I donít want to get into a philosophical debate on here. I have found much discussion on whether or not to go brakeless and those discussions are not always civil. I know I will never go brakeless so please donít worry about preaching from either side. I also find many discussions on how to brake with your legs (e.g. skid, skip). I currently rely heavily on my brake since hills and traffic are a part of my daily biking experience.
I understand the point of view that there is a level of zen described by some but such a quality is intrinsically impossible to communicate with words which make a online forum the improper venue to discussion such a benefit. I have experience some level of the self-gratification from controlling my speed with my legs but have never really tried to teach myself the skid/skid methods. However, I would like to hear some objective arguments on the practical benefits of leg-powered breaking.
My first impression is that it would build leg strength. Second, I would assume it would put less wear on the front rim but this wear would be displaced to the drive train and tires. Third, for the aesthetically minded you complete the fixie rider imageóthis is not meant to poke fun but simply point out a factówhich is arguably a benefit for some people. Lastly, leg braking would be a safety net if the front brake failed but my thoughts are that drive train failure is more likely that brake failure.
I want to reiterate that I my experience with mechanics is limited, I tinker with bikes but have a limited skill set, and have not been riding fixed for much more of a year. I may have been motivated to go fixed by the image but if questioned in person would likely deny it. I may or may not try and learn to skid/skip but am interested in finding the objective facts about it.