my very own shikidang

18 02 2009

culturewhen i lived in arizona i climbed with a fellow who grunted whilst pulling the mega-hard climbing moves.  i myself, being what i call a ‘silent killer’, am always sort of amazed at the grunting population.  it’s weird; like they can push themselves through difficult moves without holding their breath and/or muttering obscenities at inanimate clumps of stone.  in a word: amazing.

anyhow; there was this fellow in arizona who was – as i said before – a grunter.  but there was something odd about his grunt, something seemed strangely familiar.  at the time i chalked it up (ding!) to the copious amounts of energy drink i’d had, which, when mixed with sleep deprivation, a hangover, and 9 hours of continuous bouldering, had blunted my usually pin-point accurate ‘grunt recognition’ faculties.  indeed, i could probably use a bit of rest.

a week later i was doing a Dosage marathon in my living room getting my ‘chill’, like, totally on, when once again i heard the grunt that had perplexed me weeks before.  yes, there it was – “SIE!” – coming out of the mouth of none other than the Don himself – Chris Sharma.

huh.  they grunt the same?  was this arizona fellow some sort of grunt doppelganger, or worse yet, had Sharma been hiding in the arizona brush stealing noob sounds?  something was up.  now i’m no statistician, but the odds of two doods accidentally arriving at the same gutteral tones in a world brimming with so much potential gruntage seems – i dunno – impossible.  no, something was definitely going on here:

chris sharma’s grunt was proliferating through the climbing real-life-o-sphere;  a ‘SIE!’ here, a ‘SIE!’ there, everwhere a ‘SIE! SIE!’.  and if a grunt could seep out, what else could enter into our world through this ‘dee vee dee’ portal?  i was concerned.

so you can imagine the horror i felt when watching Dosage 5.  the arkansas dose with dave graham and posse is – arguably – the best eight and a half minutes of climbing footage ever.  sick boulders, palpable project tension, a Kraftwerk-esque impromptu dance scene, and some shikidang make it tough to beat.  add to this the perfect portrayal of the familiar goofball-high that accompanies great sessions and what you have is a very charismatic piece of rockclimbing culture frozen forever in digital format.

and this brings me to the title of this blog post – shikidang.  a few weeks ago i was out bouldering in the kentucky woods with my climbing brahs when we started talking about this shikidang.  we wondered if – like sharma’s grunt – it had moved from celluloid straight to the real?  of course, we couldn’t answer  the question ourselves given the absolute lack of a social climbing scene in lexington.  nay, our thoughts drifted to other – more populated – climbing cities.

i mean, were there kids in denver running around the bouldering cave ‘shikidanging’ all over everything?  was this a movement?  had it gained traction?  having heard first hand the use of ‘allez!’ by kids who had 1) never been to europe, and 2) were not taking french 101, i was aware most anything could make the jump from video into the world.  but we were eager to see if shikidang had made it.  why?  because if shikidang can become a ‘thing’, then anything can become one.  and if anything can become one, then maybe i can have my very own shikidang.

and so we come to it.  if one is to have a shikidang, one must know what a shikidang is.  and having just (re)read almost all of dave graham’s sporadic (but beautiful) blog posts i am sure of one thing:  shikidang isn’t so much a word as it is a feeling.  in the context of graham’s ‘island‘ and his ‘blur’, i think shikidang might be ‘island-speak’ for being in the ‘blur’.  i say this because i myself am in the blur, on the island, and – perhaps – shikidanging.  i’m not saying ‘shikidang’, and i’m not grunting like the Don.  because it’s not something i do – it’s not a practice or an utterance – no,  it’s just being super-focused, unreasonably sure that there are no limits, and hyper-crazy psyched on climbing everything you can get your hands on.

in other words, we are our very own shikidang. we can all become shikidang.






13 responses

18 02 2009
Jon G.

Unfortunately i think canadian pop radio is responsible for “Shikading” they say it all the time up there.

18 02 2009


well, whatever, i’m (re)claiming it as island talk.

18 02 2009
peter b

DG’s mannerisms have not become common in the Front Range to my knowledge as their quintessence lies in their unadaptability to the mass climbing population, in contrast to the Sharma grunt. One does not shikidang, either in the intransitive or transitive sense, but one is “shikidang”, the state that allows entry to the “blur.” However we cannot be our own shikidang as that would imply control of it, which is not possible, fortunately preventing its widespread dissolution and dilution among the hoi polloi.

18 02 2009

i would add we are always becoming ‘shikidang’, the between state that allows but a glimpse of the blur. ‘is’ is far too substantive for my taste, and to say we enter into the ‘blur ‘suggests a discrete threshold; and we all know the ‘blur’ is nothing if not threshold-less.

as far as being our own shikidang – yes, i see what you’re saying. i was trying for a sort of humanism there. we stoke the fire, we stick the move, and we are ultimately responsible for our becoming shikidang; always incomplete and always in motion. like the ‘force’, the shikidang is within us all, waiting to be tapped.

DG should really be in on this.

20 02 2009

Well, if it wasn’t a movement before, it will be now.

20 02 2009

i think you may be right. the brilliance of ‘shikidang’, in this context at least, is its ability to work as both a transcendental mantra and something you say when your friend steps in poop.

itsa movement-maker for sure.

20 02 2009

i can’t believe you actually repeated that in public. i love you, but am ashamed; did i mention i still love you (i feel i should reiterate). it’s just a pet-peeve (sp?) of mine, i guess. . .

to each his own:


24 02 2009
Lee Cujes

James Pearson has punched out a “Shika ding” in his recent blog post. He’s not even Canadian. What gives?

25 02 2009

I think it is a movement. The guy in Hueco last week with a mohawk, head-to-toe verve and organic clothing, and way too much aggression shikidanged himself as he topped out his project. so sick. i just cant wait for mid topout fist bumps to catch on, thats when its really on.

25 02 2009

what about mid-crux fist pumps? nothing says “i win” quite like stopping in the middle of hardness to let everyone know you’re a total badass.

25 02 2009

this is the southeast, it is implied that mid-crux and mid topout are one and the same.

25 02 2009

CleverNameHere is clever.

26 03 2009

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