Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Speaking of monkey movement....

Check out the new video from Julie Angel. This was shot when the PK Generations team came to Ohio last year for a seminar. (Can you spot me? I show up very quickly twice!)

Also, to read my entry and see some pictures from the ladies' jam that took place that weekend, which was led by Stephane Vigroux, click here.

Lastly, check below the video for some of my photos from the entire Ohio seminar. Enjoy!

Hocking Hills
Hocking Hills

Kazuma's Precision:
Stephane Vigroux & Dan Edwardes of Parkour Generations:
Kaz making his first s'more ever!

The aftermath of over 100 traceurs/euses beasting on an incredibly hot day:

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Misery, anger and frustration.

August 4, 2009.

I went for a bit of a bike ride to blow off steam after a crappy day of sitting in my cubicle. Life in the cube ain't all it's cracked up to be, kids...

I feel so stagnant. The sedentary lifestyle has officially set it. I think back to one year ago and my stomach ties in knots. This time last year I was returning from London. It was a last second addition to my time spent in Paris. I figured I would shoot over to say hello to our British brothers and sisters in the parkour universe. I got horrendously ill and could barely climb the stairs to my hotel, but I managed to do 2 parkour classes in the 5 days that I was there.

I think of that version of myself as I set forth a task for the evening. I feel like I've lost so much strength (physically, mentally, etc.), so my goal for the evening is to do one hour of qm (also known as quadrupedal movement, moving on all fours, monkey walking, etc.).

Before I begin, let me just say a few things about qm. It is something that is near and dear to my heart because it was one of the only things I felt comfortable doing when I first started parkour, as it is pretty much no impact and can be done anywhere from stairs to railings (qm on rails also known as cat balance). Starting position is with your hands below your shoulders and knees below the hips. Whenever you're doing qm, try to keep the back as parallel to whatever surface you're working on:
To move forward, move the opposite hand and foot at the same time, don't move the leg too far up, though, because then your back isn't parallel to the surface, it looks like this instead:
So try and keep those hips down when you move. It's much more fluid when you bring your leg up straight, don't let it buckle out to the side. This is particularly difficult when going backwards, but to help it out, I tend to look between my legs to spot my foot placement. Hope that all made a bit of sense, It's tough describing these things in text...

Now that I've done my public service announcement for the week what follows are the stray notes that I scribbled in my journal during my training:

Goal: QM for an hour, moving forwards 30 feet, backwards 30 feet (about 9.1 meters each way).

9pm. Start time.

Am covered in sweat already. Too hot for this, can't believe it's only been 8 minutes...gonna be a long night.

Finding it hard to keep in a straight line when I'm going backwards. Triceps are feeling it already.

I feel like such a masochist right now. Hands feel like raw meat. Form is suffering. Slow, slow, slow pace.

My brother's air conditioner just started dripping right in the middle of my path. The cold water feels incredible on my hands, but I know it will hurt more now that the pebbles will stick and grind against the concrete.

Almost stopped when going backwards, but I knew that if I did, I wouldn't start again. I don't want to keep going. I'm tired. I want to stop. Probably just being a baby.

Form is officially crap. Can't keep straight, keep waddling my legs from side to side when going backwards.

Gonna throw up. This is shit!

I'll have to remember this when I'm sitting in my cube tomorrow...

Literally almost started crying. My hands are killing me. Arms aren't even that bad. Just can't do it anymore.

Tried to power through without stopping. Arms failing. I have blisters on my hands.

I said to myself I'll just do 5 more trips, and then 2 sets of side monkeys as a sort of reward, even though my hour is technically done. I'm down to the last round of qm, still have to do the side monkeys. Can't muster the strength. This feels terrible. Here I go, this is for everyone who has ever taught me anything. I start the first steps thinking of David.

Done. Tired. Filled with misery, anger and frustration. Can barely hold the pen. Upset that this was so hard for me, I feel like I've regressed. Oh well. Can't do anything about that now...

As Stephane says, "Just keep moving, moving."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

No Rush...

Hey! Here's a bit of relaxed training at the Banks (underneath the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side).

Nice, slow movement, just concentrating on flow, hand and foot placement, proximity awareness and all that good stuff. Hope you enjoy, thanks for watching and keep training!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ohio Ladies' Jam Write Up

I don't know why I didn't post this earlier, but here's my write up from the ladies' training day during the Ohio State/Parkour Generations Training Seminar last year, along with some pictures and a video of the day made by Kaisen of PK Horizons in Ohio. Enjoy!

Ohio Seminar- Ladies' Jam Write Up

Parkour Generations:

Dan Edwardes, Stephane Vigroux, Forrest, Kazuma, Johann Vigroux

I find that things usually happen exactly when you need them to. In the days before the Ohio Ladies' Jam, I was really feeling the pressure and stress of being a woman in a male-dominated discipline. I was in somewhat of a parkour funk, something I think we are all familiar with.

The day began at Black Sheep where 9 traceuses met up with Stephane Vigroux and Julie Angel and Kaisen and Ryan from Parkour Horizons. After a short introduction of names and how long we have been training, Stephane led us in a short joint rotation warmup. We woke up our touch with some simple balance drills: walking on a rail, balancing on the balls of the foot, lowering into a squat and then standing straight up and holding the resting position.

Steph & Ladies - Balance Drill

Stephane with some of the Ladies at the Ladies' Jam

We then moved on to various forms of quadrapedal movement: monkey walking backwards and forwards, side-monkeys but with the hips up and frog hops. After that, we started doing different types of vaults over the fence. Stephane really took time to help all of us overcome any fears/reservations and work out any technical problems we were having. Julie even set down her camera a few times and helped some of the girls with their balance and vaults, as well as offer encouragement and tell us a bit about the female scene in London.
For many of the ladies there, it was their very first training day, but their enthusiasm, determination and willingness to learn was so inspiring. Training under someone as experienced as Stephane may be intimidating to some, but when such a talented traceur approaches teaching with no ego, it creates an incredibly positive environment which allows one to drop any preconceptions about training and just train. That mentality allows us to fall, laugh, have fun, play, progress, be happy and work incredibly hard without realizing it.

Terace and I doing quadrepedal movement

From there, we moved on to a circuit led by Stephane which made us heavily utilize our touch and strength. The circuit involved quadrapedal movement, small precisions, cat leaps, balance, etc. The goal was simply to keep moving and find our own way over the obstacle with no stress and no hesitation. If Stephane saw that I was hesitating on something he would recognize it right away and just say, "too much time, find another way," which was exactly what I needed to hear.We then broke up into 2 groups according to level of training. The inexperienced group worked on a small tic tac, while the more advanced group worked on a larger tic tac to cat, then muscle-up. The spirit of all the ladies training together and everyone's enthusiasm was unparalleled to any jam I have been to. Everyone was encouraging and applauding each other (literally and metaphorically). Instead of ignoring the fact that we are women, we acknowledged it, thereby allowing us to overcome the obviously illegitimate mental block that women cannot perform at the same level or train as hard as men do.

Tanya and Ann

After a short lunch at Subway, we moved on to a local parking garage for a really relaxed session. Stephane asked what we wanted to work on, and the main consensus was rolls, so he did a roll tutorial on the grass and worked with each girl one-on-one. Julie also helped out while Steph was busy working, and the girls offered constructive criticism and a helpful eye to each other. At that point Muhammad had dropped by to let Steph and Julie know how the big meeting went, so some of the girls worked on little pop vaults over a small wall, some worked on cat balance and some continued with rolls. We then played a rousing game of qm tag, and finally, Steph led us in some stretching and breathing exercises.Jamming with the ladies, Stephane and Julie made me realize why I love parkour and how much I love it. I am utterly and irrevocably mired in it. It is something that lives inside me, which is something I can now say with conviction. Finding one's place in the parkour universe as a woman can prove to be difficult at times, but jams like the Ohio Ladies' Jam are so beneficial because they open the line of communication and create strong bonds between women training, which is important, especially at this point in parkour's progression America.

Some of the Ladies posing with PK Gen

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I know, I know...it has been a while, right?

Feeling abandoned? Not like anyone reads this thing anyway, but for the few of you that do, here's what I've been up to...

8 minutes and 51 seconds of pure awesomeness! Hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2008


So, I have to do a documentary on myself for a media class I’m taking. This means, of course, that it’ll be focused on my training because I am utterly and irrevocably mired in parkour.

I’ll be filming myself training over the next few weeks. Going to be addressing a ton of mental block and general fear issues, analyzing technique (aka tearing it apart, heh), addressing all my weaknesses and document the mental and physical progression. I’m coming out of a down period in training right now, so it’ll definitely be interesting for me to watch and hopefully for you all too.

Keep a look out for some snippets that’ll be coming out in the next few weeks! 'Till then, happy training!!!

Monday, October 6, 2008

It's My Parkour Birthday!!!!

Today, October 6th, 2008 is my first birthday within the parkour universe. One year ago, I was feeling very nervous, very anxious and very excited because I was on my way to see David Belle and officially begin my training. I don't think I could have picked a better day to start training if I tried! The sun was shining, the weather was unusually warm for October, and to top it off, David Belle was there. I had never been to a jam before, much less a training day and demo for the New Yorker Festival. Over 50 people showed up to participate. I was the only woman and I felt really, really alone. I tried my best, though, did what I could, and it was a fantastic 2 days.

The famous photo...

I won’t lie, I cringe every time I see that footage from the New Yorker video, but with more distance, I’m surprised I wasn’t more intimidated considering that I had guys literally flying over my head, hurling themselves over vault boxes that I was struggling to simply lift myself onto top of. There were three professional camera people filming, an audience which included more able-bodied traceurs, reporters and over one hundred spectators (many of whom were little girls), and on top of all that, David (or “the guru,” as Dino jokingly calls him) was pacing around, watching everyone. Despite all of that, I nonchalantly tuned everything out and concentrated on my body and what I was doing. In addition, I pretty much got a personal training session with both David and Dino for a few minutes, which felt really special. Dino later told me that he and David had talked the night before and knew how hard it was for me to come out and do this when I had never trained before. Any other struggle that I was going through was neutralized by that comment because I didn’t feel alone anymore.

Me and David

Dino from PK One in Germany and my brother Paul

Two months after the New Yorker Event, I left the country for the first time (with the exception of Canada). I don’t think I’ve ever felt more at peace than when I was in Thailand. I did a tiny bit of rural training there, but I was really feeling the cultural differences in the food! I lost 10 pounds off my already small frame, so training was minimal. When I think of Thailand, I feel 2 things, the first is hunger and the second is nostalgia. It was a really touristy trip, so I plan on living there for a while in the near future.

Sawatdee Kha!

I started having the Ladies’ Jams in Central Park in early February, shortly before Stephane Vigroux, Dan Edwardes and Chris Keighley of Parkour Generations came over with Julie Angel for a day of training. Good training and great conversations were had, and I’m very happy I missed class for it!

In May I found myself on a 14 hour bus ride to Columbus, Ohio for a 4 day long event with Parkour Horizons and Parkour Generations. I met Kazuma, Forrest and Johann Vigroux for the first time, and caught up with Stephane, Dan and Julie, along with the Ohio guys, Tyson, Jereme, Levi and a bunch of other American traceurs. It was a really hard few days, but I got some good training in and made awesome friends!

Dan, Stephane, Forrest, Kazuma and Johann with some of the ladies

From late June to early August, I lived in Paris while studying French and training parkour. A little trip to Lisses was a serious highlight, as well as the mental strength that comes from training alone, but then also the brother and sisterhood that comes from training with others.

After that, a measly 5 days was spent in London, mostly sick, but I did get the chance to take 2 classes with PK Gen, which was pretty incredible.

So...it's been a hell of a year. I attempted to give myself the best possible start in parkour, and I think that did a pretty good job: Thailand, France, London, David Belle, Stephane and Johann Vigroux, Kazuma, Dan Edwardes, Forrest...the list goes on. I've made incredible friends and deeply thank everyone who helped make this year what it was.

One year ago, I was showing my parents and brothers Speed Air Man and the UF3 Documentary on Stephane. One year later, I've met them and have been to those places. When Steph came to New York in February, he spoke to us about all the investment you have to give of yourself to really be good in Parkour. The older I get in this discipline, the more I understand that, and the more I want to give of myself. I want to get to a good level and be able to transmit all the knowledge I've been given back to those who want to learn. All of that is for the future, though. As for right now, what's next? Too soon to tell, but one thing I'm sure of is this: I'm going to keep training.

Train hard, train safe, train with conviction and passion, in the right spirit and always for the right reasons.

Thanks so much to everyone I've met over the past year. Lots more training and adventures to be had and many more people to meet. 'Till then, keep training and respect!