kids Stay Active, Encourage Healthy Eating Habits, Promote Healthy Choices." REF:

As there is no magic pill to solving these problems, then certainly footbag would be a great option of the 'Help Kids Stay Active' part of the Surgeon General's initiative. Playing Footbag requires moving your legs, which are the largest muscle mass in the body. Burning calories requires jumpstarting the metabolism, and a simple, low-cost item like a Footbag is all you need to get started.

Learning the basics is the initial challenge, which quickly becomes addictive. Give a kid a set of barbells and they cringe thinking about all the 'work'-outs in their future. Give a kid a Footbag and they will play with their friends, and practice alone to get better! With a Footbag, they are getting their exercise, and they don't even realize it.

As proof of this concept, look at the top Footbag athletes. They are fit and in shape. In my case, I've been playing for over 25 years, and for the past 1070 days in a row (since I turned 40). I am not at risk for being overweight, and no sign of diabetes. Of course, I've been a vegetarian making good food choices for over 15 years which helps too (thanks to Valeria for all the great meals). is committed to presenting Footbags to young audiences, to encourage it as a fun activity that provides exercise without realizing it is exercise. It is great to play with everyone in the family, truly quality time.

Meanwhile, tell everyone you know about footbag. But you already know that!


Shred Notes 11/24/09;
I think that because I rely so heavily on cross body tricks, that I always feel a form of guilt when I spend time on them, which takes away from my time
Skooling new tricks and working on my flipside. Today, I skooled blurry whirls and many other whirls. It was overdue. No guilt, literally And just when I got totally warm, I ran out of time.

- enlightener

Friday, November 20, 2009

Injury with honor?

What is an honorable injury? Is there such a thing?
Well, if I got an injury that kept me from kicking, but was a result of anything other than intense shredding, that is an injury without honor. The way I figure it, if I were to flail miserably during a shred, and it resulted in injury, then at least it would be an injury of honor, that I would learn to live with.

So why do I mention this? I had a close call on my xootr today.
I malfunctioned when dismounting the xootr and tweaked my ankle. I have always been careful to not overdo things, this was a lack of light situation. Clearly my own Dumb-ass fault. I find it hard not to focus on the unusual pain during the first few hours of work.

So the first few minutes of my jam was cautiously approached today. After a warmup that showed that planting and rotating was the painful thing, I designed a session around that. Skooled tricks that don't rotate on rt leg as much as possible. I used rt x soles to stretch it. Still hit some nice strings and tons of frontside stuff. Play around the injury!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So much music, so little time

Why do I always use different music at different events? And music without words? Josh Casey is the biggest single influence for me. He argued that, especially in international competition, that words in music are a distraction.

For anyone who has seen me perform/compete over my 26-year career, you may have noticed that every event gets a unique music choice.

There are several reasons for this, but mostly because there is so much music, and so little time.

I consider this a personal challenge... To create a unique performance for each event I compete at. I know that I need to pick a song and make a routine that I can pull out at any opportunity. The reason I don't is that when I am training a routine, I not only practice to the song, but I listen to it over and over... Hundreds of times. I just haven't found that perfect song yet.

Any suggestions?

- enlightener

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

'Play your strengths' doesn't mean ignore your weaknesses...

I advocate what Kenny told me, 'play your strengths' but that doesn't mean I would say to ignore your weaknesses. It is important to keep focused on performance-quality strings, but always be aware of what you need to work on and to train those elements 'out' of your game.

Today I spent almost 20 minutes drilling L Blender. I am not only working to make my weak points stronger, but to modify a habit of mine. You see, I have been doing blender to dyno for so long, that every time I try for L blender, out comes a dyno. So I am actively spending time learning to buck the habit. To be able to pull off L blender opens many doors for my future game.

I have also suffered from one-sidedness in the world of fairies and pixies. I have daily spent a few minutes on this and it is paying off. Along with my flipside barrage, these training detours will have huge payoffs in the form of a better rounded game!

Keep playing!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What happened to refractions?

What ever happened to refractions? Back in the day it was a trick that I never quite 'got.'. Today I revisited refractions and I can see how they can help to mix it up a bit. Very fun! More experiments and practice are needed on my part. Hit spinning butterfly refraction and spinning osis refraction. Need to really skool basic refractions. Focus on the components!

My whole jam today started on Vortex's, went to Gyro DaDa's and into refractions. A blast. Always difficult to put on the brakes and wrap it up, but I managed.

- enlightener

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A quote from Kenny Shults...

Kenny Shults was a huge influence on my game as well. I copied his tricks, much as I did Andys'. Of course, the sport would not be where it is now without Kenny. Inspiring.

So back in the late '80's, I had an opportunity to ask Kenny his advice, and in a single quote, he changed the way I approach the design of a Footbag routine (performance). When I asked what would make my routines better, Kenny said "focus on your strengths."

I designed my winning routine (World Footbag Championships 1999) on that theory, and it worked. Not to mention all the 2nd place finishes I had. There are so many reasons why Kenny has influenced the sport, on that day in just a few words, he changed the way I play!

Shred notes: 11/12/09
Hit a new trick today, well new for me. Nuclear same xbody rake. L clip set on rt side of body, nuclear with L leg and then xbody rake with same leg. Also almost hit Shooting version of same.

- enlightener

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thanks to Andy Linder!

I wonder if I was somehow fated to play Footbag. I sure was lucky to have circumstances work out how they did!

I had been casually playing Footbag with my friends in Oak Park. One day we went in front of Matt Fickenschers house to play, and less than a block north of us was a guy who was kicking right there. And kicking... And kicking, and he never dropped. We watched from afar and dreamed of having skills like that.

A few days after that we were playing in that same spot and a guy came up and joined us in the circle. I can't remember his name, but he taught me my first trick, the lap catch. He also confirmed that his friend is the one and only Andy Linder, the current world freestyle champion and world record holder for most kicks in a row.

Shortly after that, still in 1984, I was shown a news blurb announcing an Footbag tourney of College Unions at IIT. I'm so grateful that I went there, as it set the course for my Footbag career. I met Andy Linder, Brent Welch, Lom Quang, Bruce Guettich and Greg Cortopassi there. I also met Jay Claffey and PJ Lareau who taught me my first toe delay.

About 16 years later, I won the World Championships Freestyle title. And ten more years later I am still playing at a high level. And at this writing I have played over 1050 days in a row.

Thanks to Andy Linder for inspiration, to all my friends who encourage me, and to my family who not only tolerate me, but are my biggest fans! THANKS!

Shred Notes from this past Sunday and Monday, 10/8 and 10/9/09: got to play with Valeria at rehm tennis facility outdoors. Nothing groundbreaking, just good solid jams with long strings. Valeria showed progress on clipper rainbows.

I love this sport!

- enlightener

Monday, November 9, 2009

Andy created a monster!

A bit more about Andy Linder.

He was the first major influence on my game. He didn't come to me offering suggestions for improvement. His methodology for skooling is what I gleaned from having the priveledge of traveling to Footbag events, and in being his team freestyle partner in my first 2nd place finish at world championships, there were many more 2nd place finishes (More than anyone else).

I was at first gunning for him in a futile but aggressive way. His memory of me back then was that of a 'cocky kid', and he was mostly right. Over the years I have developed more of a hunger for win-win situations rather than win-lose scenarios.

I copied his tricks and learned from what I saw at first, not unlike the way new players learn today, but with less videos and a total absense of YouTube.

What I learned from Andy was to have clear goals and to hold myself to a high standard. I think his biggest training secret is that he would take a trick or a string, and set a goal like '5 times in a row'. Then he would skool it until he achieved his goal.

Andy leads by example. He is a great leader and a great example.

Thanks again Andy!

Shred notes: 11/10/09..
Hit flipside phobic mirage. Happy that my flipside fairy and flip pixies are getting stronger. A little bit every day. Also gyro whirl to vortex. Why is möbius to möbius so hard? Working on frozen möbius to adjust.

- enlightener

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Equipment Matters!

Having the right equipment is necessary in any sport and Footbag is no different. But being flexible enough to still play at a high level even when you don't have the right equipment, is both a mental hurdle and a physical one.

This past summer my wife dragged me to a coldplay concert. We always shred at Alpine Valley, but somehow when I packed my backpack, I left out my shoes. I didn't realize this until we were halfway to Wisconsin. So the shoes I had on weren't Lavers but had open toes, so I spent the next hour modifying them. I was still able to get a good shred on, except that the warmup band sucked and I found no motivation from it. The shoes were heavy and had sloping insteps so I had to focus on frontside moves. But I made-do and had a worthwhile shred that day regardless.

So more to the point, today i forgot kicking shorts. Choice of jeans or Bermudas. Chose Bermudas and very happy with results below. Felt rediculous, but after a few minutes, didn't notice the bagginess and length if the shorts.

Shred notes 11/07/09:
Swirling Saturday. Warm up included plenty if swirls.

Symposium reverse swirling rake both sides. On film. Coming soon I hope.

- enlightener

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Move your game forward, 'cause time is moving it the other way...

Move your game forward, because time is moving it the other way...

"Use it or lose it" is another way to look at it. Over years of playing I have noticed that even short
one week breaks from playing caused me to have to catch up and spend time getting back to where I was.
I had made this observation over and over, but when I turned 40 I started thinking that this scenario could
only get worse with age. This is when I decided to start playing every day. Then a year, and two years,
1000 days in a row. The next milestone is 3 years playing everyday in a row.

I feel if I am going to continue to improve my game, that I need to stay on top of my game on all aspects.
I try to work on a variety of tricks every day, with a focus on a specific trick. I need to spend
more time on building endurance, executing long strings and linkage. The wonderful thing
about obsessing over this sport, is there is an endless array of tricks to learn, and many more
still yet to invent.

By playing everyday, I feel that it reverses the tendency to lose ground, it keeps me in top
condition, and it keeps my mind focused on the passion I have for this sport!

Shred Notes: 11/06/09
Skooled Barflies, down double downs and motion. Heavy on frontside strings. Had to play indoors
even though it was sunny and 50, it was too windy. Hit Ducking Paradox Whirl to Blurry Whirl on both
sides in one string. Had fun doing it. Always hard to stop.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Recess is a good way to look at it...

Day 1052 in a row today. I find a way to play every day.

As my BAP name 'enlightener' might suggest, I am a tireless promoter of the sport of footbag, former Education Director of IFPA, even my profession involves education. I think a good way to look at my lunchtime shreds, is as a "recess" from my very structured day. I also think it helps to keep it fresh by having a goal... something to achieve, something to work towards, something that will get me focused on a 'prize' of some kind. I often stray from my original intentions, but I always finish up feeling good about my game.

Today my goal was to have 'Twirling Thursday.' Once I got warmed up, I did some twirl iterations (nothing new), but started into other tricks and never got back to Twirls. Most notably a lot of 'shooting' tricks. Shooting paradox torque. I think shooting mobius is possible. Hit both stepping barflies in one string. Almost hit shooting symposium barfly. All kinds of good.

Recess is good!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shred notes: 11/04/09

Equal use of both sides is important for so many reasons. It is usually a mental block that keeps me from trying some trix on both sides. By skooling all the basic trix on both sides a player is setting themselves up for a big future, where their game is only limited by their own minds.

Skooled frontside today heavily during warm-up, skooled some overlooked components like barrages. Learned alot about how to do better barrages by watching my strong side and analyzing for flipside.

Hit flipside Lucky butterfly. Now comfy with lucky in both directions

- Enlightener

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shred notes: 11/03/09

I'm not sure if B96 plays anything I like, but the store I shred near was blasting it., and I wasn't impressed.

Cold today. 46 and sunny. Flat wind. Probably should have played outdors, but didn't.

Phobic left toe set, no plant spin towards rt., lt leg whirl, rt clip catch. Skilled frontside strings.

Shred Notes: 11/02/09

Close to reverse swirling, symposium whirling, x-body rake.

Hit both spinning symposium paradox whirling rakes in same string several times.

Outdoors 58 degrees and sunny. Still chilly but if it is over 50 and sunny, I'm outdoors playing.

- enlightener

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Shred notes: 10/31/09

These are those times when
Outside forces would seem to make it easy to skip a day if shred. Its alexs birthday, Valeria has spent countless hours prepping his party. But I still got my time to play. I am so lucky my family understands my commitment.

Skooled fairy infinity swirl, and pixie infinity swirl. Hit them both. Each are interesting in that they each have three unique dex's in them. Not just competitive uniques, but stylistically too. The first is on the way up, the 2nd is incidental and the third is horizontal. Neat.

- enlightener

Friday, October 30, 2009

Shred notes: 10/30/09

As I write, I'm waiting for a bus on a windy, rainy day Halloween-eve. Valeria has already spent countless hours preparing for alex's birthday party tomorrow.

( in between, I did a Shred Sprint jam today. Really got into the music in a funky chicken inspired way. Such an exhausting jam, but that's what I need. To build better endurance, et al longer strings before tiring.)

Now it is night and it is more windy. Glad I didnt put up all the decor for alex's party. Too windy, I have all day tomorrow.

- enlightener

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/29/09

Got Lucky Symposium Paradox Whirl today on film (and first time ever). A great, but obvious, extension of the Lucky concept. Made progress on flipside Lucky again.

Had to go indoors today. 50 something degrees, but too windy and no sun keeps me inside.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/28/09

Hit Lucky Diving same whirl, and same clipper. Also got a better Lucky paradox whirl on tape.

Also got a nice Spinning Motion starting a nice string in tape. A bunch of spinning motions close up for review. Generally a great day!

- enlightener

One Million Tricks +

So the way I figure it, in a typical shred session I kick more than a thousand tricks. So take 1043+ days of this and I can safely say I have done over a million tricks over the past 1000 or so days.

1,000,000 is a number that makes me feel accomplished, exhausted, and ecstatic all at the same time.

I already can't wait to play today and it is only 6:00am as I write this on my xootr from the middle of a foggy York woods in oak brook on my way to work.

- enlightener

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/26/09

Twirling Blender... Does it already have a name?

- enlightener

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Shred notes: 10/25/98

Hit my first flipside Lucky butterfly. Lucky Para mirage is near. I hope to do rainbow lucky butterflies soon. Diving lucky is possible, need more time to practice.

- enlightener

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Play everyday... A mental game

1040 days in a row today. Playing every day is a physical challenge to be certain, but the more difficult part of the equation is the mental game.

My biggest challenge is the duality where the lazy part of my brain says take it easy today, and that urge needs to be overcome by the part of my brain that wants to achieve the tough goals that have been internally agreed upon.

Mind tricks:
-Having a goal for the day helps motivate. I challenge myself to skool a weakness, or hit a big trick.
-Schedule your day and include a time when you can shred.
-don't let the lack of ideal location stop you. Be prepared to play anywhere. I've played in hallways at nearby hotels, unheated, but wind protected staircases. I've played in extreme cold (-5 degrees in front of apple store downtown, with chemical hand earners under my toes, and steam eminating from body.). I try to avoid wind. I can even be productive in a 6' square area like my living room.

Be prepared to take extreme measures to accomplish your goals! I can't wait to play today!


Friday, October 23, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/23/09 Early session

I get to play twice today. This AM in my 6' square living room... Later in secret location. Focused on flipside spinning osis freeze, flipside fairy sets and flipside pixie sets. Any chance to play can be productive.

- enlightener

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/22/09

Gyro focus today. Got hung up on gyro mirage to Atom Smasher. I skooled the hell out of that combo. Want it dialed this winter. Cold today, went into the secret indoor warm location. Nothing to note today, except that I used "Shred Sprints" to get warmed up quickly today. So I think it is safe to say that "Shred Sprints" are a great way to warm up quickly!


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wind sprints for shredders!

A wind sprint session refers to a training technique of an exhausting sprint followed by a jog for 25%-50% of sprint time and repeating it for at least a half hour.

The result is that you push the lactic acid burn back. So it takes more intense exercise before you feel the burn. In my case I'm trying to push it closer to 3 minutes so it is not a factor in my performance.

So I'm making a playlist with a 2 minute possible routine song then a :45 second clip of any song, and repeating that pattern so I can have a way to up to an hour of Wind Shredding at a time.

Hopefully this will help me improve my string length and overall endurance.

- enlightener

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Inspiration over Intimidation

As a tireless promoter of Footbag, if I see a random hack circle, I stop what I am doing and join them. Conversly when I am playing, I invite anyone who is interested to give it a try.

I play to inspire, not to intimidate. In order to improve, it helps to have people who are better than you to guide you through the basics. Footbag is fun, and very addictive due to the constant challenges it provides.

We need more players in the sport, and to accomplish this, we need to introduce Footbag to as many people as possible. It is a great way to have fun with your friends, to enjoy getting your daily exercise, even a great way for parents to have quality time with their kids.

I hope that my shredding inspires more people to give Footbag a try, not to be intimidated. Yes it takes effort to get good, but if you are up to the challenge, do I have the sport for you!

For more info: or

- enlightener

Monday, October 19, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/19/09

Worked on integrating juggle seamlessly into strings. Been working blur into juggle by tossing the 2nd bag into play right before the catch of the blur. Since i am the first to do this, I call the integration 'iJuggle'. No vid today but I'll need to publish an iJuggle video soon.

- enlightener

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/18/09

Hit paradox diving whirls on both sides. Diving is sooooo much harder than ducking when you go to the opposite side of the body, especially when the dex is so early. Another fun one is diving infinity, harder than it sounds.

I was challenged by a friend to add "Chicken Wings" (putting hands on head and having bag go through one arm on the way up and other on the way down) to Lucky concept. But was only able to get the up thread to one wing down to osis. Unique but strange looking. Thanks.

Proof again that when it is hard to get started playing, it is usually harder to stop.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/17/09

Focused on frontside and ended up on barflies. Hit stepping motion and locomotion on tape. Almost spinning motion. Inspinning gyro (no plant) mirage. Fun.

- enlightener

Threading Thursday...'Lucky'

So my 'theme' from today is Threading.

The film from today will result in a short film introducing the concept of Lucky. It will have some threading strings that aren't Lucky but just plain fun. I never complained that threading doesn't get a body add, but Lucky should get one for sure.

Some of my past films of threading are too hard to see when zoomed in, so I'm trying some other techniques for filming. I hope they work. I need lighter backgrounds and better camera angles.

Lucky 'concept' video
Lucky is a new concept that can be applied to many tricks. It includes a thread up-duck-thread down and a trick after that. Named after leprechan lucky to thread the rainbow, and because I still feel a bit lucky when I hit it.

- enlightener

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shred Notes: 10/15/09

Day 1031 in a row.

"Lucky Osis" - New innovation today caught on tape: Hit 'up thread - duck - down thread' ("Lucky") osis. See this video:

The "Lucky" concept will be applied to more tricks, just give me time.

Hit stepping double mirage (double blur?)... not sure what to call it. R clip, L leg step like blur, barrage-like double and back to left toe. Like a blur where the 2nd dex is a double. What is this called?

I had to play indoors, secret location. Well, if you have seen my videos then you have probably seen clips from my semi-warm inddor shred site.

Shred Notes: 10/14/09

Tried several times to hit inspinning gyro whirl an I think I hit it but could easily have been the.

Indoors today. 42 degrees.
No sun.

Experimenting with 'thread up-duck-thread down" tricks. Starting with osis L.

- enlightener

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Team Freestyle Basics

Keaton Halley and I were US champs and 2nd in the world in 2007. Here is insight into our methods.

Hi dominic!

We innovate sequences together. Sometimes starting with trying to replicate something we saw, and morphing it into something that works for us. Then we work it as a stand alone sequence. We do that process and videotape each sequence. Then we get our music possibles narrowed down to just one, and we build the routine in pieces. Videotape again. Review and tweak. We are more methodical, but still have fun with it.

- enlightener

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Theme of the day

I find it is better to have a goal when I start playing each day.

How about a focus on different things each day. So Starting today, I'll start using this list as a 'study guide' and I reserve the right to mix it up.

Möbius Monday
Twirling Tuesday
Whirling Wednesday
Threading Thursdays
Frontside Fridays
Swirling Saturdays
Symposium Sundays

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, October 12, 2009

Inspired by Jack Lalanne...

Jack LaLanne was on WGN-TV promoting his new book. He is 95 years old. They asked him "How often do you work out?" and he replied "7-Days a week." He added, "And I hate it, but I love the results."

I am inspired by people like this. And sometimes getting started at shredding every day seems like a chore, but I love playing footbag freestyle, and after a short warm-up I get so into it that I find it hard to stop. I do love the results too. I think that when you are passionate about your athleticism, it makes it easier to keep it going. I don't know if I could keep going this long if I didn't really love what I am doing.

He also commented that "If it tastes good, spit it out." Which I would say is true in the sense that man-made foods are made to taste good but are nutritious only as an afterthought. I find vegetarian food to be very good, but mostly because my wife Valeria is such a good cook.

I'm going to get his new book.

Monday, September 14, 2009

1000 Days in a Row!

At this point, I have played footbag every day for the past 1000 days! It all started when I turned 40 back in 2006. I had been playing 4-5 times a week, but started to notice that when I took a couple of days off, I spent the next shred just catching up to where I left off. So I decided to play every day.

Today, I went to Millennium Park in Chicago to celebrate, and I got some great footage shredding in front of the Bean and the 'Spitting' sculpture, which I'll be sharing as part of a documentary-style movie project that I am already working on, but will still be a while before completion.