Tuesday, October 13, 2009

13th Oct '09:: Parkour Practice Application

Hey all, thanks for reading previous entries, seems to have got people thinking which is great!

This post is in relation to my previous post and the 2 comments by my friend, Elliot, This can be found by clicking here and by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

I'm going to 'bold' Elliots points for reference, I do urge you to read my previous post, and the comments, as this won't make all that sense without the reference.

Parkour's Practical Application.

Thanks for the response Elliot as I said throughout, these are my thoughts and I don't expect everyone to conform and agree, they won't even if I was 100% "Right". People choose what they wish ultimately. The purpose of this post is to be a perspective for others, to test against their own views currently, to take what's useful and to challenge (and if needs be, leave) what they perceived as not.

We've spoken about much of this before and it's great that it's still being challenged.

My "Parkour" training consists of learning things for the benefit of self and others. Of those things, some are essentially useful to me so I can be of use (Strength, general knowledge about how I work etc), and some things are with a more direct approach to others, not just in the physical 'doing and moving' realm, but within my communication and other interpersonal skills, and also in knowledge, ie, within learning and training First Aid for example, which can be very useful day to day within my environments at least.

The physical aspect of my training focuses on practicing what others may struggle with, so I can help, day to day, increasing strength and general adaptability in any skill. I am to be a ‘Jack of all trades’ so to speak. There are many needs in the world and to people, and Parkours idea is to be able in any situation, using the medium of movement as an essential part of life: to learn. I feel it is an open enough area for all to agree it's a good life 'ground-rule' to practice overcoming given obstacles. I understand that we may well, and probably will never, have ALL skills, but what’s wrong with aspiring towards that? All knowledge ultimately leads to self knowledge. Parkours approach keeps yourself and others' needs in the picture, which would indeed keep the things practiced relevant and useful.

In relation to your comment on working, I do volunteer and work for others in my time, so I'm not saying one thing and doing another for the record. In my 'free time' I'm training and learning things which I feel may be of use to others. I am still developing this and doing what I can to give to others, and finding more effective ways of carrying out my goal/aspiration.

Regarding Belle, why not agree? The methodology is the practice of overcoming obstacles, which would indeed benefit self and others. How is it a bad thing to be a bit more thoughtful towards other peoples needs? Parkours ideal is a natural one, (self and human continuation) but we've been brought so far from our real environments of life by society, we don't see what’s 'useful' (I understand the term itself is indeed open to interpretation and is personal, but 'Realistic', should be coupled with all terms in my opinion, using experience). Parkours approach can be used to test its own methodology and it will overcome those challenges one way or another. Parkour works. An example being, ‘We’ see money as THE means to live, not the means to get food to live etc… the approach we take makes a huge difference and Parkour helps you more accurately assess the problems faced, which is a large early stage to overcoming. We no longer question and explore enough to impact the situations. We accept, resist and do little about the situation, through lack of confidence, experience and practice overcoming problems.

Regarding ‘the founders’, I feel that initially and maybe still a little now, there was little understanding of why or how it works, but we as a community and friends have been working to understand this. The issue is that the physical took over the spirit and mentality of Parkours practice, and as such, they did not become effective memorable examples of what Parkour is, only what it can achieve (through showing success and ‘end-result movements’). This is without the understanding of how, or the thought processes needed to instigate and learn from the movement, or of the other intricacies the journey/practice. I’m not saying this is the ‘wrongs and rights’, or if it’s 100% true, I don’t know, but I’m using what I’ve seen and learnt. The methods and ideas we’ve been developing are proving themselves, and being agreed by practitioners from their experiences and approaches. This should have been done form the start, but physicality was seen and overused, out of proportion to other required areas.

The methodology and mentality of Parkour, by its nature, is set, to firstly give focus, (learning to overcome obstacles for self and others) and yet open enough to interpret (Into your life-environment). Everyone’s obstacles will be different, that is accepted and a given, and Parkour allows this. It's not DO THIS DO THIS, it's one method, Practice solving problems to solve other problems, in movement and life.


The point I'm getting across on this tangent is that, yes, I am saying the Parkour approach is healthy for all, as all experience obstacles and challenges, and as such the practice of overcoming challenges will be beneficial to self and others. Yes we are all different, but the same basic Parkour approach will benefit all, and communication of personal beliefs contribute to a challenging and developing, learning environment. Parkours approach develops its practice. This in turn challenges the individuals' thought processes and the 'solutions' can be better assessed from having external perspectives from others, to better understand realistic usefulness to a given challenging situation/environment.

As you were pointing out throughout, Correctness and acceptance of people’s differences are important but I feel there are bigger truths for the world, society has caged us, too much, driving fear into us to not try and find any kind of universal solutions; be they full or partial guidelines for life, bringing us away form the ideas of closeness and community; we are all children of God, we are all the one and the same, we are not our nationalities or religions, we are human beings. Parkour is itself 'incomplete', and that’s why it works, there is no absolute right and wrong, only the ideal of learning to overcome obstacles, to help solve other obstacles/challenges. The idea stimulates practice, and develops areas which in most societies now are lacking, as we have many things to do things for us, or we expect someone else to do it for us. Your exploration of my thought continues this.

“"If we have an alternative that we know would be beneficial to them and others, surely we should at least try to share, or help them find the answers?" The thing is that often in our attempts to try and make some sort of change we actually become part of the problem, with our attitude that we know best, whether or not it is verbally communicated overtly as such. You cannot teach or help someone who isn't ready, or open and receptive to that help.”

As true as this may be in terms of readiness, leaving it be may and probably will not actually solve any of their problems, sometimes you have to experience that discomfort of 'another way' to find a better conclusion or at least to see that there is another way, we should and are there to 'plant a seed' or share an idea. Indeed people's choices and actions are their own, that’s how we were created, but if something is worth sharing and a truth, I still see nothing particularly wrong in sharing so that they may help themselves. Again, for many, we needed the irony of being told to “find your own way” before we can see it. Was it for the better or worse? For me and I think all who explore movement it’s at least for the better, all information is inherently that, take what’s useful. The practice of useful things will generally be useful to all for life. Why are most practitioners starting in their teens? At a time where they are understanding their choices are their own and things they believe are different to others...? Parkour encourages this and welcomes people to try their way.

"If you step back and imagine that not everyone trains or lives for the same reasons as you, then perhaps you will not judge other people's actions so harshly or with the same set of ideals you judge yourself. That way maybe you can accept that there are many practitioners who don't do as you do, and there are even more people in the general population who choose to live differently, and perhaps maybe not care about the same causes or things as you."

I do reflect and can accept this, it is the case currently and as such it has to be accepted, it doesn't mean it's right, or the best way, nor does it mean there aren't other ways that could benefit them. To resist what is, is to create undesired stress, which will make you less effective to act. I can however, as can you, continue to give opinions or suggestions if they so wish, if they don't, then, help those who do want help; but, within reason; I'd still do what I know deep down is right.

Look at climate change or the conflicts in the world, I'm sure there are many people who would say that they "don't need help" and that "there are no issues here". But you deep down know otherwise, I'd do what I feel was right for the given situation, for it's better to have lived and risked with love than to die safely and without love. Yet there are those dying for their love for one another and breaking law to help people see what they need to for future generations to live. (Greenpeace current actions comes to mind)

"The best things to do, with the best things in life are to give them away". It's their choice to accept what you have to offer or not. Should we share and it benefit, then great.

Should they not acknowledge it or listen, they've lost nothing and only gained in information, which leads to self knowledge.

This I feel here IS wherein a ‘problem’ lies. As you pointed out, some situations require a decision to be made and a problem to be solved in that situation; which may well mean you doing it for someone. But the key as a coach or as someone to share Parkour itself, is to give incomplete solutions and assist others in trying for themselves and finding their own solutions. This is ironic of course that you have to be told that “you can do it for yourselves” but it is the case, whether we are told it be parents, friends, books, films, documentaries, teachers or coaches. Again, we’ve been brought up in a way of complete answers, and commonly there are none. Parkour is a ‘complete’ idea/mentality to develop personal solving of problems or further developing incomplete solutions. A discipline, a practice, and an art, in that, solving problems IS personal and expression is outputting in solving problems.

A agree you need a foundation before you can do something for others, this (In my opinion should) come through general upbringing and learning from the environment; we then need to be challenged and encouraged to overcome the challenges presented, not always given the answers but guided to help solve them ourselves. This is happening more rarely in today’s society because of a lack of practice in challenges and well, lots of reasons from my experiences and discussions! A big part of it as mentioned earlier, is that this society is brought away from life and doing what needs to be done, there’s a covering over the 'real stuff' we need and need to develop, bringing us away form the ‘living' and learning environment.

You said, "If people have fun 'moving' and experimenting, then that is what is of most value to them. The bigger picture isn't some universal truth, but rather your own very personal ideas."

– I Agree, I’m not trying to tell anyone what not to do, I’m putting a perspective out there. Should anyone never have some experience or influence to develop greater understanding, there’s little reference point for their life journey, we are social and we live with people so it is inevitable. The main things I feel it IS important is that we become ‘good’ examples for people to maybe aspire towards, aspiring towards use, first, then aesthetics if desired, but use can and will always be bettered with realistic and useful training applications, scenarios and environments. There are plenty examples of selfishness and doing things for self in the world, but not enough for others and for love.

“"Time spent in preparation should be realistic to your situations and life." In most people's lives Parkour training will not make it any easier for you to benefit someone in your daily life”

-- With this I strongly disagree. Well I agree that most people's IDEA of Parkour training does not help them.

The Parkour practice, is the practice of overcoming obstacles, solving problems, learning from the mistakes made and bettering oneself for others. If ‘practitioners’ are not doing this then they are not practicing Parkour, not completely at least. Parkour will in fact help in other unpractised/new obstacles being faced as you should then be prepared for doing so. The real practice of Parkour will make it easier for you to benefit others and to do so safely, after all it's been practiced. I have seen many examples of how Parkour has done this, one such being, communication skills improving due to an improvement in confidence and analysing the issues/obstacles stopping them from doing so. In other areas I've seen and heard, of physicality improvement due to Parkours application; people being better at Piano playing or various martial arts styles, skateboarding, juggling, roller-blading, or football coaching, without practicing them specifically. Facing and solving problems, using the Application of Parkour, allows the body to better cope with challenges, improves the mental capacity for overcoming obstacles and strengthens the spirit for doing so too.

The Approach makes the mind and spirit stronger and adaptable, through useful training. The processes from the approach achieves this, not just the practice of some movements and hanging out with friends. I understand the examples I used in the original blog post were a little extreme,(7 Guys attacking your/family etc) but they are things that can and may happen, realistically. The amount of fights that break out in and around my area is silly, again it’s environmental, but you can use realistic predictions using past experience, how you previously overcome other similar obstacles for the future. Should you not have any, one should take small steps and stages to develop a movement and experience repertoire.

“The goal is really the bi product of the journey itself, and in comparison any goal reached will constitute such a minor part of your life it's almost insignificant.” –

True, we are all tiny in relation to God and the Universe, but we are here nonetheless, this idea fails at its own test as without some sort of goal why bother moving or doing anything at all, and if it is all insignificant, why not just end it now? We ARE here, and so we should do something with ourselves, we have the means to do so for a reason, it is a goal to move towards. What do do and what your personal goals are, then falls into personal beliefs and what have you, but for me, I think it’s not only worthwhile for life and afterlife, but to actually do something to help another, is good practice as 99% of the time, people would want the same help if they needed it. (Do unto others, as you mentioned earlier).

Parkour teaches us to face and overcome; the way of action, to do something rather than avoid and/or do nothing. The rest of what you said about goals, yes, we should have them, but should we be too heavily focused we are missing what’s going on, our journey needs to be continually tested to make sure we heading towards our goal and to learn the lessons to achieve future goals. I agree with that aspect at least. The bi-product is the friendships made, fun in other aspects of life/challenges, confidence, goals, desire, physcial development (In skill, looks, muscle growth, flexibility, toughness); and the list can go on. Parkour and it's application, overcoming obstacles is the goal, and the above, which most seem to think are the reason for, are a plus....

“It seems like you are taking helping others to an extreme where it overrules your own happiness.”

I mentioned this earlier above, but yes, I am to an extent. Of some things I may do, I might not enjoy them directly but this comes down to the Parkour ideals again, if I do and practice, achieving my goal of being useful to others, it justifies the practice of that which I enjoy less. This is a very useful skill as some/many obstacles and problems, in training and life, may well require things that are very difficult to enjoy, but most happiness comes form the idea of success over failure, and the absence of problems. Should the practice of that which you don’t enjoy, aid you in the future to succeed, using past goals and experiences to back this up; Parkour works and you’ll have a motivation at least to battle through.

In this context, should we be living examples, embodying what we have learnt and showing that Parkour is the fundamental method used, it is encouragement for others to practice Parkour, understand its use, and use Parkour to make a HUGE impact in the world and within people's lives, there's so much more to the practice than just going out and moving. Movement is just the means to learn how to overcome obstacles as it impact everyone's lives in one way or another.

Thanks for reading, any questions or ideas please get in touch!

Thursday, October 08, 2009

October 8th '09: "22 Years!"

Well, yesterday was my Birthday! Didn't do all that much during the day and had work/coaching in the evening, then spent the night witching a film with the family which was nice. Whenever birthdays come around it, for me at least, seems like a good time to reflect about who you are, where you've come from, what's been achieved and where to go form here.

So, now I am in the Third Year after my Second Decade and it sounds like a long old time! I'm not going to go into details and rants about life, but yeah, reflection is good, and should be done regularly, keeping yourself on track.

On a blog and personal development front, I'm going to try to post smaller and regular blog updates with my thoughts as hopefully they will benefit others. So please subscribe to RSS feeds and post your thoughts, I'd love to read and respond.

-Last Post in September-

"This post's been long enough, but the next one within the next week will be my message about Parkour, what I and others have been seeing, and what needs to be said and done so we can start changing the world, one step at a time."

Well right now. I don't have the time to go into all the details but, I was at a BPCA meeting a week or so ago with the committee members, and the outcome was very productive, and we're working towards getting a united message across and showing those inside and out of the Parkour community, real examples of Parkour training, methods and spirit, and sharing via various mediums and medias.

I've been chatting to many people about this project and it is encouraging that we are all seeing the same thing, so stay tuned, and if you really are interested in helping set a good example of Parkour through your actions, we'd love to hear form you and love for you to be involved. (Drop me a message here, Facebook, on msn or call me!)

Of course the meeting discussed and started planning for getting more BPCA Coaching Courses and Assessments arranged in the near future.

-(I am aware some of what I'm saying below may well be generalisations and as such I include myself in them, we are all a part of this, and probably all a little guilty)-

-Below are my thoughts on Parkour as a practice currently, today, starting to talk about where we need to go as practitioners. Some may well disagree but this is what I believe and what I think will make an impact in local communities and possibly, progressively, regions and even countries, and not particularly that of the BPCA and it's members.-

We as a community/members of society (I'm not saying all) have been lazy. The discipline of Parkour has come very far away from it's original motives and methods; the underlining, neglected factor being, Usefulness and learning for the benefit of self and others.

Parkours' origin and history derives from this goal and aspiration. There are other contributing factors I agree, but I feel Parkour has a real chance to help and touch so many live by focusing a little more on the factor above, what we can do, here and now, for others. Parkour is useful.

There's a much bigger picture than having fun and 'doing movements', which seemingly Parkour, through media, misconception and practice of, is being conveyed largely as as.

The mentality, spirit and physicality need to be progressed and developed together for safe progression and development of self. Typing this, it sounds like common sense, but it seems many of us have been missing this through our "training" and time out moving and learning. Parkour is for Ourselves.

I'm not saying "lets not have fun" and that "we are all wrong to be getting out and moving", but I feel we need to balance our lives and training a little more effectively, and usefully, for more than just ourselves. For me, fun is a bi-product of enjoying the challenges presented and achieving our goals. Fun can be a useful reason and motivation to move, but then again, depending on your thought processes and how you chose to think, you can find almost anything you do fun, but Parkours' focus on achieving goals allows this fun through achievement regularly. Parkour is Fun.

We need to know our goals in life and make sure our actions will contribute along the journey, and get us to the goal. Otherwise surely it's a waste of time?? A waste of a minute you'll never get back... and of course over years and decades, minutes add up to hours and days. On the other hand, maybe we need to make that detour for our development, very true, but, effectiveness isn't always the fastest way but the best route for an individual so Parkour covers that base. Parkour is goal setting.

If you have no goal, how do you know where your path is leading, or if what you are doing is useful to you?? We must have our awareness on our goal and the journey, as after all, we don't want to crash and take a nose dive on the way because we're too busy looking at signposts. The journey is as important as the goal, because in Parkour and life, the journey is the learning process; it is the mentality we need to develop safely and progress towards our goals so that we may help others to gain the confidence and ability to do the same. Parkour is learning.

The film, "Coach Carter" and the "Deepest fear" speech, which originally comes form a book by Mirrianne Williamson seems to have a lot of peoples attention so I want to explore that.

"As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

(Full Quote excerpt can be found HERE)

Some people may not be interested in our movements, or cannot understand the reasons for practicing the movement. How can we help them if we are lacking in situations applicable to them? What if their needed liberation is from choking or being attacked by 7 strong men? Or we lack in the ability to communicate with them to assist in their understanding and development? What use is all that time spent moving and doing stuff for the fun of it, for when, in a time of NEED, we can do nothing? This of course is a very personal area, dependant on experience, perception and environment. Time spent in preparation should be realistic to your situations and life. Parkour is adaptable.

Where are we?

'Parkour' and it's 'practitioners' have a huge potential to do great things in this world, we are able to do so much from just our practice in movement. Maybe take a moment to reflect and think about hat you've achieved through your practice so far, celebrate it, list what you've learnt, add to it. Some of us go deeper, acquiring and developing good knowledge and ability in many areas of life too, consciously and subconsciously learning through our mistakes, and developing our weaknesses as humans and individuals.

In a society controlled by fear, we have at least contributed to other people's experimentation in movement, and hopefully helping them get a little fitter and healthier and set them on the path to overcoming obstacles, which is a good start given the lack of movement in our 21st century vocations.

We've also, through various practitioners and events, raised money for charities and gained exposure for issues in the world which are positive actions indeed. The issue here however, is that there are so many other facets of human suffering and improvement that need to be addressed and fixed, many of which are right on our doorsteps, and yet we spend a good factor of our time moving past those obstacles and playing games with our friends in a friendly and welcoming, non-inhabited environment or space, being just like everyone else and opting for ignorance or at least an easier option. This to me just seems like a reversal of what we teach and say and train for.

Nonetheless, we are young as practitioners. It's a start, but I really feel we can do more; we should be doing more, and living by example for what we need to see in the world as Traceurs (People who desire to overcome challenges) and/or as humans.

Do we really just want people to "go out and have fun"? What if their perception of fun is hurting others, or ignoring those in need? Kicking small animals? -- Allowing people to do 'whatever they feel is right' is passivity and lazy, and does not help those who need a perspective for their benefit and for possibly the safety of others. - Again, for those who like to pick holes, I am not saying everyone must prescribe to MY thoughts or yours, I am pointing out the weakness in complete/absolute acceptance and allowance of other's actions, of which I have heard this way of thinking from people and wanted to challenge. If we have an alternative that we know would be beneficial to them and others, surely we should at least try to share, or help them find the answers? I just hope this post challenges your beliefs and thoughts.-

One person is an exception, groups are a rule. If all who call themselves practitioners spent their time thinking, living and contributing to the overcoming of the local, personal, family, friends', town, county/country and even worlds' problems/challenges/obstacles; I think so many would see what Parkour has to offer and the gift it has to give to the world.

Have a think, you don't always have to CREATE problems to develop yourself for others, there are plenty out there yet we don't have the eyes for them or miss because we are so focused on 'movement problems' or our goals and aspirations, because "that's what everyone else does".

Peace and love.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

15th September 2009: "Piecing It Together"

Well, here goes once more! Again it's been a while since I've written anything but here's an update and some thoughts. [[**Edit**- It was going to be a post regarding my faith and it's relation now to what I;m seeing with parkour, but it's long enough as it is, so next post will be more related to Parkour.]]

Since my last blog...

- Continuing Youth Work, Now Two Years and working towards NVQ's.
- A Few Coaching Jobs Around and About.
- Developing myself through training, First Aid, Volunteering, and trying to start local projects for the community, with the Police and Council
- BPCA Work and Writin, beginners guide coming soon!
- Training Focus on reality.
- Crawley Juggling Convention '09.
- Became Christian.**

**So yeah, the last point is obviously the biggest deal in many ways and undoubtedly one of the biggest changes to impact my life, so I'm going to write about it all, where it's lead me and allowed me to see.

So yeah Summer's been grand, training with and helping the SouthendParkour Community grow and develop, myself included within that. Pushing the community aspect, we are growing and making small differences within the Southend Area, continually clearing rubbish and litter from our training spaces and others, as well as obviously, training ourselves for the benefit of others.

We've incorporated a lot more swimming into our training of late. Considering we are on the Thames Estuary and by beaches, it would make sense to practice swimming and use the sea to our advantage, especially for helping others and thinking about REAL LIFE scenarios people might need help, sea and water issues is likely. Useful for immune system, and cold training also!

SO we are running more, and a few of us spending more time in the gym and working on carrying and lifting weight and each other. This is NOT a fitness first gym or overpriced rubbish like that... it's an old school free weights gym, the owner Roy Perrot was Mr Universe in 1968 Medium Class!

GO ROY GO.... Awesome!

Anyways, the main focus of training, as ever, is sticking with being strong and useful within the realistic environments or situations we will or may be in. Erwan's MovNat work as an example, is all well and good and opened most people's eyes to things that should have been incorperated into peoples Parkour training, such as lifting and carrying.

But the thing is, he had to move to a place like that (middle of nowhere) to train. His methods work for where he is, but where we are, where society is developed and materials aren't Natural such as the towns and cities most of us live in, barefoot and other methods like that become, in my opinion, ill-practiced, especially with the fact that todays towns are the places that people really need help. There's then another extreme in the oppositte direction with the WFRC and stuff like that, it's all about balance. Both have relevance to life, messages, lessons and use, BUT IN BALANCE. It is important, but yeah, I'll discuss why Parkour is so important in relation to this in my next blog.

This kind in relation to function and real use, has lead us to move running, climbing, carrying and lifting work, as well as continuing to train these and increasing aerobic and anaerobic strength capacities.

My Beliefs and Ideals Within Life.

Background: I've been exploring faiths, religions, and lifestyles with a real interest over the past 2 to 2 and a half years. Having practiced Parkour and been opened to finding new ways of approaching obstacles and life, Dan Millman's novel, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior , gave me a happy living ground for a good few years; accepting what is; and doing what I can to help others, to be of use to others, staying here and now. When it came to faith and religion, I felt like, I could go sit in a cave and be myself and spend my time reading and working out if God was real or not; but it wouldn't be much use to others there and then, so left it be and stuck with immediately what I could do for others, and with what I did know.

Parkour, as a discipline and living practice, gives you some great perspectives on life, and can make you more perceptive to the subtle changes around you, seeing the lessons in the smallest of mistakes, firstly in movement, and later on within life. I've seen so many doors close and others open, so many little 'coincidences' in life, like not doing something which I thought I needed to, which lead to something much better, or things of this fashion.

I just accepted that it was just the "energy of the world", and how it works. Having faith in the 'Process of Life'.

After training sometimes, looking at the world around and wherever we are, feelings of amazement and awe take over, how beautiful and perfect everything is, how we can learn from everything that's infront of us, how it's possible that we can communicate with one another, the sights we can see and the things we are blessed to do.
I don't live in cuckoo land, I know there are issues in the world that people would disagree with my "perfect" statement, yet still, there are people who love enough to get out and work to make a difference to those people, it is interesting.... it balances and can do.

I had problems believing that all of this, life and the world, is a mistake, but I also had issue believing there was a God that created it all. I approached this issue thinking I'll never know for sure, so just do what I can, with what I do and can know, here and now.

Over the past year in particular, Christianity has had a significant pull on me, went to a church event with a speaker who was talking about his life, through homelessness, drug abuse, army and finding God and Jesus. As well as, towards the beginning of this year listening to a lot of Shane Claiborne talks, and asking my friends questions (thanks to Caz, Whitney and Danny in particular) answering any questions and issues I may have and giving me other perspectives.

So that's the background, on with Soul Survivor.

Soul Survivor 2009: Week C: Bear with me. =]

I was asked to help and Coach at Soul Survivor Week C, months ago, so I thought it sounded like great fun, and nice time away and a good chance for my to persue exploring Christianity further. (If you don't know it's a Young People's Christian event "Soul Survivor runs events to help people get to know and follow Jesus better.")

It's a rather nice event, travelled for a looong way and many hours to get to Somerset and the Bath and West Showground, (as it happens where a large part of my Parkour Journey began, I met Seb Foucan and Co there in 2004). Max picked me up form the station and I was reaquainted with the Ilabacas, friends, Kie and later on Tariq, Yeays! Monday was getting used to things so a nice chance for us to play and train with each other before coaching started on Tuesday.

In the evenings I went to the 'evening meetings' where there were teaching and speakers as well as worship. Was pretty cool to see that many people in a huuuuge tent singing and there for what they believe. We had coaching sessions late afternoon and after the evening meetings.

The Meeting Tent

As the week progressed and having chats with people from around camp and the site, it was great ot hear other perspectives from new and different people. One guy Ben, who was with a Group of Young People I was talking with into the early hours, after hearing my thoughts on the world and God, said "Maybe if you believe there's some power in what you call a Universal Spirit, it might be wise to invest a bit more time looking into it?".

Those words really stuck with me that night.

If you've not been to the Showground it's an awesome open space, and you really feel connected with the energies around you. I was feeling things so much more and Come Thursday I was quite open to the idea of God. During the day and coing into the meeting in the evening, was chatting and from what I'd seen during the week, of people and their actions, I was feeling like there were many missing the point of what I've learnt through my own research, what Jesus' teachings really are, of love, embodying, and living teachings, being THE example and guide for others.

All were 'united' in the tent, then when finished, back out to normal, sticking to their own friend circles, afraid to try new things, and boxing themselves into catagories. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this was everyone, and I am by no means perfect, but they were my thoughts, that's what I was meant to see. During coaching Thursday evening I felt energy pulsing and I let whatever was needing to be said out, some of the words I don't think were my own...

Come Friday I was feeling like, "what was I thinking yesterday", and feeling a bit silly about possibly believing in God, I mean "how could He and it all be real". Friday went on through coaching during the day, and went to the evening meeting. The Holy Spirit was 'introduced' to the tent and some weird old stuff was happening as people were getting touched and filled; people laughing, shaking, screaming and what have you. I'd never seen anything like that, really had a magic and mysterious quality to it all. I walked around and was remembering things I've heard during the week, that some are thrown in to the deep end and just have to believe, taking the first step to believe in something more than what you can see and feel at times, and having faith in that. My upbringing and teachings from the school and society had definatly made that hard!

Either way I thought I needed to give it a try, I prayed to a God I didn't know if I believed in or not for guidance to find him, somethign to help me believe. I then left the meeting.

I went up to the coaching area feeling lousy and confused, I asked if Kie, Danny and Tariq and co' could take the session that night. It was a free session for those who had been in to train during the week and to move. It isn't the type of session or training I work with and as such I didn't particularly want anything to do with it, if something happens it was my neck, so I sat in the corner and let things happen. It was selfish. I was really feeling whats the point of it all, and in turn asking if what I'd done that week actually helped anyone?

A guy came up looking for me, Ethan, he was in one of our classes during the week and being the last night, he wanted to come up and say thanks for the session, and that the things I were saying made a lot of sense and were helping him clarify his throughts of late, the things I were saying about movement and life, helped him and he wanted to say thank you.

Now, that was great enough, I felt better about coaching and I could have gone back out and helped, but it didn't stop there... He asked me "Are you a Christian", to which I replied with a brief laugh of confusion, "Not really, I don't know, I'm still figuring that out". He sat with me and we sat started talking and practically all the questions I had in my mind where being answered by what he was saying, which was frankly baffling. I asked a few questions as we went along but as we were talking I was in disbelief at yet another "life coincidence" cropping up, in particular when I asked for help and needed it.

After almost an hour of chatting I had to get some food and let some things sink in... And so there I was, with my own proof and experience of God in Action, of Jesus' love living through others and helping those in need those who open themselves up and ask for help and forgiveness.

That night was a long and great night. I spoke to people who I'd got to know through the week and they said they were praying for me, without a real sureness of why, they just felt they had to.

I've made the choice to give myself to Jesus. I realise the experiences over the past few years, in particular relation to Parkour and the community, has lead to a stage where I could let Jesus in, guided by God's wisdom and power to then and now. Since then, I've had some great people brought into my life and things are slowly piecing together to really work for others and do what we must do the change the world with love.

It may sound like a trivial event but so much has happened in life and I've now been pushed into believing, by God, to now live and live my life for His glory.

For those of you unsure of your faith or beliefs, Pray and mean it and answers will come, keep praying, keep loving and a whole new world will open up to you when it's right.

This posts been long enough, but the next one within the next week will be my message about Parkour, what I and others have been seeing, and what needs to be said and done so we can start changing the world, one step at a time.

Thnaks for reading people, love to all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

In the most unlikely of places: 28th April '09


Hey all again, well few things have changed, few things have happened and a few things to come so I thought I'd update this old blog of mine =].

Well since my last update, I had a long hard thing and decided to stay in the UK as opposed to going back to America to work this year. I have a lot going on here, such as my Youth Work Qualifications, The British Parkour Coaching Association, my local Parkour community and much I feel I want to be involved with within my community as a whole, so I am staying put.

I'm planning on getting away to Lisses sometime as well as continue to travel, meet and train with people around the UK.

I've starting doing more climbing of late as a continual challenge, but unfortunately, since March/April I've had a few problems within motivation and direction within life, for a while I just felt very, very lost, and, although generally I am an underlying 'happy', feeling a little low/depressed from not knowing what do do or what I'm doing, or even what I want to do. It was all very odd.

Blog Entry--- Anyways, with the need for direction, a series of unfortunate events gave me new eyes and direction. And so this blog is for those who are having or have momentary lapses in motivation. ---

Getting off the tube at Loughton, a woman tripped up a curb and hit her chin on the floor, she started bleeding a little, myself and two other men ran over to help and then a woman arrived saying she was a trainee paramedic and took over the situation. -

An hour or two later, I was helping out at a coaching session, and a freak slip resulted in a young man breaking his wrist. I was with him and was doing what I could until the ambulance and paramedics arrived.

A few hours later and on the way home from this, the realism of what we do struck me again, we cheat odds and do 'extraordinary' things when you really look at it, because we or should, be paying extreme and absolute attention to them, but sometimes it still isn't good enough, at any time; a lack of attention, a momentary lapse of faith, depleted belief or perhaps, 'an act of God', can flip us upside down and turn us away from where we were, by injury, obstacle or any other similar factor etc.

No matter how hard we try, train, or practice, these things CAN (or) MAY happen, although we reduce the likelihood of these be doing the above. I'd a big cycle of irony AND a good motivation to keep moving, keep learning, keep working hard to avoid what could happen. This is where the practicing Parkour religiously, ideal may stem from, the faith you must maintain in self in order to live effectively, safely and to do what you must do to better yourself, for the benefit of others.

So after having motivation issues and needing something to help me find direction and focus, this experience, seen as a lesson, helped me re-see the realism of what we do, and WHY we need to keep training, WHY things are never good enough, and WHAT I need to do currently.

On Wednesday, helping out at a different local workshop, and training a little bit afterwards til sunset, I visited a friend, left hers at 11ish to walk/jog home. I turned the corner and saw a man and a bike on the floor, I ran over and assessed the situation. The man was conscious, some possessions were over the floor and he was crawling and trying to get up. I aided him and he stumbled back down, I helped him out of the road and over to a wall to support him, and asked what happened, he said he hadn't been hit by a car or anything and didn't want an ambulance. By this time I smelt a fair bit of alcohol on his breath and proceeded cautiously; as he was a big guy and could have easily turned on me, fueled by alcohol. I collected his things, and handed him his bike, and when I was happy he was safe (as he could be for now) I started walking home, calling the police, to check on the guy as he had a cut on his head from the fall. They arrived as I was leaving the area and did whatever they needed to with him.

This week opened my eyes to the need for further knowledge in emergency aid and common factors that can and do affect people. My experiences have helped me realise I need to be prepared to help others, and so enrolling in some further emergency aid courses and doing further reading into these areas, would benefit me and in tern others, greatly.

I also need to be ready to defend myself if needs be, alongside my physical ability to move and overcome the challenges in movement and life. To be honest I 'knew' these things and did little with that knowledge. "Wisdom is doing" so we must work proactively toward the knowledge gained, when gained, to adapt, and grow mentally, spiritually and physically.

In Summary:
Pay attention, our experiences are there to learn from. Question and always ask what can be learnt from this. Could be coincidence and life itself, or, what seems to be a little more realistic at times, 'God' or the energy of the universe, guiding us and allowing us to work through life, and help acquire the knowledge we need to live, happy, wholesome lives.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

26th February 2009 - What's going on.


Not a particularly substantial post intended here, merely to share some information and what I'm up to at the moment, to note it to myself, and for any followers of my blog.

So 2009's been pretty busy and great so far, I'm training loads in many different areas of life/Parkour, I'm also undergoing training, which will result in becoming a Qualified Youth Support Worker (Level 2), which will help out in general, very interesting course so far.

Pushing onwards will physical fitness, lot's of repetition, running, and challenges, feeling in really good shape. Had a little ankle niggling which I'm resting over the next few weeks to get it a bit more healed up.

The BPCA is progressing well, Coaching Assessment next week, of which hopefully they'll pass and we'll have some more BPCA Qualified Coaches.

I've been saving money to go towards flights back to the US, with the intention of heading back to my Summer Camp, Island Lake of which I can't wait, to back in the environment and back with my kids!

Writing, I'm currently doing a piece on Communication and Inforamtion within Parkour, which I'm loving to write, think about and develop, so, keep posted for a big old article :-)

I'm back wearing Feiyues, (The cheap fake ones), they are soooo comfy, and I'm bringing shoes down a notch to head back out training/running barefoot.


Few links to pieces that may benifit you from watching and continue growing and developing within life.

The Nature of Challenge - Parkour Documentay: Possibly the most accurate and beneificial explaination and documentation of Parkour.

Onii - Other Ways: A great Parkour video, some real effective and interesting ways of moving.

"Jangerary" - Teige's January training: Fast Effective movement.

Movnat: Erwan's progression on his training, closely akinned to Hebert's Natural Method.

"Law of Averages" - Chris Rowat's Blog/article: Little bit dramatised (imo) but a good read and something that should be considered within training.

"The Human Machine" - Video: An Awesome video about David Goggins, Ultra Marathon Runner

Monday, February 02, 2009

Parkour - The Nature Of Challenge (1/4)

A true representation and explanation of Parkour and developing the spirit of the discipline, within.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Parkour, Free Running, Guidance, Progression, Safety.

Okay, so this is gonna be a big old post I fear but I feel it needs to be said. Many of you may agree, may disagree, but, if your going to argue your points, please do so in a backed up fashion. I know I do not know all of the ins and out's of the foundations of the discipline, few do, but I feel I have an informed enough knowledge to write the below and voice my opinions on the matter.

(For the recored I use italics and "quotations" to mean, something others may call it, the words for the disciplines of expressions may be interchangable with other words [in your opinion], or for general understanding, i'm using them.)

So here goes....

The Thought

Today I Picked up Sebastien Foucan's "Free Running" Book, Find Your Way. It seems so odd now to be finding books in High Street Stores about the kind of things you do, when originally there was nothing but a few hard to find articles on the internet. The Cover, a rooftop skyline and a man jumping it, once again, in my opinion, doesn't seem an appropriate choice for promoting a safe development of the/his discipline, my mind jumped with assumptions on it's contents..... But.... It shouldn't have.

With a glance of the introduction he states his origins within the movement, his seperation from Parkour, in developing his own 'more expressive' means of movement and living. The words throughout this mostly pictoral book, do in fact, ring true to ideals I personally hold, even though I do not say I 'do freerunning'. His words are similar to what many practicitoners of "our kinds of movement" will say nowadays, who generally will steer clear of the "conflict" and arguements, and just doing what they personally believe they must, which I will agree is an honourble and justified cause.

However, as noble as the philosophy may be, I did not see any guidence within the training, strengthening, etc. Which is both good and bad. Hear me out.

"Free running" as a name, has been I feel, created and enforced more by general public and ignorance rather than by Foucan or it's practitioners, examples being, commonly known as "Parkour" or "that crazy roof jumping". Foucan and individuals came over and brought the movement to the general public with little guidance to those interested and wishing to teach. So A group formed, misinformed for the most part, who led others in that basically understood way. ((YES we have to start somewhere, I understand that and this is the point I'm getting to)).

We have a real opprtunity to be making a difference here, it's time for us to work harder on the understanding, on the communication, on the discussing, and then the DOING. "Wisdom is doing".

It is all very well saying, "whatever you want to call it, it doesn't matter it's the same thing", I do agree, we should do what we need to, But Parkour IS Parkour, [i]Free Running[/i], is [i]Free Running[/i], L'art du deplacement, is what it is. We can continue to go with the flow, let others take control of what it is we do, let our names/ disciplines sink into a big lyrical blur and just do what WE love, but, for how hard it was to start, how misinformed I was, how much I had to learn, how much I insisted I was right, when I first started (and of course still do). Surely, we owe it to what we believe and practice within, to promote, teach and spread the true word of what it is we do, what we spend hours, days, money and friendships on; to teach and preserve what is, so that we can continue "Parkour/movement", safely, so that others can learn safely, so we don't have councils banning something they are sure is right, because it's what they've learned and found out through the mass of misinformation.

The Book, promotes, moving and learning through movement, which is, I agree a VERY large foundation, and should definatly not be discouraged, it is essential for personal growth; nor should we create structured exercises "essential" for practicing Parkour etc. There is no one way, only following your discipline's ideals, through what you need to DO. For example, I say I practice Parkour and movement, I enjoy creating movement and movining in general, however I feel the morals of Parkour, training for usefulness, working safely, effectivly and efficiently, when getting from A to B and back are a "noble" and more effective means to move along. Aren't we all trying to get somewhere in life, not just in our physcial journeys?

Saftey as Participants grow in Numbers

For me to BE safe, and to move effectivly and efficiently in a given situation, I practice movement, falling in lines with the ideals of Parkour; in order to be safe I need to understand and develop body wisdom within unconventional positions and movements, so should they arise within my physcal life, I can act. And most importantly, I feel the morals of Parkour are a good way to live towards my life, practicing that which I need to do on a daily basis, thinking about saftey and usefulness to others.

Without our care or action, we will be stuck in a big and probably spiral of mass miscommunication. We must maintain the foundations of the movement, but also begin and incorperate the ideals of respect through movements, on a much larger scale, Parkour, tricking, Free running, karate, judo, or dancing. "Parkour", and our chosen fields of discipline, need to be nurtured and kept as they are, following the 'guidelines' placed by it's "creators", and nutured by those who have developed the understanding, the passion, respect and observation for safe progression of the discipline.

We are united through movement, through a passion for movement, but I fear that will amount to little should we not make an impact of teaching those who understand less.

So many now, "do" without a why or without an understanding of what they are doing. Again we can argue that's how we all began and look at us now, but they can do so much better with our guidence and inlfuence, helping them to learn and move and understand why. The names and their definitions are the why.

Too many move without understanding for the training required, so many people I see those who are not built correctly for what they do, I stand the same, I know I have LOTS of work to do, and a long way to go, I feel only a few can gain that insight alone and the majority will continue to move withought the understanding, teach without understanding, and give up when they feel they've "made it".

I feel the general message I'm trying to get accross is safety, I highly doubt anyone, wishes to be doing something deemed anti-social, dangerous, and banned from practice within the very places we bring alive through our communities, gatherings and trainings.

Obviously there are groups working towards maintaining this such as PKG and The BPCA, but we need to be doing what we can on a personal level, reaching out and doing what we can to help others see what they are missing, and guiding them onto the paths of our respective movements. Allowing them to progress faster (most importantly on the understanding), and so they can truly become the future of our respective disciplines.


This was oposted on the above link and forum, to read replies, click above.