The name Jacob Smushkin is well known to those who are interested in ice-sports: figure skating and hockey. A wonderful trainer who trained several generations of high class professionals for more than 60 years is now presented in a new light as a poet, aphorisms writer, thinker and a philosopher. Herein we see a new, never revealed side of ones' personality for which creativity always was an integral part of its existence.
"Smushkinisms" are, in a way, a result of many years of walking life's path. A path in which there were burdens, deprivations, hard work, the search for truth and true love. The work of art presented in this book are life sketches, observations, thoughts out loud, all of which are filled with surprising continuities, accurate and precise remarks on what is seen, lived, felt. They are quite original, distinctive, sometimes with a scandalous element which does not pass the limits of good taste and is well in its place. A big life experience is felt along with optimism and a passion for life and a fierce personality which stands behind the written lines.
The author truly has something to say and I am sure that this book will find a listener. As for now, lets congratulate Jacob Smushkin with his «newborn», a first compilation of his poetry and aphorisms, and wish him continues success in the field of writing.
Editor in Chief of "Nasha
This book is written, first and foremost, to the Russian readers who know and remember me through Hockey and Figure Skating in the Former
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«Smushkinizms» are a fiction poetic portrait of a free-thinker, a pacer an outsider, a person which outlook on life is often in opposition to the existing traditions of community and personal life.
My work on ice with young figure skaters and hockey players was and forever stays my true friend. This friend helped me survive and find myself in circumstances of the Soviet totalitarian regimen, bringing me to «The Ice Country», a neutral zone where I had all the opportunities for helpful work and creative self-expression.
The Soviet government made a free-thinker, a pacer and an outsider. I found out the influence that «The 5th point» ( «The 5th point» - the column 'nationality' in the Soviet passport ) in my passport early on, and realized that for non-party (Communist Party ) Jew many doors in the Soviet society are closed for good. I had a change of mindset and I was forced to become a «inner immigrant» in my own country. In order to be able to exist under the pressure of those social laws and not to loose myself as a personality, I had to live and work outside of the system, somehow becoming a deviationist.
I dedicated myself to sports, precisely figure skating, where, after the war you saw no strong evidence of nonacceptance of national minorities. I was one of the first, if not the first, to open my own figure skating school in the Stroitel Stadium. This school existed legally on the Principle of Self Repayment, and did not cost the government a penny. It was completely dependent on me to squeeze out the maximum out of the ability to make money, using a personal trainer's initiative.
After getting rid of the dependency on the system by standing aside from it and reevaluating its influence on the minds and souls of the people, I begun to better understand those national laws which all the Soviet people lived by. By becoming a «free artist on ice» I could unify my body and soul into a one mechanism which working for me and is under my sole control.
I understood that I could never be a «managing mind» in this society because of the absence of a party membership card and the presence of a «The 5th point» in my passport. At the same time, I did not plan to be a «managed body» because of my desire to remain a free spirit, which does not, in any way, depend on the government structures and party-economic authorities.
My aspiration for knowledge and creativity brought me to the laboratory of biomechanics in the State Institute of Sports and Physical Culture where I got the chance to engage scientific work. Later on, in the same institute I got admitted to the internal post-graduate studies towards my doctorate degree and started to actively collaborate with the
Before immigrating, in 1972, I was the scientific and technical consultant to the Soviet Skating Federation. I simultaneously worked as the President of the
When coming to North America in 1973, I was already ready for the private enterprise, and without much difficulty I opened a private school first in
But even when coming to the West I did not change my main life position as a free-thinker, pacer and outsider. For the past 30 years I never tried to work in the traditional system of the private figure skating clubs and hockey associations. Although this did not stand in my way of becoming a famous and respected trainer of junior hockey and publish here, in the West, a trilogy of books in the English language.
To live and work freely and be a pioneer in my field became the reason for my existence, and the postulate "to live without time in my own space" was and remained the main motto of my life. I realized long ago that this was the best path to longevity. Time and experience proved me right. Judge for yourself, who is it better to be: a healthy revolutionary who remains young in his golden years or a sick adult citizen that spends his remaining years on the sofa without action.
I grew up alone, without any help and participation from my parents but I was always open to the advice and wisdom of others. Amongst them I always had a lot of real friends that is why I are up very fast. The wisdom of those older than I am always surprised me and won my admiration with its logic, concisely and undisguised truth, so ofter unapproachable to my childish awareness and understanding. Witty aphorisms, thoughts, reflections of the greatest people in history attracted my attention and forced me to better understand the meaning of things in nature and feel the mighty force of life's truth, the search of which interested me since early age.
in 58 years of work as a kids' trainer on ice in many countries, I collected a huge amount of personal aphorisms and original sketches from my personal life. Numerous students and their parents, as well as relatives, friends and acquaintances delightfully use them in their daily life. They have asked me to write a book long time ago, which will include everything they've ever heard from me.
My "Smushkinizms" are aphorisms, observations and sketches from my life, written in a poetic form by an amateur poet. Through them I tried to deliver my life's observations, feelings, freestyle thoughts, impressions, fragments of my own outlook on life, based on my personal life experience living in my during the time I lived in my own homeland, The Former Soviet Union, and here, as an immigrant in North America.
All the Smushkinizms the amount of which is exceeds 600 are divided to three chapters: Aphorisms, Reflections and Life Sketches and numerated in a chronological order as per their creation.
To all my readers, I sincerely apologize for any vulgarity and uncensored words you might find in my book. This is how my life is, rudeness combined with kindness, both of which walked side by side for 75 years.