Back from Texas

I boarded the plane to Texas with mixed emotions. People in Seattle tend to talk about Texas in hushed tones, like an evil that they pushed into the corner of the US. People use "the south" as a synecdoche for racism, bigotry, and small-mindedness. I was scared. What I found in Texas though, was completely unexpected. I was welcomed whole-heartedly, treated with respect, and taught a lesson in grace. Turns out you can't really know someone (or someones) until you go meet them on their turf.

The days were filled with filming, training, dancing, giggling, and bananas. The nights were packed with more training, a gymnastic gym, great conversations, and more bananas. A few spectacular biffs were sprinkled in among graceful movements, and at the end of it all I got to vault to a cat hang on a bridge, and drop to a boat. No complaints there. :)

Parkour in a suit is a new experience for me. Never have I been so obsessive about tucking in my shirt, even now I find myself reaching around to tuck in tails that are no longer worn. Commitment to movement on the first go is also new for me. I've always wanted to be able to work like that, but haven't really done it. When the cameras are rolling though, some kind of intense zen washes over and blam, commitment. I hope I can get that to carry over into my everyday training.

So, it's interesting. I'm home now, and very contemplative. I made a little mistake while filming , and consequently am working on a tender ankle. So instead of training full-force, I'm conditioning and doing a lot of thinking. Here's what I have so far: Pre-judgment is a waste of time, stereotypes are bullshit, sometimes those labeled "open-minded" are guilty of the opposite, and even at your best you can walk backwards into a cactus at any time.



Old training spots are like really good friends. You meet them one day, and something in them makes you keep coming back, and over time you discover new facets and nuances that renew your intrigue. So far as I know, that process never ends, but then I've only got three short years of experience in this. What I do know though, is that it's too easy to get caught up in facing and conquering the challenges at these beloved training grounds that we can miss out on discovering new places. Last Sunday I took my bike and just kinda toured around Seattle and Ballard, sometimes with friends, sometimes alone, and completely without a destination in mind. Instead of noting that an area looked interesting and putting it in the mental list of places to come back to, I fully physically explored all of the areas of intrigue I found. Strangely, I think the best places found that day were the most unassuming, quiet, simple. I only came across them because they were close to something else that looked interesting.

With that, I'll leave you with a video Tim Kahn from Portland whipped together in record time. I really like his editing style.

Oh, and I'm aware that the drop off of the run in the beginning is lame. Eh, Even simple things need practice to remain smooth.


501(c)3 and More!

Let me just begin by saying that the Pacific Northwest Parkour Association now officially has 501(c)3 status with the IRS. Meaning that we can accept donations and really get some big projects working for the community. Wow. This is a huge step towards achieving some big goals for us. Where do we go from here? Well, we'd really love to get into schools and make parkour part of the curriculum for some lucky students. We also want to be able to offer up more opportunities for students to be able to fulfill their required community service hours with us. We have dreams of working with the parks to have "parkour days", and efforts to build more obstacles to accommodate different training needs. Our classes are steadily growing, but we need to be able to pay our coaches. Speaking of coaches, we've actually gotten one step closer to having a certification system. Whew. That's just the beginning. For more information on any of this, or to share interest, please check out pnwpa.com .

Part of spiffing up the pnwpa site is going to include adding more videos. This last weekend, we had Tim up from Portland to visit and film some footage for all kinds of projects (thanks Tim!!). I'm really excited to see what he comes up with. We spent most of the weekend out at Gasworks Park, re-exploring the familiar surroundings and coming up with new and creative ways to use it all. I found a great new run that deals with a blackberry bush precision problem... ouch?

Oh, and between this post and the last one I've officially become a Crossfit Gym Rat. A few short weeks of regular, quick torture, and I'm seeing huge results in my training capabilities. Not only in endurance, but also just raw power. Can I plug Crossfit here? Yes? Do it. Meet Pukey.



Man, I really bomb at making videos. As soon as I start to edit, I begin nit-picking. I always feel like if I'm going to edit something together, it should be my best work.. like a showcase of how much parkour has taught me over the years. But looking over the footy, I know I could have done better, so I erase everything and start over again.

So I'm forgetting that mindset. I'm just going to film when I have a camera on me, and make videos that depict what I happen to be working on at that point in time. Not videos that center on distance, or "bigness" of a technique.

So here's #1. Cowen Park October.


Media shortage!

So, looks like the media I promised from the Soiree is actually non-existent. We were so busy doing stuff, that none of it really got filmed. I actually prefer it that way, but next time I'm roping in someone specifically to film. Hopefully, with this future footy I'm anticipating, and the bits and pieces of conditioning we got on tape, I can compile something awesome in the next month or so.

Until then, I guess I'll start working on my own vidstuffs. :)


The Soiree, and in other news...

So the Soiree went pretty well. If by pretty well you mean AWESOME. Aside from Brandee, Chris, and me there were two other girls (Deirdre and Faith), which made for a cozy five. Medicine-ball name-games, conditioning with Brandee and Janine at the helm, vaulting, climbing, QM, jumping, rolling, a dinner break that may or may not have had anything to do with a superhot tricycle, scaffolding, and general festivities took up the first day/night. After a restful night of sleep (>.>oh God! My pants! They seem to be on fire! <.< ) we cleaned up the gym and headed out for breakfast. The training that day was supposed to cover Greenlake and Ravenna parks, but we got so creative at Greenlake that we only had a half hour to spare at Ravenna before we had to pack up and head home. Will post more when I get pics and video up. In other news, there have been adventures at work. For those of you who didn't know, I run dogs for a living right now while putting myself through the EMT certification process. It's quite exciting. A few days ago, Moose, a sweetheart of a Vizsla (see picture) spotted an adorable service dog and pulled me off the road to say hello. Moose doesn't seem to notice how big he's gotten... I'd better start doing some more strength training. Back to the story. Moose runs up to this service dog, the service dog abandons it's duty and runs up to Moose, the lady who requires the dog's services is sprawled across the sidewalk and mayhem ensues. Argh. That could have been better.


PNWPA Soiree des Traceuses

We're gearing up for the first ever Seattle Lady's Night at NWCrossfit. This is going to be AWESOME. The plan is to meet up at the gym around 6pm on Saturday, condition, work touch, and then start in on basic technique till 8 or 9. Break for food, then explore around Greenlake. We're conking out in the gym after watching some parkour vids and talking philosophy of parkour. We'll wake up early next morning to hit the streets and put into practice what we trained the night before! Should wrap up around noon on Sunday. Charge is 15$. Half goes to renting out the gym, half directly to the PNWPA. I'll be instructing, along with my good friends and training buddies Brandee Brougham (MonkEE), and Chris Moore (hundr).


Split-Foot Launch

Something I've had a lot of trouble with. I've gotten used to double foot punch take offs because I find they give me the height I need to kong with, but honestly, they're a waste of effort. You put all that oomph into going up, just to come back down without really moving forward any. Split-foots, on the other hand, are like the holy grail of the vaulting world to me. Smooth, controlled take-offs that slip right into the cadence of your run. Bam. Distance.

I was waiting for students to show up to the Crossfit parkour class last Wednesday, when I noticed the stairway into the building was the perfect height for a kong to doorway precesion. After about a half hour of practicing these, I noticed that I was actually split-footing the take offs, something I've never done without thought before. I was focusing on distance, not on my punch, so I guess my feet just did the most helpful thing they could! I'm going to make it a point to fit in some quality time with those stairs before every class, and hopefully train in some muscle memory.


Little beats big when little is smart, first with the head and then with the heart. - Bryce Courtney

Makes sense. Little, in this circumstance, can mean stature. It can also mean small gestures, small steps, components of a whole. Big, to me, means a large obstacle. Social injustice, global warming, and a twelve foot wall are all good examples of a big that can only be overcome by lots of small gestures and commitments.

With parkour, I feel like the only way to progress is to commit to lots of little gestures every day. I want explosive kongs, so I begin my day with ten explosive push-ups. Little gestures = big improvement.

I like the second part of that line too, "First with the head, and then with the heart." I try to always think through my options and routes when training, minimize steps, and find the most effecient path. But after all of that, you really do just have to focus and throw down. I need to work on that part...