Thursday, September 21, 2006

Practise Waterloo 01/10/06

Next Sunday we'll be practising down at the infamous Waterloo. We'll be meeting in Jubilee Gardens at around 1pm. Dale will be down from Lincoln with a few traceurs he trains with. So Saiyan students you best be ready, everyone else, hope to see you there!

A mellow Saturday

Last Saturday I met up with Cable, Max and Mike in our local area and headed down to the park for a quiet spot to practise balance. We hid our bags in a tree and headed to a pond-side rail. It was a wooden beam about a foot and a half high, over 100m long with a path on one side and nettles, thorns, rough ground, pond water and various wildlife on the other. It’s a great rail to practise on because you can’t go more than 10 steps without the rails changing direction, height, becoming wobbly, slanting or having to go over, under or round overhanging shrubbery. At one point you have to leap into a tree climb round it then swing back to the rail. We made it challenging for max by always keeping on his heels and trying to distract him but this in turn meant we would often have to stop suddenly and hang back while he dealt with the off-puts. We got to the end and we’re happy to move on, but Cable kept bugging us to do it again in reverse. For once Mike was glad to be sitting out.

Once everyone had limbered up we convinced Cable to get off the rail by enticing him with an even more challenging one. This was a bloody über rail: Long, high, sloping, bent and slippery, a right bastard of a rail! Now I’ve been working on my balance a lot recently but this really was a challenge. Cable happily shot off along the rail while I couldn’t make it more than a few metres. Max just tackled the challenge of getting onto a rail just under chest height without anything to help balance. After about 30 minutes or so despite balancing a lot further, I had begun to dislike the rail that kept maliciously chucking me off. Cable of course balanced the whole thing, but nobody saw, so it don’t count hahaha.

So like big kids we headed to the playground. It’s amazing how much time passes when working on seemingly small obstacles. But it’s often the small things that allow you to really understand how your body works and where you need to build strength. It also allows you to work on the more complex and technical side of Parkour that I love. We ended up spending the rest of the day there. All in all a small but essential day of practise for everyone.

Anyway, that was last Saturday!

Student Down

A couple of weeks back Cable was out practising with Mike and Max. They we’re working on a follow the leader style run with Cable taking the lead through balancing, small precisions, wallruns and vaults. It was all going smoothly max and mike we’re keeping up happily when disaster struck. Mike was balancing on a thick but rounded rail, when his foot slipped catching his other leg and sending him face first towards the merciless concrete below. Landing chest/chin first with an almighty crashing sound set Cable and max running over to see a winded and blooded Mike looking dazed. After a few frantic minutes he caught his breath and composure and decided it might be a good time to go home insisting that Max and Cable stay and practise, but as you can imagine that put an end to the day. A couple of days later he called us and only then did we find out the severity of the fall. An X-ray revealed he had fractured his jaw and needed it wired and would be out for at least six weeks!! Despite that he hasn’t lost enthusiasm and still comes out, and often has to be reminded of his injury to keep him from training. This is a big reminder to anyone that all it takes is a moment of distraction to have serious consequences. Students please always keep this in mind, accidents happen! Keep you updated. Wishing you a quick recovery from the Saiyans!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The last two weeks...

The last two weeks have been great, the sun’s been out and so have I! I really thought the summer had gone but the powers that be gave us two more amazing weeks, that topped the mid 20s (in September!) It gave me plenty of opportunity to work on my balancing, going over all my old rails, ropes and rooftop ledges with a bit more confidence, speed and control. I’m at the stage now where I can comfortably jump between single file rails. Also I can now hold my self for so far up to 30 minutes without dropping for rest (I’m aiming for a full 60 minutes).

Why all the balance? Like I said back in my uf days, balance is key. The better I get at it, the more I can introduce it to my everyday runs, for example, SDC to precision (or monkey precision for all you old school cats) becomes a lot easier because I can catch my balance a lot quicker or in some cases an instant before I actually land. My overall goal is to be able to do some tight rope walking…but I will never try this!

Also over the two weeks there has been a huge surge of interest from the local kids, some as young as 8 and their concerned but curious parents. It seems everybody in the saiyanhood wants to know what Parkour’s all about and how to get started. So never missing an opportunity to promote our beloved Parkour, I’ve been demonstrating the very basics to a very young crowd almost every day now and it’s very rewarding. The thing about kids, they see things differently often finding near impossible obstacles and asking “Can you do that one?” Their perception of difficult is different to our own, which is something I finding both inspiring and refreshing. We play a lot of follow the leader which is a perfect opportunity for me to guide the young crowd over small rails, low jumps and little precisions. I want them to get a feel for the real Parkour, as in obstacle after obstacle after obstacle as opposed to single movements. In my view, the quicker they get into this routine, the better for their possible future as a tracer. Today I left the kids with a chalked line and asked them to jump as far they could and mark where they landed with their initials. Tomorrow I’m planning on going back to see how the kids got on, let’s just hope it don’t rain.

That was two weeks.

Cable-always reppin’

Monday, September 04, 2006

R.I.P Merson

RIP Merson, the Saiyan Cat
1995 - 2006. Much loved and missed, Broadfield's top cat!

Saiyan Students

Mike  learns a level SDBAt the beginning of the summer, SaiyanClan gave into demand and started teaching small classes to beginner tracers around the local area of North London. A group of potential tracers, “free runners”, and fad chasers showed up to our open days, however the flips, kicks and general attitude did them no favours and the group was quickly cut down. The ones remaining were then put through a series of test, both mental and physical to determine who had what it takes, and to let them know what to expect for the summer that ahead. These ranged from dealing with heights to endurance training. The results left us with 5 young dudes all with a respectful view of le Parkour and an understanding of what it would take to become tracer. The 5 that survived had shown determination, courage, focus and most importantly, passion. These kids are in love with Parkour. When most of their friends conjoined to a ps2 pad, they are out practising every chance that they get. Often they would fall but seldom would they complain, instead learning from their mistakes and quoting Belle’s “The best thing about falling down is getting back up again!”

All five guys levels are improving by the day but like most of us, still have a long way to go... watch this space!