Wednesday, July 22, 2009

mental blocks

parkour first crossed my experience when my oldest boy (whose on the isle of skye as i write) told me he was trying it out. parkour has no set of rules, it doesn't involve team work, and it's non-competitive unless you consider the very obvious element of competing against yourself which i think is at its core. parkour involves the movement of a person through a rural or urban setting in a manner that stitches together a series of fluid movements that allows at times for almost impossible moves and situations that you might consider a little out there.

i like it for the same reason i like watching bike couriers work the streets and alleys and sidewalks of a major city. it somehow bends the rectangles and the lines that form the face of a city and adds wrinkles, moebius strips, loops, bends, twists and most importantly, softens the lines of the cities' face.


here's something of the philosophy of parkour:
"to understand the philosophy of parkour takes quite a while, because you have to get used to it first. while you still have to try to actually do the movements, you will not feel much about the philosophy. but when you're able to move in your own way, then you start to see how parkour changes other things in your life; and you approach problems — for example in your job — differently, because you have been trained to overcome obstacles. this sudden realization comes at a different time to different people: some get it very early, some get it very late. you can't really say 'it takes two months to realize what parkour is'. so, now, i don't say 'i do parkour', but 'i live parkour', because its philosophy has become my life, my way to do everything."
andreas kaltei

in the film i'd like to share with you today, director karen palmer captures something of the essence of this as she films parkourist ali shelton working his way through an extraordinary mental and physical challenge.

14 comments:

Dan Gurney said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing this, Steven. I'd never heard of parkour before. Practitioners seem to be negotiating/altering/working with the fourth dimension, time, as well as the ordinary 3 dimensional space world.

Your comparison to bicycle messengers is apt. I've seen bike messengers do amazing things on two wheels. Parkour is astonishing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Not sure I understand parkour, steven - could it be called a sophisticated "modern" obstacle course - or have i got the wrong end of the stick?

leks said...

I believe it is possible only not for me.This is beautiful film thou.
12 years ago,after being close to living as a "bionic"woman, being active,in a center of the center,doing loads of work,creating and using my frustration to move on,one morning I woke up in a body strange to me,body which did not want,could not move an inch.Horror.Like in Kafkas Transformation,when he wokes up in a body of a huge insect,on a bed in a hotel room and he can not get of his back,to get out of that bed.And the door is closed.It took me 12 years to come to the point where I am now,and it sucks,cause no matter how much or strong I believed that the "Bug"what was bugging me and still bugs me will be out of my sistem,did not worked quite that way.And,believe me,Im not of the crying sorts.Where I come from we do not even talk about it!!
It goes ferther than the believe. See ya!

steven said...

hi dan, i'm astonished at what parkour practitioners can do. i would have liked to try it myself when i was . . . hmmm let's see now . . . . thirty years younger! i bet that once your mind is inside and around the way of perceiving the physical worls it's an incredibly liberating experience to move through a city like this!!! have a lovely day. steven

steven said...

hi weaver, i think that in part you perceive the world as an obstacle course until you start connecting all the obstacles with as fluid a movement as possible. it's just another way of getting around a city really. as i said to dan, (above) i'm not sure i'd be doing it now but thirty years ago when my body was more supple and listened to me more readily when i asked it to do challenging things . . . . have a peaceful day. steven

steven said...

oh sandra that's really hard to read. i worked with a woman who was more-or-less paralyzed by a "bug" for almost a year. she made a complete recovery after tons of physio and whatever else. if it's any consolation, i have been blessed with a reasonably healthy body but there are many things - like parkour - that are beyond my body's ability at this point. i love that you can connect so much to books, music, film. you're so knowledgeable!!!!! have a peaceful day in holland. steven

Bonnie, Original Heart Studio said...

Amazing. So many ways to transcend.

steven said...

hi bonnie - i'm almost envious of their ability but i am certain that if i so much as tried it at this point i'd be needing more than delwyn's "moonboot"!!! have a lovely day. steven

Reya Mellicker said...

They're connecting with their inner primates, yes? Very cool.

ellen abbott said...

I couldn't get the video to play. I hadn't heard of this either. From what you say it sort of reminds me of what my yoga teacher told me...see the pose in your mind before you move into it. Also something I learned through years of cutting stencils...look ahead of where you are and the hand will follow.

steven said...

ha reya!!! that made me laugh . . . i guess it's true that in addition to going through all the stages of evolutionary form in our mummy's womb we might also go through all sorts of incarnations of various lifeforms in our inner selves through the course of our lives. have a lovely afternoon, steven

steven said...

hi ellen, i checked the video link and it's working here. just click on the arrow in the middle of the image or on the tool bar at the bottom of the image. otherwise you could go to the source over on youtube: here's the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Ot1fk9PQhs
when i bike i've learned that i can maintain my pace and ride more smoothly by being well ahead of where i am. my brother says it's much the same racing go-karts. you think several seconds ahead of where you are. have a lovely afternoon. steven

Delwyn said...

Hi Steven

this gave me the Herbie geebies because it reminded me of my fearless sons when they were addicted to skateboarding for many years in their shildhood, and flew over ramps on the street...now one wonders why his back is a continual problem and requires constant physio.

Happy days

steven said...

hi delwyn, my first born boy alan has been into this but i think it's faded a bit for him. my second-born boy dawson is a skateboarder. no accidents - yet!!! my girl alexia (lexie) was a gymnast but she started to hurt arms, legs and back and so she left that. poor little kids just want to express themselves! i hurt just riding my bike! have a peaceful lovely day delwyn, steven