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Topics - Jan-Su

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Movement / Kong Vault takeoff: split or combined?
« on: July 09, 2015, 08:13:43 AM »
So I've recently noticed some possible differences on whether one uses a single leg or both legs for the kong. Split takeoffs seem to flow into/from your run more, but combined takeoffs at least have more power behind them. However, with combined, when you bring both legs together to that one point just before you leap, it's like your momentum almost completely stops and you lose a bit of your forward motion.

I can't quite remember which way I was able to do my first ever kongs when I went to a gymnastics facility in October 2014, but I've preferred and have been doing the combined takeoff for the past few months, as they seem much safer. I just wanted to know what others have to chime in on these and which is the way one should probably be doing it.

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Title of the thread pretty much says it all. I’m looking for other ways to make this holiday/winter break more productive despite these and other similar setbacks. My finals are over, so I could get back to my other projects/goals in the meantime before the spring semester starts in late January.

We may have touched on this a little in a previous thread, but I thought it’d be good to have a more specific thread for it now. This might also be beneficial to any others who find/found themselves time-crunched.

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Parkour And Freerunning / Is it... still even worth it?... ...
« on: November 01, 2014, 03:47:03 PM »
So today was my first jam. It was between members of my university's parkour club, and a few other university parkour groups who decided to come up to us. As you might expect at first, I was a little psyched.

But I'm a little sorry to say that this turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for me. Not only could the weather have co-operated more (it was drizzling, a little chilly, and many surfaces were wet), but most importantly, I think I realized that I'm still not yet ready to try parkour movements in a real-world environment. I'd still have to rehearse them more in a gymnastics facility or something similar to really get them down and try variations of them thereof. It's just too dangerous when you don't know many techniques that well yet to be suddenly trying them on full-on, hard and sharp places.

So maybe this jam was still too much, too fast, all at once. But at least now I know these about myself, and I likely wouldn't have learned of them otherwise. And I'm still glad that I made the extra effort to go. Hopefully, next spring's jam will be better. And hopefully, I'll be better prepared as well.

However, I can see some rather serious ramifications from today. If I can no longer effectively train outdoors, that means I cannot even use parks to train. And I do not have the monetary means to go to a gymnastics facility every week. In fact, given my own busy schedule, my limited transportation mobility, and my financial situation, I would be very, very lucky to even train once in a whole month.

My body probably wouldn't be able to handle it either. This afternoon while we were eating lunch, as I glanced down to check the time on my watch, I had a bruise on my left wrist with red/purple discolorations. I reckon it must have been from trying safety/speed vaults on a hard, rough surface. My hands are just not used to it and likely will never quite be. Even as I am writing this, my left hand/wrist, as well as my left shin, still hurt. If just a handful of vaults here and there in a real environment already did this to me, I'm in some serious trouble.

*sighs* ... ... And I thought I was making some real progress too when my first visit to an open gym session went so well...

What do you guys think? Is something like parkour still within my reach? Because I'm thinking, "It's only parkour. It's only parkour. There are many more important things in life anyway than just parkour." ...

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(I noticed there has not been a thread like this, so here we go.)

This thread will be for beginning practitioners in parkour to post the milestones they have recently reached. Maybe we can motivate each other by sharing how we learned or first executed certain techniques. Try to be as detailed and descriptive of your experiences as you can.

My parameters for a “beginner” in this case will be if you have been practicing parkour for 12 months or less, or if you have yet to get to fully master most of the basic techniques in parkour. (I was originally going to have it for only 6 months or less, but I remembered not everyone has time to train as regularly or consistently as they might want to, due to their schedules, obligations, etc., including myself. So their progress would be spread out over a larger span of time. Also, everyone progresses at different rates. What may be easy for one person might be difficult for another.)

Note: I intended this thread only for those who meet the above criteria. If you are already an experienced practitioner, I kindly ask that you please refrain from posting in this thread and that you reserve this space for the newer practitioners.

So I’ll start off.

----------

09/09/2014: My first successful Wall Run

It was the second general meeting of my university’s parkour club, the first day being the previous day, 09/08, and we were continuing to lay down the basics as we had started to do the other day. Our president of the parkour club, who is also a good acquaintance of mine, decided to show us basic wall runs and precursors to the wall run. We were using a certain outside wall of the campus library with a fair ledge and big window on top. What made it ideal for learning the wall run was that the wall actually had a slight forward tilt to it, making it ever so slightly easier. The ground declined towards the center of the big window, appearing to lengthen the height of the wall at the middle, so it would be easier to clear it if one tried the far sides instead. Still, I estimate the top of the ledge at the far sides must have been at least around 8 feet high. I know that’s nothing to many of you more experienced practitioners out there, but to a beginner, it’s a skyscraper.

There were three beginners in our meeting that day including myself. The first to be able to grab on to that top ledge was a young lady, followed soon by her boyfriend. I’d say they were able to get it in between 5 and 10 tries. I was starting to get a little discouraged when I could not get it in just the number of attempts that they did, but then again, I also did not want to be the only beginner that day to not get it.

After what must have been at least a dozen attempts, I finally was able to get my right hand to more firmly grab the top ledge. Seeing that I was not slipping off this time, and still determined to more fully get to the top, I placed my second hand on the ledge and proceeded to pull myself up and get myself entirely on the ledge. Feeling a little adrenaline rushed, I was lying down on that ledge for several seconds before I regained my composure to safely come back down.

Though I was still just a little bummed that it took me several more tries to even firmly grab the ledge at all, the other two noted, however, that I was the first of them to get one’s entire self all the way to the top.

I probably could have made it in less tries if I was not feeling that fatigued late in the day and had I gotten to eat a little more, but I honestly never imagined I would have been able to make it up that wall, much less even grab onto the top of the ledge.

10/03/2014: My first successful Kong Vault(s)

I decided to go a little out of my own normal way and try to make it to one of our open gym sessions as per our club’s schedule. The gymnastics facility we use is a fair distance west of our university and is $15 to enter one of the open gym sessions, but for 3 straight hours, it’s worth it and one probably can’t find a better/as good of a deal around that area.

Since I couldn’t make it to any more of our general meetings on the campus grounds after the first few weeks, my friend and PK club president decided to bring me more up to speed by showing me a few of the basic vaults. I was able to re-perform the Safety Vault and the Speed Vault with little problem, as I already had started trying to learn them just this previous summer.

But as you can guess, the next vault he decided to teach me was the Kong Vault. I had been trying to learn this particular vault for a few months now, but could never do so properly due to lack of a safer, more padded environment and of course, and the fear of possibly clipping your knees, shins, and/or feet on the obstacle and end up face-planting on the ground.

Now the mat we used, when oriented a certain way, stood an estimated 3.5 feet tall, which is taller than the 2.5-3 ft. bike rack I said I was using in this thread of mine, http://www.americanparkour.com/smf/index.php/topic,42950.0.html, that you may have seen from a few months ago. I’m only 5’3”, so 3.5 feet is already at the bottom of my chest, and I knew this was going to be a slight challenge.

To build up into learning the movement, he had me first jump right onto the top of the mat (with assistance from my hands and arms of course). Next, we gradually progressed by trying to have me jump a little further so that I land closer to the far end of the top of the obstacle, then I simply get off from the top and back down to the floor.

Finally, it came time for attempting the full Kong Vault itself. I gathered my wits and approached the obstacle at about light jogging speed. This time, I was able to clear the obstacle completely, although in coming back down, I was a little too far forward with my torso and I instinctively/reactively went into a roll. He was actually a little impressed with this, and thought it was good that I did that, so that I wouldn’t hit my head on the floor. But I still knew that I still had to land more on my own two feet, so I wasn’t sure if that last attempt with the roll at the end fully counted.

So I re-gathered myself again for another attempt. Not wanting to be too far forward, but still remembering that I got clear over it before, I re-approached the obstacle at the same speed. And somehow, just somehow, I glided smoothly right over the obstacle, with my legs sailing right over without them touching, and me landing on my two feet on the other side! I was so elated, that I ran up to my friend, jumped up onto him, and hugged him for several seconds.

It was almost pure fun trying more Kong Vaults after that point. I liked how my friend said I looked a little like an anime character, since when in mid-air, I appeared to have both arms swept back behind me while my knees and legs were tucked forward.

My form was starting to break towards the latter parts of the evening, and by the last few minutes, I wasn’t quite able to Kong quite as clearly as I did earlier, likely due to fatigue. But that feeling I got when I first ever completed the Kong smoothly was priceless.

Now I still would not want to attempt the Kong in a real-world environment, however. I’d want to continue to rehearse my Kongs in a safer, matted place like a gymnastics facility quite a bit more to make sure I’m really getting it. But if I already did it once/a few times before, then I should be able to still do it again, and I was so glad I was finally able to get something down that I considered so difficult before and had been working on for a few months.

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Movement / The Kong Vault: Learn it, or pass it?
« on: August 09, 2014, 04:04:28 PM »
So I first attempted this kind of vault today, and sure enough, it failed miserably. It could've been many different things, but in my case in particular, there's just not quite enough room to thread my knees and rest of legs in between my torso and the rail. I'm not a big, tall guy, and my arms certainly are not long. I'm sure that has to be part of the issue.

Obviously, I can Safety Vault over said rail. I can also do a slower and basic version of the Speed Vault over this same rail. I've noticed I could even Speed Vault over it without having to touch/place my hand on the rail.

But if one of the goals of Parkour is to be able to overcome obstacles in whatever way you can, would these simple vaults be enough, or do you feel one should still try to learn the other vaults? Are there instances where a certain type of vault would be more effective than another? If so, what kind of obstacles would the Kong be good for?

And then there remains the issue that everyone's bodies are different. Some people are just better built for certain exercises and movements than others. Instead of focusing on something I CANNOT do, why not focus on something I CAN do?

So, do you think someone in my position should still even learn something like the Kong Vault at all?

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