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Topics - Alissa J. Bratz

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MadParkour / Girls, Inc. Workshops
« on: September 08, 2009, 06:42:10 PM »
So, we're into our 2nd year working with the kids at a local community center. It started with just the girls there (through Girls Inc) but it is both girls and boys. We have gone there the past two summers and the kids love it and the center leaders/directors love it too! They train right alongside us and really encourage the kids. They have embraced parkour and it's really a lot of fun.

This year they have asked us to come and do workshops in the fall at one of their after school programs. I'm looking for people who are interested in helping lead workshops. Here are the qualifications:

1. You MUST be comfortable teaching parkour/leading groups. Experience with this is a plus.

2. You MUST be comfortable working positively with late-elementary and middle school-aged kids from diverse backgrounds. Experience with this is a plus.

3. You MUST be reliable and responsible.

4. You must be available during after school time (between 3 and 4ish) on weeknights.

If you're interested, please post up a reply here. Let me know what days/times you're available and also why you would be a good person to help us out with these workshops.

I'm so excited that this program is expanding! Looking forward to hearing from you guys.

Training Calendar / Fall/Winter training
« on: September 05, 2009, 06:58:01 AM »
Many people have expressed an interest in setting a regular training schedule. We tried this a couple years ago and it worked pretty well for a while, but then kind of fell apart. Now, though, people seem to want it again, so we'll revisit the question.

My feeling is, regular training is good because it's easy for people to schedule and it ensures we get consistent training in. What I mean by "regular training" is a set schedule, like every Tuesday at 6 or every Saturday at 11 or something like that.

The downside to regular training, I've observed, is that after a while people start to kind of take it for granted, so they skip a training here or there thinking, "Oh I'll go next week." It's fine, people can choose their own training schedule of course. It's not like we can "kick you out of parkour" for not going to training :P but as numbers start to dwindle over time it makes having a regular training day kind of moot.

I am cool with either way; it depends on what you want. And as schedules and preferences change we can always revisit this question again and again as the organization grows.

If we do regular training this fall/winter, it's good to consider that our outdoor training time will be limited by weather. I'd like to do some winter outdoor training this year but we'll have to play that by ear. So one factor in our decision will be whether or not there is an indoor facility available during the days/times we choose. Chad has been out of the loop for a while, so we'll need to check with him on when/if the MBG is available. Otherwise there is also Badger Gymnastics.

What I need from you is your thoughts on the following:

1. Which would you prefer: a regular training schedule for fall/winter, or more organic like it is now?

2. If you want a regular training schedule, which days/times work best for you?

3. Any other comments/suggestions?


For me:

1. Either is fine. I prefer the predictability of regular training and goodness knows I need the external motivation of regular training to help me with self-discipline to train, but I will already be getting some regular training this year through my parkour club at school. Also my schedule is nutty enough this year that a more organic schedule might work best for me personally. However I am also interested in helping our organization grow and solidify, so I could go either way.

2. Monday evenings work best for me; 5:30/6ish. Same with Fridays. I could also do Saturday afternoons, starting around 2:00, but these are kind of spotty for me.

3. None. All my comments are everywhere else in this post. :)

Thanks for your feedback, guys! Let me know your thoughts.

Training Calendar / Thursday, 8/27/09, Philosopher's Stones, 6:00pm
« on: August 21, 2009, 05:54:30 PM »
The Philosopher's Stones are at the top of State St. I'll try to get a link up on the hotspots map ASAP.

This is where we'll be for the RtD event on Sunday, so if you can make it out Thursday just to get a feel for the obstacles, it's a good idea.

As usual, all levels are welcome, and we will stay until people decide to take off.

Hope to see you there!

Training Calendar / A note on training...
« on: August 15, 2009, 07:40:29 AM »
I just figured I'd put up a post clarifying some things about training, since we are getting more and more people. Some of it is stuff you already know, some of it may be new; but please read it and take it to heart. Most of you do these things already (which is part of what makes me SO proud of this organization!), but it never hurts to have a reminder. Some of it may seem like small stuff, but as we know through our training, small stuff can add up to big stuff pretty quickly.

Organizing Training Sessions

1.Group training is not "regular". This means that, unlike a gym or organized team sport, we do not offer regularly scheduled "classes." If you're new, keep checking the training calendar to see when people will be out. Do not expect to see something like "every Tuesday at 7:00" on the schedule, and don't be discouraged if the training appears spotty. We do train, it's just much looser than you might be used to seeing with something like a gym or an organized team sport.

2.Everyone is responsible for organizing training sessions. Do not wait for me to tell you when to train. Train when it works for you, and post the details up in the training calendar so that others may join you if you wish to train as a group. If everyone does this, we should have a big variety of training times up for people to choose from.

3.Post your training times in the Training Calendar forum, and use the correct format. There is a sticky in this forum for how to do it. Posts with subjects like "Training??" are uninformative. The subject should say when and where; if you're worried about training alone and want to ask who will be there, let that happen in the body of the message and make final arrangements in the thread itself. But give us a place and time to work from so that people can use the calendar forum at-a-glance.

4.Find locations on the hotspots map If you're new, and uncertain where a place is, check the Madpk Hotspots map. There is a link to it here at the Madpk forum and also on our website

At the Training Sessions

1.Lead a group warm-up, always. You MUST warm up before training. When the group arrives, choose someone to lead the warm-up. More experienced traceurs should take the initiative here, as you are the example to less experienced traceurs. The warm-up does not need to be complicated (joint rotations, jogging a lap or two, jumping jacks, some QM, etc.) but it does need to be effective in raising the body temperature slightly and getting people loosened up. The APK Warmup is a good one if you're stuck for what to do.

2.Everyone takes responsibility for the training environment, always. Respect landscaping, check your surfaces, do not mark walls, Leave No Trace. Pick up trash in the training area even if you didn't make the trash. Do NOT make graffiti or tag anything. More experienced traceurs are responsible for educating less experienced traceurs about this, and being examples themselves.

3.More experienced traceurs are responsible for new traceurs/beginners. If people show up to training and are brand-new, it is up to the more experienced traceurs to take those people under their wing and get them started. You need to sacrifice your own training on that day to teach new people the basics. It doesn't mean you don't get to train. We learn a lot by teaching! But remember what it felt like when you were new. These people are taking a risk being out there, trying something brand-new in public with a bunch of strangers. Help them feel successful. Start small, be patient; but mostly, don't leave them out there hanging. Make them feel welcome, get them warmed up, teach some basic skills. Balance, "touch" drills, and landing techniques are great ones to start with. The point here is, you take the initiative to introduce yourself, welcome them, and give them something to learn/work on.

4.Everyone is respectful to authorities, always. If you are asked to move on, do so respectfully. Everyone so far is great with this. I just wanted to be sure it was stated explicitly.

5.Never forget that you are representing parkour. Every training session is an opportunity to educate people about what we love to do. We don't want "no parkour" signs going up around town; so be mindful of your actions and how they reflect on our discipline.

6.If something is broken/damaged from training, take responsibility for it. Sometimes things break. Your best bet is to find someone like a manager/owner, and tell him/her that you were exercising (don't say "parkour") on the item and it broke, and offer to make it right. If that's not possible, let me know and I can follow up. Don't just ditch the training site and leave the broken thing sitting there. Tell someone about it. This does not mean "You break it, you buy it." I don't mean you have to pay for stuff, necessarily. What I do mean is that it's the honorable thing to admit your responsibility for something, and offer to make it right. If money has to change hands, we can work together as an organization to manage that so no one is left on their own. But often just admitting your responsibility is enough; in the past when this has happened we've been told, "Oh it was old anyway, we're just going to replace it." But it reflects well on us to handle our training environments with integrity.

...that's about it. :) If I've forgotten anything, please let me know, or if you have questions/comments, feel free to weigh in on this thread.

Thanks for all the great stuff you do already with training and with helping our organization grow. I am so proud of us! Let's keep it up and put our best feet forward for future training!

Training Calendar / Friday 8/14/09 Library Mall; TIME CHANGE: 3:00pm-???
« on: August 12, 2009, 06:57:53 PM »
It will be campus moving day, so it will be crowded and nutty downtown. The Squirrel guys will be up from Waukesha too, so it should be a good time. Hope to see you there; as usual all levels are welcome.

We may roam a bit, so call if you plan on coming late and aren't sure where to find us. We'll probably be there until sundown. :)

**EDIT: Time change**

I have a ton of stuff to do at home, so I'm shifting the time to 3:00pm. Sorry about the late notice... I hope more folks can make it. If you end up going earlier, that's cool, but I won't be there until 3.

See you there!

Socialize / This just made me laugh, that's all. :)
« on: August 04, 2009, 08:38:19 AM »
Wasn't sure whether to put this in the diet section or here...


New food industry product line!

Parkour And Freerunning / A proposal: cleaning up our language
« on: July 31, 2009, 06:13:54 AM »
Now that I've got your attention...

No, I am not going to go all sanctimonious on the swearing on these boards. For the most part it's under control, people here use polite language and it doesn't bother me that much.

What I AM proposing is that we make a community effort to change the language we use when referring to police and security personnel in our posts.

I see a lot of people use the words cops and rent-a-cops, and similar terms to refer to these professions. While these terms aren't offensive per se, and while I realize that no one here means them in an offensive way, I think a change in language will go a long way towards our relations with people in these positions. It may seem like a small thing, but we've seen already in parkour how small, seemingly insignificant changes in language, can make a big difference. For instance, those of you who play "The Game" can readily see how it has changed your attitude. I think if we make a conscious effort to use more respectful terms it will be easier for us to respond with respect when we are approached by these people. Also it will convey a unified attitude of respect within our community for the people in these professions, which is what we're trying to uphold. If a police officer is interested in learning about parkour, and comes across APK, and sees everyone referring to him/her as an officer vs. a cop, it will make a more polished impression. More to the point, the officer probably won't notice we are referring to the police as officers, but likely will notice (even if just with an unconscious unpleasant cringe) if the site is peppered with words like "cops." It's the overall positive impression I'm going for, here.

I propose we use the words "police" or "police officer(s)" to refer to police (instead of the word "cops"), and "security guard/security personnel" when referring to private security.


As a total aside, I saw this quote the other day and thought it summed up perfectly the attitude we are striving for with law enforcement: "When you are faced with an officer trying to do his job and get to the bottom of something, this is not the time to get in an argument with him. I was taught that as a child. You don't argue with a police officer." -- Colin Powell

(Please note that I am all for a friendly discussion with police officers, to educate them about what we're doing. Just not arguments.) :)

MadParkour / Muse is NOT amused!!!
« on: July 29, 2009, 06:37:42 PM »
Okay, silly pun aside...

During our training session at Steenbock on Wednesday, July 29, we noticed some graffiti on the Microbial Sciences building (the one with the Travis Noble Tree). Someone had written "PKFR" on one of the ventilation boxes. It was not someone from the group that was training there that night, which means it had to have been someone who was training there an earlier night. We spent quite a bit of time cleaning it off.

I don't know if it was anyone who is a part of Madparkour or not, but I certainly hope not. Graffiti is not at all what we are about in parkour. Parkour is about respecting your training space, leaving no trace. If we want to be able to train freely in our city, we need to keep our training spaces clean and in good repair.

Graffiti will NOT be tolerated. If you train with us at Madparkour, and engage in graffiti or other disrespectful behaviors, you will no longer be welcome to train with us. If you train in Madison but are not part of Madparkour, and engage in graffiti or other disrespectful behaviors, realize that you are damaging the ability for traceurs everywhere to have hassle-free spaces in which to train. Graffiti does not make you cool, badass, or edgy. It does not make you "urban" or hip. It does not make you a better traceur. It just makes you a loser.

In short, just don't do it. You have better things to do with your training time than to vandalize property. You know, like... train.

End of discussion.

Training Calendar / Wednesday, 7/29/09, Steenbock Hall, 7:00pm
« on: July 27, 2009, 03:21:41 PM »
Traceurs of all levels are welcome. Hopefully lots of us can make it. Check our Hotspots Map to find the location if you're unfamiliar.

We will train until people decide to go home. :) Hope to see you there!

Diet / Awesome community program: farming whole foods in urban areas
« on: July 24, 2009, 05:41:42 PM »
I've been meaning to share this for a while; this is a program started buy this guy in Milwaukee. It is soooo awesome, and so amazing he can produce so much food for so little space, all sustainably, in the middle of the city!

Check it out:


:: sits back and waits for Charles to comment ::


MadParkour / Day of Play: September 2009
« on: July 24, 2009, 05:04:28 PM »
So... while peeking in on PNWPA's goings-on, I came across this link:

The idea is to get kids out playing. I would like to sponsor one here in Madison. Who's with me?

MadParkour / Statewide Training Tour
« on: July 23, 2009, 05:32:24 AM »
Please see the thread here to continue with our discussions and planning.


I have posted about this in the Wisconsin boards, but I just wanted to put an announcement here too so it doesn't get missed. :)

We have set our itinerary for our Statewide Training Tour. Due to a low response we've only got two dates (July 26 & August 2) and a few spots scheduled, but it will be good. In future years we hope to add more.

Wisconsin traceurs, please check the thread in the Wisconsin boards for the schedule. If you live in one of the communities listed, please provide the information requested in the thread.

We're looking forward to meeting you and training with you on your home turf!


MadParkour / Ride The Drive Demo: Sunday, August 30, 2009
« on: July 20, 2009, 09:05:50 AM »
Kathy has another opportunity for us. Madison's Ride The Drive Event! The city will be closing off part of downtown to encourage bike and pedestrian traffic. They have asked us to pick a spot to hang out at and jam/demo for the day.

The event goes from 8:00 to 2:00. Tentatively, our spot will be at the top of State St; right at the capitol, which will give us the Philosopher's Stones, the archway thingy by the old children's museum spot, and the capitol steps to play on.

Let me know if you're planning to attend, questions, etc.


MadParkour / Pics from Mynkx
« on: July 20, 2009, 09:01:02 AM »
Cross-posted from the Madpk forum. Mynkx, can you please upload these to Madpk's album here at APK?

Here is the link to Mynkx's album:


Training Calendar / Madparkour's Google Calendar
« on: July 16, 2009, 10:13:03 AM »
...can be found here.

I will try to keep this as updated as possible. I will check training posts here daily and update them to the Google calendar. So take a look here as well, to find out about upcoming training sessions, jams, and events.


Training Calendar / Badger Gymnastics Open Gym: Wednesdays & Fridays
« on: July 15, 2009, 09:17:39 AM »
If you're interested in tricking/freerunning, or just looking to drill new techniques in an environment with mats, check out Badger Gymnastics Open Gym.

Adults Only (18+) is Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30pm
All Ages (6+) is Fridays, 7:30-9:30pm

Cost is $6 for both gyms. The All Ages one can get a bit crowded, be aware. So far they have been supportive/welcoming to us practicing parkour there. As always, be safe and be respectful of the fact that people are sharing their space with us.

More information can be found here and the gym is located here.

Hope to see you there sometime!

Gavin is leading this one; I'm just cross-posting the information from the Madpk forum. I'll be there for sure, and a couple of other folks. See you there!

If you are going to be out training in the Madison area, post the information here if you'd like others to join you. Please use the correct format in the subject line, for example:

Saturday, 07/25/09, Steenbock Library, 5:30pm

In the body of your message you can include other details if you need to.

Following this format will keep things consistent and make it easy for us to coordinate training sessions. Happy training!

Hi, gang.

Well, we are nomads again! As part of our affiliate status, we are transitioning over to APK's local forum for WI. APK was gracious enough to set up some forums for us so we can get all of our same information in one place, without there being this weird "double redundancy" between our forums and here.

Plus this positions us nicely to better collaborate with our fellow Wisconsin traceurs outside of Madison.

Here are the changes in store:

The APK forum will take care of our Madpk forum categories in the following ways--

News & Announcements --> Posts and stickies in the Madparkour board at APK (like this one)
Training Calendar --> Training calendar child board here at APK. Please use the same posting format you used at the old forum. Follow the format in the sticky if you're not sure.
Pics, Vids, & Media --> Our photo album here at APK for pictures; also the Vid/Media forum here at APK.
Getting Started --> TONS of resources for beginners here at APK.

This will make things more consistent and efficient for everyone. Thanks for your patience in this transition phase! It's all part of the growing pains, but believe me, those are better than the alternative (withering away to nothing). Growth is good, and we are growing! (Due in no small part to your continued dedication and enthusiasm.)


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