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.


Eightyeightdays said...

I think that the mistake is to believe that what's right for you is what's right for everyone, or anyone else, because then you approach people and situations as if you're there to fix them, and show them what should be done. So when you say 'this is what I think we should do', it's like saying that you know what's best for someone else in any given situation. There are some instances where people may genuinely not know what's best for them, but in general that relates to children who have yet to actually understand the consequences of their actions.

If Parkour has come far away from it's original motives and methods it's because there are many people practicing Parkour, each with their own ideas and beliefs. To say that we all should train to be useful and learn for the benefit of self and others, is like saying we should agree with everything David Belle says or does. And personally, I don't believe this was the original intention of the original practitioners, as how is Parkour of any benefit to outsiders? And in 20 years or so of Practice, how much difference have any of the originators made by actually helping people and living up to what they say on that subject? Many seem to regurgitate this idea, but it's evident by looking at the way people train, that this isn't the case. To me this is the big Parkour delusion. If you're really concerned with training and acting to help other people, then quit Parkour and spend your time actually helping people by volunteering or something.

Everything has a use, whether or not that use can benefit you, at this moment in time is another matter. To say you train to be useful is just as vague as saying 'I train to improve'.

There's only more to Parkour for the people who seek it, find it, or just see it. For anyone else there needn't be a 'bigger picture', as it's all relative to the individual. 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.

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?
The thing is I think people are just using all the same words, phrases and cliches to describe things which are not actually the same. And this is a key point. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing, but if you're not aware of it you can be saying one thing but thinking and experiencing something quite different. I think people have fallen into the habit of using these words partly because they are in fact unclear about what each means to them. If you are unclear about something and how it relates to you in your own life and practice, then perhaps it's not best to try and teach that to anyone else. Instead of continuing to repeat meaningless phrases or buzz words, perhaps an in depth explanation is in order if people are to have a chance of understanding your point of view.

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.
I think ideally you'd set your goals and then put them out of your mind, unless you are returning to your goals to refine and further define them. Continually thinking of the goal doesn't necessarily make it easier to achieve, and often it can make you feel less comfortable about where you are if your thoughts are on where you'd rather be.

Eightyeightdays said...

You can't help everyone, neither can you train to be good enough at every possible thing that might be of benefit to people.

"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. And training for hypothetical situations where you have to fight 7 strong men or lift an overturned car off of someone doesn't look like an efficient, useful or effective use of time if your goal is to be of help to people day to day.
It seems like you are taking helping others to an extreme where it overrules your own happiness. Ideally we'd all be equally helpful to one another, but unless we are taking care of ourselves and looking out for our own happiness and well being first and foremost, then our attempts at helping others will be somewhat determined and ultimately overshadowed by our own unhappiness.
To me Parkour is navigating environments quickly, and anything else is personal philosphy and ideas that each indivual brings with them to the practice. Your own ideas will affect your practice, and how you go about it, but they aren't the practice itself. This is why if you're a philosophical person, you're most likely philosophical in what ever you practice. Parkour didn't give me the ideas I have, they simply confirmed them, which could have happened any other way had I decided not to take up training Parkour.

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. Perhaps the way people train is a contradiction to your words, but not theirs.

"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"
For me the best thing you can do for anyone is to serve them as they ask, not to preach to them and try and steer them in the direction of your own choosing and comfort. I look at it like this, suppose that everyone on the planet had the power to make anyone behave as they wanted, we would be in total choas, because it is impossible to conform to the desires of everyone! If you extend that attitude to the whole population it simply doesn't work, as inevitably, when people are ordered around or controlled in any way, there is instant rebellion.
The saying "do unto others as you would have them do unto you" holds true in this case.

What is the weakness in acceptance of other people's actions? What use is there in not accepting them?

"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. If you can't accept that people don't take, or aren't willing to listen to your advice, then the advice you offer isn't really for the benefit of others, rather it is for your own good that you have it be accepted. A lot of the time people mistake their own desires and addictions for the needs and well being of others. This is why I believe that you have to deal with your own issues before you go delving into anyone else's.