Author Topic: Karateka 37+ searching for flow  (Read 2956 times)

Offline Mindbender

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Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« on: March 04, 2015, 03:49:06 AM »
Hi, glad to have found this group.

I'm 37 going on 38 and have a background in running and low level martial arts (9 kyu Ninjutsu, 3 kyu Aikido) and have currently been training Karate (8 kyu) for a year. I'm also a drummer and artist, working as a teacher.

I have two boys, 11 and 9 who are both crazy about Parkour and a few days ago we all went to a Parkour park for the first time. I was amazed to find out that Parkour and Budo has so much in common! Realizing that Parkour movement could be trained and performed as a sort of kata, aiming for precision, flow and control, this is something I want to keep doing. :)

Now I'm here, another part of the journey has begun and I'm looking forward to share it with - and find helpful advice - from you guys with much more experience.

The most athletic thing I've done earlier is the ukemi found in the martial arts practice, so my plan is to start with "lazy vault/simplified lazy vault" as my first "move". I'm not very well trained at the moment (partly due to a broken toe this summer), but determined to get in better shape now. Wonderful to train together with your sons :)

Happy to be here, looking forward to following the rest of you as well as sharing my adventures. Will have a 3rd child - probably a girl - in May and it will be interesting to see how this will affect my training. :D

Have a first question for you guys: Is "static sitting squat" a good first practice when I don't have the opportunity to practice outdoors? Thinking about using squat, push-ups and sit-ups as a "home practice" foundation for both my karate (kata) and Parkour training.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2015, 03:27:30 AM by Mindbender »
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Offline Mindbender

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2015, 04:55:44 AM »
Have had a few more exercise sessions now and have realized that the only Parkour move I feel confident about performing is the forward/backward roll. Slowly trying to approach lazy vault, but still don't feel comfortable enough to use speed (more like "climbing" over at the moment :D)

Really enjoy my newfound love of motion though. Have started to put together a playlist showing some amazing dynamic perfection - by masters who are REALLY old to 40+ practitioners. Thought I'd share it for inspiration:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8kOexr1PbigUayIhQUsSUrYPqsPKq3bR
"Simplicity is the highest level of sophistication" - Da Vinci

Offline Inari

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2015, 08:24:43 AM »
Isometric exercises really only strengthen the muscles in the position you hold, so they're not the most useful. Rehab work, or for strengthening a specific area then fine...but there are better ways. Easiest way to think about it is the muscle stays the same length, and gets better at achieving tension at that length. Your muscles change length during movement, so for dynamic activities such as Parkour or Martial Arts, you would be better off with traditional training.

Bodyweight squats, weighted squats (add weight in a bag, or even get your partner into a jockeyback & squat), pull ups, chin ups, hanging leg raises, plyometric jumps, press ups, handbalancing etc

There's loads you can do with crap-all equipment, which will give better gains.

Best of luck!

Offline Mindbender

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2015, 08:34:31 AM »
Thanks a lot for that in-depth explanation. Really makes sense. :)

After looking around for "indoor Parkour exercises" I just realized that measuring up some distances with ordinary shoes can result in a great "playground" for practicing strides, precision jumps. The fun thing is that the more I started jumping, new ideas such as spins etc arose. Before i knew it I was jumping around at the same time practicing some kicking.

Low level training with focus on foot work is really where I'm at right now. Today I got a first glimpse of how I could begin to express myself through the movement. Feels good. :)
"Simplicity is the highest level of sophistication" - Da Vinci

Offline Alvendam

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2015, 09:04:10 AM »
Hey man. Although I'm pretty young and you're.... Well not that old at all, here's the piece of advice I can offer you. Don't start with the lazy. So a few safety vaults first, but don't keep on them too much and then go for the speed vault. After you're comfortable with the movement you can move to the lady/thief and the other more advanced vaults.
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Offline Mindbender

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2015, 03:25:54 AM »
Thanks for the advice, I actually started with "lazy" since the name sounded like it would be the easiest way to vault over a rail :D Will check out safety vaults first before going back to our "rail spot". Also have found a bunch of vids from YouTube with exercises I can do on flat ground with no obstacle whatsoever :) The more I learn the more I realize that the more I can break down every move and train foundation first, the better.

As the title says my main goal with Parkour (and kata) is to achieve flowing, graceful movement. No ambition to do fancy or "dangerous" stuff - at least not now that I'm just starting out ;)
"Simplicity is the highest level of sophistication" - Da Vinci

Offline Tim "Cabra" Cutts

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2015, 10:06:16 AM »
For me I teach and learned these skills in order.

Safety landings - From different heights up to 6ft with no sound on the landing
Precision jumps - Start with curbs and make sure you are landing on the balls of your feet and squat when you start to loose balance.
Pk Rolls-  Start with your one side then learn the other.  Always good to learn both sides.
Landings to Pk Rolls - I start at heights of 3ft or more and don't go above 8ft if I'm with beginners
The 5 basic vaults - Safety, speed, lazy, kong, and dash.
Tic Tacs
Cat hangs
Climb ups
Bar swings and Lache


Take your time with all these skills as most are the very basics of Parkour and will help you in the long run.

I learned them when I was in my 30s, and we are never to old to play.   If you are strapped for space and time work on giving your self a small area, like 6ftx6ft, and see how many different ways you can move around in that space while keeping at least 3 of your limbs touching.   Do this for 15 minutes and your body awareness will skyrocket, also it will be a great body workout!
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Offline Mindbender

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2015, 02:14:19 AM »
Thanks a lot, Tim. That sounds like a logic progression that I'll make sure to follow. That "small space, 3 limbs in the ground" exercise sounds like a great way to be able to practice practically anywhere.

A question about safety landing: Is that when I reduce some of the impact by putting down the hand before the feet hits the ground? (Glad you use 6 ft as a measurement by the way, since that is just how tall I am. Will make it easy to decide which height is the "recommended limit" for safety landing.)

Really appreciate the helpful guidance and encouragement I get from this forum. Thank you :)

"Simplicity is the highest level of sophistication" - Da Vinci

Offline Tim "Cabra" Cutts

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2015, 11:29:30 AM »
No problem!   I was lost with progressions for a long time when I started out, so I know the feeling.   Here is a video of the landings I was talking about.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAUNcW6lknw       I use lower obstacles to teach form, timing and technique.  Then I slowly increase the height and let my students graduate each other to the next object.  They can not make loud sounding impacts and if another student feels its too loud then they must repeat in till the whole group agrees on the landing.  This type of learning helps build a team like group. 
Train smart, train safe.  You are not your neighbor.

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Re: Karateka 37+ searching for flow
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2015, 12:00:50 PM »
As the title says my main goal with Parkour (and kata) is to achieve flowing, graceful movement. No ambition to do fancy or "dangerous" stuff - at least not now that I'm just starting out