How has your practice affected your life?

Parkour has pretty much become my life.

Despite how strange that sounds, my passions in life now all revolve around Parkour and the economy that surrounds it. I’m proud to say: I make a living, doing what I love, because of Parkour.
I started working when I was 14. It was an outlet for me to escape life at home and a way to socialize with people I’d never met. Around a couple months, before I started working, I started training parkour. My whole reason for working in the first place was because I had this new obsession with Photography. I wanted to upgrade from the cheap point and shoot (I probably stole from my mom) to a big bad DSLR. It only took me half the summer to save. So with the next few weeks of awesome New England weather ahead, I took my camera with me to Boston every time I went out to train.

Then I was introduced to Hub Freerunning.

I liked Parkour, and I liked Photography. The only reason why a crazy group of freerunners and an awkward teen from Brockton met is because of those two things. And now after 8 years of roof missions, long car rides to quarries, parties in NYC and too many other shenanigans… I am coaching, managing, and designing for Hub Parkour Training Center.

When I was 10, I wanted to be an Aeronautics Engineer.
Wow, I was such a freakin’ nerd.

What else would you like to share?

Parkour’s Hedonic Treadmill

The hedonic treadmill, also known as hedonic adaptation, is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.

When we think about Parkour we mainly think about how to reach the goals we set for ourselves. We don’t think about is the influence others can have on us and how we view ourselves thru our own training style and accomplishments.

The reason I mention the hedonic adaptation is because in Parkour we rarely become complacent with ourselves. We are always pushing for the next big goal or challenge we see, even if it is just outside our reach we still work toward it until we can firmly grasp it. However, it is only recently I have discovered that we can fall into the trap of always feeling like we “suck” and we need to progress at a much faster rate to achieve satisfaction with ourselves and our training.

I think it’s quite normal after being in the game for 2+ years to feel like we need to constantly progress. After all, the first two years is usually the prime time we “learn the tech” and start actually feeling like we’re getting better compared to when we started. That feeling is normal and it applies to all humans, no matter what it is, we suffer from this trait of adaptation and complacency when it comes to new experiences. When we look at parkour, a sport/discipline that constantly introduces us to fear and doubt within ourselves, we are dealing with overcoming challenges daily. When we overcome challenges we previously couldn’t it is such a euphoric feeling, its one of the reasons I think we all love parkour so much. We feel so accomplished and we feel like we broke down the door that was holding us back but this feeling is short lived. It may last for the rest of the day or the next 5 minutes after a successful jump but regardless how long the feeling last, eventually we are looking for that feeling again.

We want the feel of accomplishment because it’s how we judge where we are as an athlete and as a person. We want to know we can keep achieving great things and reaping those rewards and feelings from it. Although one of the hardest things about being in this community is that there is almost no way you can avoid falling into the trap of comparing your training and accolades to that of someone else you feel is “better” and I use that term loosely. There have been times in my own training where I’ve felt like I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t training as hard as I should be because I wasn’t progressing as fast I used to. Its only now I’ve learned that my progression is slower for two reasons. 1) I am older and now coach parkour as a job/career. Because of this I am more careful with my body as not to approach a challenge without taking careful steps to secure my safety. This is normal because as a coach, if I get hurt I can’t work and that means no money, plus it also means negative feelings will start taking over because training is also my therapy and being injured only adds to the pessimistic attitude I can exhibit if I don’t train enough. 2) As my training continues the challenges I am looking at have gotten increasingly harder. I am not doing the same kind of jumps I was when I started, which in turn means that I am getting better even if I don’t complete the jump, it is just harder to feel that sense of accomplishment when the task or goal is not achieved, only attempted. These two factors were lost on me before, I didn’t understand why I couldn’t hit the jumps that others were, especially when I had a harder time conquering the same jumps others made look so easy. Factor in the fact that most of the time these practitioners were much younger then me and I started to feel almost obsolete like I wasn’t good enough anymore.

It took almost a year and a half but I came to the conclusion I was becoming complacent in my training and my overall behavior towards life. I was comparing instead of investing in myself. I realized the reason I became upset was because I was trying to emulate what I saw others do and because of that the adaptation to my progression led me to become almost depressed and lower self worth. I was so used to the daily grind of going out and leading our weekly sessions that I didn’t realize how I made the transition from playing the game to teaching the game. I got used to having Parkour be my life for so long I almost lost that feeling of accomplishment even after smashing certain challenges.

It was only after a recent trip to Pinnacle Parkours Philadelphia gym that I rekindled that feeling and truly became okay with my style and where I was at in the world of the Parkour community. I realized that it was okay to not be the best; it was okay to compare myself but not judge myself on only my athletic ability. It was almost as this new feeling hit me and I felt alive again, I knew that my style of parkour was about conquering my own fears and doubts. I use the physical jumps I am scared of to help achieve a higher level of self-esteem. For so long I thought I was getting used to the daily grind and parkour was becoming part of that for me, and that was scary because it started to feel like all the time I invested into training and getting better was almost worthless. Like when you break up with someone after 5+ years of being together, a part of you just felt like you wasted time while the other part is trying to convince you that it wasn’t.

The hedonic treadmill is something I think we face as humans because we get complacent and we lose the sight of the original goal. I started training because I wanted to do ninja stuff and survive a zombie apocalypse, now its become more for me. It’s my job, my hobby, and it’s become my lifestyle. I’ve made countless new friends and relationships because of it and I’ve done things pre-parkour me would lose his mind over. It was okay to get complacent and feel those moments of self-doubt because that was a way to show me how to appreciate what I almost started taking for granted.

So my friends I will leave you with this, when you feel like your not achieving what you set out to do, Parkour oriented or not, do not let that overwhelm you. It is a sign from the universe that you are being tested to see if this is what you really wanted. Those who find there way back to the path will realize that there are more things to accomplish and more goals to conquer and those who don’t will find there next passion. It’s okay to get used to something, but it’s just a test to see if you can find the passion within that keeps you going.

What does your practice mean to you?

Throughout the years I’ve thought of many things that parkour is to me. A way of thinking that breaks you out of the normal pattern of movement. A fun pastime, something that I can always have a good time doing. A great way to meet people, and a way both to stand out from the normal flow of our society and to fit in to a community filled with people of similar mindsets (in a certain regard.) I have been thinking of one thing more recently: Parkour allows us to be better.

Not necessarily in a prideful condescending way. I believe that all people are equal in importance. However, there is something about this art that allows you to take your body beyond the limits of common knowledge. If you need an example, just think of all the people that treat you like your crazy for practicing parkour, a thrill seeker with a desire to do dangerous things. “Normal” people don’t think of the human body, or their human body at least, in the way that we do. Before I practiced parkour, a 10 foot drop was in my mind an almost guaranteed injury. It was not possible for the human body to withstand such things. I would have never thought that my body was capable of so much more. I grew up loving superheroes and sci-fi. The idea of being something more than a normal human was, and is, intriguing to me. Parkour is my way to achieve that goal in the here and now. I can be better today than I was yesterday. I can do more than I thought possible today than I could years ago. I can be more than the average human. I can muster my strength and push my limits until I reach a level that no one thought possible. This art allows us to be better than average, better than just normal. I really admire that about parkour.

I am currently attempting to become a police officer, and I definitely feel that training in parkour has prepared me. I have trained my body so that it is able and efficient, and with that body, I can help other people who do not have the same mindset as me. I can not only show them that we as humans are more capable than we think, but I can use my skills to help keep them safe, and to serve them.

Practicing parkour means a lot of things to me. Right now, however, the focus is on bettering myself. I believe someone relevant to this conversation once said, “be strong to be useful.” That is what practicing parkour means to me right now.

How did your training begin?

My training began a few years ago but the question is why? The answer is, I don’t know. The beginning of my practice is pretty vague and I don’t really remember how I started. All I really remember is that I wasn’t a big fan of traditional sports like football and baseball (with some exceptions) and I just started to practice parkour. Ever since I started I haven’t stopped practicing, progressing, advancing my technique, etc.

What are you working on now?

Physically

I am Soooo weak. I have been building for a year every day. now that i finally have a gym I’m focusing on getting back into shape.

Mentally

I’m focusing on creating a functional set of parkour programming focusing on psychology instead of a movement progression. I’m working hard on creating new innovative parkour builds. On the scale of large gym/park space, And on the scale of small, repeatable, modular obstacles. Also working on uping the standard of parkour builds nation wide. Currently working on a way to help standardize marketing for other parkour groups.

Emotionally

I’m a pretty abrasive douche. some people get along GREAT with me and love my straight forward blunt style. So normally when i meet people they either love me or hate me. Both in extremes. Though I’m fine with being hated, I don’t know when I’m hated a lot of the time. so that sucks. I need to know, ya know? Also I would like to be able to control it if I choose. currently since I don’t always know who I’m offending, I don’t know WHEN I’m offending.

What else would you like to share?

So, first off – open a new window in your browser, get onto youtube, and find an old Parkour video that you are in, which you feel is from a good time. It might be a sampler, a jam video, an event, whatever.

How was it? Things are different now, right? It’s not like it used to be then. I miss that.

I hear these sorts of remarks a lot from traceurs of all kinds, including a lot who are now training less, or not at all.

I want to talk about this idea of striving to keep going, keep training.???????????????

Our community as a whole, and your individual smaller communities are always changing. People come and go, jams grow and disappear, your training goes up and down. You change. And at the end of all that, there’s a much smaller number of people still out doing Parkour years later compared to the number of people that have been a part of it, or connected with it along the way. This change really seperates people. It’s not going to be like it used to be. You can’t ‘go back to training’ as you once did. That one Jam that you remember is a small part of your whole experience that you remember fondly. It’s one highlight in a long journey, which isn’t just highlights. What’s the constant in these memories?

It’s Parkour.

Parkour is still there, its still something that you can go and do. What you have to ask yourself is – is it the true idea of training Parkour, really living it, that attracts you? Or is it the memories of your initial achievements, trips with friends, conversations on a rooftop after a late night training session? These things are really important – they inform your experience of Parkour and they form part of the discipline for each person. But they change.

The most accomplished traceurs in my eyes are the ones who always find time for training. Regardless of their circumstances, commitments or priorities – there will always be Parkour in their lives. That is extremely hard to achieve I think and is one of Parkour’s greatest and most constant challenges. It’s an honest and brutal discipline, and not everyone can rise to the challenge of doing Parkour for a lifetime. At the real essence of it, is the challenge. It’s always there, if you want it. Maybe the challenge is to just go out and train for the first time in a while. Maybe it’s to stop training the same stuff and be honest about where your comfort zone lies and ask yourself if you stay in it. Whatever the challenge don’t go looking to the past – look forward. Move forward. Find what Parkour truly is for you, and just you, in each moment and then in the next – because that’s the one relationship you know can always be there:

You, and Parkour.

How did your training begin?

When I was in college, the exchange program student group would periodically show foreign films as a publicity activity. In my sophmore year, on a recommendation from a friend, I went and saw the movie District B13, in French, with no subtitles. I was immediately hooked with the idea of parkour (despite not even really knowing what it was called yet), but for nearly a decade, despite occasionally trying to self-train and joining meetup groups, I never really managed to get into it.

Three years ago, a friend of mine called me up to say he’d read online that there was a place in Somerville that was offering parkour classes — it was only about a 15-minute walk from his house, and half an hour from mine — and there was a new session starting up the next week. I couldn’t make it to the first class, and I almost decided that I should just wait, it might be awkward or hard to start in with people who’d already had a lesson, and a hundred other similar excuses, but I remembered all the times I’d tried to train and talked myself out of it somehow, because of the difficulty, and I decided I’d at least give it a shot.

That was in the summer of 2013. In the spring of 2014 I took the ADAPT Level 1 course, and I’ve never looked back since.

What else would you like to share?

Do and Jutsu in Parkour

When I asked what I could but explained the difference between the Judo and the jujutsu, My sensei used the metaphor of the mountain. I try to remember it and write it.

For my master the martial art is like a mountain and the journey (life) leads us to the Summit. But as a real mountain, one side is Rocky and the other hilly, a cold side, the other sunny. When you prepare for Ascension, from below, You can have an overview and decide how you want to climb: for the quickest and most direct trail slow and sweet. It is at this stage that, in fact, We decide what is our goal: We want to enjoy the view and learn something about the local flora and fauna or prefer to acquire the techniques that allow us to arrive at the top even in the most adverse conditions?

And here is the crux of the matter, jutsu means a method, technique(1), its aim is explicitly functional. Across the end of the do, that means via, Trail(1), is to achieve a certain level of introspection, a profound experience of reality.(2)

In 19th century Japan, with the era of samurai at sunset, the culture changed and technology rendered obsolete, in one way or another, the traditional fighting arts. People wanted to continue to practice martial arts but had to move its attention: This new generation chose as main purpose the self-improvement and spiritual elevation.(2) Then this change in goal resulted in a restructuring, more or less marked, the technical background of the disciplines that, in fact, they no longer had as a priority the efficacy.

We come, At last, Parkour. I think our discipline is in a privileged position compared to Japanese martial arts. The jutsu of parkour, In fact, does not consist in a set of techniques to luxate the joints or behead opponents, but in a general system to overcome obstacles in the environment that you will cross. It is therefore clear that the jutsu parkour can be applied at its most utilitarian without having to breach their ethical principles (or without any legal consequences). Practice jutsu means, For me, draw paths in continuity from a starting point to a predetermined arrival, paying attention:

  • To apply the right series of movements (to avoid wasting energy or time)
  • The harmony of movements that follow each other (because by the fluidity of the succession of muscular tension derives the effectiveness of a series of movements)
  • To ensure low noise impacts (Why "no sound, not shock ")

And the do? Well, the spiritual side of parkour is in overcoming the mental limits, as well as in the continuous strengthening of one's will to progress. Work on do in parkour, For me, is:

  • To complete particularly strenuous conditioning exercises (from a physical point of view but, especially, from the mental) What I propose (to anneal my willpower)
  • Run individual risky movements, that is difficult and potentially dangerous motoriamente (to develop concentration and clarity in times of stress)
  • Refine the techniques (to reply to an aesthetic and functional)

It's good to remember, Anyway, There is a common base at two practices: physical conditioning. Neither the justu Neither the do have a way to express itself if the body is not ready to face obstacles.

For against, There are some specific consequences of the two training modes. Train the jutsu door as a result greater adaptability, a high degree of improvisation as well as the opportunity to see the city as a whole is rich in opportunity and not as a series of rooms ponds and steps required. On the other hand, develop the do refine your precision and more control and "unlock" passages deemed unthinkable.

Let us return for a moment to Japan: considering the jutsu as functional mode and the do tied more to reason to engage in combat, We realize that very few were able to harmonise the two components. These rare circumstances do not justify the conviction that this was the norm or that, from a historical point of view, the jutsu It was identical to the do high ethical purposes.(3)

The fortune of Parkour is right here: the do and the jutsu of parkour are not so difficult to integrate such as those in Japanese fighting arts. Is it possible, for us, develop the two together: relying on the do to develop and give way to a tracked and traced to exit from a specialist or overly aesthetic research.

Notes:

  1. From Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
  2. To Do vs Jutsu, Jeff Brooks
  3. From the ancient martial arts, Rats Westbrook

How did your training begin?

Simply put, I saw this amazing guy jumping about at the beginning of Casino Royale and knew it wasn’t just stunt work. After a bit of research I discovered Sebastian Foucan and David Belle. I traded my rock band practice time for parkour training in my first year of college. I embarked on what I call “The Invincible Years” where I would watch a video and naively tell myself I could do it. Not surprisingly I hit a plateau and sought the Yamakasi and Parkour Generations to shape my training into what it is today.

How has your practice affected your life?

My parkour practice has helped me to understand the lessons we are taught in life, and some that are not. Parkour has enabled me to physically experience verbal lessons in a completely metaphorical sense.
Here is the wall. We are trained so see the wall as a barrier to somewhere else. Here is how to get on top of the wall. The wall has become a passage to that other place. What was once a wall is now a passage, a stop is now a go, and a barrier is now a launchpad. Here I deliberately use words that can apply to both parkour and life. The line between them has been blurred which has led to a more authentic version of myself.

What does your practice mean to you?

Parkour to me is like playing. I love to be able to creatively move through my environment, which is also a reason that I was a passionate skateboarder for many years, and why I continue to ski.

Parkour has reinforced my understanding of the different levels of thinking in my brain. Using too much rational thinking in parkour can be dangerous: e.g. considering the risks of balancing at height, or imaging the different ways I could get injured during a movement. I know to shut those thoughts out and just go for it, granted I know a certain maneuver is within my abilities.

I have learned to trust my instinctual judgement of distances and speed required, etc. It’s quite amazing what the human brain can evaluate without rational calculation. My experience has led to me having very good grasp of what I am capable of, and what I am not. This confidence in my abilities is why I have yet to suffer any side-lining injury.

Another thing I love about parkour is that it makes me feel true physical risk; it makes me feel alive. I enjoy putting myself in situations in which my physical abilities are the only things keeping me from suffering major damage. Example: balancing at height. Living a vanilla life of driving to work, sitting at my desk all day, then heading to the gym to use the nautilus machines is too safe. It is not the life I choose to lead.

I live in the Netherlands now, and don’t train parkour much because I haven’t yet met a group of people that train near me. But I still engage in risky physical activities that require strength, endurance, and balance. They are slacklining, rock climbing, and survival training (a Dutch variant of obstacle course racing).

How did your training begin?

My first foray into interesting kinds of fitness actually began with rock climbing about a year before I had even considered Parkour as a possibility. A friend of mine had taken me rock climbing and I was instantly hooked. At the earliest opportunity, I found myself an online deal for a membership at a rock gym that was probably a bit unreasonably far for me to be going everyday, but that didn’t really matter to me at the time. But by the time my membership was expiring, I realized if I wanted to keep this up, I was going to have to find some place just a tad bit closer. Lo and behold, there was a rock climbing gym less than two miles from where I lived.

Looking back at that now, I was probably a bit hasty in picking my gym. Anyways, a while after my switch, I started noticing the signs (I suppose flyers would be more apt). Weekly Parkour classes every Thursday, they said. I didn’t immediately jump at the idea at first. I was a bit apprehensive because it was hard to imagine myself doing something like Parkour. I mean, it was in all the movies, all of the video games, it was so hot right then. I waffled on the idea for a couple months until a new flyer popped up for the start of a new session. By then I was out of excuses and signed up for a drop-in. I walked into class, not knowing what to expect. Blake, the big man himself, was the coach that evening. He instructed us in some simple vaults, rail balancing, and some small precisions. Very basic stuff, but to me it was some of the most fun I’d ever had. I was instantly hooked.

After class, Blake told us about an event they were having called the Boston “Tea Party” Parkour workshop to help say goodbye to one of their guest coaches, Chris Keighley. When I got home that night, I immediately looked up the info and resolved to be there. That Sunday, with its perfect weather, I probably worked harder than I’d ever had up until that point.By the end, I was completely exhausted but extremely satisfied. The next few days, I was sore all over but that didn’t stop me from going to every class I possibly could that week.

And thus began my journey into the world of Parkour.