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Topics - Patrick Yang

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Arkansas / Training in NWA?
« on: November 27, 2016, 01:32:52 PM »
I know this board seems to be rather inactive, but I figure I'd try it anyway. I've just moved from Austin and am new to Fayetteville. Are there any communities in Northwest Arkansas?

Injuries - Discussion / Patellofemoral dysfuction
« on: December 05, 2009, 06:32:00 PM »
Chris suggested I write this up and ask Steve for help, though I haven't had time to do so for a while.  So here goes:

I impacted my right knee back in August during a missed speed vault, and it's been hurting since.  The injury has caused me considerable pain directly under the patella during activities like climbing stairs or squatting — anything where I need to exert pressure on a knee with more than about 15º flexion.  In addition, when I am prone and curling my leg to my chest, it hurts through the more curled portions of that range of motion.  This is not true when I am standing.

I've seen a doctor about this thrice.  The first time was in September with a general practitioner; he told me to to stay off of it and come back if it didn't feel better.  The second time was in October with a sports medicine doctor; she told me to try squats and leg presses, which I hurt me and I discontinued.  The third time this past week, she noticed the quadriceps starting to atrophy and referred me to a PT, whom I'll start seeing Thursday.

The pain has been getting better over the months, and I'm regaining more range of motion that doesn't hurt.  The PT told me to ice it once a day for 15 minutes.  The sports med doctor told me to do some quad sets, extending the knee and tensing the quadriceps for about ten seconds at a time.  Do these sound reasonable?  Is there anything else I should be looking into?

My left knee was also injured for some time.  When my right knee was first injured, I tried doing some pistols on the left knee.  After a few, something… unpleasant happened.  As I was driving back up, it felt like something in the knee burst, and then I was in a lot of pain.  It hurt for several weeks afterwards (more than a month), and I'd been staying away from bending my knees at all.  I haven't yet assessed its strength since I got most of my mobility back, and I've been very hesitant to try, as I fear reïnjuring it.  Is this something I should be careful about?  How can I speed along its rehabilitation so that I can get back into training?  I haven't done a simple precision in ages, much less a cat pass or arm jump or turn vault.

Parkour And Freerunning / Survey: Inspirational archetypes
« on: January 15, 2009, 08:11:00 PM »
What archetypes do you draw inspiration from as a traceur?  That is, which ones do you identify with and try to emulate philosophically and in general feel?  By "archetypes", I mean ideals of a class of person, such as the soldier, the swordsman, the knight, the ninja, the acrobat, and so forth.

I'll go first.  The archetypes I draw inspiration from are the paladin, the Shaolin monk, the bushi, and the teacher.

Diet / Analysis of peanuts
« on: December 03, 2008, 08:37:31 PM »
Chris has advised against eating peanuts in the past, or at least advising to use actual nuts in their place.  Why is this?  How do peanuts compare nutritionally against nuts, seeds, and other legumes?

Thread & Board Archive / Santa Barbara?
« on: November 08, 2008, 08:28:01 PM »
I'm looking to move to Santa Barbara early next year.  Anyone know if there's an active community over there?

Diet / Cholesterol
« on: October 19, 2008, 04:32:10 PM »
I've significantly changed my diet in the last several months since I started following the suggestions on this forum, particularly of Chris's that I should be eating more.  I've gone from a mostly vegetarian diet to one with significant amounts of meat and eggs.  In order to try to get more calories in, I haven't been as watchful of getting leaner meats, and I've been eating a lot more whole milk and eggs.  However, now I'm finding that my cholesterol is above the normal range.  Is there a dietary correlation?  Does cutting egg yolks help?  Does eating more oatmeal?

Parkour And Freerunning / Teaching hinders my progression
« on: September 05, 2008, 05:56:25 AM »
I enjoy helping people who are new to parkour grasp the basics, and so whenever there are new guys joining our group, I end up teaching.  The problem is that since we train on one of the largest college campuses in America, I find that I'm almost always teaching, especially with the new semester starting.  I hardly have any more time to train on my own level anymore, and so my own progression has slowed considerably.  I would do more solo training, but I am often too tired to train more than a few times a week, and it's a social thing as much as a personal thing.

Currently, PK Austin trains four times a week, and my current energy levels allow me to attend probably two, three on a good week.  The best idea that I've had so far is to make one day of the week the "official" beginner training day, the day we tell newbies to show up.  Of course, it'll really be no different from other days: someone will help beginners out while more advanced guys train on their level.  But we can get the bulk of the teaching work done that day.  This happens on all days.  In addition, perhaps a group of us who are willing to teach will take turns helping the newbies, so each of us can get days to train on our own level.

I'd really like to hear if anyone else has come across this problem, how you've solved it, and what might be wrong with my plan.

The whole point of it all

Here I outline the purpose of my training and where I want to go with it.  This will hopefully help me put some structure into my training and allow me to judge whether I'm making quantifiable progress toward realizing my goals.

Teaching.  This is the first and foremost of my goals in parkour.  Having seen firsthand the benefits of this highly mental and physical discipline, I consider it a worthy cause to teach it to others.  More than anything other route, this is how I will become useful.  Of course, this includes teaching the philosophy as well as the physical movement.  The most impact can be made by teaching this to those who can be most useful with it most often.  This class of people includes law enforcement officers, other educators (in various methodologies), firefighters, military personnel, and other such classic examples of people who can use this discipline.  The most personally rewarding people to teach it to, however, are kids.  This is because I have always enjoyed working with kids, and I feel that this is the age in which a smallest guidance can make the largest impact on a personal scale.  Of course, these preferences in no way preclude teaching anyone who want to learn, as well as learning from whomever can teach me anything.

Direct aid.  This is the classic example of how parkour can be used: directly benefiting others in need.  Though this purpose takes precedence over teaching whenever it actually arises, I list it as secondary because I project that its incidence will be much lower than that of teaching.  Also, I have the chance to help many more people by training to teach than by training to help others.  Whenever anyone I helped on the path of the traceur directly aids someone, I will have been useful.

Personal growth.  The path of the traceur is one that appeals to me personally.  Long ago, I used to do a lot of community service projects with the American Red Cross and the United Way Kids' Way.  I feel that since I've left that by the wayside, I've allowed myself to grow callous to the needs of others and make excuses as to why I suppress compassionate urges.  Training in a discipline in which altruism and respect are core tenets has reawakened in me whatever it was that I had before, and I consider this a good thing.

Self defense.  Self-preservation is good.  There's not much more to be said about this one.

Health.  Growing up, I hated sports.  It wasn't until I rediscovered swimming last summer that I started really exercising.  Parkour has gotten me interested in my physical health, both in exercise and diet.  This is preventative as well as enjoyable: I have a rather weak constitution, so I must be live my life healthily to compensate.

Fun.  The simple joy of overcoming obstacles, learning about my body, and so on is a compelling reason for training, but I believe it should be ancillary to other, higher purposes.  However, this should never become a chore.  If it does, I'm doing it wrong.

Skills I'll need

The next step is identifying the skills I've I'll need to work on in order to fulfill the purposes detailed above.  I've tried to be as complete as possible, but maybe I'll realize through my training that I missed something.

Strength.  Like it or not, I'm going to have to accept that I need more strength.  Upper body, lower body, core.  Currently I'm not strong enough to execute many of the moves I need to be able to perform as effortlessly as I need to be able to perform them.  I resist building strength subconsciously.  I liked my slim body type before I started training in parkour, and so I always view my muscular gains with a split mind.  Since I'm losing what I considered one of my better physical assets (rockin' the twink look), I must keep in mind the benefits that outweigh what detriments tenfold.  Becoming physically stronger will allow me to continue to practice for many years to come, and it will allow me to help myself and others more effectively.  Furthermore, my health will benefit greatly from me putting on more lean mass and conditioning my bones to become denser.

Control.  Control is one of my stronger points right now, having done a lot of rail work while various limbs healed.  Since I lack power, I tend to compensate by repeating a movement over and over until I get it perfectly, and always with as little wasted energy as possible, at least for the small movements.  I think, though, this has led to a deficit of a different type of control: versatility.  Doing only one movement over and over has hurt me immensely in being able to flow through an environment, since my path becomes static.  This will definitely help me cut down on the injuries, which come up because I lack control on bigger movements.

Fear.  Doubtlessly my biggest obstacle currently.  Since that bad injury back in June, fear has been the limiting factor in my progression.  It is absolutely necessary for me to continue to push through my fear and do things I know I can do, building up more and more confidence.  On the other hand, I must be careful not to sustain another major blow to my confidence, as it's already very low.  I cannot teach in the way I want to if I haven't the self-assurance to execute the maneuvers I'm teaching.

Creativity.  Another weak spot.  I tend to see the same things over and over.  I must develop an eye for creative paths.  I'm not sure how I can do this, but maybe some of the following will work.  I can train in new places, on new obstacles.  I can train with different people.  I can learn new techniques and variations on old techniques.  I can ban myself from using a certain favoured vault and flow through an environment.  However I do it, becoming more creative will teach me more control and allow me to keep having fun in my training.

Acrobatics.  Okay, I know that I train mostly in parkour, but I think I may have to start dabbling in free running and tricking.  Besides it looking like a lot of fun, it will also help me learn better control of my body, which in turn helps me help others.  In addition, it's a crowd pleaser, which means more people will be willing to sit down and learn with me if I can impress with flips.  This is especially true of my favoured students, kids.  Heck, maybe I'll even be able to make money off of this someday.  Is it parkour?  No.  But it can help my parkour.

Cross training.  Learning how to use my body means learning how it interacts with my environment in all situations.  Cross training in various other disciplines will help me become more rounded, and will keep my body from becoming used to one thing.  The things I must cross train in include running, swimming, and climbing.  Other things that would help my parkour include just about every sport, juggling, dancing, and all sorts of other physical tricks.  But I will not cross train in weightlifting.  No way, no how.

Service.  The path of the traceur, I feel, includes selfless service to others.  This means more than dedicating a certain time each week or so to serve soup at a kitchen.  This means fully embracing the idea of serving others every day, helping out others in small ways alongside one's daily routine.  This is not to say that one should be patronizing or, gods forbid, subservient toward others, but rather that the default attitude should be of respect, consideration, and kindness.  Of course, being helpful can sometimes mean not doing something for someone.  I think to properly improve this, I may have to learn the intricacies of the service culture here in Austin, or perhaps on a larger scale.  Only this way can I effectively and efficiently help others.  Of course, this being tied so closely to what I believe a traceur is, I will be training this by going out and serving others.

Teaching.  I am constantly trying to learn this anyway.  I get the feeling it makes me sound a little pretentious or like a know-it-all; I must become more humble about this.  Teaching is the noblest of professions.  Learning how to communicate better is going to be integral for my personal path as a traceur.  Learning how to explain the philosophy the movements, and how the two meet is an art I'm still refining.  Furthermore, I'll have to learn how to explain this through various media (print, video, sound, and in person) and to all different types of people (teens, children, parents, the media, and special audiences like police).

Knowledge.  I think this will be how I define myself as a teacher.  Being knowledgeable about what I'm talking about, having a wide breadth and depth of knowledge about physiology, biochemistry, kinesiology, architecture, ecology, survivalism, and all sorts of other applicable fields will help me become best equipped to help others, teach others, and move through my environment safely and efficiently.  Training in this can include massive amounts of reading and learning, so that my database of knowledge can expand appropriately.

Social skills.  Another of my weaknesses.  I grew up being a quiet bookworm, and I hang out with many of the same.  Only recently have I become a more social person, but I'm still struggling with awkwardness.  It's quite apparent, I feel, and being self-conscious about it doesn't make it any easier.  However, in order to help others properly, it will be necessary to interact with people all day long, so I must become more at ease with people.  I'll have to overcome this somehow.  I just don't quite know how just yet.

Current goals

Except for the first one, each of the following goals is measurable and is a clear step toward improving at least one of the skills I enumerated.

* Be useful to a stranger every day I have the opportunity.

22 August
* Set up an info session with UTPD.

End of August
* Dive confidently into kongs.
* Juggle three objects for 30 seconds.
* Understand energy pathways.

15 September
* Confidently execute rail-to-rail precisions.
* Swim 14 lengths of my pool without stopping.
* Run a mile continuously.
* QM a quarter mile continuously.

End of September
* Top out smoothly by the end of September.

15 October
* Hold a handstand for 10 seconds.
* Hold an L-sit for 10 seconds.

Injuries - Discussion / Soreness in calf and back of knee
« on: July 14, 2008, 09:40:46 PM »
I am currently suffering from soreness near the upper calf and the lower portion of the back of the knee.  Last Wednesday, I put my group through a set of calf raises much more intense than we usually do as part of normal training.  Thursday it wasn't really sore any more than expected after a pretty heavy calf session, and I trained pretty hard again.  Since Friday, though, the back of knee and the calf have been sore, especially after I haven't stood up for a few minutes.  Until I stretch it out, I have to walk with bent knees.  The calf itself was pretty tight and sore, too, but that's subsided.  Now, just the back of the knee (the underlying connective tissue?) is sore.  Additionally, the muscle gets tired pretty quickly.

Any ideas on what's going on?  I've been trying to keep off of it and rest it as much as possible.  I am currently on some NSAIDs.  Should I be stretching them out?  I know I shouldn't be training while this is hurting, but is there anything else I can do to speed my recovery?  I'd like to be mobile again by the time the Texas Parkour national jam comes around (26-27 July).  Also, I'll be walking around a lot from 19-25 July, as I'll be working at a summer camp.

The closest thing I could find in the forum is this, but I don't recall stressing my calf in this way.

Louisiana / Anyone in Lake Charles?
« on: June 21, 2008, 10:06:51 AM »
I'm going to be at McNeese University in Lake Charles from 19 July to 25 July.  Anyone else train in the area?

Parkour And Freerunning / Beginner's workshop - need help
« on: April 29, 2008, 09:14:54 AM »
I'm trying to put together a good beginner's workshop in Austin, since we've recently had a huge influx of new members and are anticipating more with the YouTube takeover.  I'd hate to see new people come into the discipline and get hurt without proper instructrion.  But I don't know how to do it!  I'm pretty new to the discipline myself, only having started five months ago.  I have access to a few more experienced traceurs, but I might be doing a good bit of the organization.

I know that many of you have run beginner's workshops before.  Could you give me some advice on some matters?

(1) How should it be structured?
(2) What topics should be addressed in the talky part of it?
(3) What movements should be taught?
(4) How long should it run?
(5) What other exercises can we show them and encourage them to do?
(6) What other points should we stress?
(7) How do I get the word out that this resource will be available, and that it's advisable to use it?
(8) Any other advice?

Thanks a bunch in advance.

In the Media / Daily Texan article and video
« on: April 28, 2008, 09:04:30 AM »
The Daily Texan article that was linked on the main APK page has an associated video, which I took the liberty of posting on YouTube.

And yes, I know I messed up "be strong to be useful".  :-\

Diet / Rice - analysis and substition?
« on: April 11, 2008, 12:38:29 AM »
I've read a lot of things on these forums about the evils of white rice.  I understand that it's more or less sugar in a different form.  However, being the son of Chinese immigrants, it's a huge part of my diet.  (In fact, I think Steve Low mentioned this being a mitigating factor -- how does this work?)  I'm sure this is not good for me, though I'm pretty thin and have a pretty fast metabolism.

My questions are as follows:
  • Are all varieties of white rice -- long grain, short grain, basmati, jasmine, etc. -- equally bad?
  • Is brown rice any better, and if so in what ways?
  • Are there other kinds of rice that are better?
  • Are there any articles that I can read on this?

In the Media / TXPK on News 8 Austin
« on: April 05, 2008, 10:16:39 AM »
News 8 Austin's Amy Hadley did a spot on Texas Parkour yesterday (Friday), shot one week ago.  There's an article online on their site, plus a video near the bottom of the page, linked in the box labeled "watch this video".  I'm satisfied with how they portrayed us.

Parkour practitioners involved were Matthew Willis (who came in from Kerrville), zujitsu (who came in from San Antonio), me, and another member from the Austin community.

Parkour And Freerunning / Parkour in Shanghai?
« on: March 03, 2008, 02:01:19 AM »
I have been considering moving for Shanghai for six months to a year's worth of internship, and have thus been looking for people to train with in Shanghai.  But I haven't been able to find any on English internet.  I've found a good amount in Hong Kong, but that's not where I'll be.  Does anyone know of any practitioners or groups over in Shanghai, or how I could go about finding them?  Note that my Mandarin is horrible, and my Shanghainese is nonexistent.

Injuries - Discussion / Pain immediately inferior to knee
« on: February 06, 2008, 08:18:00 AM »
I am currently experiencing pain on this small bump on the anterior side of my tibia inferior to the left knee.  The bony bump itself is on both my legs, so I don't think it in itself is a problem.  I have no problem supporting my weight fully on my left leg in a fully standing position, but if the knee is bent more than, say, 30 degrees, I start experiencing the pain.  It seems to be mitigated by shifting my upper body weight forward or standing on the balls of my feet, and exacerbated by shifting my upper body weight back or standing on the heels of my feet.  The less medial side of the bump is tender like a bruise if pressure is applied, but does not otherwise complain when not bearing weight.

I don't recall how this injury occurred, but it's been present for about a week.  My best guess is that it appeared sometime after a training session.  The pain is not too serious and I've ignored it and continued training.  Stupid, I know, but at least I'm doing something about it now, as I plan on going to the campus clinic right after I finish this lab report.

Any thoughts on what this could be?  None of the descriptions of jumper's knee have been specific enough for me to get an idea as to whether this would be it, nor could I find a thread on this forum that fit what I'm experiencing now.

Additionally, are there any good exercises I could do after I've recovered from this that could help strengthen my knees?  I've always had weaker knees, but I don't want to give up parkour!

Injuries - Discussion / Soft tissue injury - recovery and training
« on: December 27, 2007, 12:00:31 AM »
All right, so the gods of parkour have let me know on no uncertain terms that I need to take a break.  With a sprained wrist and two sprained big toes, I doubt I can do most exercises without risking long-term injury.

Other than RICE, what can I do to speed along my recovery?  What can I do to train, both mentally and physically, as I convalesce?  Does anyone know how long these injuries often take to heal?  And it's been recommended that you take an antiïnflamatory, but is there any medical reason for this other than to mitigate the pain?  I've heard and read conflicting accounts for all these questions.  Are there any sources you folks could point me to?

Parkour And Freerunning / Practical parkour
« on: December 12, 2007, 07:51:23 AM »
At the last group training session I attended, a fellow parkour enthusiast with a background in martial arts pointed out that a lot of martial arts train students on how to handle themselves in an ideal environment: you and your opponent are already aware that single combat is to ensue between the two of you, there are no weapons involved, and there is no significant handicap.  Many martial arts never talk about what to do when your opponents outnumber you five to one, or when your opponent has a firearm, or after the disparaging remarks have been made but before you're certain it will come to blows.  In this way, your martial arts training can leave you woefully unprepared for practical situations.

I propose that parkour suffers from some of the same pitfalls as do some martial disciplines.  Parkour teaches us how to move when we are being chased by tigers or when we must get to the button that aborts the self-destruct sequence.  But how would our movements change to evade a pursuer wielding a melee weapon?  Or a firearm?  How can we use the movements we've already mastered as defensive movements against normal armed or unarmed attacks?  Parkour gives us skill in the chase.  How do we segue into it, during those moments when we're being bodily attacked or surrounded by foes?

Reading Blane's article "Descent", I found myself nodding, as I've always been the kind of student who wonders just how something applies to real life.  For example, the first thing I thought of when I began to study parkour was how I could use it to evade even the fast zombies seen in 28 Days Later.  Now, I think perhaps I should be thinking about how I can use parkour in combat against the living.  Here's what I came up with so far.

The roll is an incredibly versatile and useful maneuver.  Even those among us who haven't studied martial arts can evade an attack with a roll to the side or back if one trains to react to a punch or grab or stab with a roll.  The fact that gravity pulls you into the maneuver means that it is fast, with little energy expended.  When you pop out of the roll, you have put a little distance between yourself and your assailant, so you can quickly spot your escape route and move.  Then the usual parkour instincts can take over.  This is pretty easy to train for: have one person attack and one person roll out of the way, popping up directly into a run.

Being surrounded by multiple opponents is a more difficult problem that I've yet to solve.

Avoiding gunfire while being chased adds a new dimension to parkour as well.  Since we are trained to use our entire bodies as a single, integrated machine, we cannot afford to be hit even in a "nonessential" area.  A bullet even in the nondominant arm means abysmal mobility.  Therefore, the primary goal of getting away must always be tempered with finding cover.  Always be aware of the vector of attack.  Running should be low to the ground, or perhaps substituted with fast QMs.  Long dives cover ground quickly and should be used at the end a run to new cover.  Perhaps here more than in any other situation, path efficiency should be put on the back burner.  Don't scale that wall when you've got someone firing at you.  Go around it!  A good way to train for this is with paintballs or airsoft guns.

While it is ideal that we are in the chase with nothing in our hands, sometimes it is unavoidable.  Once we have mastered the basic movements, we should perhaps train while holding a small object.  Or as seen in the Rio Pizza Deliver video, train with a group to toss a bulkier object back and forth as you flow through a cityscape.

I should caution that these are advanced techniques.  I do not advocate practicing anything as complicated as these unless you already have a solid parkour technique.  The most important thing is to get the normal training down in your muscle memory.  You don't need these other scenarios futzing things up for your muscle memory.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who's though of this.  What do you people think?  Are there other scenarios which you've thought through where basic parkour might be tweaked to fit the circumstances?

EDIT: Complete, for now!  If I think of more stuff, I'll post it up.

Parkour And Freerunning / Novice crews - analysis?
« on: November 27, 2007, 10:29:04 PM »
So, I just started training for parkour two weeks ago, and I'm still getting some fundamentals down.  I've read a lot of theory, watched many tutorial videos, trying to educate myself as much as I can not just about how to execute common parkour moves, but how to effectively communicate this knowledge to other people.  I've put together two different crews, both composed of friends and acquaintances who have never practiced it before.  There is one crew in each of the two cities I split my time between.

Soon it will be time to begin training with both of them.  I've prepped them by sending them video tutorials of basic landings and rolls, and I plan to continue sending out videos of stuff relevant to what we're doing during our training sessions.  I figure our curriculum will for now consist of theory, landings, and rolls, with precisions and balance exercises thrown in a little later.  All the while, there will be strength conditioning and endurance training.  I figure one of our goals will end up being able to do the APK warm up in a certain amount of time, which we will agree upon together.

I foresee a few major advantages of training with a novice crew.  We will be able to advance in skill at relatively the same rate.  Having a more advanced traceur teach these things we novices may otherwise "discover" together could cut down on the amount of camaraderie and bonding within the group.  Plus, since we all already know each other, the crews won't have to go through that initial awkward getting-to-know-you phase.

On the down side, no matter how much reading I do, there will be times where I will fall short where a more experienced traceur will shine.  There will be many times where I am genuinely wrong, and since I'm assuming the role of de facto leader, I may be messing them up as well.  There will also be the setback of not having someone in person show us the movements we would like to learn, nor someone to point out flaws in our basic forms.  And the progression of our training may be completely off as well.

So, here's where I throw it open to discussion.  Am I going about this correctly?  Are there difficulties that I am not foreseeing, and if so, how can I compensate for them?  Are there advantages that I have not thought of that I might try to capitalize upon?  Is my basic curriculum right for the first part of our training?  I feel like the blind leading the blind.  Any advice would be appreciated.

Also, holy crap, I can't believe people are going to be trusting me to teach them something I'm just barely grasping!  Frightening!

Injuries - Discussion / Pain in heel of hand - rest or adjust form?
« on: November 24, 2007, 05:45:35 PM »
Hey all.  I am very new to parkour, having only started training on my own two weeks ago.  In the last few days, I have been having some minor to middling pain in the heels of my hands when I press them on a broad surface.  For the most part, I've ignored this and continued training.  Today being a rest day, I thought about it a bit more and figured I should ask some more experienced traceurs about this.  I've searched through the injury forum, and the wrist and hand injury threads have mostly been about wrist sprains and other wrist injuries, which is not what I'm looking for.

First: when I land, I come down on the heels of my hands to push back to a running position.  Should I be using my hands differently?  I also don't give very much at the elbows, as I feel that this negates the benefits of bracing with the hands.  (Nor do I lock the elbows -- that's suicide!)  Neither the APK tutorial nor other landing tutorials I've found have said anything about this.

Also: is this significant enough an injury to seek a health professional?  Is this significant an injury to lay off the landings and vaults for a while?  I'd rather not, as I enjoy training quite a bit.

I appreciate any advice my senior traceurs might be able to give me.

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