Motion 2.0

Where movement meets the mind.


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Training Equipment Construction

You may have seen them in any number of backyard training videos or pro demonstrations: all those hand built training items, from the four sided, trapezoid-looking vault boxes to the precision trainers to the big climbing boxes. And you may have wondered “How can I build one of those?” Well search no more, because I’ve collected several of the best sources for all your construction plan needs.

Vault Box - Courtesy of charlesmoreland.com

San Francisco PK’s Vault Box Design
Just recently published, and designed by Brian “NoSole” Orosco and Team Tempest, this is probably one of the most detailed plans available for free online. A word to the wise, cut hand holds in the end panels to make moving them easier. You might also want to put a few strips of skateboard grip tape on the wide sides or even the top to give better traction during movements.

 

The Parcube is the big gray box on the wall.

APK’s “Parcube”
Definitely the most advanced project short of pouring cement and making walls. This big box is a great tool for training any number of techniques depending on the size you make, from vaults to precisions to climb-ups.

 

A large selection of Precision Trainers

Toshido’s Precision Trainers
A great little video that shows how to make the simplest of training equipment, the precision trainer. It’s honestly as easy as nailing three boards together. Of course, you could get more adventurous and attempt to build NinjaBoy’s style of combo-precision trainers. I couldn’t find written plans for them but you may be able to figure them out from the video alone.

 

There you have it, three sets of plans to make some very versatile training equipment. Of course, there are hundreds of variations on these and loads of unique things you can make too. Just get creative: try sinking a few square posts into the ground and making a precision garden. Or jamming steel poles or branches in between tree limbs to create your own jungle gym. The possibilities are endless.

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Callus Care

For many practitioners, calluses are a source of pride, a sort of badge of honor that proves their dedication. For those who don’t know, calluses are hardened, thick patches of skin that develop after consistent, routine friction, pressure, or irritation. They can form anywhere on the body but for most people, especially traceurs and freerunners, the most common place to see them is on the palms of the hands. Because of the rough nature of our training, having calluses is practically a necessity since the dead skin acts as a shield against the sharp walls and ledges of the world. But their is such a thing as too much of a good thing and that includes calluses. If you don’t keep them in check…

Torn Calluses

…this happens.

Anyone who’s had a torn, ripped, or injured callus knows how annoyingly painful it can be. So here are a few tips for preventing this from happening and what to do if it already has.

First off, it might be worth it to look into a callus file or pumice stone. (You could of course use a butter knife or any rough edge.) These simple, cheap tools allow you to shave off some of the callus so that you retain the protection but keep it smooth and level. If they grow too big they can get caught and rip on surfaces. To use the stone of file simply drag the rough part across the top of the callus until the desired thickness. I’ve found the best time to do this is right after a shower or after soaking your hands in water for a while since the skin is at its softest then.

There are many ways to treat calluses that have already been injured, from slightly discomforting to downright excruciating. The path of least resistance is to clip off the flap of skin using a nail clipper or a pair of scissors, then to clean the wound and apply a bandage. Given time, say a few days to a week, the area will heal on its own. However, you will have to give it rest or risk tearing open the new skin.

If you have a high tolerance for pain, other options include pouring rubbing alcohol or salt in the wound to close up the gash and promote rapid healing. Gymnasts I’ve spoken to also recommend dusting chalk over the wound and continuing on as if nothing happened, a mind over matter technique. Others simply wrap athletic tape over the spot and hope for the best.

Here are a few links for further info on callus care.

APK’s Callus Care
Beast Skills’ Callus Care (highly recommend)


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Parkour Parks – Way of the Future?

Looks like I’m packing my bags for Denmark…

Back at the end of August, famed Danish PK/FR performance team, Team Jiyo, in conjunction with the Danish government, opened the Jiyo Parken in Copenhagen, Denmark. It is the world’s largest free, open air playground dedicated specifically for Parkour and Freerunning training, the second park of it’s kind. (The first park ever, Streetmovement Park, is in Gerlev, also Denmark) And as you can tell from the videos and pictures, it is a practitioner’s dream come true.

Concept Art of the Park

Concept Art of the Park

But can such parks exist in other parts of the world? It seems so. Today, Saturday, Oct. 24, marks the grand opening of the UF Parkour Park in Chorley, Lancashire, UK. The communuity in Chorley is apparently a thriving one, since the area newspaper, the Chorley Guardian, offers an hour long documentary about Parkour in its online store, called Parkour: Way of Life. Hopefully some solid video and pictures will be arriving online soon so we can get a good look at the new place.

So Europe has officially set the precedent of having permanent, man-made places for practitioners to go and train, free of hassle or complaints. The question now is, is America ready for such an undertaking? After all, according to Team Jiyo’s website, their park had a mammoth budget of $475,000 and government approval. As of now, there have been a few attempts to create a permanent, outdoor park in North America but nothing has materialized yet. There are, however, several indoor Parkour gyms that have popped up across the continent, including Primal Fitness, APEX MovementThe Monkey Vault, and the brand new Parkour Visions Gym.

Practitioners seem to have a love/hate relationship with the idea of Parkour parks. While many eagerly welcome the chance to have such amazing architecture at their disposal 24/7, just as many are hesitant to approve of the concept, fearing that they will be forced to train at the park only and not in the “real world”. (In the same sense as skateboarders and BMX riders being confined to skate parks.) In the end though, only time will tell if Parkour and Freerunning reach enough minds and ears to make such a dream a reality.


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This Is How We Move

Since the beginning of October, the Rowan University Parkour Club has been meeting up 3-4 times a week to train, condition, and simply have a good time moving around. A lot of people ask us what a typical day of training is like. And I figured, rather than waste words trying to explain, I’d simply show you.


This is an enhanced version of the above slideshow, complete with music. I highly recommend watching this version.


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Temple University Jam Updates

Next weekend is going to be the second monthly Temple University Jam, hosted by David Jones in Philadelphia, PA. The jam starts at 11am on the Temple Campus and any and all practitioners are welcome. However, it has come to our attention that a nearby recreation center on the campus has Open Gym sessions between 11am-1pm for only $10. This would make an excellent start to the jam as everyone can work on different movements in the safety of a gymnastics gym (complete with springfloor and pads) before venturing out onto the streets.

Information about the new start of the jam can be found here.

Also, today the 19th, the Rowan University Parkour Club made the front page news of APK. We’re moving up in the world!

And finally, here’s a video of the Temple Jam’s host, David Jones.


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Good News/Bad News/Good News Time…

The Good News…

American Parkour has unveiled their latest community project: an updated definition of Parkour for the main website! The collaborative effort was open to all and the final product was created from a team of practitioners, both APK employees and non-employees, which included myself. The write up and new definition can be found in the links below.

News Post
Updated Definition

The Bad News…

Parkour and Freerunning has been banned in the town of Moreton in the UK. After a number of alleged problems with practitioners, and being declared “antisocial” by city council members, all PK/FR activities are forbidden within city limits. The town appears to be working with leading area practitioners, including world-famous Daniel Ilbaca, to find some middle ground. But until then, your best bet is to stay out of Moreton. The official news story and video can be found in the link below.

Moreton, UK bans Parkour/Freerunning

The Good News…

Parkour has made it into the pages of Play the Game, the official review magazine of the World Sports Conference. Dan Edwardes, one of the founders of Parkour Generations, spoke at the conference. The article centers around the positive effects training can have on individuals, especially children. (For instance, after a project with the Westminster City Council in London, the area saw a 69% decrease in crime rates.) Maybe with more positive exposure like this Moreton will be willing to give us a second chance. Link to the online magazine follows below.

Play the Game (turn to pages 24-25 for the Parkour section.)


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A Traceur Takes Yoga

Yoga- Lotus Pose

Noose Pose.
Downward Facing Dog.
Warrior Pose #2.

And you thought names like Cat Leap and Kong Vault were weird.

What are all those things? They are all poses, stances, and movements used in practicing yoga, the over 5,000 year old physical and mental disciplines originating from India. Here in the West what we think of as yoga – the stretching and posing – is actually just one branch of the discipline, known as asanas or body positions. The ultimate goal of asanas is “to restore and maintain a practitioner’s well-being, improve the body’s flexibility and vitality, and promote the ability to remain in seated meditation for extended periods. Yoga’s popularity in the West and across the world has exploded over recent years, with over 11 million people practicing the discipline in the US alone.

In the past several of my friends had encouraged me to give yoga a try, but I was always hesitant. I mean, I love rock climbing and weight lifting and soccer. I practice parkour several times a week. I like to MOVE. How could sitting around stretching be any fun, let alone benefit my training in any great way? But finally a few weeks ago, after much self-debating, I decided to take the plunge and showed up for a Saturday morning class at the campus gym.

"You mean we're not jumping at all today...?"

"You mean we're not jumping at all today...?"

It was like walking into a Twilight Zone episode.

For starters, there were about a dozen other students there that morning: all of them women. In fact I was only the guy there except for the teacher, so I immediately felt like the creepy stalker that only takes classes to stare at coeds. Placing my mat at the back of the room and trying to blend into the floor, I listened quietly as the instructor asked if anyone here was new to yoga. I raised my hand. I was the only one who did. Strike two buddy.

Then the class started. First we were led through a “warm-up” of sorts that included breathing exercises and some very relaxed, seated poses. No one spoke except for the teacher and music played in the background, a mix of Eastern chanting and some kind of slow, instrumental hip-hop. As we moved into the more strained poses, I quickly realized something: I wasn’t good at stretching. Don’t get me wrong, I can touch my toes easily, but these poses were unlike anything I’ve done before. For instance, Warrior Pose #3 has you standing on one foot while the rest of your body flattens out above it, forming a T-shape. And you had to hold it, not just do it! For someone used to jumping and vaulting at top speed all the time this slow, methodical approach was almost alien.

The class lasted an hour and after five minutes of cool-down with Corpse Pose, I left. And I left feeling…great! I felt energetic and loose, yet calm and thoughtful. It wasn’t a massive change but I felt the difference. Maybe this yoga thing wasn’t just for Desperate Housewives after all.

Parkour Training Is Rough - Stretch, Relax Those Weary Bones.

Parkour Training Is Rough - Stretch, Relax Those Weary Bones. (photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)

Now here’s the point of that little story: yoga has lots of health benefits and applications to parkour training. First of all, it’s a discipline that strengthens both body and mind, very similar to parkour. It also increases flexibility, and better stretching will help any serious athlete, especially one that requires as much explosive body control as a traceur. Yoga will also give you better posture and balance, which can translate to improved running technique, rail walking, and transitions between movements.

And most importantly, yoga offers a chance to breathe and relax. Parkour training is incredibly hard on the body and mind: we throw ourselves against concrete floors and brick walls, stressing our brains with fearful jumps everyday. Yoga offers you a chance to calm down, reflect, and learn to breathe evenly. Having a peaceful mind will make those harrowing leaps of faith a little easier to bear.

If that isn’t good enough, check out Scott Sonnon’s vartiation of yoga, “Prasara Yoga.” Just try to tell me that he doesn’t have the strength, control, and mythical flow that all parkour practitioners dream of.