Author Topic: Humbling experience in San Francisco  (Read 2831 times)

Offline Chad Zwadlo (Zwadloc)

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Humbling experience in San Francisco
« on: October 12, 2008, 10:27:02 AM »
I just recently had a very humbling experience in San Francisco and I'm kind of wondering if anyone else has ever noticed anything like this before...

I come from a very small town (less than 8,000 people) and there's honestly very little to train on.  I know people will say that there's always something to find that you can do, and yes that's true to an extent.  But I'm talking about really training the more advanced flow and multiple different techniques.  I don't know about the rest of you, but when all I have to work with is one 4 foot long railing and maybe a wall....I can't get much flow going there.  Also, this town I'm from is in the middle of the upper midwest...so basically 6 months out of the year it's too cold to go out and train very much.  Until very recently I've not had the opportunity to train at any indoor facilities either.  I don't want to sound like I'm complaining about my hometown here, but you need to know my backstory a bit before you understand the situation.

So I'm currently down in San Francisco for a little vacation and I figured it would be fun to attend a little jam down here and see some of a new city that I've never been to as well as meet some new people.  And I have to say the traceurs down here are amazing!  The flow they have from being able to have places to train where you can actually move from one thing to the next, plus the fact that they can train all year round.  It really opened up my eyes when they were asking me how long I've been training for and it almost embarrassed me to say since I wasn't nearly as good as most of them even though I've been freerunning almost twice as long as many of them.

This was my first real experience training in a city like this and I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this sort of thing...are the midwestern traceurs and freerunners at a natural disadvantage because of the weather we have to deal with?

Offline John Conway

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 11:00:55 AM »
Where are you from i the mid-west? I am from Indiana, and it sounds like me and you have very simialr problems.

Almost everythingyou asid I can relate to. Very few places to train and put together movements. No big moves either, small ones. No major obstacles or architecture. Everytime I go to a new city (Chicago, Madsion, Ann Arbor...soon Indianapolis) I want to move there because all I have is like 1 rail next to...space. There is such a lack and yes, the weather plays a huge roll.

But on that I say; train in all weather. Not as much as you can in warmth but it helps with adaptation and every situation and enviornment that you will need for parkour.

I think that, somewhat, we are disadvantaged because the midwest lacks architecture....seriously, farms and tornadoes and 4 diff. seasons, also the mid-west is extremely non-creative beause of that....all this land was originally used for was for farming. Why have fancy buildings.

I'm moving as soon as I have enough money. No joke, I have been planning to move for abuot a year now, I just need more money...

Offline Nick Kelly

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 01:41:15 PM »
Remember, in parkour you don't compare your progress against other people. You compete against yourself to try to improve yourself. Don't worry about what other people have. Try to see your environment as an obstacle. There's no reason that you can't train in the winter, and find things to train and condition with even when you feel like your environment lacks obstacles. (...of course its not as easy, or not as fun at times, but that's part of the challenge.)

Offline John Conway

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2008, 01:58:52 PM »
It's damn near impossible man. I completely agree with the no comparison, thats part of parkour.

But we lack. I've been training parkour for 3 years in the same city, with the same obstacles, and more and more my vision has increased but that doesnt mean anything when the rail is always a rail that is next to nothing. it always lack flow capabilites because thats the architecture.

it gives us a disadvantage because when we travel, its like starting over. It seems the whole country has good spots excpet the mid-west. I will never STOP training, but we are def. limited....for now.

Offline Bret [Soundcrafter]

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2008, 02:41:38 PM »
Where are you from i the mid-west? I am from Indiana...

Where from, mate?

Offline Laurie Jennifer

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2008, 03:35:05 PM »
remember that parkour is about adapting to YOUR environment.  rather than trying to develope the flow necessary for someone else's environment, master your own.  it doesn't have to look like a traditional youtube video.  if open space is your main obstacle, then really focus on running, or QM. the suburban and rural environments lend themselves to a very different sort of expression of parkour. learn to scale trees quickly.  dive roll bushes and fences.  run.  a lot.  run in the snow.  think outside the box.  and if you want to also train for an urban environment, you can always design your own course, or open your own gym.  :)

good luck! don't be discouraged!
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Offline John Conway

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2008, 04:46:33 PM »
ahhh but the thing about creating your own obstacle course, im not against it or anything.
but the idea of not moving anything in nature, to let the obstacle just be there and dont modify it,
well i dont even like moving a stick to just mark where've i landed haha  :P

i know building a course is not exactly related to that, but i feel that no matter how lacking my environment is,
i should "master" it, or always train with it, rather than create an artifical one.

so thanks for the advice lj because its good! +1
remember that parkour is about adapting to YOUR environment.

i needed that refreshed in my head, i wont forget it again!

Offline John Conway

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2008, 04:47:02 PM »
Where are you from i the mid-west? I am from Indiana...

Where from, mate?

NWI near chicago....you in IN too?

Offline Kineticstorm

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2008, 09:25:51 PM »
Now here's something I can completely understand, I'm from KS and am fortunate enough to live in one of the smaller college towns. Probably one of the best pieces of advice I can give is try to find a college campus. They generally have good layouts for training. Alternatively you could try to find a rec center or something. I am trying to put together a class at our university, and one of the challenges was to find something to do on days with inclement weather, so I went to the aerobics room and just started stacking up step aerobic blocks. It's amazing the different skills you can practice with those.
As soon as you stop pushing yourself, stop trying to reach your paragon, the day that you become content with your abilities and place in life, that's the day you start dying.

Offline Chad Zwadlo (Zwadloc)

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2008, 09:34:11 PM »
Thanks for all the info and feedback everyone.  It's good to know that others have some of the same feelings as I do.  As for where I am, I'm from Menomonie, Wisconsin...pretty far up there compared to most places.  When people say you can still train in the winter I wonder if they've ever really experienced a true wisconsin winter...I don't care how conditioned you are, you don't run around outside when it's -15 degrees or worse.  As for the lack of obstacles, I do condition a lot...that's one of the things I've noticed as a strong point in my training.  when it's cold out, I just go to the gym. For me to do muscle-up after muscle-up now isn't really that difficult so wall climbing and whatnot is good for me.  Same for running conditioning, I've got that down pretty damn good as well (as long as my knees can handle it).  And when you compare yourself to yourself rather than competing with others it's cool to be able to pick out your strong points as well as your weak points.  But at the same time when you're training with other people and you see them with flow you can only dream of or rail work that you wish you could train for...it's discouraging sometimes.

It will get better this winter though since I recently started working at an extremely high class gymnastics facility teaching freerunning classes three days a week, so I can still train now even when it gets cold.  YAY!! :D

Offline Zack Bedingfield

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2008, 10:00:22 PM »
Didn't read anything but the op's posts, but my opinion is...
With a wall and a 4 foot rail, the possibilities are nearly endless (I'm assuming they're within jumping distance of each other). so you should never feel discouraged as you don't have sweet spots, you just don't have many sweet spots, which sucks, but thats just gonna make doing pk anywhere else that much sweeter.

as far as weather goes...it gets pretty cold here in boulder, but never like -15, but what I hope, is that if it did, I would still go out and drill 50 climbups and anything else I could. I've only been making these decisions the last couple of months in training, but I feel as though these months have been some of my most productive.
anyways gl on all training, were all trying to progress always.
“You do freerunning or parkour, I don’t know, but both are the same. Some people are worried about it, but they are people that don’t train for too long, people that…in terms of training, aren’t mature yet. […] One day I’d like to wake up, open my window, and everyones doing parkour." -Ali Shelton

Offline Brandan Mendenhall

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2008, 10:43:00 AM »
Damn, -15? I was crying like a little girl this morning when it got below 50 here in Phoenix, AZ (might have been colder for me, cause of the windchill I get on my motorcycle).
Your obstacle is my shortcut.

Offline Marshall Cent Lewis

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2008, 11:37:06 AM »
all I have is like 1 rail next to...space.

One rail can build a surprising amount of flow.  It all depends on the way you look at it.  Here's a video of a guy with some nice rail flow.  It's not a single rail, but the setup is still fairly simplistic.  Maybe you can get some ideas for training from it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1GPf9K28H8
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Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2008, 12:18:38 PM »
Chad, I spent the last three winters training in Canada.. -22F, soaking wet in 8 feet of snow, was the worst I've done..  And I didn't get hypothermia.  I didn't go to the hospital..  I had a blast, even if part of me hated every moment of it.

It's possible.  Sometimes, you just gotta bite teh dust.
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Offline Zach Crowell

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2008, 12:54:54 PM »
Here in washington, I live in a town of 18,000 people or so.. But we live in a barren desert. there are no hillls, no cool architecture, no stairways bristling with rails or anything like that.. I went to Seattle and it was insane. It just seemed like there was stuff to do everywhere.

Offline John Conway

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Re: Humbling experience in San Francisco
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2008, 02:37:03 PM »
all I have is like 1 rail next to...space.

One rail can build a surprising amount of flow.  It all depends on the way you look at it.  Here's a video of a guy with some nice rail flow.  It's not a single rail, but the setup is still fairly simplistic.  Maybe you can get some ideas for training from it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1GPf9K28H8

yes there is a suprising amount of flow, but not surprising after 3 years! i need new areas, PRODUCTIVE areas. im glad as a traceur i have an instinct to travel. i can safely say my locale is one of the most-lacking in terms of movement and flow of parkour. i can also safely say that my locale isnt on the bottom of the list, i dont have all desert to surround me.