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Category: Philosophy

Practical vs. Personal

There is a growing trend in the fitness community towards working out with practicality in mind rather than aesthetics; “functional fitness.” I’ve been part of that movement for a long time and find myself amenable to its premise: fitness is most useful and rewarding when it develops usable skills and attributes that can be applied in daily life. For me, parkour began as exactly that: a practical set of skills to help me escape in the rare event of conflict. Read more →

Games for the Real World

Gamers love to create mazes and run people through them, but the points don’t matter. We need to put them in a place where what they do makes a real difference. - Julien Smith Julien Smith has had me thinking for a long while about his idea of dungeon masters for the real world. I never spent much time in the tabletop and pen-and-paper realm, so that argument doesn’t have as much pull for me as the idea of designing video games for the real world. Read more →

Feeling Creative

Traceurs see the world differently. Where some see a dead end, we see a short-cut. This mindset shift transforms obstacles into opportunities. A (seemingly) singular path-dictated by the structure of walls, railings, and other elements of the environment-can become a multitude. How? By interacting with, instead of avoiding, the environment and that begins with a trick of the imagination. Picture yourself moving over, around and through the obstacles around you. This ability to imagine yourself flowing over obstacles and spotting opportunities for movement can be an immense boon for your creative powers, in every arena. Read more →

Passion, Purpose, and Practicality (Part 3 - Practice)

“Passion is the wind in your sails, but practicality is your rudder.” -Danielle LaPorte In Part 2 we looked at how purpose can help you select an art with high odds of developing into a passion. Examining that same purpose can also help us decide on our direction for practice. After all, practicing an art because you love it is amazing, but it can lead to a scattershot approach if you don’t know precisely where you’re aiming. Read more →

Passion, Purpose, and Practicality (Part 2 - Selection)

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. -Ralph Waldo Emerson In the previous post we talked about passion and how it can provide you with motivational fuel to keep practicing. But passion tells us little about how to choose; choosing an art to develop, or if you’ve already chosen, what to focus your practice on. That’s where purpose comes in. Read more →

Passion, Purpose, and Practicality (Part 1 - Feeling)

Passion doesn’t need to be constantly fiery and all consuming; it can be a steady curiosity and commitment. You don’t need to want to die for your calling or chain yourself to a tree for your cause. Genuine curiosity and sincere interest are burning coals that can warm you for a good, long time. -Danielle LaPorte Seeking out passion in work has become a huge trend of late. The internet is teeming with blogs and websites dedicated to passionate work; work with purpose. Read more →

Elevate yourself! The power of community on growth (APEX Movement retrospective)

credit: Ahd Photography I practice alone more often than not. Did I choose to? At first yes, but often it was circumstance not preference that decided for me. As I wrote before, starting out with Parkour I didn’t discover anyone else to train with in my area for near a year. I relied on Youtube videos and other tutorials plus heaps of trial and error to figure things out. I made progress, but I wouldn’t call it impressive. Read more →

Shooting yourself in the foot

Harnessing handicaps to amp up creativity, challenge, and turn the mundane into the extraordinary This post originally appeared as a guest post on Instinctive Fitness. Yeah, I went a bit overboard with the headline length. The ideas here are a refinement and expansion upon my What if…? Limits and Play article I wrote close to a year ago. I’m terrible at planning. When I feel the urge to start a movement session (most would call ‘em workouts, I’m weird) the frustratingly easy excuse to do nothing is that I don’t know what to do. Read more →

VBlog: Risk vs. Danger and Barbell Strategies

I’ve had it in the back of my mind to write a post detailing the concept of risk vs. danger (here in fancy graph form, courtesy of MovNat) that comes from MovNat. Buuut risk vs. danger is one of those ideas I find easier to understand with examples. Well, I found me some good examples and decided to try my hand at doing it as a video blog instead of writing. Read more →

Antifragile: Barbell Training

This is the second post in a series about the book, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. In the previous post I talked about the core concept of antifragility and its applications to fitness. Now it’s time to take the idea of antifragility and use it to help us make better decisions. How? By using barbells! Oh wait, I meant just metaphorically. Wait, this has nothing to do with barbells? Read more →

Antifragile - Paper tigers, the zombie apocalypse, and fitness

_This is the first post in a series reflecting on ideas contained in the book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb._ I get so much reading done when I’m forcibly kept away from the interwebs (we just moved into a new place) for any length of time. Maybe I should do that more often? With almost an entire week sans internet I had plenty of time to finish Antifragile. Read more →

What if...? Limits and Play

Voluntary limits are one of my favorite ways to keep training fresh and to come up with new ideas. But why would you choose to limit your options in the first place? Everyone loves having choices. Having even more choices then could only be a good thing, right? Nope. When you have tons of options it can be difficult to choose what to do. Indecision is a great way to let that lazy part of your mind take over and think, “well, since you don’t know what you want to do…why don’t we just stay in this comfy seat right here instead?” Putting limits (rules if you prefer) in place narrows down your options and makes it easier to make a choice. Read more →

With a piece of chalk

I linked this video a little while ago on Twitter: Cool message right? I want to focus in on just one part of it which reminded me of some stuff I was working on earlier (more on that shortly). Playing within the lines of chalk, transforming the otherwise unremarkable surroundings into a space for play and dance. That’s a really good idea, and you definitely do not have to be an ultra skilled breakdancing kid to take advantage of it (or a breakdancer at all). Read more →

Dilution by Blane

This article by Blane is worth re-linking here: The entire thing is well worth the read, and although it is aimed at traceurs I believe much of what he says can be applied equally to other physical disciplines. Only going to directly post the summary at the end of the article here. 1) If you’re new to Parkour, research as much as possible and learn from the people who have walked the path before you, but do not lose your creativity and ability to think for yourself. Read more →

Translations of Georges Hébert's Practical Guide of Physical Education (1912)

The MovNat 5-day workshops in West Virginia are going on right now and unfortunately I could not make it out there. The workshops reminded me about a translation of Georges Hébert’s Practical Guide of Physical Education, which he wrote in 1912, done a couple years ago by Pilou and Gregg from the American Parkour community. This is not a translation of Hébert’s books, L’éducation physique virile et morale par la méthode naturelle, which he began writing in 1941. Read more →
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