During my search for a solution to Bessler’s gravitywheel, I stumbled on the extraordinary sport of ‘kiiking’. This sport requires one to swing so high that one passes over the top of the swing. I had what I have frequently referred to as my ‘’eureka’ moment because it was through the study of the rider’s actions in this sport that I at last caught a glimpse of what I am convinced is the solution to the whole problem. A well known parametric oscillator is a child on a swing where periodically changing the child's center of gravity causes the swing to oscillate.The varying of the parameters drives the system. It was this definition which I see as a connection with Bessler’s wheel
According to Wikipedia, Kiiking is a sport that was invented in Estonia by Ado Kosk around 1996. In Estonian language kiik means a swing. In a kiiking swing, the swing arms are made of steel to enable a person to swing 360 degrees going over the spindle, or pivot, of the swing. The swinger, or rider, is fastened to the swing seat by their feet. To swing they begin to pump it by squatting and standing up on the swing at certaim moments during each arc of the swing. The swing will gain momentum and will, by skillful pumping, take a person over the top of the swing.

Ado Kosk observed that the longer the swing arms are the more difficult it becomes, to get over the swing . He then designed and patented telescoping swing arms to gradually extend the arms for an increased challenge. The one who swings right over the pivot with longest swing arms is the winner. The current record stands at the length of 7 meters and 2 centimeters and is held by Andrus Aasamäe.

OK that is fine as far as it goes but in fact I have found a painting done between 1840 and 1850 by a German artist, Theodor Gehlhaar (1805-1871) which shows the modern sport of ‘kiiking’ being enjoyed then, over a hundred years before Ado. I expect that the truth is that Ado Kosk revitalised the sport by using modern construction methods and achieved some ft_gehlhaar_ekmg2918_kiigel_b__opc1153_ame by introducing a new generation to an old national sport.

I believe that when it is played competitively the sport is called "Kiikujad". I have found it mentioned in 1781, 1819 and 1840, but it is believed to stretch back much further than that according to ancient folklore, and apparently there are references to it to be found in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Belarus. Certainly it was popular in the first half of the 19th century. Actually there is good reason to believe that it can be traced back to prehistoric times and was originally connected with ceremonies connected with fertilty rites and the changing of the seasons.

It would make an excellent Olympic sport in my opinion and I wonder if, once the solution has been found to Bessler’s wheel and the principle behind it is recognised as parametric oscillation, then perhaps the Estonians, Latvians and Lithiuanians will gather some kudos from the connection.

I should mention that my father was a Lithuanian, hence my own interest in furthering recognition of this sport wink.


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