This article is from the Recreational Figure Skating FAQ, by Karen Bryden with numerous contributions by others.
Learning to do graceful mohawks can take years. Here is a list of
things to make the turn easier, explained for forward mohawks:
1. You begin a mohawk with your free skate at your instep turned out
90 degrees, your hips open and your arms and shoulders extended
along the circle. Your head faces the direction of motion.
Practice the entrance until you can sustain it comfortably.
2. Down up down. Start on a deeply bent skating knee. rise up on the
knee to allow the free foot to draw close under your body, and as
you push the skating foot out of the way (by straightening the
knee and pointing your toe so the foot simply slides off the ice),
sink down onto the new skating knee.
3. POINT THE TOE of the free foot, and let the toe of the free foot
touch down (just behind the toepick) first.
4. Don't think about your heel (or the free foot). It is a common
tendency to think so hard about the placement of the heel of the
free foot against the instep of the skating foot that you place
the heel/back of the free blade on the ice first. Wrong. This will
cause a bad scrape, a near-stop, or a fall, because when you place
the heel/back on the ice first, the skate will not be on an edge.
THINK ABOUT YOUR TOE (and point it).
5. DON'T LOOK DOWN. Getting your free foot in the right place is a
trial, but try to do it by feel. Your head weighs a lot, and if
you look down at where your free foot is, it pulls you off balance
to the inside of the circle.
6. The change of feet is a process, not an instantaneous action. The
free foot touches the ice and is drawn in under the center of
gravity of the body BEFORE the skating foot leaves the ice. It
does not require open hips because your lower body is rotating
through the turn. As the free foot is pulled along (after it first
touches the ice) it is pulled into a backward position. As the
free foot is pulled closer in under the body, more and more of its
blade will be in contact with the ice. BOTH FEET ARE ON THE ICE at
the same time during the turn.
7. The tracing of a mohawk is a shallow curved X (it looks like
crossed swords). This means that the free foot first touches the
ice INSIDE the tracing. It doesn't touch down ON the tracing. The
skating foot comes off the ice pointed INTO the circle. It slides
off INSIDE the tracing, and doesn't leave the ice until it has
moved inside the tracing.
8. Try to NOT move anything in your upper body. You check the turn by
facing into the circle, with your arms extended along the tracing
before, during, and after the turn. Your hips swivel, and your
legs change UNDERNEATH the upper body.
9. The skating foot is slid off the ice by pointing the toe toward
the inside of the circle and straightening the knee, so that at
the conclusion of the mohawk, the new free leg is straight and
extended (though not in a dance-closed mohawk which begins open
(free foot to instep) and ends with the feet side-by-side and
Although having a good hip/leg turnout will make learning mohawks
easier, especially open mohawks, it is possible to to mohawks with
only about 90 degrees turnout; make sure that you keep you free
shoulder pressing back before and through the turn.