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Messages - Alissa J. Bratz

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Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Begginers? Not Cared for?
« on: May 07, 2007, 08:32:07 PM »
This is interesting. I've found some *wonderful* resources on the APK site to help me get started. Granted, my parkour "training" at the moment consists of the APK warmup and some running. I do not yet feel I am to a level where I can safely practice even the fundamentals (e.g. landing and rolling from very short heights). I will get there eventually, but in the meantime I can nose around and get my head around the fundamentals before putting my body into them. I would also like to find a training buddy once I feel fit enough to try the fundamentals, but one thing at a time.

I've been around the internet looking for resources for parkour beginners and so far this is the best I've found. I agree that there should be an obvious place for beginners; some giant red button that says, "Beginners, look here!" on the front page or something. That said, there's a lot here to help beginners and for the most part it's pretty accessible. For someone who has at least some degree of physical training/awareness, they sort of know where to look and what to consider when starting a new physical discipline. I do like the idea of a 30-day guide; I think the WOD is a great place to start (especially the note about "just do the APK warmup and if that's all you can do, that's good enough for now if you're just starting out"). It's where I've started, and it seems to be working out.

The thing to remember is that parkour is *so* young as physical disciplines go. I would argue it's probably the youngest one out there. So training is still very new, very uncodified. To be quite honest, given parkour's age, I'm surprised the training is articulated as much as it is. We are in the "wild west" of training--we're still learning how to teach it and how to "package it for the masses" as it were.

The thing is, you have to make any newbie program accessible to people who are coming to parkour from other disciplines, and also to people who are basically suddenly-inspired couch-potatoes. You want the latter to feel especially encouraged/supported, because they're the ones who will make the most gains (over time), and to whom it will mean more to progress in a physical discipline. Speaking as a teacher, that transformation is an awesome, awesome thing to observe. They are also the ones most likely to hurt themselves, so they will need a lot of support to get started.

I think the WOD is a great place for this because it can be modular: go at your own pace; do what you can, no shame in only being able to do one pushup, for instance; as long as you keep at it. There is something for the newbies and the experienced traceurs to do and all will be challenged.

In my view, as a parkour newbie, but an athletic person and a teacher, I think all we need to support our newbies is the following:

1. The organizational points btay brought up in a previous post, under a "Getting Started" type heading (I'm too lazy to read, but I think this is already being done)

2. Some sort of "Newbie!" or "Beginner!" logo to put next to certain articles/sections of the site to draw attention to areas that are of particular interest to beginners, to entice them to click there.

Just my 2 cents (I like to talk...sorry for babbing). I'm just a newbie, but I wanted to chime in with a concrete suggestion, and also give props because as mentioned, so far this site has been the best I've found for good, effective advice for beginners in a positive, supportive atmosphere (which is *crucial* IMO).

Training Journals / Muse_of_Fire's Training Log
« on: May 07, 2007, 08:10:41 PM »
Heh. This will be spotty at best until I can work a schedule. But hopefully this will make me more accountable. If any mods or gurus/experienced people feel like "drill sergeanting" me, have at it. I'll appreciate it.

First, some background:

32 year old female, in moderate to good shape (I'm in better shape than most of my peers but am an absolute slug compared to most of you people).

Professional-level ballet training since age 4 (with about a 10 year gap between ages 17-25; recovering from bulimia)
Daily weightlifting between ages 20-24
Northern Shaolin kung fu, including forms, weapons, and full-contact sparring, 2 years; 3-5x/week
On and off running on 2-month to 2-year streaks as the mood strikes me (I hate running... booooring!)
On and off aerobics/step/body pump classes in 20s
More or less daily yoga practice (motivation pending)
Current ballet training: approx 10 hours/week at professional level (more during performance season)

I've been doing the WODs; mostly just the APK warmup, for about 2 weeks, on days when I am not dancing. This normally ends up being Mondays, Fridays, and some Thursdays. I dance all morning Saturdays and keep Sunday as a rest day. Saturday dance training also tends to be lighter. I walk/run about a mile as time permits.

I modify the APK warmup as I don't have access to a chin-up bar, so I do lat pulldowns with dumbbells and incline/decline (whichever one has the legs above the head) pushups instead. I also do the agility ladder stuff up and down my apartment hallway (my downstairs neighbors must love it), without an agility ladder. I have no ladder, but I suspect my ballet training takes care of a lot of the footwork-type coordination, so I mostly do the APK warmup agility ladder stuff for the cardio endurance (which ballet doesn't build very well), more than for any footwork. This is not ideal but it's a start.

As I see it, my strengths going in to beginning parkour training are:

-agility and coordination from dance and martial arts training
-strong proprioceptive ability
-internal "body understanding" of mechanics of jumps

My weaknesses/challenges/limitations as a beginner are:

-overtraining in ballet makes it hard to move in other ways (e.g. allowing myself to bend the torso out of alignment, flex feet, and other "ballet no-no's")
-age makes me more fearful to push my limits (can also be a strength but I see it as a weakness mostly)
-age makes me more easily tired/longer recovery time (also a factor of a lifetime of inconsistent, on-again/off-again training)
-inconsistent schedule makes a full commitment to training difficult (will I really find it in myself to follow through with this?)...I have a full-time job and a part-time job; both of which take much more out of me than the required hours--in a mental/emotional sense as well as a physical (ballet dancer and teacher, and public school teacher), so often the energy isn't there.
-I am a *very* social person and so solo training is unmotivating for me. This is where I see this forum helping a lot; although nothing beats having a training buddy or two.

Mostly I'm worried I'll run out of steam. Hopefully this forum, and this journal thread, will help.

Oh, today I did absolutely nothing in terms of working out. My parents are in town and wanted to meet for dinner. I did cook something very light though: broiled chicken and bell pepper kebabs, sauteed cabbage, and Asian cucumber-onion salad. So that was something, I guess.

Advice, motivational harangues, and general ass-kickery welcome. :)

Welcome! / Re: Welcome Thread - New Members please announce here!
« on: May 07, 2007, 07:45:33 PM »
Hello! I go by Muse_of_Fire, or MoF for short. I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and have just started parkour. I'm 32 and female, so I imagine that puts me kind of out of the normal demographic. I'm starting slowly: mostly just doing the APK warmups and some running. I am also a professional ballet dancer so I work the APK warmup around my ballet training schedule. This means my parkour training is progressing *very* slowly but that's okay with me. I'd rather do it right and slow than rush things and do it wrong.

I would love to find some other people in the area to train with. I'll be checking out the Wisconsin forum soon enough; just thought I'd say hello here first.

Also, I am a French teacher so if anyone is interested in pronunciation or anything with regard to some of the names of various moves, I'm happy to help (although the resources on this site are already very thorough and great).

Lastly, big thanks to whatever magical power got this forum to work for me. I was having trouble registering and then suddenly, voila, here I am. This community so far has impressed me with its positive, supportive vibe. I'm glad to be a part of it and hope to contribute well.

It's a pleasure to meet you all. *waves and smiles*

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