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Messages - Alissa J. Bratz

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41
Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Tough things to figure out
« on: August 24, 2010, 08:35:16 PM »
Let us not forget that parkour is also a discipline of the mind. While you are in school and doing homework, if you are actively engaged mentally, and are taking responsibility for your own learning, you are developing your mind for parkour.

It may not seem like it, but it's true. Remember that "Yamakasi" means 'Strong Man, Strong Spirit.' This means mentally, physically, and ethically. Your physical training of parkour over the summer developed the physical side. School is a chance to focuse on developing the mental side. Hopefully you are working on the ethical side all the time. ;)

Parkour is not just a set of physical skills. It is a way of life, a way of being, a way of approaching the world. If you are in that mindset of being strong and useful in all areas, not just physically, then you are always training, no matter where you are.

Many blessings to you this school year. I wish you the best. Happy learning!

42
Wisconsin / Re: New guy milwaukee
« on: August 24, 2010, 08:29:23 PM »
These are the best guys to train with in Wisconsin, in my opinion:

http://www.wisconsinparkour.com/classestraining.html

Welcome to parkour, and happy training! I hope to train with you soon.

43
Wisconsin / Re: Milwaukee Freerunnning
« on: August 24, 2010, 08:27:56 PM »
http://www.wisconsinparkour.com/classestraining.html

^^This is an ideal place to start. :)

44
Wisconsin / Re: Wausau Parkour
« on: August 24, 2010, 08:26:28 PM »
Hey, Tenzoruku!

I've only had a chance to view a few seconds of your training footage, but it look like you are off to a good start!

When I have a bit more time I will watch more closely and offer you some feedback. Right now it is very very late and I am sleepy!

Keep up the good training!

45
Wisconsin / Re: Milwaukee
« on: August 24, 2010, 08:22:44 PM »
Wisconsin Parkour offers regular training in and around the Milwaukee area.

Check here for details:

http://www.wisconsinparkour.com/classestraining.html

46
Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Parkour Banned in NYC
« on: August 24, 2010, 08:13:01 PM »
Thank you for the update, Sha. I was signing the petition as you were typing your update, it appears! For the record, here is the comment I included:

Quote
Under existing laws (NYC Parks Department Rules, section 1-04(I)), certain areas and structures of the park are off-limits to climbing and related activities. As the parkour practitioners who use the Battery Park space are now aware of these laws, there is no need for further expansion of regulation to include the elimination of Parkour from the activities that New York's citizens enjoy in New York Parks. The distinction between climbing on a park structure, as defined in NYCPDR s. 1-04(I), and the general practice of parkour, is a critical and important distinction which, if not made, threatens civil liberties.

Please allow me to be so bold as to use this as an opportunity to share some thoughts about the necessity for proactive, positive p/r, as it affects all of us:

We all agree to and abide by the "be respectful of authorities when they ask you to leave" rule. But this is not enough. It is a starting point, not an end.

Response to parkour from authorities is like cockroaches: for every one you see, there are hundreds you don't. I'm not saying the authorities are like cockroaches, I'm saying their responses to parkour practitioners are. For every person who sees a traceur training, who calls the police to report it, there are dozens more who don't report it. These peoples' reactions are mixed and varied. We cannot control or predict how those people will interpret parkour, or what their previous exposure has been, or what their media experiences have been.

What this means is that you cannot use police/authority reaction to your training as a barometer for the generic "public picture" of parkour out there, among non-traceurs, in your community. There are people out there who "get it" and people out there who patently don't, and the vast majority of them are silent on the subject. Hard to imagine, since parkour is so central to our lives; but for most non-traceurs they might get a blip or two on their radar, find it interesting (or dangerous, or hooligan-y, or whatever), and then forget about it.

This can be a recipe for disaster, unless you are proactive about it.

Don't wait for the authorities to come, and then respond to them respectfully. Go to the authorities and begin the education process. It's not a matter of walking up to City Hall and just walking in and asking to speak to someone. It is a long, continuous progression (that should sound familiar to most of us). You have to get your positive message about parkour into their minds and their understanding before they have the opportunity to hear about it another way. So when someone calls the police to report your activity, the officers can respond with, "Oh, it's parkour. Yes, we know about it, we'll go check it out, but I'm sure there's nothing to worry about," versus, "There are people climbing things? We will send someone right away!"

So how do you go about it? It will vary from community to community depending on your local culture, the size of your city, and other factors. But here are some general tips:

1. Think beyond the police. The police are usually the first responders, and the first official community members to interact with us. And it's usually predisposed to a negative interaction because they are responding on behalf of a concerned citizen. It's their job to protect the citizens from danger (perceived or real), or to at least check it out. Their role as first responders makes them seem like a logical first step in your outreach efforts. But the opposite is usually true.

Instead, think of other entities within your local government who would be receptive to parkour. Public Health departments, school systems, youth groups, urban outreach programs... these are the kinds of entities that are more likely to "get" parkour and be receptive to its positive aspects right out of the gate. Seek them out and contact them. Let them know about a positive new activity that could benefit their organization (and mention specific examples: healthier citizens, better self-esteem for kids in rough neighborhoods, better academic performance, etc.) Position yourself as an authority on parkour and as a resource for their organization. Leave it open to pique their curiosity ("I'm sure our organization can help you achieve your goals of XYZ. I'd be happy to set up a time to meet with you to discuss ways in which we can work together for the betterment of ABC."), and try to arrange a meeting. There, you can present a positive message.

2. Have a product or service already in hand to offer. Don't just show up to the meeting and talk about how great parkour is, and hope they love it as much as you do. They may need help seeing in concrete ways how your parkour organization can help their organization. So be ready to present a proposal: free workshops for youth groups, a performance/demo at a city event, etc. It helps if you can dovetail it with something the city is already doing. For instance, if the city has programs to get people more physically active (e.g. offering tai chi in the park or something), offer to partner with the tai chi group and provide balance and agility workshops (not strictly parkour per se, but it's a small progression in that direction... you get the idea).

3. Start small. If you try to go too big too soon, or try to go straight to the top, bureaucracy will get in your way. Don't start by trying to offer training to the city police and the mayor's bodyguards. If you try to start there they will ask for insurance, waivers, permits, etc. Many of these things are tough to come up with if your organization is small or informal. Instead, try to find a smaller niche to start in. For instance, offer to do a couple of workshops with Boys and Girls Clubs, or be a guest speaker/demonstrator/coach for a high school gymnastics team for a while. Through your professional delivery of these workshops and what have you, you will establish a level of "professional cred" that you can leverage for bigger fish later on.

4. Stand and deliver. From your very first "gig," whether it's a small youth workshop or a side-stage demo at the county fair, bring your A-game. This does not mean you bring your biggest and fanciest tricks. What this means is you bring a level of excellence and professionalism to the project that will wow people. Be on time. Dress appropriately. Keep safety at the forefront, always. Don't curse/swear, or use foul language. Don't spit or farmer blow. Use please and thank you and yes sir/yes ma'am. Thank those who gave you a chance to perform/do a workshop/train/get your foot in the door, and thank them profusely and repeatedly. Show that you work hard. Don't be a d00d. Even if you're doing a 10-minute demo on the side stage in the rain at the East Jesus County Fair, you are still representing all of parkour, and all traceurs, for all of us. Don't let us down.

5. Be aware of connections, and follow them to their natural conclusions. Network, network, network! Is your cousin in a bowling league with the police chief's brother-in-law? Use the next bowling night as an opportunity to plant a positive seed about parkour in the right person's ear. After your stunningly professional demo at the County Fair, do some research and see if the Fair coordinator works with anyone else in government that might be interested in parkour. Contact that person, and mention the fair.

6. Ask, and ye shall receive (sometimes, but often enough that it's worth it). Once you've made one small positive connection with a government official, no matter how "small" on the totem pole, explain the challenges that parkour is facing (don't complain, explain). Ask graciously if your connection has any recommendations for next steps, either names of other people to contact, or other outlets for your group. Most people in this situation are happy to help out and will gladly give you contact information or other suggestions that you can follow up on.

7. Give a little to get a little. You will have to stick your neck out and be willing to go 75% to get the other person's 25%. It won't usually be a 50-50 relationship in the beginning. This doesn't mean you should just sit back and get taken advantage of, but it does mean that you have to show a very obvious good-faith effort to get parkour on positive footing. Because parkour is so misunderstood, a lot of non-traceurs who are willing to support it early on are risking quite a lot. Always be mindful of that risk they are taking on your behalf, and make it clear that you appreciate it and are willing to go the extra mile to ensure their risk is minimized. They stick their neck out for you, you have to give 110% to make their decision to support parkour look good (and by extension you will make parkour look good).

8. Repetition works. We see this in our training all the time, right? It's no different for parkour p/r. Get the positive word out early, often, and in a broad sense. So the newspaper did a great positive feature on your group last year. Maybe it's time to give them a heads-up about the great community service you're doing. Like they say at Parkour Generations, "Once is Never." One article or positive feature won't cut it. If you don't know how to write a press release (properly), learn. More importantly, have something truly newsworthy to communicate. "Johnny did his first backflip," = who cares (besides Johnny and his crew)? "Parkour Group X is doing an obstacle run for the United Way" = newsworthy. This means you have to hustle to always be coming up with newsworthy events for your group, and staying on top of the press releases. Just getting together and training when people feel like it won't cut it.

9. Repetition works, part 2 (also referred to as the Chinese Water Torture). Every chance you get, put in a positive word for parkour (without being an annoying demagogue). It's like salt in food--a little sprinkle here or there enhances the flavor, too much is bad. Drop a couple positive sentences about parkour into regular conversations with non-traceurs when they become relevant. For instance, if you're at school and talking to a teacher about a large project or difficult assignment, mention that your parkour practice helped you focus during a study break and you were able to finish it. Or if you are volunteering at a hospital and your mentor brings up smoking, mention how you have seen how parkour can help people quit. Don't go on and on about it. Keep it simple, a few positive comments here and there. Over time they add up.

10. Talking points. Politicians use them for a reason. People have remarkably short attention spans. Stick to, maybe, 5 (let's say: safety, utility, respect, leave no trace, physical and mental strength). These are your anchor points. Don't get into protracted arguments with people, or go on and on like an enraptured cult member. These turn people off. Instead, respond to peoples' impressions with a corollary talking point:

"Parkour, eh? Isn't that where you jump off buildings?"
"No, actually. It's definitely not that. Parkour is a very safe activity when done properly. Most of what you see on TV is not a good example."

And STOP there. They will experience a moment of cognitive dissonance, where they thought they knew what something was, and then were told (by presumably an expert) that it was wrong. Let them wrestle with it. 90% of the time this inner conflict will prompt them to ask you for more. Give it to them, little by little, as they ask for it. But stick to the Talking Points until your audience is ready to hear the nitty gritty. This means that in order to be successful here, you will have to LISTEN to your audience more than you will have to talk to them.

************

The bottom line is, as ambassadors of parkour, and we *all* are, whether we like it or not, we have a responsibility to be proactive about how its image is spread. This means not waiting until the authorities have been called (or have seen parkour misrepresented on TV), but being in control of the message they get, so their first impression is the best impression. We have to reach out to them, to everyone.

You will get the most success if you frame your message-sending in small steps, dedication, repetition, and respect (huh, kinda sounds like training, eh?).

I hope this post is helpful to people. I kinda just started babbling. :) Having (so far!) established a pretty successful community in southern Wisconsin, I thought my experiences might be useful to some.

BACK ON TOPIC:

Thank you again, Sha, for this update and for your hard work with New York. Best of luck to you; let me know if I can be of any help. We have positive relations with our mayor and several police jurisdictions in our city. Madison, WI is not New York, but if anything we can do to help you out comes up, let me know and we will try.

47
MadParkour / Ride The Drive 2010
« on: August 24, 2010, 06:39:54 PM »
Well, we finally have the details worked out!

Wisconsin Parkour will once again be participating in Ride The Drive. Here are the details:

Sunday, August 29, 2010
10am-4pm
John Nolen Drive, under the Monona Terrace
Please meet at the above location promptly at 10:00 for a warm-up and discussion of what is and isn't off-limits for this year's event.
Be aware that streets will be closed to traffic for the event, so please plan for extra time to trek from a farther parking spot.
Wisconsin Parkour will have t-shirts available for sale for $13 each. Please bring cash or a check if you're interested in a shirt.
Details can be found here: http://www.cityofmadison.com/transportation/ridethedrive/

Hope to see you there!

48
MadParkour / Re: writing an article on parkour for local paper
« on: August 24, 2010, 06:34:44 PM »
Nice, Paul!

What paper is this for?

I can speak on behalf of Chad, your plugging the MBG class is fine. :-) Here are some other pieces of information you might want to know:

1. MBG classes will switch to Fridays starting after Labor Day weekend (no classes the Wednesday before Labor Day).

2. There are classes going on all over Wisconsin (particularly southern Wisconsin). Interested people can find information by going to www.wisconsinparkour.com

3. Wisconsin Parkour will be participating in (or participated in, depending on when your article runs) in Madison's Ride The Drive event on August 29. They were asked to participate by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who enjoyed their participation in the 2009 Ride The Drive event.

4. The core members of Wisconsin Parkour have trained with Parkour Generations and the Yamakasi (the French founders of parkour), and will soon become candidates for ADAPT certification. ADAPT is the parkour coaching certification program developed by Parkour Generations and the Yamakasi.

5. Wisconsin Parkour's mission is to promote the safe and positive practice of parkour, in keeping with the training and philosophies intended by the founders of parkour.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Let me know if you have questions or would like more information!

Thanks so much for writing a great article and presenting parkour so positively.

49
MadParkour / Re: Ride the Drive?
« on: August 24, 2010, 06:21:47 PM »
Just got the details finalized, Nishe. Here you go!

RIDE THE DRIVE * SUNDAY AUGUST 29, 2010 * MADISON, WI * 10am-4pm
***Meet on John Nolen Drive, under the Monona Terrace at 10 am
***Be aware that JoNo and most downtown Madison streets will be closed to traffic for the event. Plan parking and time accordingly
***Wisconsin Parkour will have t-shirts available for sale for $13 each (cash or check only please).
***Be ready to jam, have fun, educate, and learn!
http://www.cityofmadison.com/transportation/ridethedrive/

50
MadParkour / Re: Parkour training at the MBG
« on: August 24, 2010, 06:19:24 PM »
Awesome, Bob! Hope to see you there!

FYI... MBG training will change to Fridays after this week. Hope you can still make it! Check here for details (scroll down a bit to the calendar):

http://www.wisconsinparkour.com/classestraining.html

51
WI Jams / Re: DATE CHANGE: Devils Lake Jam 8/15/10
« on: August 13, 2010, 08:29:19 AM »
Please note date change.

52
Wisconsin / Re: DATE CHANGE: Devils Lake Jam 8/15/10
« on: August 13, 2010, 08:28:14 AM »
Please note the date change.

53
MadParkour / Re: Devils Lake Jam 8/14/10
« on: August 13, 2010, 08:25:17 AM »
Keys I might be able to give you a ride. But we're changing to Sunday due to T-storms.

54
Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Parkour in school
« on: August 13, 2010, 08:23:12 AM »
In case you haven't seen it:

http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/1300/478/

Just putting this back up there in case you need it. As a teacher I know what I'm talking about here. The parkour club where I teach has been really successful the past 2-3 years. Proceed slowly, gain the understanding of the teachers and administration, be patient, and recognize that in order to do this you will have to function in the "adult world" to get it to pass. Therefore, maturity, responsibility, attention to detail and process will get you what you want.

Good luck with your enterprise! Schools need more outlets for kids to get out and move in a safe and healthy way. Two angles you may want to try are: 1. this is an effective way to address the childhood obesity problem, and 2. the parkour club (at least at my school, and probably most schools) is a great way to reach those kids who otherwise wouldn't be "connected" to school. Many of the kids in my club are in the at-risk population (I prefer the term "at promise") and parkour gives them a chance to have a positive school experience, and the confidence that builds from parkour spills over into their schoolwork and they do better.

Definitely find a teacher in your school who you think would support the idea *first*. Talk to him/her to get them on board, and then with the teacher's guidance and support go to your administration. Half the reason we got a parkour club at my school was because a teacher (me) proposed the idea. Administrators, for better or worse, feel more comfortable OK-ing proposals when they come from adults than from kids, especially when they have a bit of risk involved which parkour does (no matter how safe you are--things like injury and liability are true realities that schools have to deal with). If you have a teacher or someone like that advocating for your club you will have a better chance.

In any case read the article. I wrote it several years ago for a reason.

Good luck!

55
Parkour And Freerunning / Re: Parkour in school
« on: August 08, 2010, 11:47:42 AM »

56
Wisconsin / DATE CHANGE: Devils Lake Jam 8/15/10
« on: August 08, 2010, 07:06:52 AM »
DATE CHANGED DUE TO WEATHER

When: Saturday, August 14, 2010. 10:00am until we get tired.
SUNDAY AUGUST 15, 2010. 10:00am

Where: Devil's Lake State Park. Meet at the North Shore, near the snack shack. We will probably do most of our training near the South Shore so if you come late, look for us there, or call.

Details:

1. Bring a sack lunch or some food/snacks and lots of water.
2. Devils Lake requires an entrance sticker on your vehicle. If you do not have a parks pass sticker, you can get a day pass at the entrance for $7.

Hope to see you there! If you have any questions, contact Chad.

57
MadParkour / DATE CHANGE: Devils Lake Jam 8/15/10
« on: August 08, 2010, 07:06:27 AM »
DATE CHANGED DUE TO WEATHER

When: Saturday, August 14, 2010. 10:00am until we get tired.
SUNDAY AUGUST 15, 2010. 10:00am

Where: Devil's Lake State Park. Meet at the North Shore, near the snack shack. We will probably do most of our training near the South Shore so if you come late, look for us there, or call.

Details:

1. Bring a sack lunch or some food/snacks and lots of water.
2. Devils Lake requires an entrance sticker on your vehicle. If you do not have a parks pass sticker, you can get a day pass at the entrance for $7.

Hope to see you there! If you have any questions, contact Chad.

58
WI Jams / DATE CHANGE: Devils Lake Jam 8/15/10
« on: August 08, 2010, 07:06:03 AM »
DATE CHANGED DUE TO WEATHER

When: Saturday, August 14, 2010. 10:00am until we get tired.
SUNDAY AUGUST 15, 2010. 10:00am

Where: Devil's Lake State Park. Meet at the North Shore, near the snack shack. We will probably do most of our training near the South Shore so if you come late, look for us there, or call.

Details:

1. Bring a sack lunch or some food/snacks and lots of water.
2. Devils Lake requires an entrance sticker on your vehicle. If you do not have a parks pass sticker, you can get a day pass at the entrance for $7.

Hope to see you there! If you have any questions, contact Chad.

59
Wisconsin / Re: Milwaukee
« on: August 07, 2010, 09:23:11 PM »
Visit www.wisconsinparkour.com for training times and schedules.

60
Wisconsin / Re: Any traceurs in the DC area?
« on: August 07, 2010, 09:22:33 PM »
I'm guessing he means Door County. :-)

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