Author Topic: The Stride Revolution - TK17  (Read 8596 times)

Offline Andy Keller

  • Oh baby baby.
  • Administrator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 2145
  • Karma: +9012/-9006
  • Lancaster, PA
    • View Profile
    • My Facebook
The Stride Revolution - TK17
« on: September 02, 2010, 10:26:48 PM »
This was written by TK17. I received it from him via email. Read it and please tell me your thoughts. :)



The Stride Revolution
(that somehow never happened)

Every traceur understands that parkour is a process and a mindset, not a list of movements you can memorize and check off.  An athlete who just goes out and masters ten or fifteen different techniques from Youtube videos isn’t really one of us, we say. 
Yet even as we say it, it’s hard to stop that list from rattling around inside our own heads.  We all know it … it goes something like:

•   PK roll (roulade)
•   Precision (saut de precision)
•   Catpass (saut de chat) a.k.a. kong
•   Gap jump (saut de détente)
•   Speed vault (passment rapide)
•   Drop (saut de fond)
•   Wall run (passe muraille)
•   Underbar (franchissment)
•   Arm jump (saut de bras) a.k.a. catleap
•   Tic Tac

… and the more level-headed of us don’t forget to include running at the top.   But whether level-headed, borderline, or just plain PK-crazy, nobody seems to be including a little technique that a few young traceurs in Cambridge like to call “the stride.”




Phil Doyle executing a stride in Cambridge, England (Photo credit: Scott Bass)

It’s a relatively recent invention, at least the way they’re doing it.  Not quite running, not quite jumping, and not quite a one-legged precision, it’s turning out to be one of the most powerfully explosive and efficient movements the parkour world has ever seen, eating up distances hitherto reserved only for running gap jumps and leaving even the swiftest vaulters in the dust.  It’s incredibly adaptable, too … in the recent Ampisound video “Professor Longhair, Big Chief,” Kie Willis and Phil Doyle stride up, down, and forwards on rails, benches, pillars, walls, and rooftops, all without the slightest break in momentum. 

With results like those, you’d think that every traceur in the world would be scrambling to get outside and start striding, but the buzz so far has been inexplicably nonexistent.  It’s not catching on, and it should—in fact, I propose that the stride deserves a place in every traceur’s toolkit, right alongside those classic French techniques that come to mind so easily.  Blasphemy, I know, but it’s blasphemy I’m prepared to defend.

Objection #1:   All you’re doing is linking running jumps!

To some extent, this objection has merit.  It’s true that the conceptual core of the movement is just that—do a running jump, and follow it up with another one, instantly.  But for one thing, similarity doesn’t stop us from differentiating wall runs and tic tacs, and for another, there’s a lot of technique to the stride that isn’t really found anywhere else, making it a distinct movement in a class all its own.

With ordinary running, the focus is on rhythm, lightness, and speed.  Each footfall is essentially identical, and whether you’re running heel-toe or ball-heel-ball, you lift your leg upwards from the ground and thrust the knee forward, allowing the lower leg to flash ahead to the next point of contact.  And with ordinary running jumps, the focus tends to be on throwing your arms forward for the takeoff, tucking in midair for control, and reaching out with both legs to absorb and cancel as much momentum as possible.

The stride, on the other hand, requires a completely different approach.  Once you get past the fact that your feet are moving left-right-left-right, most of the overlap with running disappears.  Your only two priorities are hitting your next step precisely, and maintaining your forward momentum.  Footfalls can change from step to step (typically, you’ll land on the ball when descending, and smoothly roll from heel to toe when rising or moving horizontally), and there’s no point in trying to find a consistent rhythm when the next five walls might be at radically different distances from one another.

Also, while strides frequently involve a normal running motion, they just as often require you to let your rear leg lag behind.  By keeping it back and keeping the knee fairly straight, it becomes a counterweight that you can swing forward to pull yourself to the next obstacle.  Naturally, that means no tucking between steps (arms don’t tend to swing together, either), and the typical sink-and-deep-bend that traceurs use to cancel momentum is completely absent, since the whole point is to keep moving forward.

Objection #2:   It’s unnecessary … I can cover those obstacles with REAL parkour movements!

Again, a legitimate concern—all of the obstacles in Professor Longhair can (and have been) tackled with more traditional movements like single jumps, arm jumps, and vault combos.  But in each case, the end result was much slower when the traceur relied on his or her hands than when Kie and Phil used their feet.  Classic techniques tend to involve a lot of up-and-down motion, as traceurs transition from the ground to the air and back, and they rely more heavily on arms, which are inevitably weaker than legs.  That means the classic techniques take more time and energy—time and energy that are translated into speed when you simply glide right over everything in your path.  For a true traceur, the choice is obvious.

Plus, it’s important to remember that there is nothing sacred about the classic techniques.  They’ve stuck around because they’ve proven to be highly efficient and adaptable to a wide range of obstacles, but in the end, they are only as good as they are useful.  David and the Yamakasi were no older than the Cambridge traceurs when they developed them, and arguably had less knowledge about movement, since this generation has benefited from the successes of the past.  The high-level practitioners who are using strides (and they are many—see the videos of Danny Ilabaca, Blane, Livewire, and the Vigroux brothers, to start) know that what matters is the end result, and if strides do that job better, then they become your best tool.

Objection #3:   Strides look like they put a lot of stress on the legs … they look like they’d be easy to mess up … they’re dangerous and untested.

Untrue—they’ve cropped up here and there for years, albeit not to the level shown in Professor Longhair.  And while single-leg techniques definitely have greater potential for injury, that doesn’t necessarily make them any less safe to a traceur who is willing to put forth the effort in conditioning and careful progression.

As it stands now, no one can speak to the safety or dangerousness of strides except for the tiny handful of traceurs who are practicing them regularly, most of whom seem confident enough to use them on rails or at height.  Just like with the original parkour moves, the only real way to be sure is to see what happens with time—how well do practitioners hold up after weeks and months and years of training them?  To answer that question fully, we need to have the whole parkour community involved, to have all of our gurus and experts swapping ideas and looking out for each other.  We need you, in other words—we need you to think about it, and experiment with it, and see if there’s a way for you to do them safely, so that you can share your experiences with the rest of us.  Until we give it a shot, we’ll never know—just as no one knew whether an arm jump could be done until the founders worked up the strength and the courage to try.  This doesn’t mean we should rush into it, and it doesn’t mean it has to be done recklessly.  But if we’re really searching for the fastest way—if we really mean it when we call ourselves traceurs—then we owe it to ourselves to take a crack at it.

Objection #4:   So what?  Let everyone else try … I’m not interested.

In the end, every traceur will make his or her own choice on this issue.  As always, you are in control, and there is no one right or wrong answer to a given obstacle.  But if I haven’t convinced you yet, consider this one last thought before you make up your mind.

In parkour as it exists today, we use our hands for nearly everything.  We place them on the ground for PK rolls, scrape them bloody for wall runs and arm jumps, give them blisters with underbars and lachés, and slap them onto every surface imaginable for vaults.  Our feet, on the other hand, barely go beyond what they’d do if we were playing football or basketball or any other sport.  We use them to run, to jump, and (every once in a while) to stick a precise landing, and that’s about it.

Part of what drew me to parkour in the first place was its promise of completeness, the way it seemed natural and balanced in a world that tries to separate us from our Paleolithic bodies.  Yet the founders, for all their hard work, did not leave us with a complete discipline.  They never intended for parkour to stop growing and changing after a few years.  We are unbalanced, relying on hands and arms while our stronger feet and legs languish.  Strides can help fix that imbalance, returning footwork to a place of equal importance with dexterity, making us truly rely on our whole bodies once more.  When I watched Professor Longhair, I felt once more that sense of wonder and excitement that I’ve lost through my years of practice.  I felt that there was something new, something that could take my movement to a whole new level, that would be difficult and frightening and ultimately rewarding in a way that nothing has been in five years.
I felt, in other words, that there was a new obstacle before me, and I yearned to get started conquering it.  If you feel the same way, then it’s time to shake things up—time to take a great stride forward with a new style of training.

- TK17

Professor Longhair, Big Chief
« Last Edit: September 02, 2010, 10:31:29 PM by Andy Keller »
"Do it, do it well, do it well and fast."

Offline Sai Chikine

  • Patas
  • ***
  • Posts: 232
  • Karma: +0/-0
  • Traceur for himself
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2010, 10:56:47 PM »
Extremely awesome, thanks. *puts on list of things to train after recovery*
MYCARMY 2011 - OVERLORD OF CALAMITY

"I'm about to give you some f#cking shit ass shit shit, so shit and listen, shit." - Kyle

'What if children in the future were encouraged to keep on playing in playgrounds as they got older, instead of having to learn to "grow up?"' - .Nico

Offline Sparklefish

  • EAF!
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1323
  • Karma: +147/-16
    • View Profile
    • San Francisco Parkour
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2010, 11:02:32 PM »
Hmmm... I feel like I saw everyone training these last fall at Cat Fountain in Denver and UCLA (which, as you might have guessed, is in LA).

Offline DaveS

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 652
  • Karma: +12/-6
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2010, 01:00:17 AM »
Maybe it's still new to some places, but I think striding has been shown in videos for long enough now that most people have tried it. People aren't ignoring it, it's just difficult!

It would be good if there were short articles on all the major movement types, highlighting the uses of each. I think it's a bad idea to try and present any single movement as somehow being revolutionary or more important. Every movement is useful.
Highlighting one just creates a fashion. We've had that already with catpass-precisions, muscle-ups, one-arm chin-ups, handstands etc. All we've done is create a community of people who can catpass but not run, handstand but not climb. It creates specialization in a discipline that thrives on diversity.

I think Duncan's getting very excited about his return to the community. He's got a lot of enthusiasm for helping people, and that's great. However, he needs to calm down and think a bit more about what help is needed if he wants to be effective in it.
~ Dave
NorthernParkour and the British Parkour Coaching Association

Offline Shyam Subramanian

  • Ambassador
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 902
  • Karma: +8/-1
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2010, 02:09:49 AM »
Hmm...actually I've been trying strides for a while now.  They're a lot of fun, but pretty hard to do successfully (I always end up losing momentum :()

Oh and welcome back Duncan!! I can't wait for more regular work from you man!
CTPK -|Trumbull Parkour|-

Offline Chris Seaton

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 326
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • TVD, ESQ.
    • View Profile
    • TV TV Dog
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2010, 02:28:34 AM »
Frosti can teach anybody to stride in like an hour. 

Seriously.  If he can do it with me, he can do it with you.

Posts by Mr. Seaton should be interpreted as simply for either informational purposes or his own pure amusement, and are never to be construed as providing legal advice or forming an attorney-client relationship.

Offline Andy Keller

  • Oh baby baby.
  • Administrator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 2145
  • Karma: +9012/-9006
  • Lancaster, PA
    • View Profile
    • My Facebook
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2010, 03:59:58 AM »
Frosti can teach anybody to stride in like an hour. 

Seriously.  If he can do it with me, he can do it with you.

You might be able to learn the concept in an hour, but there's no way that you'll reach your maximum potential in that time.
"Do it, do it well, do it well and fast."

Offline Chris Seaton

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 326
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • TVD, ESQ.
    • View Profile
    • TV TV Dog
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2010, 04:24:02 AM »
You might be able to learn the concept in an hour, but there's no way that you'll reach your maximum potential in that time.

...I never said that I reached my maximum potential in an hour, did I? 

I just said the guy taught me strides in an hour.  I'm still working on them all the time. 

That's the beauty of what we do--you'll never "master" it.  You'll always be working on something, always striving to be better, always looking for new ways to grow and improve. 

Posts by Mr. Seaton should be interpreted as simply for either informational purposes or his own pure amusement, and are never to be construed as providing legal advice or forming an attorney-client relationship.

Offline Shae Perkins

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1420
  • Karma: +78/-18
  • Texas tough
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2010, 05:39:32 AM »
Baha, I love Duncan. He's so enthusiastic and excitable about parkour.

This post was based off of my personal gatherings. Enjoy:)

matcauthon12

  • Guest
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2010, 06:09:10 AM »
The NY scene is ALL strides, running precisions, and catpass precisions haha. I blame Phil for coming over last summer.

Offline Bao

  • Patas
  • ***
  • Posts: 178
  • Karma: +21/-4
  • Alan Tran
    • View Profile
    • NCParkour
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2010, 06:50:22 AM »
I think Duncan's getting very excited about his return to the community. He's got a lot of enthusiasm for helping people, and that's great. However, he needs to calm down and think a bit more about what help is needed if he wants to be effective in it.
He's always been enthusiastic about helping the parkour community itself but with two years off the scene, he doesn't know what is being practiced and what isn't. I think Duncan is basing this article on his local community and recent trip to Europe. When we were there, few people were practicing strides outside of Cambridge and the international session held in Paris. In North Carolina, we've all been experimenting with it for the past year but Duncan hasn't seen any of that either. In fact, he doesn't even know what or how the American scene practices compared to the English.

Offline David Jones

  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1345
  • Karma: +26/-14
  • Representin the 215's finest... PhillyPK All Day.
    • View Profile
    • PkCali
Strides
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2010, 07:06:33 AM »
I liked that a lot. I think a lot of the community has messed around with strides, but only a few communities really focus on it. And thanks for the insight Bao, a little bit off topic but did you guys get a lot of footage while in Europe?

Offline max eisenberg

  • New Kid!
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1750
  • Karma: +136/-274
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2010, 07:21:02 AM »
this is quite old, ive been working on strides since i saw the first one performed from rail to rail. definitely need an increase in flexibility and strength to have them really work for you though.


my mind is constantly moving, one day my body will be strong enough to keep up.

JCalebM

  • Guest
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2010, 07:25:53 AM »
We're all about the strides in Orlando. But that did come from watchn the Cambridge guys do ridiculous strides in every video they put out

Offline TK17

  • Guenons
  • **
  • Posts: 59
  • Karma: +51/-3
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2010, 09:28:32 AM »
@ Dave ...

First, this is more intended for an American audience, which might account for a discrepancy in how prevalent we view the technique to be.  Second, the key point I'm trying to make is that it should be practiced (in my opinion) as much as the typical "standard" movements.  I'm aware that virtually EVERY traceur has fiddled about with strides from time to time, and I know that many people have even spent time getting decent competence with them.  But I've encountered no one outside of the names in the article who's reached the same level of proficiency and flexibility with them that they have with, say, standing jumps.  I'm trying to encourage people to suck it up about the difficulty, in other words.  Third, I feel rather condescended to by the last part of your comment ... just letting you know, in case that wasn't your intent.

@ everyone else ...

From the responses so far, it looks like this is already changing in places I don't know about, which is good.  It's interesting that out of the four cities specifically mentioned in people's responses, two of them are working on it in direct response to what Phil's doing.  In other words, they're reacting exactly as I did, and this is preaching to the choir for them. 

Those of you who HAVE been working on them for a while now ... I've been out for two years while you've been doing it.  Any thoughts to share?  Treat me as a novice.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2010, 12:07:53 PM by TK17 »

Offline Ashley McCauley

  • Is My Favorite
  • Ambassador
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1234
  • Karma: +24/-4
  • Strength sumblime, alive in my very skin
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2010, 09:28:40 AM »
Glad to see Duncan back. :)

I've seen strides from other communities but not a lot around here in Idaho (our community is small). It's definitely something to put into training.
“Run your fingers through my soul. For once, just once, feel exactly what I feel, believe what I believe, perceive as I perceive, look, experience, examine, and for once; just once, understand."

Offline BRR

  • Guenons
  • **
  • Posts: 90
  • Karma: +0/-0
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #16 on: September 03, 2010, 09:37:13 AM »
I'm in Idaho as well. Rexburg, just north of Idaho Falls!

Anyway, I have fiddled around with strides. They seem very efficient, useful, and beautiful. The problem is I have never been taught by anyone more advanced than me. I have learned everything by myself and through tutorials, so I am not to good at strides(among other things). Can you guys give me some pointers on how you started to learn strides, what kind of obstacles you started on. And any links to video tutorials on strides you found effective. I am going to search for some right now but many heads are better than one. Any pointers on body mechanic struggles you had with them as well.
Thanks!

Offline FreeStyleFox

  • Global Moderator
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1655
  • Karma: +56/-32
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #17 on: September 03, 2010, 10:34:32 AM »
Thank you Duncan.  To add on this I feel that every thing we do should be based on strides.  That is not to say we only do this style of movement.  But to say that every thing we do should be based on, left right left right foot movement.  If you watch traceurs who do this it results in a much faster much cleaner movement.  Also I remember watching dim monk and a few others year or two after I started and their striding movements.  So this has been something I have always practiced if not to the level of Doyle.
"If you cannot be a poet, be the poem."  David Carradine
May the flow be with you.  ~~FreeStyleFox

"A title and a few perks dont mean much. It takes nothing but a little thought and time to get your point across in a peaceful manner."

Offline Dan Elric

  • Ambassador
  • Hirundo Rustica
  • *****
  • Posts: 1586
  • Karma: +92/-53
    • View Profile
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2010, 11:46:46 AM »
An interesting use of foot-eye coordination, balance, and control.

Offline Chris Seaton

  • Mangabey
  • ****
  • Posts: 326
  • Karma: +1/-0
  • TVD, ESQ.
    • View Profile
    • TV TV Dog
Re: The Stride Revolution - TK17
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2010, 12:06:19 PM »
I'm in Idaho as well. Rexburg, just north of Idaho Falls!

Anyway, I have fiddled around with strides. They seem very efficient, useful, and beautiful. The problem is I have never been taught by anyone more advanced than me. I have learned everything by myself and through tutorials, so I am not to good at strides(among other things). Can you guys give me some pointers on how you started to learn strides, what kind of obstacles you started on. And any links to video tutorials on strides you found effective. I am going to search for some right now but many heads are better than one. Any pointers on body mechanic struggles you had with them as well.
Thanks!

Going off memory, and it's better to get someone else to teach you this physically than anything else, but...

I learned how to do these on precision trainers at Primal Fitness.  Frosti spaced them just far enough so that you had the option to either do a series of standing precisions, a stride, or a power hop.  The best way to think about them as I visualize the movement is to just picture moving from rock to rock across a large river/creek.  You want to push with your dominant/lead leg, draw in your knees, and keep your ankles engaged (strong--don't let them drop from stride to stride).  Keep your back straight--don't lean forward, otherwise your momentum will keep carrying you past the point you want/need to go.

Hope that helps.

Posts by Mr. Seaton should be interpreted as simply for either informational purposes or his own pure amusement, and are never to be construed as providing legal advice or forming an attorney-client relationship.