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.

Is there a story you would like to share?

There was a moment that just happened only a couple weeks ago, completely unplanned, but I think most if not all great moments in life are unplanned (except maybe babies, depending, but if that’s your case then good luck my friend :D)

After our regular Saturday morning QM, there were two events happening afterward; one group was heading to zip lining up in the Poconos and my group was taking a journey to Mordor up the mountain on the Applachian trail I believe it was called.

We had begun our expedition up once others met up with us, some new faces, some old.
Everyone was in good spirits, our shenanigans soon began as they always do. We played in this aqueduct slope (not sure what they are called but this makes sense to me so I’m gonna roll with it) found some snakes, threw rocks at each other, you know, the good times were happening.

As we moved on from the spot, right next to it, was a metal bridge or lookout over a large area of water (there’s probably a word for this and I know it’s not a pond but we can settle on pond for now). This metal bridge had a door you could access to get to the end of the lookout, but this door was locked so we settled on a mini challenge of a climbing up and walking to the end ourselves. It was an interesting climb on the side of the bridge, thin pieces of metal make for a very unique feeling on the hands.

Once we had gotten up we walked to the end of the lookout, and there is where I saw the jump.

A jump into the water from the lookout

A look over the bars blocking the way of the jump, you could see it was roughly 20 feet or so down. I had mentioned it to the group and so we had done a little rock test. Meaning we grabbed a rock from below the bridge and tossed it to the depths. The rock was swallowed up after a few seconds of fall time; clearly the water was deep enough for a human. So the next part…was to simply do it.

Simply. That was a funny word. A little this and that later, it was getting time to move on so that we didn’t lose the day for the rest of the hike. So I told the group that if I hadn’t gone by the time they descended back to the ground then I won’t do it.

Funny thing though. Josh had stayed behind to be my clothes retriever if I had gone (shirt off, no shoes or socks for water deployment) but as my comrades left me, I felt naked and alone. As if it was just me and this colossal boss I was ill prepared for, no upgrades, no party to back me up; so I walked away and climbed down with Josh and continued on our path.

The rest of the day, that jump plagued my mind. Thoughts simply invaded.

“I felt it, it was right there”
“If you don’t do it, you will regret it when you go home tonight”
“Why couldn’t I just let go”

On and on, a cycle continued through my head. I tried a couple conversations with some of the guys to distract me, but I just ended up losing what they were saying

The walk to the top felt long, it felt like a walk through my own little forest of doubts in my mind

When we reached the top however, a thing of beauty waited.

A view.

A simply nice moment of clarity, sitting on the edge of a mountain with those closest to you in life. Whom like you, want to be stronger for others just as much as they do for themselves.

I felt rich.

And like myself that day, Melissa was challenged with a jump on the mountaintop. A drop precision from one rock to another, a simple jump on ground level, but with the added height makes for a great challenge. In my head I told myself that if she made the jump then I will go back to the bridge and do it. I did not make this vocal because I didn’t want to influence her decision to make the jump.

Making the jump through your own resolve is stronger than doing it for a prize in my opinion.

She eventually made the jump and so my fate was sealed.

After some shenanigans through a cave which in itself is a story on its own. We headed back down to the cars and along the way, the thoughts started coming back, the only thing different this time was that I was not only one being invaded. Austin, Katie and Adam had expressed they would like to join me on the jump and so we made a pact to jump together no matter what.

I vocally expressed this promise that I will jump from that bridge.

Back at Rendevouz in Boston, Max Henry had taught that if you make your intention vocal, you have now bound yourself to it and must commit. I thought that was very interesting and helpful habit to keep, especially for me.

As the bridge approached I could feel the adrenaline kicking and my heart rate rising as I knew what was coming and what HAD to be done.

Like the rise before the drop on a roller coaster.

We climbed up and hopped over the bars and looked out to the depths below us, I felt stronger with others beside me ready to commit to the jump I once looked at alone.
As a collective I could feel what they felt.

And it was reassuring

Adam began the countdown from 5

4

3

2

Right about here we had leaned over leaving only our grip on the rail keeping us on the bridge.

1

Through my peripheral I saw them lean and found myself leaning with them

Finally

I let go

And let out a yell through the fall and entered the water

There are some memorable moments and I have too many to name with this crew, but this one was one for the books for sure

I found that
Fear is a choice
and that some challenges can’t be taken alone

Which makes sense because life would be incredibly difficult going through alone. I guess that’s why we have loved ones to share it with :).

Is there a story you would like to share?

What Parkour Gave Me

The car pulled into the driveway of the Brookline Teen Center. There were people standing outside, looking cold. I noticed a sculpture made out of metal bars sitting on the fake green grass. The people were standing in a circle around it, and moving their arms in furious circles. My father saw the worried expression written on my face and said, “Ling-li, there is nothing to worry about. You’ll do fine.”

I sat there for a minute or so, working up the guts to get out of the car and join them. I had been getting restless at home and wanted something fun to do. After searching the web for awhile, I finally found what I was looking for: a parkour class near my house. I had always watched videos of people jumping from roof to roof and doing other types of parkour movements, but never thought that I could learn to do what they were doing.

As I got out of the car, the chilly wind whipped my face and left me breathless. I started walking toward the people and noticed that they were all males. They looked very intense and intimidating. There were seven of them and they all looked to be about 5’7’’ at least, and most of them had big bulging muscles. My heart was pounding because of how nervous I was. I turned back toward my dad, but he opened the window and encouraged me to go. My stomach was jittery and my hands couldn’t stop shaking. I walked up to the nearest guy and stuttered, “Is this the parkour class?”

He smiled and said, “Yes, go up to the main desk and sign in.”

I did as he said and ran inside, mostly to get away from all the eyes starring at me, but also because I was already freezing. The woman at the desk gave me a sheet to sign and then told me I was all set to go. I made my way back and the same guy who greeted me gave me a sheet of paper and told me to give this to my parents to sign. I looked back to where my dad had parked, but he had already gone, so I stuffed it in my bag instead. The guy, who was clearly in charge, asked us to gather around him and the four of us did. He took a step forward towards me, singling me out, and said, “Welcome to the family. These are your new brothers, and, guys, this is your new sister.”

I was so shocked that he would use that term to describe the total strangers to me. He took my arm in a grip with his fingers surrounding my forearm. He told me that this was the parkour handshake and that from now on we would greet each other like this every time we saw each other. At that moment I was embarrassed and nervous about being the youngest and the only female there, but as the class progressed I started to feel more comfortable.

The people there were all so nice and I realized that I shouldn’t be worried about fitting in because they already accepted me. I was blown away by my first class, not only because I loved learning new ways to move, but because it made me feel free. During that first class I learned how to incorporate multiple movements together to create one single movement. I was taught to use my background gymnastic skills and to apply them to my environment. I would see a rail and realize I could do a cartwheel or a split on it.

One of the most important skills I have learned from doing parkour is being able to see opportunities. Whenever I walk around I don’t just see rails, walls, benches, or trees; I see wall runs, balancing tricks, vaults, latchets, jumps, etc… I now know many more types of moves and techniques and am able to look at the world and as a big playground, which makes my life so much more exciting.

The people from my first class have become like family to me and have changed my life so much. They have taught me what a loving and supportive community feels like and how to be my best. We train together as much as possible and are constantly trying to expand our knowledge of parkour and movement in general.

Is there a story you would like to share?

We didn’t know what we were doing but we did it with all of our hearts. Understanding technique, methodology, philosophy was piecing together forum posts in multiple languages, downloading obscure and infrequent videos, and doing our best to physically understand what makes this process possible. We jumped until we couldn’t, we walked tiptoe for miles, balanced on train tracks and visited athletic tracks in the middle of the night. We practiced our vaults, we made up progressions or dealt with the consequences. Things taught in a five minute interaction now took months, or years to hone. Our first handstands were barely a second, “Kong vaults” were three months of being afraid of hitting our knees, every jump was critiqued for silence, every crawl was further, faster than the last. We wandered, looking for possibilities, pushing boundaries in the city and in ourselves, hanging, climbing, sometimes bleeding, and sometimes painting our faces with car grease. We trained all night, we slept under bridges, the city became our teacher, our home, our challenge. I have never felt so alive, and I feel it again, every time I train.

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