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Messages - Jeff

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Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Honors Project-Parkour and Women
« on: January 21, 2010, 03:29:43 PM »
Great project. Keep us updated. Parkour is still in its infancy, so the window to do define parkour culture as gender-neutral and not as a "boy sport" will only be open for so long. One interesting thing I encounter when talking to my girlfriend and many other girls is this notion of "I can't do that - I'm not strong enough". Even girls who are athletic in many other ways and may otherwise be predisposed to it because of a background in gymnastics or climbing. So I think there's a lot of trepidation or even pushback among girls themselves. Examples of amazing traceuses and explanations about parkour being about training any body to move better seems to stick, and my guess is that what's needed is a role model or two. As a guy, it's hard to get an accurate insight into this phenomenon.

One thing we're hoping to do soon in the Bay Area is have a focus group of the traceuses around her. Get as many as we can together and find out what the unique appeal is for women, what the pressures are, and hopefully what needs to happen to get more girls involved.

From a male point of view, anything that's almost exclusively male suffers from testosterone poisoning of one form or another, and contributes to unhelpful stereotypes. A more even gender balance serves as a sort of regulating force.

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To answer this question you first need to have everyone in the conversation agree on what parkour is, and then what all the philosophies are. It's likely that you all have different philosophies in mind. Then once you do that, everyone in the conversation can agree that something "is" or "isn't", but everyone outside the conversation who didn't get the memo will continue thinking what they think on the matter. With no one central authority, the most you would be able to say is that one group thinks A, and another thinks B.

"Is" and "is not" when applied to fuzzy, human-centric (and typically Western-centric) concepts in thought puzzles like this are fairly arbitrary. Like the tree falling in the woods thing. But it's a fun process to go through anyway.

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MN Jams / Re: U of M Campus security
« on: January 08, 2010, 01:17:44 PM »
Hey, sorry for not replying sooner, I read your guys' replies, but we decided to stay under the radar at Cal since it seemed to be working decently enough rather than run the risk of being officially told we had to stop then being forced to comply. We're getting "Berkeley Parkour Collective" T-shirts, but that's just for fun rather than to mitigate risk of perceived hooliganism.

Oh, and to address the staying in one spot thing - we have a set location to meet because (when the weather is good and the sun sets late), we get upwards of 20 people out, many of whom don't use SFPK, BAPK or Facebook and can track our route (which isn't posted anywhere anyway). Having a reliable spot to come to is important to keep people coming back. Slackers come late, but we don't want to discriminate against slackers by leaving right at the meeting time. We do often move after about half an hour though.

Anyway, sorry for the tardy response, but I appreciated hearing your experiences - thank you.

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I hear ya Rafe on actually trying lots of things out being of primary importance to getting to a workable format. For everyone who will try something out this weekend, report back here and tell us how it went: what worked, what didn't; what's scalable, what isn't. After all, what the Internet is good for is aggregating knowledge and getting it to people who can use it and build on it (for free). I think that's the primary goal of sites like this. But ideas build and are improved faster when they're shared, so post!

What I'd like to see is a few variations of competition. Track, gymnastics... just about every sport that has competitions breaks it out into sub-competitive formats. There's a separate 100-meter sprint and a 200 meter sprint, floor gymnastics and bar stuff, etc., each focuses on an area of skill. Parkour is just as broad in scope as these sports, and arguably more.

To that end, I'd like to see a short course, a long course, and something forcing people to improvise (like a "hidden" course). Also, I think creativity should be tested. That would prevent people from simply training for the likely objects and just learning kongs, speeds, etc. A bonus round for finding new ways to get over an obstacle that the other competitors didn't could be cool. This isn't to say we're testing freerunning/flips. This "innovative movement" category would still require judging based on utility, speed, control and precision. Or whatever. But would encourage the ability to demonstrate quick thinking and the ability to come up with options others haven't yet.

Also, and this would be hard to scale down to the grassroots level, but running the same course in different conditions. Wet vs. dry being the obvious example. Tests the traceur's range and preparedness.

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Hi Travis,

To answer your question, first of all, I think your definition is really good. In particular I like the description of parkour being used to "navigate any terrain" and using the elements "strength, speed, balance, coordination, precision, power, and endurance."

I would emphasize a bit more the mental aspect of it. Not philosophical, like being dedicated to some notion of "efficiency" (which as people have noted, isn't sufficiently descriptive), but the way parkour training readjusts your way of viewing your environment. I worded it as "removing the cultural context" of an object, which I just mean you sort of let go of your expectations of how you "should" and "shouldn't" move in a place, and use what's there no matter what it is to create paths.

The definition isn't bad by any means though, and until I saw this thread was quite happy with it. Still am, actually.

I really like Beretta's use of the word "holistic". We'll never be able to list out the categories of movement, and certainly can't describe it by saying what it's not. I like the idea of an all-encompassing, hybrid-of-all-things-the-body-can-achieve view of movement.

I also want to suggest that the definition avoid words like "is" and "should" and instead use terms like "is valued by most traceurs" and "is characterized by". Once you start saying things like like "parkour is X", people will start debating the exceptions, of which there will likely be a great many.

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Parkour is a movement art incorporating fast and efficient movement through man-made and natural spaces. Fluid, controlled movement with little wasted energy is highly valued by the parkour practitioner ("traceur" for males, "traceuse" for females). Parkour is typically characterized by, but doesn't require, non-standard use of objects to create an alternate path. Though parkour doesn't require non-standard use of a space, it is often what the parkour practitioner seeks out when training.

Though primarily a movement discipline, parkour also requires creative-thinking skills. A traceur or traceuse must remove the cultural context and expected use of objects in his or her environment in order to find new paths through the space using those objects. This is commonly called "parkour vision", and is an integral part of the parkour experience.

Freerunning, a similar discipline not easy to distinguish from parkour by an inexperienced observer, is closely related to parkour but its practitioners have a different intent in their movements. The goal of freerunning is more aesthetics and expression. Freerunners often start with a base of parkour skills and add acrobatics or dance to their moves. Freerunning and parkour are culturally similar, have a lot of cross-over skills, and often share web resources (such as forums) and training sessions.

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MN Jams / Re: U of M Campus security
« on: September 11, 2009, 11:58:45 AM »
So, 9 months later, how did it go?

Here at UC Berkeley we're encountering the same problem now. We've managed to fly under the radar for a few years now, but we're getting enough people showing up at our regular jams now that we're getting noticed - and told to go away. Bound to happen at some point. We're going to start a club but that doesn't really address the liability fears nor the property damage fears.

I'm reading other threads like this one I've found here, but many just sort of end with "and next week we'll give our presentation to security..." and then no more posts. I've already read Zac's great powerpoint and another great thread on how to start a club. What I'm looking for now is any success stories anyone can point me to, or better threads to read specifically on the issue of getting security to be cool with parkour on campus.

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Hey everybody new to/recently back to the Bay Area. I'm Meatlad from SFPK, active in Berkeley mostly ('cause I live there) and just want to post a reminder that we've got a ton of stuff going on at the UC Berkeley campus, and hoping things are going to pick up even more now that schools back in session. Fall is a great time to start doing stuff (again) 'cause there's always an influx of new people. We've got conditioning on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 at Doe Library, then Thursday jams at Doe at 6PM every week. Weekend jams too, but no weekly one at that location. Jams scheduled at:

http://www.sfparkour.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=11

There's of course lots going on all over the bay area, with jams happening just about every day of the week somewhere. You can find them at the link above too.

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Best of luck with the show! From talking to Brian, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing it. I hope there's lots of interesting creative flow, as that's underexposed in media pieces and what I think would really appeal to the public.

One thing Corndogg and I stress over at sfparkour.com all the time is that most media pieces are just a hook. they're meant to be entertainment, not an educational experience. They serve to interest people and have them seek out the local communities. We're here to welcome them into our communities, even if they were hooked with some piece that showed some narrow aspect of parkour or freerunning or some partially-misrepresented aspect. Show them the right way to train, guide them to resources and help them be good community members who will do the same for new traceurs after them.

Competitions, to me, seem just another aspect of that. I worry about them only as far as I think they have the power to affect my training. So I don't worry much about it.

I look forward to watching the show and training someday with all the people on it, and with the people who join as a result of watching it!

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Parkour And Freerunning / Re: The Wrong Idea
« on: March 16, 2009, 04:43:59 PM »
Hi everyone, I have a couple suggestions.

I would start by trying not to look at these kids like dickheads, problems to be solved, or anything deserving derision. It's just a bad mental state to be in, and doesn't in itself help anyone.

Sounds like they really get off on challenges and doing impressive moves. If they've never heard of parkour, they probably don't know of all the challenges and cool stuff you can do in the practice of parkour, and they're just left with tricks. Show them. That 5' precision is a great example. $10 says they came out the next day to work on it. Find more stuff like that - kongs to precisions onto a bench or something, teach them a dash. People like that often love challenges more than the rest of them, and there's plenty of those in basic, techinique-oriented parkour.

Definitely don't bother lecturing. The last thing a 14 y/o boy will respond positively to is a lecture by, well, anyone, much less an older dude they don't know. If it gets too frustrating watching, go off by yourself and let them be. It's hard to motivate yourself to train if you're frustrated while training.

If they're 14 and can already do every imaginable trick, they might make world-class traceurs someday. Bring them into the fold!

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Parkour And Freerunning / Re: i have a favor to ask
« on: March 13, 2009, 11:31:53 AM »
Though I must ultimately agree with Zac, you could try this: ask what he sees that's making him worry. Too often we try to "tell", figuring if we just tell the right thing, people will understand our point of view. Sometimes listening will get you further. The security guard may think you're trying to lecture him about the truth of the situation, while whatever it is he saw you do that the triggered a worrisome thought in his head remains unaddressed.

90% of the time it's completely out of your control of course, but even in those situations you can say "OK, I'm going now, but before I do, so I can make life a little easier for other security guards, what was it about my (vault/precision/etc.) that made you worry/react/mad?"

Hell, you could even try inviting him (or her) to try what you're doing. It defuses a lot of any air of threating-ness the guard might be worried about from you (that's what they're paid to deal with, after all).

In Berkeley where I train, after asking what the moves are that make them nervous, and whether it's liability or damage their concern is, we invite them to try it, as someone in their line of work (it's been campus police so far) would be good at it and probably like it. Then we give him our business card (for www.sfparkour.com). We've done that a few times now on the Cal campus over the last year or so, and it's worked (so far)! I suspect in at least two of the situations, the cops are expecting resistance of some mild sort, not that they're going to be recruited into a novel exercise program. They just want to go back to work at that point.

It may seem all gooey and pop-psychology, but when other people feel "heard", they lower their own defenses a bit and respond a lot better. Worth a try.

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Socialize / Re: You know you're a traceur when...
« on: March 13, 2009, 11:15:31 AM »
When you intentionally park at the far end of the lot so you can do parkour between your car and the building entrance.

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Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Daniel Ilabaca Interview
« on: March 11, 2009, 02:39:18 PM »
Ask him how important he feels some of these issues around unity or standardization are in the parkour and freerunning world. Like does he feel like we really need consensus on competition, commercialization, defining a hard and fast line between parkour and freerunning, etc.

Also ask him if he thinks there are future branches of the parkour tree besides parkour and freerunning. Does he see some fusion sport between, say, capoeira and freerunning for example? (I use capoeira as an example because it's a fusion itself between dance and martial arts).

-Meatlad from sfparkour

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Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Feature Length Parkour Documentary
« on: March 10, 2009, 01:45:19 PM »
Hey Graham, if you're doing a feature-length documentary you will have the opportunity to dive in deep to the culture and our current existential debates on issues. One feature-length, or near-feature length documentary you should really check out is Parkour: Way of Life: http://www.future-digital.co.uk/showreel.html

That's a British production and they got most of the major talent and movers and shakers over there. In my opinion they did a great job of showing the philosophies of parkour and freerunning. Though it had a lot of amazing tricking and pure parkour, it didn't feel like it was a tricking video and was pretty thoughtful.

Depending on your creative direction and what you need, we'd help you out if you wanted to make a trip up to San Francisco to visit. I'm an admin at www.sfparkour.com (I'm Meatlad over there). Ping me or Corndogg or one of our area reps if you want to talk more.

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Socialize / Re: You know you're a traceur when...
« on: March 10, 2009, 01:31:57 PM »
When you stay late at work just to do parkour around the office when no one is around.

When you hide parkour terms in long and boring documents you make for your day job, in the hopes that someone someday will be looking through the history of the thing you're working on and see that in the beginning it was worked on by a traceur.

When you have more parkour dreams than sex dreams (depends on relationship status though I guess).

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Well, a lot has been said, so I'll keep it brief. As an admin (Meatlad), what I find valuable about this model is the diverse feedback. Because we serve such a geographically broad and stylistically diverse user-base, it can be hard to take a pulse of the entire community. Especially because people don't want to always tell you how they feel directly, or there's a vocal minority, it's hard to tell what's really representative of the whole community and hence hard to know how to improve our running of SFPK. So having someone who's "duty" it is to provide that feedback really makes me feel like we're covering our bases a lot better and, as Corndogg said, keeping our ear to the ground.

Scenes flourish where there's structure, and without these great guys to provide that structure where it might not happen naturally, there wouldn't be such a great expansion with the scene. We can now reliably point people coming to SFPK to the right resource, be it person or class, in most places in Northern California. And again, with an expanded scene available to us we get more, better feedback.

As it is a new model, we're still working out the kinks as far as making and keeping goals, effectively dividing up the "federal-level" responsibilities among those most motivated and able, and figuring out how much standardization among the communities we would ideally like to see. It really is more of a federation-of-states model than anything, which so far has allowed the reps to take chances and experiment while taking advantage of our resources without being beholden to anyone else. We haven't needed to make too many rules or figure out enforcement techniques - that's not our style.

Thanks to the Area Reps for lending your insights here, by the way! It's good to hear your views on the program as a whole.

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Pics & Vids / Re: KosovaParkour Wallpapers
« on: January 08, 2009, 03:38:55 PM »
That's really cool. I went to Pristina a couple times when I was there, nice place.

If I end up going back this year maybe I'll look you guys up and join you for a jam. Anyway, keep up the good art work. Oh, and your english seems pretty good to me.

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I would love to know the backstory behind this post, as well as hear a more coherent explanation of what's being asked for here. I'm still digesting it. I'm sure there's some behind-the-scenes political wrangling going on, given the expansion of parkour, the money it's starting to make people, and David's own burgeoning action star career.

Plus, in the New Yorker article he did last April (I think it was April), he seemed pretty OK with the other disciplines and ways of training, so it really makes me wonder what the place of business is in these requests. Especially with the closure of parkour.net and it's poo-pooing of the Yamakasi, it seems to suggest a move toward more tightly controlling the use of the term and who profits from it than a community-welfare issue.

I also wonder why this comes from Belle's brother (was I reading that right?) rather than him.

Ultimately, parkour, however broadly or tightly you define it, has already been unleashed on the world. Forcing any kind of standards in training programs or control on media use or forum representation, will be nearly impossible. I will always respect Belle for bringing his baby into the world, but like a child, at some point it takes on a will and life of its own and you just kind of have to hope for the best and guide in a positive way.

I'm eager to see where this goes.

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Pics & Vids / Re: KosovaParkour Wallpapers
« on: January 07, 2009, 02:11:01 PM »
Mirdita KosovaParkour! Awesome designs, I likes them.

Where in Kosova? I volunteered down in Gjakova for a few months back in '99. Beautiful place. I might be going back to visit this spring/summer. How's the parkour scene over there?

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