PK/FR gym jam…is this getting easier?

last night’s session was totally rad (to get in some ’80s jargon) and a great way to end my challenging (and completely exhilarating) first month of training. in a small group we moved through elements faster, learned more from each other, and strengthened relationships within the group. for some reason i’m a lot more brave in a small group; i’ll have to think upon that for awhile. like yoga, parkour has a lot to do with trust in your team. trust becomes a practice in and of itself.

we started with quadrapedal exercises. they’re both a physical and mental game: first, how to get your body, at a crawl, over an object, and second, how to approach and leave the same object in different ways, stretching your creativity for movement within space. watching people practicing these movements reminded me of the baboons that used to live in the bush behind my house in Botswana. those bastards were always stealing my mangos and getting into the garbage. but they could move up, over and through very quickly!

when i first saw the various crawling movements used in parkour i couldn’t figure out why George Herbert included them in training. i mean, humans gave up this type of movement on all fours about 2-3 million years ago. we’ve evolved beyond this! in fact, our body proportions (longer legs, shorter arms, relative to the great apes) have changed significantly enough to make this type of movement a bit of a challenge for us. note: you need pretty open hips and a strong upper body! but as we continued crawling over various mats, bars, blocks, and mushrooms (yes mushrooms), the movement started to feel comfortable and familiar, i felt like i did this all the time, but i couldn’t place it. wait… i do this sort of thing all the time when i’m adjusting people!

It's called an adjustment Shiva. Now relax!

you all probably don’t realize this, but when i’m adjusting you it may feel like i am the 12-armed Kali, hindu goddess of death and destruction. it’s because i’m using my feet, knees, arms, hands, and sometimes my head, to move, stretch and twist you into a deeper position. the intention is not to cause death and destruction, only to open up a new area for access. every destruction creates space for a new beginning, you know. so in effect, i’m using all my limbs to move over you in such a way as to manipulate your body into greater awareness. pretty cool, huh?!

so now that i’m thinking in terms of quadrapedal movement, i’m sure my adjustments are going to become even more creative! i love how parkour and yoga are now in a mutually beneficial relationship in my life.

group interaction in parkour is a lot like i remember growing up in a house full of kids (there were 8 of us- you’ll hear more about this later). we would interact with each other and when we became bored or saw something more interesting we would move on. these fluid interactions seem more natural than the 9-5 scheduled task list. we followed our interests, learning and doing what was holding our attention at the time. we didn’t get angry if someone disappeared to do something else, and we always expanded the group to include a new person in the game. there’s something very peaceful and organic in this type of interaction, knowing that you’re included if you want to be, but have your own space if needed.

on that note, i’ll be seeing all my siblings at home in maine in a few days and will be blogging about our our fluid (and not so fluid), organic (and not so organic)interactions. you’ll be introduced to all of them in the near future, so stay tuned. they’re even crazier than i am.


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