Low Brace Turns - hot or not?

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Steve B
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Post by Steve B » Fri Jun 23, 2006 11:48 pm

Noah nig wrote:I had this same discussion with 2 level 5 coaches whilst in the Alps last week.
How did you know they were level 5 coaches?

<laughs at own joke>
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David McCraw

Post by David McCraw » Mon Jun 26, 2006 12:24 pm

dolph wrote:Progressive coaching???? Uni clubs have a tendency to teach beginners the basics followed by being thrown onto WW, missing out a whole load of basic fundamentals. Hence why you tend to see loads of carnage on uni. trips. People on their third trip ever on WW being thrown down grade 4 etc.

Conventional clubs, in my opinion, and experience, teach and develop technique at a much more progressive and structured level. Not leaving huge gaps in between. Might not be as fun, but much more effective.
There is no denying that conventional clubs are generally more structured and teach at a slower pace - I learned in a very traditional environment and had been paddling for ten months before I got onto moving water!

However, this isn't necessarily a good thing (and certainly isn't progressive!). For example, you seem to take the view that 'carnage' (swimming) is necessarily a bad thing - but I would argue that people need to challenge themselves to develop and as a natural side-effect, go swimming more often.

"Throwing" people onto moving water has many advantages, including the ability to teach strokes in their intended environment, rather than trying to convince (for example) that the low brace turn is really useful in the placid confines of a swimming pool.

As it happens, we don't really ever teach the LBT - if I had to have just one technique myself it would be using an active paddle every time. There are other (better) ways of teaching edging and balance and (presuming the aim is to get onto advanced water one day) I don't think the passive LBT really fits in.

Works for me, anyway.

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Post by Jim » Mon Jun 26, 2006 1:36 pm

dolph wrote:Progressive coaching???? Uni clubs have a tendency to teach beginners the basics followed by being thrown onto WW, missing out a whole load of basic fundamentals. Hence why you tend to see loads of carnage on uni. trips. People on their third trip ever on WW being thrown down grade 4 etc.
This I consider to be an anachronistic view of university canoe clubs! ;)

More precisely it's a steroetype which in many cases is unfair, I openly admit that some uni canoe clubs are exactly as described, but I haven't found this to be the norm for over 10 years.

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Re: Progressive coaching

Post by davebrads » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:38 pm

Don't knock the "progressive coaching" techniques attributed to University Canoe Clubs; it often produces excellent results. I have seen many paddlers who have come through variations of this system, and they are generally the best paddlers. It only suits people of a certain calibre, but I think you will be surprised just how many people are resilient enough to come bouncing back after their nth swim. I know I did!

Contrast this with the standard coaching methods, which in some cases keeps paddlers off moving water for over a year, for their "safety". This probably loses as many paddlers as the "progressive coaching" system, due to sheer boredom, and those that do get through it are rarely as good paddlers as those simply thrown in at the deep end. They can do excellent hanging draws and low brace turns on flat water, but their paddling goes to pieces on anything decent, as any fears they have about white water have been reinforced by the coaching, rather than dispelled.

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Re: Progressive coaching

Post by Dave Thomas » Mon Jun 26, 2006 2:55 pm

davebrads wrote:Contrast this with the standard coaching methods, which in some cases keeps paddlers off moving water for over a year, for their "safety".
No, not "safety" but "comfort zone". I have no qualms about people 'swimming while I'm coaching them - within reasonable bounds for their experience. However, I can cite one instance of a promising young paddler from our club a while back who was paddling grade 3 quite competently when she went to university and was put off for at least a year (if not permanently - I havn't heard lately) by a bad experience swimming while paddling with that club. I don't know all the detail, but I'm glad that didn't happen 'on my watch'. And similar events have happened within our club on occasion, as well, and I'm not proud of that either.
davebrads wrote:their paddling goes to pieces on anything decent, as any fears they have about white water have been reinforced by the coaching, rather than dispelled.
That just reads to me like prejudice, rather than informed reasoning.

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Steve B
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Re: Progressive coaching

Post by Steve B » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:08 pm

davebrads wrote:Don't knock the "progressive coaching" techniques attributed to University Canoe Clubs;
I have no problem with the idea of putting inexperienced paddlers on moving water and 'throwing them in at the deep end' (for want of a better expression) - they are, after all, young, fit adults who can cope with being cold, wet and bruised. I do have a problem with calling it "progressive coaching"!
Last edited by Steve B on Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dolph
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Post by dolph » Mon Jun 26, 2006 3:36 pm

David, i do agree with what you are saying. But i was just putting across how generalised your view was on how 'Uni. clubs are this' and 'conventional clubs are that' considereing there are several hundred clubs in the UK. And the pattern of clubs changes every year. When i was at Uni. the first year was really disorganised etc. second and third year the club was really well organised and ran great trips etc.

Sometimes it is good to go onto WW at an early stage of progression for a paddler. But what i see a lot of is people being thrown straight out of their depth well before they are ready.
Don't you think that you shoud develop skills at a rate where you are developing a solid foundation without picking up bad technique or habits on the way? By rushing a paddlers development on WW does tend to develop bad technique etc.
And you commented on it was ten months before you went onto moving water. That dosn't mean that every other non uni club is going to be the same, does it ? I was picking up WW skills in my first year paddling.
And what i meant by Carnage is not as you misinterpreted as a just a swim. I mean proper carnage resulting in people getting badly hurt and put off paddling. Due to people being taken above their limit. But the rest of what you said i entirely agree with about people needing to challenge themselves etc. and teaching strokes in their intended environment...........
And Jim, the whole purpose of what i wrote was the fact that David was Stereotyping and generalising uni clubs and conventional clubs.
just trying to put a point across. Basically, most Uni clubs i've paddled with are really good, well structured etc.

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Post by Steve B » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:14 pm

dolph wrote: Basically, most Uni clubs I've paddled with are really good, well structured etc.
- and not all "conventional" clubs force everyone to spend an eternity doing 1/2/3 star before moving on to white water. Our beginners almost always start in the pool, which is handy, and ideally they get a couple of very easy trips to start them off. But they are positively encouraged to do the grade 2 trips as soon as they have some basic boat control.
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Re: Progressive Coaching

Post by davebrads » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:16 pm

I assumed David McCraw was being ironic in his use of the term "progressive coaching". I was just carrying the term forward.

As I said in my post, I don't think this kind of "coaching" (note quotation marks - I mean non-coaching really) suits all, but those it does suit actually benefit from it. What I am saying is that even more harm is done by being over-cautious. The ideal must be some middle ground where skills are taught by competent coaches who are not afraid to push their paddlers to extend themselves, if the coach judges that they are the kind of person that will respond to it. I find a lot of BCU coaches are too prescriptive, both in their teaching of technique, and their coaching plan, and this holds back the development of their paddlers.
That just reads to me like prejudice, rather than informed reasoning.
I have seen it happen over and over again, so it is from personal observation, not any reasoning or prejudice.

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Post by Randy Fandango » Mon Jun 26, 2006 4:42 pm

I just want to thank Tom Parker at this point for starting an interesting debate on the relative merits of the University Club versus the "Old School" kayak club ways of teaching paddling.
Hang on a moment......
Giles

David McCraw

Post by David McCraw » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:00 pm

Of course any statements about uni vs. "normal" clubs are going to be stereotypes - but ultimately, most stereotypes rise out of a certain fundamental truth.

Personally I don't think either stereotype is the ideal way of teaching, but what I do believe is that facilitating an early progression onto whitewater is beneficial for a majority of learners. If someone is happy to be on moving water despite the near-certainty of cold, wet, bruising swims, then my experience is that they will progress far faster than the risk minimising approach favoured by conventional dogma.

In my opinion it would be rediculous to deny them on the grounds they don't have the full spectrum of 2* and 3* techniques (so go and find another club?)

Neither is "progressive coaching" such a bad term - surely any process which takes complete beginners and results in competent paddlers must be "coaching"?

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Post by Randy Fandango » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:07 pm

Randy Fandango wrote:I just want to thank Tom Parker at this point for starting an interesting debate on the relative merits of the University Club versus the "Old School" kayak club ways of teaching paddling.
Hang on a moment......
Giles
I give up...............

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Re: Progressive Coaching

Post by davebrads » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:16 pm

Neither is "progressive coaching" such a bad term - surely any process which takes complete beginners and results in competent paddlers must be "coaching"?
The term "Coaching" implies some kind of feedback, rather than just standing on the side pointing and laughing.

As I said, it never did me any harm gibber gibber

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Re: Progressive Coaching

Post by Steve B » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:23 pm

davebrads wrote:I assumed David McCraw was being ironic in his use of the term "progressive coaching". I was just carrying the term forward.
And I was going to say that I don't think Dave does ironic, but I see that he has saved me the trouble ;-)
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Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Jun 26, 2006 5:53 pm

David McCraw wrote:Of course any statements about uni vs. "normal" clubs are going to be stereotypes - but ultimately, most stereotypes rise out of a certain fundamental truth.

Personally I don't think either stereotype is the ideal way of teaching, but what I do believe is that facilitating an early progression onto whitewater is beneficial for a majority of learners. If someone is happy to be on moving water despite the near-certainty of cold, wet, bruising swims, then my experience is that they will progress far faster than the risk minimising approach favoured by conventional dogma.

In my opinion it would be rediculous to deny them on the grounds they don't have the full spectrum of 2* and 3* techniques (so go and find another club?)

Neither is "progressive coaching" such a bad term - surely any process which takes complete beginners and results in competent paddlers must be "coaching"?
Sorry david, but I think that most of the above is a load of rubbish.

I don't think that stereotypes have anything to do with fundamental truths.

I don't think that risk minimisation is a bad thing. I don't think it is favoured by conventional dogma.

I don't think that club members will be denied access to moving water due to a lack of basic skills.

I don't think that progressive coaching is a helpful expression at all.

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Post by dolph » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:23 pm

Yes David BUT, if you have coached someone well they can 'progress' on moving water without having nasty swims. learning in a safe environment. Developing solid skills at each level so they can progress onto the next level without having cold wet bruising swims.
You do not want to be coaching with the fear factor kicking about.
Risk minimisation is something that should be No.1 on your list if your a coach.

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Re: Conventional dogma

Post by davebrads » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:33 pm

Sorry Adrian, but I have to agree with David. Risk minimisation is becoming increasingly stressed by coaches, to the extent that it has become dogma, and I know of instances of club paddlers being denied access to moving water.

I know of an example of a club who have a site on a nice wide river with a friendly grade 3 rapid. Young paddlers are taught on the flat section above the rapids, and are prevented from going down the rapids by the chief coach at the club, despite paddling every week for a year. These paddlers will leave the club bored to tears before they learn anything useful. This is not healthy, but this attitude is becoming increasingly prevalent.

Risk minimisation may be a useful tool if you really understand how to use it. I am not convinced that I have those skills, and I am sure many other coaches are in the same boat. I take the attitude that with my years of experience I can judge whether a particular bit of water is safe or not, and whether the paddler is ready to do it. At the end of the day, when you get to the point where you are sending paddlers down the Serpents Tail (for instance) the coaching is little more than "just go down there, you'll be alright", as no amount of skills training on grade 2 water is going to prepare you for what is going to happen when you go down the Tail.

The biggest difference between coaching adults and young paddlers is that young paddlers just watch how to do something, and then try to do it. When it doesn't work, they adjust their technique and try again. Adults spend all their time trying to understand what is going on, and learn far more slowly. Since most coaches are adults, they teach in this way too.

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Re: Coaching

Post by davebrads » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:39 pm

Dolph wrote
Yes David BUT, if you have coached someone well they can 'progress' on moving water without having nasty swims. learning in a safe environment. Developing solid skills at each level so they can progress onto the next level without having cold wet bruising swims.
You do not want to be coaching with the fear factor kicking about.
I find that the paddlers most fearful of falling in are those that haven't fallen in! This fear holds them back from trying anything new, and their development is painfully slow. Get the falling in over and done with ASAP, and you will have a much easier subject to work with.

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Post by David McCraw » Mon Jun 26, 2006 7:53 pm

adrian cooper wrote:I don't think that stereotypes have anything to do with fundamental truths.
Perhaps I expressed myself badly - how did the stereotypes of student / "normal" boating arise, except as a generalisation with which many of us identify? In my case, I have experienced a variety of clubs and would describe it as generally true - recognising all the provisos that generalisation should carry.

Surely the stereotype of student paddling comes from the fact that many (although far from all) student clubs are a bit like that stereotype?
adrian cooper wrote:I don't think that risk minimisation is a bad thing. I don't think it is favoured by conventional dogma.
I'm literally not allowed to change a light bulb at work because of risk minimisation. Although I accept that people paddle for different reasons, the adventure aspect (i.e. attendant risk) is key to my enjoyment of boating - if it was possible to make our sport entirely safe I'd find something else to do!

Of course, I'm not out to kill myself - but I don't see the need to do anything other than understand, and accept whatever risks I take (without necessarily trying to minimise them).
adrian cooper wrote:I don't think that club members will be denied access to moving water due to a lack of basic skills.
But I have experienced this, so by extrapolation it must be true for (generalising again) many clubs. If it's not true for yours, then my comments won't apply.
adrian cooper wrote:I don't think that progressive coaching is a helpful expression at all.
Because it gives an air of legitimacy to something 'alternative', with which you don't agree?
dolph wrote:Yes David BUT, if you have coached someone well they can 'progress' on moving water without having nasty swims. learning in a safe environment. Developing solid skills at each level so they can progress onto the next level without having cold wet bruising swims.
You do not want to be coaching with the fear factor kicking about.
Risk minimisation is something that should be No.1 on your list if your a coach.
Everyone, if they want to progress to advanced water, is going to have at least one nasty, terrifying swim at some point (more if that doesn't make them give up).

You can insulate too much - I had such a safe, steady learning experience that my first scary swim turned out to be Triple Step on the Etive at a high flow (no drop, just a big humping hole) - from which I'll possibly never recover.

The river is not a safe environment - the river is a scary environment. In my opinion people are better off understanding that when 'scary' and 'unsafe' mean grade 3, not grade 5.

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Post by dolph » Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:52 pm

Davebrads said
I find paddlers most fearful of falling in are those that havn't fallen in! The fear holds them back from trying anything new.....
I totally agree 100%, swimming yes, but not where you are going to get bruised etc. Start in a safe environment and go from there etc.
David Mccraw said
I had such a safe, steady learning experience that my first scary swim turned out to be on Triple Step on the Etive at high flow ( no drop, just a big humping hole ) - from which i'll possibly never recover.
BOTH of those quotes relate entirely what i'm on about. But when falling in, doing it in a safe environment. Where when they come out their boat they are not going to get there arses kicked and
.......possibly never recover.
Then, through development and experience, at a later stage when they do encounter nasty swims they are prepared. if you are going to paddle triple step at that level you should have the knowledge and be aware of the outcome etc. for if you cock up.
Also not everyone will be choosing to progress to that level etc. so no not everyone is
....going to have at least one nasty, terrifying swim....
espeicailly if they have been coached well and solidly from flat water up tp what ever level of WW they then choose to paddle.
And a river IS a safe environment if you make it safe.

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Re: Conventional dogma

Post by Steve B » Mon Jun 26, 2006 8:54 pm

davebrads wrote:I know of an example of a club who have a site on a nice wide river with a friendly grade 3 rapid. Young paddlers are taught on the flat section above the rapids, and are prevented from going down the rapids by the chief coach at the club, despite paddling every week for a year.
If that is literally true - and you don't just mean very young paddlers who are too small to control a boat - then the coach in question is an idiot. If you would care to direct him here I will be happy to tell him personally.
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Re: Coaching

Post by davebrads » Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:24 pm

Dolph wrote:
Then, through development and experience, at a later stage when they do encounter nasty swims they are prepared. if you are going to paddle triple step at that level you should have the knowledge and be aware of the outcome etc. for if you cock up.
HPP is a safe environment. Very few people who come out there get injured. However it is not good preparation for real rivers with rocks. Many paddlers who are happy throwing themselves around at HPP get the willies on the Tryweryn because of the proximity of the rocks, despite the chances of a capsize at Tryweryn being a lot less than a capsize at HPP. Someone with a solid roll at HPP suddenly bails out as soon as their head touches the water at the Tryweryn.

Also, it is impossible to make a river "safe". You can make it safer, but never safe. I would say that the Serpents Tail is safe, from the number of people I have seen swimming there (and personal experience), but the last time we ran it, an experienced paddler we were with gashed her eyebrow after capsizing just above the stopper, and trying to roll up against the wall on the right. Maybe if we had spent a couple of hours doing a full risk assessment before running the Tail, we may have been able to foresee the incident and warn her about rolling on the right at this point, but life is too short, I like to canoe, not carry out risk assessments. Besides, a week later her eye was alright again, and she is still paddling. People get injured at HPP too. What paddlers need to learn is not that injuries can be avoided altogether, but that steps can be taken to reduce the chances of injury, and that injuries are generally not too serious anyway.

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Post by David McCraw » Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:27 pm

dolph wrote:through development and experience, at a later stage when they do encounter nasty swims they are prepared. if you are going to paddle triple step at that level you should have the knowledge and be aware of the outcome etc. for if you cock up.
Exactly. It was a supremely bad judgement call for me to be on the water that day at all (having only been paddling 'real' whitewater for three or four months) - not because I didn't have the skills, but because I couldn't understand what was going to happen to me.

This is the key difference between irresponsible "throwing people down" and what I call "progressive" instruction. It is vital that people understand what they are about to attempt and are prepared for the possible consequences - the difference with "progressive" paddling being that they are enabled to run it even if that represents a massive challenge for their current skill level - this is sometimes not facilitated in what we describe as "traditional" clubs.
dolph wrote:Also not everyone will be choosing to progress to that level etc. so no not everyone is
....going to have at least one nasty, terrifying swim....
espeicailly if they have been coached well and solidly from flat water up tp what ever level of WW they then choose to paddle.
If people never progress off placid water, they may indeed avoid scaring themselves at all. But let's not confuse the debate - only people who want to paddle hard water can be "thrown" down it, making this ipso facto an advanced WW issue in the first place.
dolph wrote:And a river IS a safe environment if you make it safe.
You have *got* to come to the Falloch with me next time it's in spate!

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Post by dolph » Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:45 pm

Fairplay David. I think we are generally on the same wavelength.
What i was relating to about paddling being safe was when coaching. you won't coach out of a safe environment.
but when you are getting onto the Falloch in spate, THEN it brings a danger element into the sport. when i'm talking about progressing i'm talking up to Grade 4, not just placid water.

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Post by dolph » Mon Jun 26, 2006 9:52 pm

Sorry, just one other thing. The vast majority of injuries i see in Kayaking on Tryweryn etc. in relation to how many people paddle it dosn't make the river dangerous. I consider riding my bike 'safe' and people get bad injuries and get killed riding bikes.
Not all, but a lot of injuries are people paddling out of their depth or bad technique.

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Post by Penelope Pitstop » Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:06 pm

Sorry to bring this back to the top when it appears that people are pretty much bored of it, but have only just found it, having had no internet access for a while. There are many interesting points on this thread that got me itching to reply to, but when I looked in the BCU Handbook to see what it had to say about the matter, I couldn't help noticing Chapter 23, Whitewater Kayaking, page 300, which talks about breaking in and out. It continues, to say that
"Problems often arise because people use a low brace turn (a combination of sweep stroke and low brace) in the same form that is taught on flat water. this sequence s considered easier to perform but actually requires greater judgement. The sweep stroke spins the boat too soon with minimum driving effect into the eddy. The low brace is often mistakenly pushed forward to create the turn, because the eddy has not been penetrated, acting as a reverse sweep. Innappropriately timed or executed, this in effect "bounces" the boat back into the current.
On moving water there is no need for a sweep if the angle, speed and edge are correct. The low brace is only applied when the boat has penetrated deep into the eddy and the turn has been initiated by the opposing currents."

I thought this might add something to the debate!

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Post by Tom_Laws » Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:09 pm

Penelope Pitstop wrote:I thought this might add something to the debate!
The debate was ended when Jules nailed a very small eddy (more of an ed) with a low brace turn, thus proving its utter worth.

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Post by Tea Boy Tom » Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:13 pm

mendipmammoth wrote:
Penelope Pitstop wrote:I thought this might add something to the debate!
The debate was ended when Jules nailed a very small eddy (more of an ed) with a low brace turn, thus proving its utter worth.
Tom, you know nothing is admissable without corroboration or adult supervision...

David McCraw

Post by David McCraw » Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:13 pm

mendipmammoth wrote:
Penelope Pitstop wrote:I thought this might add something to the debate!
The debate was ended when Jules nailed a very small eddy (more of an ed) with a low brace turn, thus proving its utter worth.
But this very night, I was able to execute a flawless eddy nailing without the use of the paddle at all - proving that it is the paddle itself which is an anachronism...

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Post by Tom_Laws » Wed Jun 28, 2006 10:15 pm

David McCraw wrote:
mendipmammoth wrote:
Penelope Pitstop wrote:I thought this might add something to the debate!
The debate was ended when Jules nailed a very small eddy (more of an ed) with a low brace turn, thus proving its utter worth.
But this very night, I was able to execute a flawless eddy nailing without the use of the paddle at all - proving that it is the paddle itself which is an anachronism...
Aha, but I have been wearing flip flops, so all other shoes are deemed totally useless.

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