NCParkour – A History Part I

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Written by Alan Tran
Published on Friday, 09 September 2011

Storytime children! The following information has always been here, just never recorded into a single piece. The history of the North Carolina community and the athletes that have come and gone with the wind are both completely irrelevant to the development of the sport but it is something that I hold incredibly dear to my heart. Although it holds very little importance, it can help serve as a platform of vision, giving insight on how and why things have shaped the athletes of North Carolina – whether they are traceurs, freerunners, and anything in between.

The story starts with the recent launch of both YouTube and Facebook in 2004, parkour began to infiltrate the tubes that make up the internet. A few guys around the state began to take interest in the new sport through watching videos and figuring out the basic movements. Charlotte and Burlington are the first two cities, to my knowledge, that began their training through the internet. What’s incredibly important to take note of is that the only resource they had at the time were the e-mails, comments, and forums used to communicate with either the French or English athletes. There were no gyms, coaches, regular meet-ups, etc. The only way to learn what others were practicing could only be done through these means of communication – something that took work to not only keep in touch, but to find different approaches, ideas, and theories. Personally, I believe this is what defines the third generation of athletes and there comes a sense of pride knowing that many of us began the practice through self-learning and communication.

In late Spring of 2005, I had learned of parkour and began heavily researching the recent developments. At the time, Parkour.net, the UrbanFreeFlow Forums, and AmericanParkour were the groups to go to for information on anything. Parkour.net was moderated by a few of the French and English offering a very strong approach to efficiency and speed. There was no doubt that Parkour.net offered an international safe haven for those who seeked good information from reputable athletes. UFF brought in thousands of new athletes every week looking for local practitioners and jams. EZ worked incredibly hard to draw the attention to his team of professional athletes and the experience he hald. APK was pretty new at the time but began building a community for those overseas from the capital (France) for all of North America.

On June 25th, an old friend, Alex Carradine, and I took the opportunity to meet up with the Burlington and Charlotte crews. At the time, I didn’t know how the groups knew of each other’s practice but the gathering of these athletes ignited a fire in me. At NCSU, Cliff Boswell, Ian Garner, Manan Banerjee, Steven Erdmanczyk, Duncan Germain, and Luc Dunn were a few of the athletes that had come to share and learn. I don’t want to go into much detail but there was already a community between them all, something was being shared and I wanted in. These were the Charlotte guys and Burlington guys, here I am, with nothing to offer asking to join in, and they did. They not only allowed the Raleigh kiddies to watch but asked us to join in.

Immediately the day after, I signed up on every big parkour community avaliable at the time and began collecting e-mails, usernames, AIM screennames, etc… whatever I could find, whoever was interested, and people I wanted to learn from. This was the start of North Carolina Parkour as an online community, a connection between those who have something to offer and those who were interested in listening, those who were looking for local athletes and those who wanted to train, those who wanted to learn and those who wanted to share. At the time, APK served as the home of the local groups so there was some negative feedback on the project. Many outright refused to sign up in the beginning but we only asked for a chance, a bet that this would be something greater.

At the time, I was only a sophmore in high school with my time being dedicated to both studies and running so I signed up on the first host that offered me space and a url for the trade of advertisements. NCParkour began with IPB before we moved onto GoDaddy on December 27th, 2007. After persuading my mother that the internet was safe and punching in her credit card, I would call this the birth of the community. When I put down the money earned from various odd jobs, a commmitment was taken that would sweep me off my feet…

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Enjoying Training

Written by Stephen Carr
Published on Tuesday, 03 August 2010

One thing I really like about parkour is the training. I like waking up every morning thinking of some challenge or technique I can train. “Can I land that precision 25 times in a row?” “I am going to do 40 muscle-ups today.” “My arms are tired, I think I will just work on some jumps and maybe some flips.” It is a lot of work, but trainingis fun and rewarding–at least it is after the fact. When you do accomplish that goal or challenge it feels great. It not only works your body, but also your mind. It helps to cultivate stamina, steadfastness, patience, and overall better technique and skill.

As part of my training I like to set challenges for myself everyday. This doesn’t mean I try crazy stunts or incredible difficulties.It means that I know my limits and I want to push them, or that I desire to perfect basic movements.Setting challenges requires all of us to know and understand our own bodies to begin with. It is necessary that we work the basics over and over again to know our own level of parkour skills. It is important to condition, do a lot of pull-ups, push-ups, and squats, in order to know your strength level. I can’t set a goal in push-ups if I don’t know how many I can do. Only after we obtain this knowledge about ourselves can we start setting challenges, so that we can see improvement.

The challenges do not have to be extravagant, but they do have to be, well, challenging. One great challenge I like to do is a nice simple precision jump twenty-five times in a row. If I mess up, I start all over again at one. The jump isn’t too easy, but it isn’t the hardest either, more like something in between. It is more of a challenge of technique than of exertion. I am honing that precision jump with this challenge. I take my time as well. You don’t have to be a machine and do it non-stop until you are finished. I like to take breaks and prepare–especially when I get close to my goal. It is horrible when you are on the 25th jump and you mess up because you didn’t concentrate enough and then you end up having to do it all over again. So, it is necessary to be patient and concentrate.

Other challenges can be focused around conditioning. The other day I challenged myself to do 50 climb-ups. It took a long time, but I did it. Even if it takes you all day, the focus is to push through the aching muscles and do it. You have to push yourself in order to get better. If you don’t then you just remain stagnant. It’s a simple concept. But I like to remember to be patient and concentrate.

If I don’t finish my challenge for the day, then I don’t worry. I don’t feel as if I gave up. If I tried my hardest and didn’t finish the challenge then I don’t fret. I know I worked hard and the fruits of my labor will come. And besides I didn’t give up. I will try the challenge again in like a week or so. The challenge may feel different the second time around. I just remember to be patient and concentrate. The hard work pays off in the end.

Parkour training is strenuous, but it is rewarding when I see improvement in myself and in my friends. I also like training like this because then my progress is obvious and tangible. There is numerical value on my improvement. I like the feeling of accomplishment that comes after a challenge. It also gives more structure to my training which greatly helps me out to not get carried away. Anyway, I enjoy training in this manner, and it is obvious that most of you train the same way. I just wanted to share my experiences and excitement. Train Hard!

When in Doubt, Turn Vault!

Written by Nick Faircloth
Published on Tuesday, 27 July 2010

The turn vault is probably one of the most underused movements in parkour. When used effectively, it can make a sequence of movements involving a drop faster, smoother and safer. Yet for the myriad of drops I see on youtube and in other various places, I hardly ever see the turn vault used. There are probably two reasons for this. The first is: it’s not a very flashy movement. It’s not impressive to look at, whereas someone throwing himself bodily off a ledge is AWESOME!!!11! The other reason, and the one I think is honestly more likely in most cases is this: people don’t know how to use it! I wouldn’t be surprised if many newcomers to parkour were completely unaware of its existence. If people who have been training for a while don’t understand and use the turn vault, they aren’t likely to teach it to newbies. HIPK’s turn vault tutorial has only 45,761 views, less than half the views of their kong tutorial at 98,890. This is no coincidence.

There are a couple misconceptions about the turn vault that probably contribute to the stigma surrounding it:

1) I CAN’T TURN VAULT QUICKLY ENOUGH

For many people, the slowness of their turn vault makes it either a highly specialized movement, or one they neglect entirely. The way it’s usually presented (when taught at all) is from standing, at a waist high rail, with no drop on either side of the rail. This is fine… For about five minutes. Just as with other movements, you have to practice under a variety of circumstances: higher or lower railings, with drops, switching between dominant and non-dominant hands, and switching between split-foot and punch takeoff styles. Most turn vaults I see are still the basic stop, punch, throw yourself over, hastily turn, and drop into an awkward climb-down sequence that someone glossed over in a few minutes last summer. When was the last time you really drilled a turn vault? Actually, they can be performed as a slightly modified speed vault, with the planted hand grabbing the rail and whipping you around. If you play around with it, you’ll see that it is much faster, though a bit more specialized.

2) I CAN ONLY TURN VAULT RAILS OR THIN WALLS

WRONG! A wall, even one that’s thicker than your handspan can be turn vaulted as easily as a rail. It’s all about practice and application. If you have a wall with a drop on the other side, you can easily turn vault to lower yourself into a cat hang in ONE smooth motion! think about it: you go from ground level, to hanging on the OTHER SIDE of the wall in one movement. Why is this movement so neglected? maybe it’s because…

3) IM 12 WAT IS TURN VAULT

A turn vault on a rail

To turn vault a wall, many people approach it like a palm spin, and end up holding onto one edge with one hand, and the opposite edge with their other hand. This is alright, but makes the technique slower than it should be. Instead, I like approaching just like a monkey vault, then lifting my right hand to turn to the left. This has the benefit of keeping my left hand OFF the opposing edge, which makes it easier to transition to a cat hang, and also saves me quite a bit of skin on my wrist.

Hopefully this was helpful to someone. Next time you want to kong over the wall that has an 8 foot drop on the other side, consider this: don’t. When in doubt, turn vault 🙂

WHATEVER, IT’S 2009!

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Written by Anthony Nguyen
Published on Thursday, 08 April 2010

Okay maybe not, and this photo isn’t from the latest jam. It’s from NCPKJX which took place during the summer of last year. I’ve confessed to a few close friends about how often I’ll look into the photos, topics, videos, anything of the community past. I do it partly as a moderator in order to be able to reference people to some worthwhile items. Mostly I do it because I enjoy being able to reminisce. A friend recently pointed out the joys of reveling memories rather than people because memories are unable to let you down. In one of my favorite songs, the singer states “Do you ever think that, ‘now I must remember’?” In this, the lyrics suggest the importance of valuing good moments in life to help us get through the less glorious ones. Anyways, what I’m getting at is that we all experience nostalgia, and as we are, many of us spend time thinking about what has past.

Tonight, I’m shuffling through photos and videos, articles, memories. I joined the community 2.5 years ago, and in between what was the beginning and what is now lies plenty of wonderful memories. 2.5 years is ago is quite a time period considering it is a great portion of the time I’ve been alive, though as is commonly experienced by many, I feel the paradox of a fleeting possession, a distant neighbor, an island a sea away. I look over these photos, these videos, the associated comments, and it all comes back. Bits of feelings, mistakes, accomplishments, friends who came and went; emotions, old notions, and sensations take over my mind briefly and for a moment; I am completely lost to the present. I can’t say I ever forget about the community we have, but sometimes, we get so caught up in the motions of things that that’s what the interactions become, just motions.

The community of NCPK is by far, what I’ve always valued the most, and it probably always will be what I value the most about practicing parkour. As a result, when I look back upon these photos and these videos, the feelings that rush back the fastest are those that I feel towards the community. I can truthfully say that I would not have continued practicing had the community not turned out to be so endearing. I appreciate the dedication and love that the members of the community show. I appreciate it whenever anyone makes the effort to come out, no matter how far it is, or for how long. That’s why when it’s time to depart, I always say “Thanks for coming out”, because simply, I enjoy that the great individuals that make up our community decide to grace our jams with their presence. I won’t lie and try to say that all of you are dear friends that I would die for, because simply, I haven’t had time to get to know everyone. But for those who I’ve already gotten to know, those that come out and put work in, those that come out ready to support others and come out ready to have a good time, you guys are appreciated. The willingness to participate and to contribute from each individual is what our community is based upon, and without that, it would be nothing.

Sometimes I get so caught up in things that I forget to introduce myself to new members, or even greet old ones. I think we all do. I think it’s interesting how large we already are and how tight-knit we can be. With that being said, I would love to see more openness to new members. We need to open up more and show them how great of a family this can be. We are quite open, but I think we can do a better job locally. More intermixing between different communities would also work wonders for us. It already happens, but as stated, it can be done so much better, and neither of these points are original; they have been mentioned before.

I also really value that we don’t ever experience too serious of conflicts. I appreciate that in the years that I’ve been reading the forums, very few if any of the topics were allowed to get to an insulting level. I appreciate that peaceful and rational discussions are able to take place and that we’ve had little incidence of people jumping on other people for things they’ve said. Thank you guys for that. Thanks to all those that frequent and participate in the forums, to those that keep up with all the things we do, to those that come out and get money, to those that play a role in keeping the community the way it is, and to those that help it grow. Here is to a promising future, and fantastic past.

Begin at the Beginning and Go on Till You Come to the End: Then Stop.

Written by Anthony Nguyen
Published on Sunday, 28 February 2010

This is moreso a personal thing, but then again, I would say the same of all my blogs, and this is just a place where I share a part of me.

I’ve been sick during the previous two weeks and prior to that, my practices were depressingly horrid. Yesterday was the only time I’ve put in work for the past few weeks, and it wasn’t even a good workout but we have to start somewhere.

It had less to do with the season at hand than it had to do with the work I had to get done in school. But for whatever reason, everyone who practices anything knows that there are points at which our dedication falls off from its usual frequency. There’s nothing wrong with a break so long as we are able to pick ourselves back up and continue our practice. Nothing wrong, if we as we are supposed to in picking ourselves back up. This was exactly what I was having trouble with though.

There’s always so many things that stand in my way when I am trying to pick things back up from a standstill. There’s concern that you won’t be doing it right, there’s the concern that your diet isn’t yet back up to speed to support your progress, there’s the fear of being too far away in skill from what you used to be, but the longer you hold on to this fear, the weaker you grow. The fear of doing anything that is barely competent. This is the same fear associated with my procrastination, I put off work because I’m afraid I’ll do it less than perfect, I put it off until I have no choice but to produce something that is not perfect. These thoughts and consequences have happened in other preceding breaks. I know that everyone has that one time of the year where practice just isn’t what it used to be, and for most people that season is winter. And so in the previous few weeks, and even now, I find myself in a sort of physical slump. It’s hard to put work in because I’m afraid, afraid because I know I’m weak and vulnerable now. Although I put work in the prior day, I haven’t completely arisen out of the muck, and there are still the bad habits that I have gained from not practicing.

For most of us here, what we are doing is a lifelong practice, and as a result, it is acknowledged that there will be many obstacles along the way and many holes from which we will have to pick ourselves up out of. As something we intend to indulge ourselves in permanently, we accept that there is no point where we decide to climb off. Despite the obstacles and burdens that may exist, we must withstand. In this endurance we learn to live as strong.

So when we falter, it is important to not let that lead us away from our paths. It is understood that people rise and fall, it’s natural. With that said, it would do me good to let go of expectations. To acknowledge that work is work and that it always won’t be my greatest. What we are doing, we are doing for a lifetime, so we press on. We persevere through mental and physical obstacles. It’s important to learn quality of character is more important than quality of product. If there’s one thing all successful people have in common, it’s a good and realistic attitude towards the subject at hand. This is that “it’s not about the destination, but about the journey” idea chewed up and vomited for the millionth time because it’s something I have yet to learn. Be proud not of your achievements, for you are not done achieving, rather be proud of your character, from which you base your achievements.

MMX

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Written by Alan Tran
Published on Wednesday, 06 January 2010

This was going to be an e-mail going to a particular bunch of people that I feel have had a hand in the community at some point but I decided to publish it openly for the blog. With some time spent away from the website, I’ve been questioning my methods and ability to run the community while trying to pinpoint where I may have possibly faulted. All in short, it doesn’t matter as that’s past and we’ve entered a new and hopefully to be great year for our little community.

As you all know, for the past eighteen months, we’ve seen numbers drop online and offline. Over the past year, I’ve asked a number of people for their opinions and possible solutions to the ordeal. Duncan wanted to take out negativity, I wanted to bring in positivity, Tony wanted water slides; nothing stood out. I had a short talk with Zac Cohn (Happydud) earlier and it all clicked. At the moment, what stemmed from that conversation is a bit cloudy but I can see where it can and will lead to with work.

There is no one solution. Between us all posting and with those training, we are a community regardless of the ups and downs. We are the very foundation of what has been built and what can be expanded upon. Whether or not it’s a slow or fast, easy or hard process, we’re in it together and we’ve been at it for some time.

With that said, I’d like to let you know that you are all role models online and offline and you all have a responsibility whether you know it or not. You can share what you have with others, experience their ups and downs in movement, and be great friends. The Raleigh guys and a few others got too caught up in training that we forgot that having fun is just as important as pull-ups. We pushed our methods of training onto others when it wasn’t necessarily warranted. Why did many of us start the practice of movement? It was something fresh, new, and exciting – it was different in the way a sport or discipline or “insert a label here” approached the use of the human body. Raleigh pushed structure onto people who may not have been ready for something organized in terms of exercise.

Let’s go back to having fun as an integral part of our community and exercise. Those who are going to be determined in learning more, improving, and putting in the work will find those who willing to give them a hand. Those individuals, like many of us before, need time to explore for themselves what movement is before committing to serious business. Only until then can we show them what it may offer and how it may help them. I know that I’ve personally passed judgment quickly on several people and didn’t give them the time of day to explore what I deemed dumb. Sometimes their mistakes will lead to clarity on many of the things we emphasize – safety, conditioning, etc.

Many of us had to work together to build the community, we didn’t enter into something developing. Newer members need to understand what it means to be part of a community and what it means to contribute. A family may not enjoy the presence of a particular member but he is still invited to the table for dinner at the end of the day.

You are all leaders in different ways and I’m asking you to help rebuild this community. Whether it’s taking five minutes to respond to a forum post, two hours to help an individual learn a movement, or hosting a comrade of movement for a few nights, MORE needs to be done by us all. Tony Nguyen hosted Nick Hopscotch the other day, Steven and Cliff lead the Charlotte community, and Duncan welcomes many of us with his mat sessions. All of these guys share without asking for anything. Step up, contribute to the website, continue to post on the forums, discuss and share movement. As a community, every person’s input is equal – every time an individual shows up for a state jam, posts on the forum, meets up and trains with his friends, he is making a difference. We’ve pushed “proper” training but never did we push the idea that every single individual can share just as much Duncan, Steven, or Ben has.

People are going to out there practicing regardless of who is and isn’t, many of them are going to be misguided, and many are going to quit but every single one of them needs a hand, some attachment to this community. Now this doesn’t have to be online but with encouragement and nurture, they can understand what it means to be part of an online community. We need Snow, Felix, Andy, etc just as much as we need Jeremy, Tyler, or Aaron.

Être fort pour être utile

Cheers and happy new year,

Alan yo friend

The Healing Rain Or The Dry Emptiness

Written by Ricardo Martinez
Published on Sunday, 13 December 2009

I love seeing those people who were told during their entire lives that they were worthless, who were brought down and challenged throughout their lives, but they achieved everything they had dreamed of or ever wanted.

These people had the will power to keep going while everyone else tried to trash their being and self esteem, they were always told “You will never amount to anything, you are worthless and your life will lead to nothing.“ Some people out there have this happening to them, and some overcome like the ones mentioned, but others don’t. Those who don’t, believe in the words they are told and make the possibility of others determining their future. Others decide or control your future to a certain extent. When you’re on your way to work, you probably do the most you can to get early to the office, but no matter how hard you try if there is too much traffic you will probably be late. In this case, other people did control the future of you getting late to work, but like I said they can only control it to a certain extent. Life is full of obstacles everyday, and as traceurs, we know that.

It is out choice of whether we truly want it or not. These people are only there crushing you down, but if you let yourself get thrown over the cliff these people aren’t the ones to blame, don’t get me wrong they shouldn’t be telling you are worthless and you a good for nothing, but think of it this way… They are the question, everything out of their mouth is a question. When they say you won’t achieve anything useful, you hear “Am I doing this to be a better person?” When they say you are nothing, you hear “Am I ready for the hard work?” When they say you are worthless, you hear “Am I going to get rewarded for my work? Will it be satisfying?” And every time you hear those questions from those hurtful words you will answer yes. Its like the traceur who goes to train on a regular day, his goal is to be better and stronger for himself and for others, and in this regular training day it rains. He can decide whether to into shelter and stay with his own abilities or to stay out in the rain training his skills in a new environment, sharpening his skills, getting stronger and smarter. So in the end we choose our road, we can choose that dry empty shelter, or we can stay out in the rain and improve day to day. The choice is yours choose to live by your own term or let other make the decision for you.

Parkour as a Martial Art

Written by Nick Faircloth
Published on Monday, 23 November 2009

I have heard parkour compared to martial arts, and I often make the comparison myself because I see several parallels. Both are physical disciplines that promote a different way of thinking. Both are geared toward becoming an abler person. You even drill certain movements repeatedly to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances in both disciplines. However, there is one very distinct difference between the two. The martial arts are inherently about interpersonal interaction: they were created for self-defense against other people. Alternatively, parkour is about self-sufficiency. It requires nobody but yourself to practice and learn. You are your own teacher, and there is no other way to gain experience than through hard work and practice.
For quite a while, I couldn’t roll on concrete without pain, and I didn’t understand why the bone in my hip kept hitting the ground. Everyone I asked to take a look at my roll said the same thing: twist your hips more. I tried that and it didn’t work. Finally, I can roll on concrete. The solution? I wasn’t twisting my hips enough. Go figure. No matter how many times I had heard that before, it took me really thinking about the problem and working out my own solution to be able to fix it. My point is this: that no matter how good someone else is at assessing what is wrong with your technique, there is not one person who can really help you fix it. You have to do it yourself, through trial and error. I can sit here and look at your kong vault and tell you to tuck your head more or plant further out all day, but until you do it once, you won’t understand why it works, even if I explain it. You have to feel it for yourself. This is in contrast to martial arts, where it is easy to isolate individual movements for ease of learning; it is easier to demonstrate a punch step-by-step than a dash vault, because you can’t really do a dash vault in slow motion. Still, there is one major advantage to parkour that is not so for most martial arts: it is still a new discipline, and the movements themselves are straightforward rather than interpretive. There aren’t that many movements, and while there is more than one “right” way to do them, there can only be one fastest way; speed is a measurable thing. This is in contrast to some of the older martial arts in which the movements themselves and the ideas behind each of them are preserved in forms. If something is lost in the passage from generation to generation, it can be very hard to retrieve because a miniscule movement of the hand in a form can be interpreted a dozen different ways. With parkour, if you do something wrong it simply isn’t going to feel right. We don’t really have to worry about movements being lost- they’ve already been around for thousands of years anyway. This eliminates most of the demand for teachers, which the martial arts still do and always will rely on.

Lastly, you can’t learn to fight without someone to fight. You need a sparring partner to really understand the application of anything you learn about combat. In contrast, you can train parkour completely alone for years and still have the same level of experience as others who train in groups. So parkour is very similar to a martial art, but is easier to understand and practice in my opinion. There are NO secrets in parkour, just things you aren’t prepared for yet. In martial arts, if someone teaches you, it is possible to learn a very complex aerial kick before you have a good form sidekick. But you can’t learn 12 foot wall runs until you can do them on a shorter wall. There’s no way around it. To me, that’s why I get such a feeling of accomplishment whenever I do something new in parkour- I know I could not have done it without all the training that has built up to it. I don’t get exactly the same feeling in martial arts; sometimes you get lucky with your sparring partner- they’re tired, or they trip or something. People are unreliable so it’s harder to test your skills against them than against solid inanimate objects.

Just Do It

Written by Alan Tran
Published on Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Knowing is half the battle. Have you ever stumbled upon a great precision, cat, or vault that you decided to pass on because of the sheer fact that it’s up so high? Now if the particular movement had been five, twelve, twenty feet lower, you could have done it at that very moment. Over the past few months, I’ve worked on an easy technique in overcoming obstacles that I’ve found hard mentally and it can be applied to all similar obstacles. The secret is if you know, you can do. It is a very simple method that has helped me overcome particular movement but it’s difficult with the beginning process.

First, this method involves understanding what you can and cannot physically do. The range that you practice in is comfortable but you know whether or not if a particular movement can be accomplished. That same range, at high heights, intimidates you and often leaves you questioning whether or not it can be achieved. So you test it out by doing some run ups, looking at what is to be performed, and it clicks, you know you can do it. But then you see the consequences of failing; slipping from a hold, jumping too far, not running fast enough, etc. STOP. You’ve found the button.

Now this button, it’s not easy to push. It is concealed in places that you are, and I myself am, sometimes too scared to investigate. It’s hidden in places too high, too wet, too low, and too uncomfortable, etc for you to want to explore. If you understand why the button is concealed, you can understand how to find the button and push it. The more you DO investigate, the easier the button becomes to push in the future. Exploration of the button becomes nothing when you do.

Why is it so hard? Because knowing is half the battle. The other half of the battle comes down to your choice, your decision on whether or not you push that button, push yourself. Height is not an issue, it is only a factor for an obstacle; but like any other obstacle, you can go through, over under, or around it. You know what needs to be done and how it should be done, pushing yourself is the only way to find out what will happen – positive or negative. It becomes a huge movement when you cut and strip it for the factors that intimidate you. Instead, cut and strip the movement for the movement while only accounting different factors for different approaches. Remember, you are performing for the movement, not for the scary height, slippery step up, etc – once you do overcome your fear and accomplish your goal, these factors are now under your belt and should no longer bother you unconsciously. This of course only applies to that particular obstacle as no two are the same. Now I’m not promoting the idea to move on high, slippery walls; I’m promoting the idea to do when you know rather than to question your knowledge about yourself and your abilities.

That knowledge is something only you can understand and takes time to develop. Only you have the choice. Doing is such an easy process if you have the motivation to push yourself, if you put in the work, if you take time to understand yourself. The factors that scare you should not be taken light-heartedly but should not hold you back. Fear is a reminder of the dangers we are aware of, fear is a reminder that we can easily lose years worth of work in one moment, fear is a reminder that we are human.

Today Was A Good Day

Written by Anthony Nguyen
Published on Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Today Was A Good Day

Faced with the above statement, people tend to generalize: today must have been eventful, he must have had beautiful weather in his area, it must have been a stress free day, or smerhaps he had good vibrations with someone.

Nah, although these do contribute most of the time, I’ve had many great days devoid of any of these. Simply, the matter lies in perception. If you wake up and decide that today is a bad day, it’s pretty likely to be a bad day. However, if you go into a day, truly believing that it’s a wonderful day, it’s unlikely that most things will be able to bring you down. In present day, thanks to social networking, we hear all the time about how people have crummy days on a daily basis. Fact is, that most of the stuff that these people get bummed over are only slight mishaps and most of the time is nothing to cry over.

Most of the circumstances, I’ve found, are simply inconveniences that arose out of the person’s lack of planning, foresight, or ability. Losing a paper, car breaking down, being sick, things breaking or getting lost in general; these are the plagues which have been the common cause of those of this to utter the letters: FML. Such instances only put people a few moments back and give the gift of a lesson given adequate reflection. We can’t always get things right, but by observing and learning from our failures we marginally decrease the probability of something going wrong. As humans, we learn to adapt and move on, or we suffer; don’t suffer, take the opportunity to reflect on yourself and how you can do better.

Obligations, everyone has them, and as a result, everyone has stress to a certain extent. It’s clear that some individuals have different loads, and different levels of sensitivity. Some b.a.’s work two fulltime jobs, do a lot of pet sitting, and the workload itself will barely phase them, while others can freak out and have a heart attack in the face of some worksheets. Whatever the case, everyone has their own things that they have to deal with, and with most people, the stress has an obvious role in their life as a negative influence. Obligations are only as numerous as we allow them to be, and each one is a chance to test ourselves and our abilities. It’s a cliché, but obligations are just more opportunities.

The little things; there’s a lot of them, and they aren’t in my pants. Sorry, bad joke. One friend from the West likes to say fick shut, to all the little shut we get trouble from. This can be related to any of the aforementioned but more specifically it’s letting little things like words, atmosphere, or grades get to us. They aren’t very little, but they are small enough in the grand scheme of things that they shouldn’t cause total breakdowns. “Words” is referring to things other people say to/about us, or any related topic we feel emotionally bound to; or in other words, drama. Drama though, isn’t a problem for most traceurs most of the time, because most of them are anti-social [citation needed]. Atmosphere: I use this mainly as a reference to weather. Most people let weather throw off their moods. I find that I’m just in love with every kind of weather, so long as there is variety. Clear cast, warm and breezy days need no explanation. Foggy mornings are among my favorites as they usually are serene and private mornings. I don’t mind rain, dirty/wet clothes don’t bother me, the rain offers a physically and spiritually cleansing experience, on these days, most people don’t go outside much, so more outside and clean air for you. Thunder and lightning aren’t problems because they gives me an excuse to withdraw from electrostress and back to enjoying simple things. Tornadoes aren’t common here, but when they happen, they’re like free train rides waiting to happen. Don’t let things on the surface of your challenge take away your opportunities.

One favorite author of mine had once said that the ladder of success is best climbed by stepping on the rungs of opportunity. This is most certainly a task that requires good attitude. Keep your head up, know that at the end of the storm is the calm and that most things in the world can only break you if you let it.

Today was definitely a good day, get out, train, make it a better day.