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!


Eightyeightdays said...

There's nothing wrong with aspiring to be a jack of all trades, my point was that there are just too many areas in which to train for it to be a realistic goal or efficient use of time. I think it's better to focus on fewer things and become really good at them before moving on, instead of trying to do everything at once and being weak in all areas. The actual saying describes just that - 'jack of all trades, master of none'.

Do you know how to change a gearbox on a mk 2 Golf? Can you make treacle tart? Do you speak Afrikaans? Can you plaster a wall? Do you know British sign language? Can you pick a lock? Can you shoe a horse?
Knowing these things and having the relevant skills can be very useful, but they won't make you any better at Parkour, and neither are you likely to encounter the need for any of them on a daily basis, if at all in your lifetime. The same also applies when you begin to use this way of thinking when practicing Parkour, using unlikely scenarios as a basis for training.

I have a problem with the situations that people dream up in order to validate their training, the classic 'crazy guy chasing you with a knife' is one example. The reasoning seems to be that anything can happen, therefore we must find a way of training to deal with anything. But that's where the Parkour seems to stop, along with the common sense.
It's not the actual training I disagree with, rather it's the justification that seems really weak and unrealistic to me.

If I choose to train something more 'realistic' it's because I enjoy it, not because I actually think it'll prepare me for 'the real world'. I just don't believe that we live in a world where we need those sort of skills, otherwise if it were a necessity they would be in use all around us and we would be familiar with them already.

Parkour isn't a banner under which you can lump every type of training, skill, or activity simply because you apply the same philosophy or approach to it.

If Parkour has a certain philosophy which is inseperable from it, then it means that anyone without the same view is rendered incaple of practising and therefore teaching Parkour. Is this what you believe?

I'll quote myself as the question still remains -
”What exactly is this "mentality, spirit and physicality" that is spoken of? If it cannot be specified or quantified then how do you teach that or pass it on to anyone else? And how do you know that your mentality, spirit and physicality is the same as what anyone else is passing on? ”

In your free time when you train to help others what do you do specifically that may help or serve anyone else outside of helping them progress at Parkour themselves?

”The methodology is the practice of overcoming obstacles, which would indeed benefit self and others.”
You say it as if one naturally follows the other, but how?

It's certainly not a bad thing to be considerate of other people and their needs, but we cannot dictate what those needs are.

In the current society that we both live in and were born into, it's not realistic to spend 3, 5, or even 7 days a week training to overcome physical obstacles for escape or reach scenarios, i.e practicing 'real' Parkour. If the environment we live in were really that unforgiving and dangerous we wouldn't have the opportunities to train so much.

Eightyeightdays said...

I think most training is very specific when it comes to Parkour. Learning to overcome the obstacles you face when training is very different from overcoming other obstacles elsewhere. Being able to face your fears and push yourself to make a jump you know you are capable of doesn't automatically translate into a similar skill in other areas of life. Perhaps if you applied the same thinking and actually 'practised' this method day to day you would see results, but again, one doesn't naturally follow the other. It's perfectly clear that you can be exceptional at Parkour, but still remain disfunctional in other areas.
In order for you to make use of any philosophy or self knowledge you may have gained through your training you still must make a conscious effort to effect it elsewhere, otherwise it probably won't happen.

If the founders are not good examples of what Parkour is, then who is?

I think that the reason there seems to be no universally agreed solution to life's problems is because perhaps there is none, and it seems a bit pointless trying fix everything with this 'one size fits all' approach.
I don't think it's the lack of this universal truth that seperates us, but the fact that so many people and institutions (which are made up of lots of individuals), attempt to force the same solution upon everyone else, when experience has shown, time and time again that this doesn't work. It seems to be a case of failure to accept the differences between us all, and not the differences themselves that the problems stem from.

Sharing ideas and planting seeds is very different from preaching. Assuming that sometimes people just need to be told what's best for them, and that you have the answer to their problems can be a dangerous stance to take. When you take it upon yourself to show someone the way when they're not receptive, it's for your own good that you do so, not for theirs. You can't effectively help someone when your judgment is clouded by your own desires. Any desire to help is still a desire for yourself.

If you do things that others request of you when you don't actually want to help, that's the way you can be sure you're giving what someone is ready to receive. It may not be what you want or practical for your goals, but that wouldn't matter if you're simply about helping other people, or 'doing what's right'.

If someone tells me they don't need or want my help, I'll have to trust them on that.

I don't agree with some of the actions of organisations like Greenpeace and so on, as they're not acting on my behalf, but because of the idea that there are problems that need to be fixed by intervening hands. Humans don't really care about the planet, they care about their own survival, and also the survival of imaginary future generations. The planet doesn't need to be saved, because everything in the universe has a limited life span anyway, and can continue with or without the help or existence of human life.

I wasn't suggesting that we have no goals, but that it is backwards to do things simply because of the expected outcome. It's like Banksy said 'eating a meal just so you can take a shit'. I don't believe we should habitually act as a means to an end, except perhaps when it comes to that which is absolutely necessary for survival. I wouldn't do strength training or other conditioning if I really didn't like it, and I see little value in living that way, spending years doing things you dislike for a few seconds or minutes of fleeting pleasure once your goal is reached.

I said that the goal is almost insignificant, because as soon as it is reached a new one will be set, sometimes even within seconds. Ideally we'd do things because we enjoy them in the moment, not wasting our time hoping that once we reach our goals THEN we will be happy. You said it yourself, we are here, so we're free to do what we want simply because we want to and it makes us happy.

Eightyeightdays said...

If it wasn't already clear from things I've written in the past, I too feel there is more to Parkour than just moving, and I believe there are things to be learnt from experience that can be applied elsewhere, BUT for me this is true for any activity, because underlying everything will always be my philosophy which affects my approach. This isn't a philosophy given to me by Parkour, or earned through it's practise.

I'd like to share one last thing that I feel is relevant, although it wasn't the subject of either of your posts, and I'm aware this way of looking at things may be the exact opposite of what people are familiar with.
I think that actually learning to fight and putting energy into training those skills is a counter productive pursuit, as it is difficult, maybe even impossible to seperate yourself from the emotion or feeling that goes with it all. What I mean is that by training to fight you are actually inviting violence into your life through this 'baggage' that you carry everywhere with you. It's as if learning to fight or defend yourself, causes you to focus more on the perceived need for such skills, which in turn will affect your perspective and the reality you create. I think it's a bit like deliberately falling off of things in order to practice balance.
If you look at the way things have changed since the huge introduction of CCTV cameras and visible policing everwhere, we haven't become safer because of it, and neither do we feel safer as a result. In fact, having cameras watching us everywhere we go has contributed more to the division of society, when what we all really want is to feel safe, welcome, at home, comfortable in our surroundings and united with each other. Does learning to fight a hypothetical attacker (that could in reality be anyone on the street when you step outside your door) promote feelings of togetherness or separation? That is my question and simple guideline that I try to live by.
I don't think that our real security is something we can gain through strengthening our exterior and physical circumstances against the outside world or any perceived outsiders.
Another good example is the signs and resistance from security that tell us where we can no longer train. It's easy to see the uproar it causes in the Parkour community, and when people are angry are they more or less likely to want to comply or even collaborate with you?
It's just a thought I don't hear being discussed anywhere.

Bradley Moss. said...

Thanks for getting BACK in touch Elliot! great perspectives, On Tuesday I spent most of the day writing what I wrote and I'm not doing the same today, things to do! lol.

But that you for sharing and I'll be continuing to develop my thoughts in these areas.

The main aspect I'm trying to approach is that initially the 'movements' (associated with Parkour) we learn are the vessel we use to learn to overcome a problem, yeah. The issue now is that people seem to think the vessel/movement IS what Parkour is. Parkour is the methodology, the application of a mindset which enables us to more effectively solve problems.

The issue now is that we have gone to an extreme. Like Practitioners saying "nobody looks up anymore", true, but we spend too much time looking up in the skies and to rooves as opposed to seeing what can and what needs to be done right now. I know you know about the Training of life over just movement.

Yes, I've been looking a lot more at the confinements in which we are put in and it needs to be addressed and worked towards overcoming.

Your response made a lot of sense man, good chatting! Feel free to drop me an email and furhter discuss dude, Hope Finland's treating you well. peace and love x

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Bradley Moss. said...

Done Rob :-) Top of the page.

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Teige said...

Thing is, people can live without taking any noble selfless risks, and still experience love and gain self esteem and feel nothing is missing.

I want to be a raving helping monster who crushes bad guys with selfless-selfish paradoxical vindiction. I want to be an able master and act that out regularly, the opportunities to do so are helping others.

I'm happy for this not to be Parkour and I'm happy for the thousands that do Parkour to just do Parkour, jumping about after self-esteem.

I think you can change people's mind if you're flooded with charisma or are the genuine article yourself, otherwise you become a nuisance that is easily labelled a hypocrite or lacking in realism.

I would hate to preach people's purpose to them, and doing it by opposing their idea of Parkour will be inneffectual. The power lies locally, the people you train with. You have the ability to rub a little bit of your personality, opinions and enthusiasms off on them. You can make them train hard and you can make them enthusiastic about fighting climbing running jumping lifting swimming. You can get them acclimatised to doing things that are scary for the level of reality or risk involved.

With all that, if they like it enough, they might just be intrepid enough in their own right to seek out opportunities to do audacious and selfless physical things.

Unless you're talking about indirect stuff like giving money to charity in which case they should just get a good job and watch some heart-rending videos.

Anonymous said...

How that all relates to my first paragraph is probably that, if you want to assemble a physically gifted altruistic army, you need to desensitise people to normal satisfactory life, and make them dependent on thrills that are best found in the types of things you could imagine helping someone with.

I have a, probably unrealistic, idea of needing to beat up rudeboys and climb and swim. What's yours?

Anonymous said...
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