Sunday, August 23, 2009

Viva le Parkour!

I have discovered Parkour. In a way I was starting to develop the concept independently. I had seen videos of Free-Running and was quite impressed but felt that it would be too much of a risk for my older bones to do it myself yet I wanted to incorporate some elements of it into my exercise routines. Simply going out and running for 40 to 60 minutes seemed to me to be a bit of a poor exercise that was possibly a bit counter-productive. I want to develop practical, functional strength and fitness. There was Cross-Fit but this too seemed to be a bit harsh on the body and has a lot of potential for injury, more of the muscle and joint strain kind than the bone breaking, head splitting kind that free-running promised.

Fortunately I live close to a 300 acre park that is filled with stone walls, fences, trees and even an extinct volcano. There is also a barely used training area with parallel bars, pull up bars and other things that are free to use. This is the perfect environment for the older Parkour aficionado. Here I can walk, run, balance, climb, jump and scramble on all fours to my hearts content. Now working out is much more fun and much more intensive. Leaping over a fence and then running to a rock wall and scaling it in as graceful a manner as possible five times in a row sure works up a sweat. There is still the potential for injury but things can be taken at your own pace.

The idea is to perfect a graceful form of movement. Think Ninja warrior style and you are on the way to grasping the idea. Indeed Parkour is a form of martial art being developed by a military man, Georges Herbert (shown posing above), and adopted by the military in their training courses.

Georges Herbert's definition of Parkour:

Methodical, progressive and continuous action, from childhood to adulthood, that has as its objective: assuring integrated physical development; increasing organic resistances; emphasizing aptitudes across all genres of natural exercise and indispensable utilities (walking, running, jumping, quadrupedal movement, climbing, equilibrium (balancing), throwing, lifting, defending and swimming); developing one's energy and all other facets of action or virility such that all assets, both physical and virile, are mastered; one dominant moral idea: altruism.

Someone elses:

When you begin doing Parkour you begin to see things from a different point of view. Parkour is da search for freedom. Parkour is a feeling trapped in each of us. Parkour wants to jump high and higher. Parkour means wishing to be better everyday, day by day, little by little. Parkour means taking control of your mind, your body and your soul. Parkour is about washing off fear from our Soul. Parkour means nurturing the mind. Finding balance. Parkour means finding joy. Parkour is fun. Parkour is great. Parkour is cool. Parkour is a life style.


ctusten said...

Another interesting Blog! I'll have to give up Backgammon if I delve any deeper!

Ah! Exercise. Here I will be dogmatic. The easiest solution is a sport like Basketball, once or twice a week, and then some easy stuff a couple times a week. That WAS me until a couple of years ago. Another thing I've tried is walking the dogs. Now with that I used leg weights, and bought a weight vest (40 pounds) but again, haven't used it in 2 years. And finally, hand weights, walking with them, and with vest AND walking the dogs all at the same time. The key to exercise is intensity for a short period of time. Exercise beyond a sport that I love is boring. It's much easier to make exercise fit into life, and derive benefit from it, if you don't need more than 30 minutes a day.

AngloAmerikan said...

Hi Ctusten

Thanks for visiting my lonely outpost in cyberspace. So it seems you haven’t exercised for two years. The months and years can pass quickly especially as we get older and I believe some sort of focussed exercise should be seen as essential . The good news is that we can soon bounce back to a healthy state if we adopt a good diet and exercise routine.

I find that I really enjoy exercise and have to consciously limit the amount I do to avoid over training. I’m lucky in that I enjoy training solo early in the morning. I guess motivation has a lot to do with it, also goals and so forth. I have been on my own three year program to be fitter at 50 than I was at 25. Also to look leaner and musclier as well. So far so good.

You must look a sight weighed down with all your weights. I admit I too have tried running while carrying a pack with a large bag of rice in it. I imagine our ancestors did quite a bit of exercise while carrying a load like a dead warthog or something back to the camp. I was even thinking of making a dummy slain animal and slinging that over my shoulders – now that would look funny.

The thing with diet and exercise is that we all need to find our own method that works well for us physically and mentally and to probably change and adapt as we progress.

All the best!