GOU MIYAGI: AN ESSAY ON SKATEBOARDING
Gou Miyagi has one of the most unique styles in all of skateboarding. He's not wired like the rest of us. The way he views the world is as individualistic as it gets. Read Gou's latest essay on skateboarding for some insight into the fascinating world of Japan's most famous skater.
“Grown-ups” may try to drill something into you. They might have meant well, but what they teach you is not always the truth. I’m not telling you to disrespect nor distrust them. Because they are also lost, living their life in delusions. But we gotta avoid to get caught in such delusion or anything that disturbs you from your accomplishment. And the answer is always in your own self.
This is also like a conversation with the “inner child” in myself. This “inner child”, still breathing inside me, must be what enables me to enjoy skateboarding even at my age.
As a child, I was suddenly put under the narrow and distorted value enforced by the educational establishment and had been quantified, compared and forced to compete. From that time, I found a glimmer of light shining deep inside myself and felt that I have to protect it no matter how. Although I didn’t know what that light was, I could not explain about it to anyone and was kinda stuck, didn’t know what to do with my life.
And then I met skateboarding with its culture and its attitude, yes, that “skateboarding”. It came from a land far away over the sea, but it fitted me. I could feel how I got hooked on it. I had an acute feeling that there was the way to protect my tiny light. But at the same time, I started to part ways with everyone around.
At the period everyone begin to feel the urge to satisfy their self-conscious, classmates would always go to Karaoke, bowling or video arcades. And of course alcohol and smoking would follow. It seemed like their most rebellious, determined act against the grown-ups, but from my view, they were just taking the easiest way prepared by the grown-ups. Just another “fake comfort”. They weren’t even enjoying it fully nor spontaneously. Thinking of them like that, there was no way to get along with them. I even hated myself for that, but I just couldn’t get along.
Because the skaters were always trying to create something new, skateboarding was exciting, filled with surprise and joy. They wouldn’t just accept the status quo, but overcome the discomfort they got from society in their own way. I believe they had a strong will to never ever get swallowed down by this faulty system created by the grown-ups.
But as the time goes by, even the skaters grew up. A “society” was constructed in the world of skateboarding and it looked like the “grown-ups” moral was taking the wheel.
I didn’t want to get swallowed down by it. I could not lose that skateboarding, which protected my tiny light inside me. In a quiet manner, I decided to fight against it.
During the time I got a father of a daughter. Being exposed to her boundless innocence and freedom, I could recognize little by little what that “tiny light” was. It is the “inner child”. People who saw my tricks would ask me how or where I got the idea of them, but that’s what this “inner child” does.
The inner child is free-spirited and whimsy, never get caught by any kind of rule. And what he or she creates contains an explosive energy. But that energy is very hard to handle. Physical factors will block you up when you try to put the energy into any kind of “shape”. It’s way too free and requires me to do things beyond my physical ability. Without thinking if it could be possible or not, the inner child would tell me “Wouldn’t it be funny if you could do that? You can do that for sure!” And yeah, it would be funny if I could make it. So the grown-up persona in myself would show up and try to find the way leading from impossible to the possible and takes the inner child along the path. The mix of both characters enables me to accomplish a trick. Which also means that I need hella time to actually make the trick.
Why I’m telling you such a super personal story is, because I realize that if you would push a subjective matter to the ultimate, you can discover something universal.
And the world of skateboarding nowadays, which tends to the grown-ups‘ conception looks like suffering and struggling to find the right balance.
I’m also feeling this distress as a grown-up after I got a parent of a child. But that is why I could rediscover the importance of this “inner child”. Both sides are essential and you should never lean only to one side. I believe that finding and enforcing the right balance will be my gratitude and repayment to skateboarding.
(original text by Gou Miyagi / translation by Katsushige Ichihashi)