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.