The Full Package


Written by Anthony Nguyen
Published on Thursday, 30 July 2009

Welcome to the Arctic, it’s improbable you’ll be witnessing any circumnavigation of shrubbery here.

If you’re on this forum, it’s unlikely that you’d get a lipo for the summer, and pig out when bikini time is past. You’re probably not here because there’s nothing on TV. And you’re certainly not here to lose a few pounds of baby fat. What we encourage here is a lifestyle, not a weekend warrior’s routine. If you are in it for the latter, you are better off looking into another discipline. We don’t come out to hop over a few things, do some flips and go home. So don’t treat it that way.

A lifestyle. Sort of like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but what happens here, you bring with you outside of the bedroom, and spread it around from time to time, like an HIV. Except in this case, you spread it by talking about it, rather than not… What I mean to say that is parkour is not something that is done with and tucked away at the end of sessions. You don’t go out and do parkour. You didn’t go parkour with your friends last weekend. You train for it. To do it would imply that you executed the task of parkour for 3 hours, but did not the hours prior and following. A strange thing to do considering parkour is the idea of overcoming obstacles. A way of doing things.

“Haha Tomato, you silly sir! I already know this. I’ve been practicing X years!”

I’m well aware that everyone has a clear understanding of what parkour is. What the problem is, is how well do we live up to that? Training, nutrition, and rest are all important components of maintaining a good lifestyle. Yet, how many of us maintain those to the best of our ability. You can’t eat plastic and fat and hope to gain as much muscle as the next guy who trains just as hard and eats potatoes and grass fed steak everyday. Just as you can eat organic stuff all your life, but still get outdone by the harder working guy who eats the occasional junk. It’s common copper, and yet, we fail to adhere to it to make sufficient gains.

A few things to ensure that we are making full of ourselves instead of fools of ourselves: Train in some kind of way every single day. Ask more experienced traceurs about fields they know a lot about. Take an active role in educating yourself about kinesthetics, nutrition, training programs, technique, anatomy and biology, rest, even. Discuss what you learn with others, compare your findings. When all seems well in the all around of knowing, then put the information to good use!

I myself am certainly not an example of any such achievement, it’s something every single one of us should strive for and should strive to excel in. It’s not even something I’ve been doing well myself, but consider this yet another beginning.

To Be Useful


Written by Regina Spangler
Published on Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A few months ago I started a job working with children with developmental/learning disabilities. As a job requirement I had to be certified in first aid and CPR: infant, child, and adult. Working three jobs and being a part-time student, the last thing I wanted to do was spend eight hours on a Saturday in a room with no windows…and pay $75 to do so. But it was required. So I called the Red Cross to register for the class.

I’ll admit, I was a bit over confident when I arrived for the class. I’ve worked with children for over ten years and I’ve seen nearly every type of emergency situation with children. Broken bones, fainting spells, severe burns, seizures, deep wounds requiring stitches, etc, etc, etc. But I listened in awe as the instructor gave detailed descriptions of what happens with car collisions, heart attacks, and strokes. It was like I was being slapped in the face with my own ignorance. A nice little wake up call. We covered every topic and situation imaginable: the Heimlich maneuver (now known as the “abdominal thrust”), how to apply pressure to a wound, how to properly treat a burn (most people do this incorrectly), how to fashion a sling out of any type of cloth, what to have in your first aid kit, diabetic shock, hypothermia, how to use the Automated External Defibrillator, CPR, …

Of course the majority of the class is spent on CPR. It is quite effective and, if it’s performed properly and as soon as possible, it can save a life. Most of us know that the body can only be deprived of oxygen for about 4-6 minutes before irreversible brain damage occurs. And waiting on an ambulance can take a lot longer than 6 minutes. It’s literally the difference between life and death. I learned a great deal in the course and I truly believe this is one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. After the course, I felt like some sort of superhero this new knowledge and life-saving power.

Most of you are already physically strong, and you can run fast. You are likely to be the first one to reach the victim of an accident. But then what? The bottom line is that CPR and First Aid save lives. It doesn’t matter how strong or fast you are if you can’t help once you arrive on the scene. Go now and register for a class:

Get Money, Get Paid


Written by Alan Tran
Published on Sunday, 26 July 2009

To do list, as Mr.Chicity would say:

  1. Get money
  2. Get paid

What are you doing to achieve your goals? How are you advancing? Over the past few months, I have incorporated this into training and it’s gold if applied correctly. Gold.

Now at jams when we’re just kicking it, you may have heard me jokingly say these four simple words or ask someone to repeat them but they’re more than just a phrase. “Get money, get paid” is a model that is used to live by. In simplest terms, “get money, get paid” means to see results through your achievements. Whether it’s babysitting for extra change, doing push-ups to stay fit, or changing the oil so your car’s engine runs smoothly; you are doing work and seeing a by-product of said work. This you can live by.

Now when I work, I do my best to get paid. Unjokingly, I can say this. Currently, outside of busting and serving, I practically spend every free minute hustling to either gain physically or add to what I know about the human body. I am constantly trying to advance by observing how internet stars approach different obstacles and their training and by working on areas of personal physical and mental weakness. Again unjokingly, I can say this. Certainly, just the YouTube profile can say the least having watched close to fifty thousand videos (With the majority being some sort of movement). Certainly, just the physical “dailies” can say the least with three hundred and seventy-five reps of various exercises and counting. Certainly, just clearing the personal schedule can say the least when I make sure I’m present for nearly every Friday and Saturday for local meetups even if we’re just staying together for a hour. But the recognition I hear regards the “big” movements or obstacles. “Wow, that’s such a big precision”, “you make that look easy”, etc. Maybe the big dyno is a result of pull-ups, a high monkey from tuck planches, far precision through squats, etc. Do you see where I’m going with this?

Now think; what are you doing to get paid? The English stars (You know them) are able to move the way they move because they work through movement on their toes two, three, five hours a day, everyday. It is consistent movement that involves pushing themselves mentally and brushing up on technique. This is why they do not have to condition through the various rounds of push-ups, pull-ups, squats, etc. This is how they’re paid. The 3Run crew work by hitting the weights and gym several times a week to strengthen their bodies, have sharp minds, and clean skills. This is how they’re paid. COPK work by doing their best to see each other to train together most days of the week despite everyone living thirty minutes to a hour away from their central location. This is how they’re paid. It goes the same for Anis Cheurfa, the APK Tribe, Shaq, Skribblez9, the Bar-Barians, PKGen, b-boy Junior, etc. and they are all revered mostly for their great skill, not their work. Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s disrespectful and disreputable when we forget time after time how much work each of these individuals must have put in to achieve such accomplishments. I’m no saint myself but I honestly believe that I can say I think through the conditioning aspect moreso than the majority reading this. Many of us have promised to ourselves that we’d work to get stronger and faster; how many of us are actually following through? What’s your work? How are you getting paid?

Now, I’mma get mine. Get money, get paid.

Break Free


Written by Andrew So
Published on Thursday, 23 July 2009

At the current moment, I’m sitting in a house with 15 of my family members in San Francisco. The weather is 65 degrees Fahrenheit, overcast, and there’s a persistent fog shrouding the city. I love San Francisco. It’s not just the city life without the city bustle that I love. It’s not just the care-free, West Coast style/attitude that teenagers on the East Coast try desperately to imitate despite falling staggeringly short. I love visiting San Francisco because it gives me the chance to train with the local traceurs, a group whom I can instantly share hugs, laughs, and love with because we’re family. This connection isn’t just with the SFPK guys and girls. I could travel anywhere in the US, or even the world, and meet up with long-lost brothers and sisters.

Whenever the opportunity presents itself, travel to different cities, attend other state-wide jams, train in different hotspots with different partners, and reunite with fellow parkour/freerun family members. It’s not just about experiencing the bland, touristy feeling of “I came, I saw”. In order to add “conquer” to that list, you have to learn some lessons along the way. Trust me, this won’t be hard. There’s no greater feeling than breaking free of your mediocre routine by training with a completely different variety of athletes and environments. During my time here, I’ve trained with a member of Team Tempest, beginners who think they’re Russian Climbers, and a five-foot tall traceuse who made the simplest of underbars and crawls seem like punishment.

What kind of lessons have I learned here? I can tell you, but you will have much more fun if you take the journey yourself.

What Motivates You?


Written by John Moore
Published on Sunday, 19 July 2009

Motivation is a leading force behind any activity. It is especially important in keeping parkour a lasting part of your life. Though on occasion, it can be hard to come by. I am personally motivated to practice and train parkour for its own philosophy. I want to strengthen my body and over come personal fears to be useful for my friends and my community. Just this summer I have helped family and friends, or their parents or friends, move furniture about 5 times. This was made a lot easier with the physical strength I’ve gained from conditioning and parkour over the past couple of years. Of course, this is one of many means of motivation.

Parkour presents a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of brotherhood, and just a generally fun time. Those feelings are why I try to attend as many jams as possible. It is not hard to say “I don’t feel like going this time”, but you get so much out of each jam that its worth it! It’s inspirational to hear people shout from a distance when I perform a tricky movement. It also motivates me in a completely different way to see the lifestyles of less than fit people, and how many of them wish they could be nimble and in shape. It isn’t very noble of me, but I do get the occasional kick out of showing off in front of an awed audience. One of the coolest things my friends convinced me to do was probably the back lever. It was a toughie because I had to actually splice new muscles into my toes to hold the form correctly. (That’s right! TOES! The secret to a good back lever.*) *Not entirely accurate. Now, the hardest part is finding motivation. I hope I have given you some ideas on where to look, and once you find your own motivation, I hope to see you grow and last. Please post what kind of motivation you have found since you started, and possibly what motivated you to start in the first place!

The Power of Choice


Written by Ben Webster
Published on Sunday, 19 July 2009

“I don’t need to move to progress. I could literally sit on the pavement the whole day and learn so much more in the day sitting on that pavement than if I was trying to fit as much as I could into my day. Because I realize that progression doesn’t come with time and practice, it comes with the moment of choice and belief in yourself really.” – Danny Illabaca

It is common practice to condition when preparing yourself for the rigors of parkour, but it seems that people only focus on physical conditioning. However, it is rarely that someone is held back by their physical ability, and more frequently than not it is their fear that holds them back. So what is the point of doing infinite sets of push-ups while we could be doing something more productive with our time? Why are we not focusing on mental conditioning in at least equal proportion to the physical? People like Danny Ilabaca and Philly Dee, who spend very little time conditioning, have reached astounding levels of ability in very short periods of time. Sure they are very fit, but are they really so much more fit than so many other traceurs in the world? No, there is not such a huge physical gap that they can reach levels thought unattainable by the typical human. Their ability comes largely from their mental training, things that they subconsciously do throughout the day. So why is our focus so much on push-ups and pull-ups when that isn’t what is holding us back? We are running a three-legged race but instead of training the weaker person, we are focusing on training the stronger of the two in hopes that he will drag the weaker person unwillingly across the finish line. I am not asking you to completely stop all physical training, because that would be about the worst idea possible for anyone looking to do parkour for more than a couple of years. All I want is for everyone to take one month and balance their training out. Spend as much time on the mental as the physical. I am certain that after one month your training habits will change. But how do we train mentally? The answer is simple; choice. Every jump that you do not do is an active decision by your brain to not do it. You choose to not try to balance on that rail that is eight feet off the ground. You choose to sit on your couch all day and watch television instead of attempting to improve yourself. So for one month I would like everyone to avoid saying, “I can do it physically but I am not ready mentally,” and instead intentionally test yourself. Find things on ground level that you wouldn’t think twice about doing and do them at height. I’m not saying to do a bunch of reckless things, but for once try to let your physical be what is holding you back instead of your mental. My biggest period of progress to date came for a month after about a week of training in hard rain, while still focusing on rail precisions. After finding that they were still simple, I gained much more faith in my ability and did many more things that I had been afraid to do for a while. Give it a shot, and post comments about any thoughts or progress.