Just a quick update for now. Artem, Charlie and I are leaving in about an hour to go down to New York City for the rest of the week. Parkour Generations is coming down, and they're holding an informal workshop/training session in Central Park on Thursday at 11AM.
It's going to be cold, wet, and awesome. Detailed update when we get back.
In other news, I have made meeting appointments with several more people in regards to the RIT Parkour club becoming official. Those will be occuring in the next two weeks - I'll update and let everyone know how those went after htey occur. Here's to hoping, though.
But now, it's time to pack (Read: cram a bunch of crap into a bag).
On February 14th, Dan Edwardes, Stephane Vigroux, Chris Keighley, and Julie Angel came down to Central Park for a day-long workshop. Artem, Charlie and I showed up at Heckscher Park (an area in Central Park) around 10AM, and there were already a good 20 or 30 people there. We warmed up, did some small balance and precision drills for a while, until around 11. A group of four people walked up to us, and one spoke in a British accent "So.. are you guys Traceurs?"
After a (long) series of introductions, we hung around Heckscher for a bit longer, waiting for more people to show up, and then the day began.
We began with some light joint work: neck, shoulder, elbow, knee and ankle stretching. We then went for a short jog forwards, backwards, and to both sides. We slowed to a stop then Dan dropped to his hands and feet, and began to QM around the area we had just jogged. At about the halfway point, we continued QMing backwards.
Then we ran into our first problem. The Park Police decided that what we were doing 'could endanger the kids (of which there weren't any around...)' and 'adults weren't allowed to play in the park.' So we asked them nicely where we could train, and they directed us towards a baseball field. So we moved there.
After doing some (read: a lot) of squat work, we went back to some more QM. This time, we were doing a couple different levels of sideways QM. We started by just moving left and right in the QM position. We later incorporated leg lifts, both holding it still and moving the leg up and down, into the workout. About this time we ran into problem number 2. The Park Police came by and decided that we were "risking the children" again (keep in mind, this was a fenced in field, and there were no kids in sight, let alone on this side of the fence.)
Wow, a lot has happened since I last updated. Sorry for the long break. I'm planning on updating much more frequently, hopefully once a day - even if it's just with a picture or a video.
Speaking of videos, last week I went back home to Severna Park, MD with my roommate Charlie, and filmed a video for Brian "Doc Akh" Belida's "Mid-Atlantic Monthly Member Movie" project. Found below!
Link to youtube version of Zac "Happydud" Cohn's PK Vision
A bit of history on the name: The phrase "PK Vision" is what some people call your shift in how you observe your environment once you've been training for a while. You start to see possibilities everywhere, whereas before you just saw a table, or a wall.
My titles really are lame sometimes...
So I am recently returned to Rochester from RIT's Spring Break. I went back home to Maryland with my roommate Charlie. Our break was incredibly fun and exciting, and anything but relaxing.
We got back on Wednesday and were treated to some of my sister's fine cooking, and Thursday we woke up nice and early and headed to Primal Fitness, the Parkour gym in Washington DC, for the day!
Primal was, as always, awesome. We arrived around 11am and spent a few hour hanging out with Mark. We talked about Parkour and future plans, I accidentally interrupted a video capture that had been taking hours to complete, and we helped out around the gym a little bit. Lunch time rolled around and we grabbed some Chinese food, ate Mark's, and played with his dogs (SO ADORABLE). By the time we got back to the gym, it was time for the evening workouts and Parkour classes. During the Crossfit Workout, we met up with Steven Low and fooled around a bit, and eventually ended up doing weighted pull-ups. We started light (bodyweight + 40lbs), and kept increasing to our max. I died at about 80lbs, Steve managed to knock out an incredible 115lbs - which is practically as much as he weighs!
The Crossfitter's started to clear out, and then it was time for the Parkour class. While I was helping some beginners with their kongs, Charlie and the rest of the class was working on more advanced Kong techniques, primarily double kong's and kong to cats. I popped by and gave it a few tries. It appears I have an issue misjudging the distance I travel when doing a kong, because I had some fairly epic bails while trying to cat. I think I'm going to work on my kong to precisions more to fix this.
I don't have a lot of time to update today, classes and such, but I just want to point everyone towards what I think is a very important post by Eliot, an Australian tracuer. The link is here, and the text of the article is copied below:
Parkour: To be helpful, to be capable, to be useful.
We as traceurs train ourselves to be useful, we train ourselves for reach and escape situations so that we can help others when they are in need. Whether it be helping people out of a burning building, or escaping from a pack of guys that would rather see you dead. But should our training go further? Should we limit ourselves to using physical applications of our training?Most traceurs would already acknowledge that through parkour one develops a new mind set that can, perhaps, make us more inclined to help people in trouble, or to be confident. But I’m talking about taking it a step further, actually going out of our way, in to the community to help people, not just waiting for someone in trouble to present themselves.
Here in Australia we have people from many walks of life, many from wealthy backgrounds, many from poor backgrounds, we have European, Asian, African, American, Latin, Indigenous etc. etc. With such a wide array of backgrounds we are bound to have a wide array of problems, and we do. We face racial problems, moral problems, health issues, physical disabilities, financial difficulties, and many others, for many of our citizens. These people all need help, and guidance. We, as traceurs have the ability to provide this help.
We train hard to become strong, to become fast, fit and fluid, but there are not many that actually train to help those who are disadvantaged. Not many that go out of their way to improve others lives. This should be a key part in our training, this should be as big a part as training physically. This philosophy of helping others and being a valuable member of the community is what sets us apart from other street sports and ‘fads’.Many youths today face terrible problems such as homelessness, depression, and domestic violence, however there are organisations, such as Youth off the Streets who try and help these people. Our discipline has the ability to appeal to the youth of today and give them a step up, and I believe that we have the moral obligation to further our training to help these people, help them have a new start, help them to become strong individuals mentally, and get back on their feet.
For the longest time, I've always wanted to wander. Every few months I'd come up with an idea. Last year I spent about a week trying to figure out how long it would take to walk across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific (ending in San Fransisco, because it's the best city that side of New York City).
For the few past month or so, I've been planning a Cross-country Parkour tour for this summer. Within the past month, it's really taken off. I'm going to be crashing on traceurs' couches, chairs, beds, and floors. I'm going to be hitting up as many of the national jams as possible, and visiting as many local communities as I can. I'm also planning on buying a camcorder (read: already bought it, waiting for it to be shipped!) and making a documentary about the whole trip. Kind of a "This is how America trains!" sort of thing.
These are the cities I'm planning on going to, most likely in this order:
DCPittsburghPhillyNYCClevelandDetroitAnn Arbor/UofMChicagoMinneapolisMadisonSeattleSan FransiscoLAPhoenixDenverOklahoma CitySan AntonioAustinMiamiWest Palm BeachJacksonvilleAthens, GACharlotteChapel HillDC
I'm currently aiming for it taking about 7-8 weeks. I'll be starting in DC with (B)East Coast at the end of May, but then I'm hanging around the area until the Philly jam on June 6-7th. From there I'm headed back to NJ/NYC with Jesse/Hardcoretracuer, and I'm using his house as a base of operations until PKNY. So lucky NYC, I'll be around for two and a half, three weeks!
Just a quick update on some plans:
We've started regular, outdoor Parkour training again. Sundays at 1PM outside of Margaret's house.
This weekend is the RIT Juggle-in. It's three days of juggling, fun, and juggling! I also heard along the grape vine that a juggler from Edinburgh named Meghan Pike is coming. Google confirms that she was ALSO in Jump Britain... so maybe we'll be hanging out with a British traceuse! Should be cool.
We're still looking a faculty adviser for the club. If anyone has any ideas, we're open to them...
I think that's all for now. Bigger update coming soon.
I'm sure we've all heard about people who train barefoot. A lot of us have looked at them like they're crazy. Shoes give added support, cushioning, and protection to the foot, right?
Well, is it right? First lets look at some anecdotal evidence:
Shoes are a fairly recent invention, being only several thousands of years old. The Hominini tribe, the earliest ancestors of Homo-sapiens genus, divulged from their Pan genus brethren 6.3 million years ago. The human foot, and all the body's supporting mechanisms for the foot, evolved over millions of years to be fairly good at what it does. We could probably trace the evolution of the human foot even farther back, but lets go from there. Human feet were designed to be walked on. Shoes stop you from walking on them.
You are probably wearing shoes right now. Take them off, and put one on your desk. Look at it. Do you see how the toe is curved upward? This is done so it is even possible to walk in shoes.
When you walk barefoot, you strike with the middle of the heel, rolling forward onto the balls of the feet, and then there is a powerful push-off from the balls of the feet. When running, they were designed to strike in the midfoot, not the heel. Shoes alter your gait - when you walk in shoes, the back of your heel strikes first, and your foot rolls forward, and then you push off your toes which creates a rocking motion. When you run with shoes, it feels "natural" to run heel-to-toe, which causes a jarring shock to your ankles and knees. High heels exacerbate problems caused by an unnatural position of the foot. They cause different and unnatural stresses on the bones of the foot, the ankle, the knee, up to the pelvis and even through the shoulders. It raises the heel, which is the foot's natural supporter of weight, by an inch, two inches, sometimes even four or five inches! The entire weight of the body is transferred to the ball of the foot, while the pelvis and the shoulders tilt to compensate for the difference in weight distribution.
So it's been a little while since the last update. Whoops. I just wanted to fill everyone in a little on some more details about this summer:
I have a couple of goals for my trip.First, obviously I want to meet traceurs and traceuses from all over the country. I want to share training techniques and stories with people who are more, and less, experienced than I. I've trained with a lot of different people, and I think that I can share quite a bit of knowledge with the people I visit. That being said, I hope to learn just as much from all of the traceurs and traceuses that I meet on my trip.
Second, one of my larger goals. I am going to record this entire trip on video. I am going to edit it all together into a documentary, sort of a "This is how America Trains" kind of thing. I'll be taking a lot of footage, and I'll be releasing smaller "jam coverage" media peices throughout my trip through American Parkour, but look for a longer documentary at the end of August or beginning of September.
The current itinerary of major jams follows. Note, I may be arriving the night before, the morning of, or sometime during the day of these dates, depending on bus schedules:
*Saturday, June 7th - Philly Jam II*Friday, June 13th through Sunday June 15th - PKFR International Pittsburgh Jam*Friday, June 20th through Sunday June 22nd - PKNY (New Jersey and NYC)Monday, June 23rd through Tuesday, June 24th - Columbus, OhioWednesday, June 25th through Friday, June 27th - Ann Arbor, Michigan*Saturday, June 28th through Sunday, June 29th - Chicago JamMonday, June 30th through Wednesday, July 2nd - Madison, WisconsinThursday, July 3rd through Friday, July 4th - Minneapolis, MinnesotaSaturday, July 5th through Wednesday, July 9th - Seattle, WashingtonThursday, July 10th through Tuesday, July 15th - San Fransisco, CaliforniaWednesday, July 16th through Thursday, July 17th - Phoenix, ArizonaFriday, July 18th through Tuesday, July 22nd - Denver, Colorado*Wednesday, July 23rd through Tuesday, July 29th - San Antonio, TexasTuesday, July 29th through Wednesday, July 30th - Tampa, FloridaThursday, July 31st through Friday, August 1st - Miami, FloridaSaturday, August 2nd - Athens, GeorgiaSunday, August 3rd through Tuesday, August 5th - Charlotte, North CarolinaWednesday, August 6th through Friday, August 8th - Chapel Hill, North CarolinaSaturday, August 9th - back home to Severna Park, Maryland!
(B)East Coast, represent! (Click on the image)