I thought I'd write some notes about the FI3 and some things I figured out about learning new skills--well, new 3 turn skills---from the experience.
1. It takes a lot more kneebend that I thought it would. Coaches would tell me 'deeper in the knee' and I'd do it right once, then go back to 'not quite deep enough in the knee kneebend'. So, my bad (also, maybe 'my age'). Anyway, now if something doesn't work--GO DEEPER IN THE KNEE!
2. Coaches would hold my hand to keep me from falling. This was useful at the very beginning. I needed to put together a lot of stuff physically and not worry about falling. The hand holding in the long run, I felt kept me from getting some of the rhythm of the turn. I needed the freedom to move my arms and shoulders. At some point, I wish a coach had just flat out said, "Put some pads on and get over it."
3. There was a certain kind of rhythm to me getting the FI3. Push off, pull the freefoot to the heel, do some fiddly stuff with the upper body (more about that later), turn. I really had to work on the order of occurence of all the fiddly upper body stuff in coordination with bringing the free foot to the heel of the skating foot. This was essential. Once I realized that the sequence and the pacing was critical, and I could duplicate it over and over, I was finally able to get what are honestly beginner FI3. The FO3 didn't seem to be as dependent on the rhythm of the turn (maybe I'm more of an intermediate with FO3 as I can do it pretty much from any position now) and I had not anticipated how sensitive to pacing the turn the FI3 was. So it wasn't until I put some pads on and started falling that I was able to get the FI3.
4. Every coach had a slightly different technique for teaching FI3. Right now I'm definitely beginner, and I found that I needed more arm movement to get the turn. For a LFI3, one coach put a glove in my left hand, and then while doing the turn I was to pass the glove from the left to the right hand in front of the body and turn. This actually worked pretty well. It doesn't give pretty turns with still arms, like people want, but it helped me get the turn.
5. I can't remember stuff from lessons perfectly so the InterTubes is a godsend. I particularly found Robert Burgerman's 3 turn video the most helpful in jogging my memory. Notice how he holds the free arm ahead of the body for the FI3. Now imagine holding the free arm in that position, then using the technique from para 4 (the passing of the glove in the skating hand). That's what worked for me. As I said, that gives me beginner FI3. See how he uses quite a bit of shoulder action? I need that, but as I'm just a beginner, I use arm motion to get me there.
(For my UK readers: What is that accent? Mancunian? Estuary? Geordie?)
So these are some things I learned in my FI3 journey. I still have quite a bit of beginner arm swing, but I'd rather work to suppress that and have FI3, than I would to work fruitlessly on FI3 in the hope I'll someday get them with still arms. I'm willing to skate with compromise rather than perfection.
[No, I've not returned to the ice. I'm scheduling an MRI for first week of January. Determined to find out what is going on.]