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Topics - Ian Simonson

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Parkour And Freerunning / A realization that blew my mind
« on: January 19, 2012, 07:58:27 PM »
Today in my philosophy class which focuses on Kirkegaard and Nietzsche, I had this realization about Parkour, and using Kirkegaard's concept of the self, could finally explain, at least to myself, why Parkour is actually healthy mentally.

The existential self, that is one's spirit, one's consciousness, is made up of three dialectic relationships, each one comprising of two parts, each of which must imply the other by its nature.

These are:

The Infinite, which comprises of imagination, conceptualization, artistic notions, things that are in a sense "outside of time" and the finite, which is all things limited by circumstances of time.

The Eternal, which is all things deathless, and the mortal, the ability to die.

And Freedom, the ability to decide or chose, and Necessity, based on given circumstances.

All these things make up the self, and based on an individual's focus in each of the relationships can determine their lifestyle/persona to a degree.  However, while one can lean more towards one or the other (e.g lean more towards living in the finite, rather than the infinite) despair occurs when one focuses too strongly on one of the aspects.  You cannot live completely in the finite, living by cold, calculating facts, without a feeling of despair.

Now after going over this, it clicked in my mind, at least in this context, why Parkour/freerunning is mentally healthy.

It balances each of the relationships.  While parkour might lend itself slightly more towards the finite and free-running slightly more towards the infinite, they tend to hold a nice balance of both.

You come to an obstacle, and the finite is that it is indeed an obstacle, your heart rate, your physical condition, your current speed, the size of the obstacle, all parts of the finite.  Meanwhile you're imagining all the ways in which you can overcome the obstacle, going through a list of conceptualized moves, or perhaps just going with whatever feels natural, or seems to work the best in this situation.

While training, you're aware of your mortality, and yet, through training, you hope to extend your life, or make it better, which lends itself to the eternal.  There's the knowledge that you could theoretically die, and yet by training you feel like you won't.  (Ok, so I don't have a good example for explaining this one, but you get the point)

Lastly, the part that really clicked with me, was this notion of freedom vs necessity.  At all points in time while running/training, you're exercising freedom.  The choice of how to overcome an obstacle, the freedom to go where you want, and yet at times you'll be forced into certain movements based on the current circumstances.  Adapting to the environment is out of necessity, but the way you adapt is out of freedom.

Perhaps I'm seeing something that's not really there, but it would seem that parkour balances each of these relationships, causing one to be as far away from existential despair as one could possibly get, making the practice extremely healthy to one's self/spirit/conscious being.

Socialize / Free Running Penguins
« on: December 06, 2011, 10:54:21 AM »
So for whatever reason I decided to go see Happy Feet 2 the other day.  It was funny the first half, then I kind of lost interest, and then the movie was good again.  But what I found hilarious, never saw coming, and at the same time was amazing, was the free running family in the group of penguins.

At one point, one of the little kid penguins (with a british accent) tells Mumble "Don't worry, I'm fast I'll go get the others."  Mumble starts to protest but then the other little kid turns to him and says "Don't worry about it, she's a freerunner."  The penguin begins to climb up walls of ice fairly quickly jumping back and forth between walls.

I found that hilarious, but what I was most impressed with, was that they actually portrayed freerunning in a better light than a kids movie would normally have, and they even seemed to understand parkour/freerunning better than most people.  As the little penguin runs off Mumble says, "but there are dangers out there" and the little girl penguin's mother screams up "They are not dangers, they are obstacles which one must overcome."

Obviously a 1 - 2 line representation won't get the full message out there but I was quite impressed with how they portrayed it.  Also I found it hilarious and completely random which made the movie that much better.

Just started training (again) 2 weeks ago, been keeping my own log, but I figured it's time to give myself another reason to keep up the training.  I took classes with NYPK a couple years ago for a solid month or so but then made a ton of excuses to not exercise and stopped.  That's not happening this time, no more excuses, I'm not nearly as fit as I used to be, and I can't get by on natural talent anymore if I want to seriously do parkour.  Also I'm weak as hell right now  ;D so lets see if I improve at all in the next year.

Training today (10/1/11):

Warmup/conditioning: (it's the same thing atm  :P)
3 sets:
3-5 pullups
2 sets:
10 pushups
10 squats
10 sittups
1 set:
10 leg rises
5 dips

Run: 1/2 mile at 6:30 min/mile, 1/2 mile 8 min/mile (continuous running while changing speed, treadmill)
Run: .7 miles Fartlek

Rolls, rolls, lots of rolls, fixed shoulder getting hurt, led to hip getting hurt, back to shoulder, but less uncomfortable
Balance training on rail: rail is ~3 1/2 ft off the ground angled slightly downwards at intervals, with vertical bars evenly spaced, judged progress by how many vertical bars I passed in one go.
Many precisions (Should count next time) between 2 concrete blocks, both from rest and with a bit of a run-up

-Do 10 pullups in a row
-Make the APK warmup actually a warmup
-Run 2 miles continuously at 7min/mile (at least)
-Not over-training during the next month in a desperate attempt to get fit quicker  ;)

Don't know about recording training tomorrow, going to the Middle-Tennessee PK Fall Jam to meet local traceurs.

EDIT: I changed the main topic name so it didn't go all the way across the screen in the forums, that's why the OP has a different topic than all the other responses

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