Kite Chi

Written by Corey Jensen

This is a training technique I've been teaching for 25 years now. It's called “Kite Chi”

I guess the ideas that led to Kite Chi first began when I got into professional kiting in 1977. Between 1977 and 1984, from Colorado to the Pacific Coast, I was flying the Flexifoil 2-line power kite foils in ever growing stacks. From my initial 3 stack to eventually 37 in 1980 and a 50 kite stack by 1981.

Hand-flying stacks of stunters is a specialized part of power kiting and untwisting a lineset in flight is a more complicated task. Looping a big stack into the "power zone" creates lots of it. Often I would simply spin around under the stack while it flew overhead. Then in 1981, I spotted Mix McGraw flying stacks of Hyperkites in front of Pier 39 in San Francisco. He is an accomplished kite flyer and also an elegant man. His unwind-spins under his stack caught my attention and I started to try to emulate some of his grace.

By removing my eyes from the process, my fingers began to listen to the kite. I noticed how quickly the tactile part of kiting became more a part of the fun of it. I started listening to music while I flew my stunters and stacks and that accelerated the process. Rather than learning tricks, I was learning to feel the wind. I have been refining this concept and creating a model that others may follow ever since.

Kite Chi Video

While your kite is doing a loop in the sky, raise your arms over your head and spin around, untwisting your lines while the kite is twisting them.

It's not about the lines. It's about our eyes.

Our culture has become so visually dominated, so much visual information bombards us, I think that sometimes our brain forgets we have other senses. The neural pathways in our brain used for visual images are so well-worn, so heavily traveled, it has become like a rutted road, keeping us occupied by our eyes.

Turning around distracts our eyes for a moment, allowing our fingers a chance to begin to learn the tactile language the kite uses to tell us "Where It Is" and "Where It's Going". Pretty critical information, and available to us non-visually.

The more you practice Kite Chi, the more comfortable you become flying in control without NEEDING to be looking at your kite all the time. Merely closing our eyes or looking down doesn't work nearly as well as the mind is still using visual images in the imagination. Kite Chi teaches us to create new neural pathways, combining visual and tactile inputs, that expands our awareness of the different elements we're involved with.

Ultimately you'll be flying the kite with your fingers, Steering the board or buggy with your feet. While your eyes plot your course, look out for obstacles, watch the wind, glance at your awesome kite, ogle the beach betties, stare at other buggies and kites, or whatever catches your eye, as you're eyes are not fixed on one (kite) thing.