After making amends to Thomas for My unprovoked tail attack, and regaining his trust, I decided that I should try to right another wrong. A few weeks back I tried to coach Thomas in the ways of the Catlympians. It didn’t go so well. I knew I could do better, so yesterday I gave it another try. After playing for awhile, I could tell that Thomas really had a good handle on the fundamentals, so I decided to tutor him in some advanced techniques. And what better way to start than with My own signature move that I call Dragon Belly?
I told Thomas to watch closely as I prepared to assume the position. As the toy handler made a pass with a simulated mouse, I began to roll over onto My back while saying, “See Thomas? You need to rotate your torso thusly, starting with your forelimbs, but be careful, it is easy to over-rotate and end up doing a full roll. If you lead with your forelegs though, your hind legs will follow.”
Thomas said, “Like this, Leader Otis?” And then he began to roll. I was concerned because he appeared to be attempting to roll with both his forelimbs and hind limbs at the same time.
As I watched, Thomas’s hind limbs over-rotated. He fought desperately to counterbalance with his forelimbs, but it was no use. He went all the way over, completing a full roll.
Thomas exclaimed, “Oh no! I don’t think I can do it, Leader Otis! Dragon Belly seems to be beyond my skill level!” I said, “Stop talking nonsense Thomas. You can do this! We just need to try a different approach.” I then told him to swing around so that his back end was up against the wall. I told him to try Dragon Belly again, but this time to press his feet against the wall to slow his rotation if he felt he was getting out of control. It worked! And soon he had assumed a perfect Dragon Belly position.
Encouraged by his success, Thomas decided he wanted to try again without the assistance of the wall. He moved to the middle of the floor and began trying to roll into position. After two or three false starts, he managed to achieve Dragon Belly. At this point, I was so happy with his progress that I decided he should continue working on some exercises on his own. I told him to practice rolling to Dragon Belly position and then alternate swiping upward with his left paw and then his right. The idea was to really focus on his balance while pretending he was going after a simulated bird or mouse. He began practicing immediately.
Satisfied that Thomas was now starting down the right path to eventual Catlympic greatness, I retired to the downstairs to have a snack and a nap. When I checked in on Thomas some time later he was curled up in his cubby sound asleep. I think the little guy wore himself out from practicing so much.
So Sayeth Otis