Wednesday, November 19, 2008

19th November '08 - Experience within Parkour

"Experience within Parkour" [or other movement areas]

[[ This was taken from one of my "journal" type books where I write down realisations within Training and life to them be written up and worked on for my blog/hopefully a book of sorts in the near future, I've reblogged this as it was added to the end of an old blog and difficult to find, so, for reference and easy viewing I've re-added it here.]] ENJOY

Experience is important and starts from birth, and is a process of life, learning from what is around us, and inside us, through conscious and subconscious thought, and through the natural process of the mind, remembering and creating memories of lived experiences.

Through conscious thought and effort we can understand these experiences, and use them to benefit us on many different levels; spiritually, morally, practically and on other aspects of training within ones' life.

Parkour and life adopts these principles as a part of everyday life, using these experiences within our lives as lessons, in which we can learn and grow from, bettering ourselves and moving onwards 'up the mountain path' (I love the mountain analogy if you didn't notice :-p).

In specific relation to Parkour, experience plays a large role on the conscious and subconscious actions we have, are, and may take while practicing and moving. For example, a new arm jump situation to you, roughly a 6ft gap, and standing at the edge of the wall take off, the landing ledge comes up to around chest height.--The Arm jump movement is within your ability. How do you know this? (Obviously, if at that ability currently).

Past experiences flash into our minds, thinking of Arm Jumps previously practiced or seen, many at first are in our mind from our (hopefully) vast experience practicing, then our minds eliminate those which do not match the criteria, of distance and height, or perhaps making the whole environment up in our minds.- Past experience allows us to make calculated decisions based on past decisions, choices, events, and their outcomes, whether they were productive or unproductive, or; of course, the shades of grey in between those two factors.

Again, using the example of the above described Arm Jump. This may have been practiced 2 minutes, 2 weeks or 2 years ago, in [insert location here]. When practicing the movement we take conscious and subconscious information about the movement, both small and large lessons being learnt singularly or at the same time, this could include, as an example, how the [landing] wall looked and felt, how the shoe type you are wearing (if any) reacted, did it slip, grip too much?, what kind of strain the size of the Arm Jump put on your arms and body.... The list goes on...

The important lesson to take from this is understanding and focusing your attention on certain areas of the movement in order to take in as much detailed information through the whole movement, feeling through all senses and taking in as much useful information as possible to make a more informed; safe, and effective decisions on future practices, and disregarding the information which, in all probability, will not make a difference to your movement. Of course, to be aware is a vital skill when practicing in the uncontrollable world around us. Yes, the bird sitting nearby could fly up and get in your way while executing a movement, so be aware and ready if that should happen, but the woman 50 meters away watching you, smoking a cigarette during her lunch break, with blonde hair and pink shoes etc; probably won't make that much difference in the movement which may happen in only a few moments.

Use selective attention to enable what you should be aware of and what can be put aside in your field of awareness (this is discussed in the Process of movement in an earlier blog [LINK HERE]).

As someone who aims to be useful, what we take in should enrich and benefit us, leading to future benefits and progression. Different amounts of focus and areas of attention should be employed for whatever areas you personally wish to improve and learn on, maybe landings, take offs, or any vast variables of the movement or within life.For beginners you should repeat many times and take in as much information as possible, with time and practice you can eliminate areas you find not to be useful in your individual training. All of this contributes to aid possible future situations and movements.A Warning: Please Bear in mind that although past experience CAN be a valuable tool in your training, do not solely rely on it. To do so is complacent and may lead to serious injury or a poor decision in life.

In Summary:

Use the movements in everyday life to learn from and grow from, whether it be walking up the stairs, or making a new precision jump. The information we can consciously take in, through selective attention, and subconsciously attain through the senses, and kineasthesis, can and will naturally be used to judge and react to future situations through practice and life. With conscious thought on these natural processes, we can make great leaps forward (no pun intended) in the areas or sensitivity, mental, physical and spatial awareness, posture and general understanding of who we are and what the important factors around us are, to incorporate and improve on to make us better people, Traceurs or whatever you call yourself.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

8th of November 2008 - The underlying practice.

Below is a post I posted on Parkour Generation's forums, however, I wanted to share it with my friend's and to all who are wanting to better themselves in life. Reading it I hope you realise it's simplicity but truth and can use it to open your eyes to knowing yourself, and lviing life more effectivly and fully. It touches on points raised before, but I feel this post was written more conssicely and has batter carry through to all, as oposed to those who practice sports and Parkour:


Movement is essential for life, our hearts move and pump by their nature in order to displace blood to our muscles and enable a larger movement.

My goals change with realisations I encounter in life and it's practice; so, this in an ongoing "statement" or whatever you'd like to call it.

I practice to be strong and useful in order to be able to act and help others when in need. I believe in practicing all aspects of life in order to gain a better understanding of self to better help and relate my experiences to others to benefit them within their lives should they desire my help.Without a good personal understanding of ability, knowledge and experience, I feel you can help people only on a minimal level.

"Time" - We will never get any time we 'spend' back, nor can we predict the future. Sure we can make realistic assumptions based on current situations and using the experience we have gathered to make an realistic guess. However, we do not know for sure and that fact should always be remembered. No matter how many times we practice that cat pass and climb up on that same wall, no matter how many times we ask a stranger for a time or go to sleep.

NEVER will these event/situations be the same.

Every moment is unique and so, we should be paying attention to all aspects of the moment in hand, if we open out awareness up to the NOW, understanding how you can be using that time constructivly and living it as safely, effectivly and efficiently as possible, then you are LIVING, in my opinion. Here and Now.

I aim to practice everything I need to do in life, whether it be vault a rail to get to work, or spend my time "socialising", it is all practice.We each have to ask and answer, our own individual "Why?"-questions to gain a decent understaning of where we are, who we are, and what we wish to do.

In relation to Parkour and movement, I understand, the Potential importance of Parkours movements, to run, hunt chase, and help; but in essence.. how often will these skills be used and employed for a real need? True we do not know, but in my life, I feel it more important to practice the things, currently I am needing to be able to do to progress in everyday life; As a Youth Worker, it's important for me to recall my experiences and apply them to things Young people are going through to benefit them, through that I also need to make sure my body language is open and firendly, coupled with being able to talk concisely and efficiently.

Regarding sport specific practice, for an athlete who's JOB it is to be better at their practice they shoud, but for Traceurs, to LIVE effectivly, surely we should practice life, to get better at it?

Find what you need to do, and practice it, get better everyday.... to which I recall Martin Lauther King Jr's great quote,

"If a man is to be called a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry, He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, "Here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well."

I practice Parkour within my life, and I practice life with the morals of Parkour in mind, Safety, effectiveness, effeciency, to devote my time to others, as to me, that's the most amazing thing you can do with your life, and with the time you will never reclaim.Brad