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Category: Practice

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 →

On Falling

Time from error to impact: <1s. Look bad? Posting the failure here hurts more than the fall itself. That’s despite it being the worst fall I’ve had in recent memory. Sometimes it’s the middle ground that’s the most dangerous of them all. If the drop after the vault was bigger then I’d have more time to fix my in-air position (it’s happened before and I always landed on my feet). If it were smaller there would be minimal impact. Read more →

Movement Game: Over, Under, Through

I say “over, under, and through” a lot when talking about obstacles. Recently I was inspired to take that same idea and turn it into a simple game. The rules: You have three moves to connect. One must be over an obstacle, another must be through it, and the third under it. That’s it for the basics. You can do a single set of three then take a break, or try to take it further and chain multiple sets together. Read more →

Mini-precision Slalom

Video time! All you need to practice jumping is the smallest of targets. In this case the wooden edges separating the mulch from the pavement. Given the width (an inch, maybe?) landing accurately is hard. One sure case of “smaller is harder” with this sort of thing. Jumping quickly between targets, even when small, is also a guaranteed way to nuke your energy. And a bit of bonus video of Read more →

Playin' with rocks (video - mostly)

And moments later a giant splash was heard over the cliffs. Hah, riight, that totally happened. I spent most the majority of my time in both Iceland and Ireland in or near nature. Sure, the contrast between the two is stark: after Iceland’s tree-less volcanic landscape arriving in Ireland felt as if I’d just wandered into the Amazon by accident; so verdant. Still, in each case I was able to be in contact with the land almost continuously. Read more →

More (quick) fun with bike racks plus some progress videos

So many bikes even GPS won't help you find yours. Angry Dutchmen could be hazardous to your health too, so no playing here. :( Bike racks are everywhere; they come in all sorts of shapes too. Lots of possibilities for movement, if the bike racks aren’t being used much for their actual purpose, anyhow. I got lucky in Galway earlier last week and found a set of at the local university, blissfully empty thanks to the dearth of students during the summer. 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 →

Digging for Energy: How Play Feeds the Body and Soul (and where I potentially make a fool of myself)

I uncovered a hidden source of energy recently. Though now suspect that it had been there all along, lurking in the shadows as I was (metaphorically!). The problem was I never was able to harness the energy before because I was too shy and afraid of embarrassment. I was suppressing any urges to do it and get down when opportunities presented themselves. Nope, I’m not being euphemistic here, just intentionally vague. Read more →

How to Succeed After You've Failed and Fallen

Dealing with failure is difficult. With practice brushing past the little failures that have few repercussions becomes easy. Easy enough to pick yourself up and try again immediately without hesitation. However, if you get hurt, sometimes even a little, fear seeps into your mind. When that fear of failure gains a foothold, you’ve got a battle on your hands. When practicing Parkour situations like that come up often. Little injuries happen that cause just enough pain to worry your subconscious (lizard) brain, which can trigger hesitation on your next attempt. Read more →

Videos: Slippery when wet (doesn't stop us)

The rain this weekend had torpedoed some of my more ambitious video plans that I had in mind. I was feeling frustrated, so I went for a walk and remembered this playground I had found a few weeks back…but completely forgotten about. I resolved to record whatever I did there, even if it was wet. Worst case I would see if I could make my hoodie into a ghetto rain shield for my camera. Read more →

Four Years

One of the earlier photos from training. At least a year after I begun. Before that I dodged pictures too well. It all started with a Youtube video; that’s a story you’ll hear often when you ask long-term traceurs/traceuses what inspired them to begin practicing Parkour, and the same was true for me. I get the feeling that most jump straight into trying Parkour out for themselves after that bolt of inspiration. Read more →

The kick that shall not be named (because I'm bad at remembering Portuguese) plus bonus video

Terrible Harry Potter references aside, this is a kicking technique originally from Capoeira, but I never remember those names for long. I could comb through tutorial videos to find what I’m looking for, but this name is more amusing to me anyway. I picked up the technique from Stephen Carr who, by the way, was in Mario Warfare, which you should check out if you haven’t already. Anyhow, at first I was just dabbling with the kick because it was fun to do; plus I was taking some capoeira classes at the time, so I thought it might be useful there. Read more →

Holiday Video Intermission

With the Holidays almost on us and the end of the world past us, I’ll hold off on the big posts until after the New Year. It’ll give me a lotta time to polish the writing anyway, so definitely not a bad thing. Several big videos have dropped in the past week, all worth sharing. Fizz Hood - Little Pieces Had another big video from an excellent traceuse, Sasha Sheva, released recently. Read more →

Drop the bass, not your heels!

I almost went with the title “I wore non-minimalist shoes and all I got was shitty ankle mobility.” Cliché. Dubstep jokes aren’t much better, but hey, there was a Batman meme! I subjected myself to an accidental n=1 heel drop (if you aren’t familiar read this article) experiment when I picked up a pair of Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81s before my journey to Switzerland. I needed new shoes that I could still train in, but could handle (with nice thick socks) some colder temperatures. Read more →

Training Game: Drunken Rolls

I had a post series on my previous blog, Primal Ninja, called “training games.” The idea was decent, but I only had written descriptions of each game; that’s not all that helpful. I think it’s time I revived the training games segment, but this time with video! To kick things off I’ll start with a game of my own creation, drunken rolling (do this sans alcohol, trust me). I’ve had the idea for at least six months, but only now got around to making a video out of it. Read more →

Overlooked Obstacles: Parking Stops

Sometimes I get the feeling that I can get little over obsessed with seeking big challenges. Whenever I’m wandering around I scan the environment constantly for stuff to play and jump around on. The problem comes when searching too hard for impressive obstacles and areas; when that happens I get tunnel vision for big jumps, walls, or elaborate obstacle combos and miss all kinds of opportunities. If you’re looking only for the big stuff then it’s easy to walk right by the smaller, less obvious, obstacles. Read more →

3 simple ways to improve your movement every day

Ever had a time where you really wanted to improve something more, but couldn’t dedicate even more time to practicing? It is a frustrating experience, but I have one possible solution. There’s a trick, of sorts, to getting around that little problem; sneak movement practice into your daily habits. Many skills can be worked on gradually through the day, you don’t need to devote 15 minutes to an hour to working on them to begin seeing progress. Read more →

Movement Experiment: A bike rack challenge

The movement came from two ideas: the floor is lava game and attempting to slalom the entire bike rack. With this much bigger movement doing the latter is really hard, it may be possible but I wasn’t making much progress with it. The move is a fun way to work on generating and then controlling momentum precisely (unless you like banging your shins into metal poles). Be mindful of the width of the bike rack, if it’s too wide then this particular version doesn’t work. Read more →

Movement Experiment: Regretful Pop Vault

Here’s a fun little movement I came up with a while ago: The technique is mostly just fun to do, but it has some possible practical uses too. If you need to quickly get off the wall you just hopped onto (hence the “regretful” name) either versions of these versions work nicely. Just pushing yourself backwards off the wall works, but forces you to land and pivot without seeing where you are going - not good especially when moving quickly. Read more →

The Big Shoe Post

flickr: Allen Gathman OK, not that literal. I get asked about what shoes I recommend pretty often, so it makes way more sense to provide a general overview of which shoes I have used and my thoughts on them. There is no perfect shoe for everyone. You should take into consideration your own preferences and specific activity requirements when trying to choose which shoe to wear; with that in mind the information here is based on my own subjective experience of all these shoes. Read more →

Barefoot Training and Parkour

Ryan Ford from APEX Movement released a two-part series on adding barefoot (and minimalist) training into Parkour practice. Much of what is discussed will be familiar to those who have read anything by Daniel Lieberman or Lee Saxby but it also includes some useful recommendations for selecting appropriate footwear (similar to what I’ve recommended when asked) for Parkour. It does lack a discussion of technique, but the video (above) from Lee Saxby does an excellent job of covering the key points. Read more →

Jump Broken!

Just a quick post, broke a jump that I had been working towards for at least a year on Sunday. I was starting to wonder if I was stagnating a little in the power department, but it seems not. All about little gradual improvements. Thanks to Colin for pushing me to get it. This puts a few other jumps I have yet to break into perspective…much less far so I ought to have no issues landing them at all. Read more →
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