Flying - Practical Training for Beginners
©2000 Luca Buvoli
(As we have just seen) Basically, we are disadvantaged by structure and habit in regard to the ability to fly. Given the specific gravity of a human being, the only way to propel ourselves is by thrusting against the ground with a relatively small area of the foot, which results in some forward and, less frequently, backward and sideways movements, but little or no upward progress.
Scientific study and experimentation have tried physical laws that govern body movements in diverse mediums to the point where man today is effectively and efficiently practicing aerial locomotion. The purpose of this guide is not to explain the results of this research, but to introduce you to the current methodology.
The first operation is to find oneself a field to survey, in which movements of the body or elaborations of thought are possible.
Such a field should be composed of two distinct area, the "imaginary" and the "real".
In order to clarify the separation of the two areas, we will visualize it as a line or as a plane, which we define as "surface".
At this point, in order to begin the practice of flying, it is necessary to enter into this field. Locate yourself in it. There is no stable support under your feet, no ceiling above your head. Alternate your presence in the two areas and familiarize yourself with the transition between them.
The practice (work) starts from the pelvis.
Placed in the imaginary area with your back barely touching the surface, your knees slightly bent, beat your legs further away from the surface in a movement we call "kick", until your knees reach full extension. Simultaneously bring your pelvis in the opposite direction, so that your buttocks just break the surface and enter into the other field.
Immediately afterwards, bring your pelvis forward into the imaginary, while lifting your legs and bending your needs so that the feet break the surface. Ankle extension is crucial to an efficient kick. If properly executed, such motions will start to lift your body.
The kick produces a sinuous, undulating motion that constitutes a good part of your upward power. The "kick" is the intimacy and the violence of contrary movements which are never reconciled and never appeased.
Movement of the arm constitutes the other fundamental propulsive force of this action.
Hands enter the imaginary together. Shoulder width apart, slide your hands inside the "imaginary" to a distance of four to eight inches from the "surface". This is the "catch," during which you should get a good "hold" on the imaginary. You have only a moment to do this.
With your arms stretched above your head, move them simultaneously down towards your feet (hips) and even in a mirror image of each other. Your arm should define in the imaginary area an S-shaped pattern. We call this phase the "pull."
During the final phase of the pull, your hands must make a hard thrust backwards and sightly away from your hips. This helps promote and easy and speedy arm recovery.
The elbows recover in the area of the real, yet very close to the surface so as to minimize the exertion of lifting both arms at once and to maintain body position as much as possible.
At the end of the recovery, with your elbows always held slightly higher than your hands, bring your arms back into the imaginary to allow for the next good catch.
Inhalation is essential and should happen in the area of the real. During inhalation, the head reaches its furthest point away from the surface, when the feet are at their most advanced point into the imaginary, at the second kick.
As soon as inhalation is complete, however, the head should return to a position inside the imaginary in preparation for the hand entry and to the exhalation.
Do not breathe on every arm cycle. Yes, it may feel as though your lungs will burst, but raising your head into the real wil make flying more difficult because it increases the drag.
Rhythm and body bend are optimal if you breathe on every other cycle.
The phases of this practice (work) will have to be repeated several times and coordinated separately.
In order for your body to bend in a loose and natural fashion--the key to efficient flying--proper timing is crucial, but unfortunately it is not easy.
Be sure to glide into your catch and get the feel of the imaginary before you start your arm pull. Exaggerating this glide has helped many discover the difficult timing of flying.
Gliding will help to streamline your flying. It allows you to feel the undulating body motion initiated in the kick and help to develop breath control.
After a considerable amount of practice, when rhythm has become the sole and unique mode of action, it is only then that there is pure flying. It is in the rhythm alone that it can live and become visible.
Flying is the intimate confrontation with itself of an opposition between contraries, neither of which, though irreconcilable, has coherence except in the context that opposes them one to the other.
You achieve the feeling of simultaneous exhilaration and calmness. You have drifted away from daily concerns, your breathing is not labored, your muscles are loose.
You experience emptiness, yet you are not empty. Every time that you think you are achieving something, you must cast it away.
In this state you cease to be aware of time, space, and causation.
Return to the practice/work, apply to it tirelessly and for no purpose, go back to what one cannot get to or the interminably affirmative No, which keeps on revoking all achievements, is "at work" in the work, causing its presence to revert to absence, causing the inexhaustibly persistent presence of absence.
The peculiar harsh demand that this activity makes on those who perform it, is that all one's powers be plunged in weakness, that one comes into an immense wealth of silence and inertia.
All this work attains its ultimate and essential form in the total realization of the liberating process of flying.