Andy Day is a photographer and parkour practitioner, and he does an amazing job of documenting the art behind the discipline of parkour.
If you have a few minutes, check out the article, which contains some amazing work, as well as an interview with Andy about his philosophy of parkour. You can also check out Andy’s site and look through his portfolio. There are some beautiful pieces in there.
Do you have any good pictures of you, your friends, or your kids doing parkour?
Workout for May 3, 2013
A) Warm-up: Front Squat 4 reps @75%, 4 reps @85%
B) Upper back mobility
C) Front Squat 4-4-4 reps @ 90%
D) 3 rounds for time: Run 800m/ 30 push-ups / 10 hang power cleans (60/40kg) - 20-minute cut-off.
These videos were suggested by our Parkour Director, Ryder.
The terms Parkour and Freerunning are sometimes used interchangeably. While the two are similar, they are non synonymous, in the same way that waltz and tango, while both forms of dancing, are not the the same.
Parkour emphasizes economy of motion, and usually has a specific goal. In parkour, practitioners try to move from one point to another in the quickest and most efficient manner possible. This usually involves taking the most direct route and overcoming any obstacles in fast and not flashy way.
This video is a great example of “pure” parkour.
Freerunning, on the other hand, is less about moving from place to place, and more about being able to do cool stuff in your environment. Where as a traceur, seeks to overcome obstacles in the way of his or her goals, a freerunner tries to use their surroundings as a jungle gym, and develops amazing agility while engaging in what is essentially play.
Neither of these disciplines is necessarily superior, in fact, each discipline can learn a lot from the other. If you haven’t had the opportunity, come try a parkour class, or visit the gymnastics class and learn some tumbling. The benefits to overall fitness and to life are worth it.
I think these videos have been posted up here before, but they’re so good that they deserves a repost.
For those of you wondering why rolling is useful, consider this. Rolling isn’t just a fancy way to move, or a ninja trick that makes you look cool, there are actually physics principles behind how and why they work.
It has everything to do with pressure and impact forces. ”The point of the roll is to disperse the impact along the ground. The more surface area it’s dispersed over, the lower the average pressure.” Pressure being defined as force/area.
Another important concept in the roll is impact forces. The average impact force is a measure of the rate of change in momentum (the faster an object comes to a stop, the greater the impact force). This explains why it’s preferable to roll, as opposed to just falling flat on your back. In a flat fall and a roll, the pressure is very close to the same, but there is a much faster change in momentum with a fall, where a roll is spread out over a much greater time and has a more gentle change in momentum.
Here’s the video of the advanced parkour roll:
And here’s a great video of Fight Science’s episode on parkour. The first part covers the roll. (I’m amused by one of the comments on this YouTube video: “He jumps a 20 foot gap. Cuts his finger. I jump down a couple of steps. Break my leg in 2 places. FML.” There’s no substitution for good training!)
These are some advanced techniques, but even basic rolling can save your life. Get into one of the gymnastics or parkour classes and learn to make physics work for you!
In any good martial arts class the first technique they teach you is how to roll. I’ve been doing martial arts since I was very young, so I often forget that most other people are not as comfortable with rolling as I am. It should go without saying that folks who practice gymnastics, parkour, and judo at The Cave should be proficient at rolling, but what about CrossFit? Does rolling fall into the CrossFit list of movements?
In CrossFit, a “functional movement” is a movement that moves a large load a long distance, quickly, and/or has application to real life. I would add that the large load needs to be moved a long distance quickly and safely. In that case, rolling is necessary to move your body safely after a fall or a long jump. Even if you don’t accept that stretch of that definition of functionality, you’d be hard pressed to argue that rolling has no application to real life. I’ve seen many instances in which a simple roll prevented disastrous injury, and many more where such a technique would have prevented broken bones and other injuries. If you still don’t consider rolling to be viable to CrossFit, consider Greg Glassman’s World Class Fitness in 100 Words, “master the basics of gymnastics.” Rolls definitely count as gymnastics basics.
Here is a good tutorial on the basic shoulder roll. But if you’re coming to classes at The Cave, you shouldn’t need a video, every single one of our coaches knows how to roll. Do you?
Ok, Cavers, it’s a quick post day. So here’s a “How to Train for Ninja Warrior” video by Ryan “Demon Drills” Ford and Brandon Douglass. I’ve been wanting to make one of these myself but he beat me too it, and I don’t mind promoting his work, since he’s a good instructor. Some of you will notice that there is quite a bit of overlap and many similarities with CrossFit training. Indeed, a lot of those same functional movement skills come in very useful on the Ninja Warrior course. Most of my top picks for exercises would have been the same. Please comment and let me know what you think.
For the record, Ryan Ford finished 32nd in the south west regional qualifiers, narrowly missing the semi-finals for one of the most competitive regions in the nation. He had an injured ankle before the warped wall. I will also give him credit for training some of the very beasts that kept him out of the semi’s and providing them with their training grounds, Apex movement. Brandon Douglass is considered Ninja Warrior Elite, and tied for 10th in 2012 ANW 4 in Las Vegas, along with Elet Hall (NE region) and our own JB Douglass, falling on the transition of the Unstable Bridge in Stage 2.
Ok folks, a lot of you know that I like to post parkour videos here and there. Well, how about one of our own this time? Check out Noah Amparano rocking Ryder’s PK course at The Cave. This wasn’t even his best run. Man, that boy is quick! (Please excuse the sideways start… it gets corrected a few seconds in.)
By the way, for you CrossFitters, I was going to post Martin’s Push Jerk PR, but it occurred to me that I’d better ask him first, before I get in trouble. Hopefully on Thursday or Friday!
I consider CrossFit to be a part of a larger “Movement Revolution”. CrossFit uses the slogans and catch phrases that actually apply to several other physical activities and interests that resemble it in theme, at least in terms of “functional fitness and compound movements” vs. “isolation movements”. The Mixed Martial Arts revolution developed in full force in the 90’s and MMA has often been referred to as the fastest growing sport in the world, at least until recently. Now parkour and freerunning are claiming their own explosive niche in the functional movement revolution, but more on those two in a subsequent blog posts. CrossFit is the most accessible of these activities, presenting itself as a protocol for elite fitness, yet a viable gateway to entry-level training through the scalability of the movements and exercises involved and as such, has the broadest potential market.
Let’s take a look at the explosive growth of the CrossFit community by the numbers:
[I'd also like to add that The Cave's co-founder, Roger Harrell, was also considered an early contributor to the CrossFit community in the gymnastics arena, as was Jeff Martone in kettle bell training, Mike Rutherford in dumb bell training, Rob Wolfe in nutrition, John Hackleman in combatives, Jesse Woody in Parkour, and Mark Rippetoe in power lifting among others, even though they aren't mentioned on the wikipedia article.]
Also from wikipedia:
“The first affiliated gym was CrossFit North in Seattle, Washington; there were 13 by 2005 and more than 4,300 today.“
A more recent count of CF affiliates (Nov. 11th, 2012) according the the affiliate finder map shows the following breakdown of affiliates by region:
Australia, New Zealand & Pacific: 327
Africa / Middle East: 62
South America: 60
Western United States: 1599 (very rough East / West breakdown)
Eastern Unites States: 2213 (very rough East / West breakdown)
This month (Nov. 2012) there were 22 new affiliates. I have a vague recollection of someone asking Greg Glassman at the 2010 Filfest (affiliate owner gathering) where he saw the growth of world wide CrossFit affiliates peaking out at. Glassman’s response was something like: ”I don’t know… 10 thousand?? 15 thousand?? I honestly don’t see a reason why 30 or 40 thousand affiliates world wide would not be sustainable.”
It is notable that CrossFit Marin (Now The Cave) was roughly the 127th affiliate (according to my vague recollection, we may have been the 105th??) We are currently listed as 103rd in the CrossFit main page, registering our affiliate in the fall of 2005. At it’s inception CrossFit Marin had two trainers, myself and Roger Harrell working part time. Today The Cave employs about five full time and six part time staff members and has hundreds of clients including the gymnastics, parkour and judo programs. In July 2007 I dragged Russell Bruel down to Aromas, Ca with me to compete in the first CrossFit Games. We were the only two athletes from CrossFit Marin. I came in roughly 20th out of a field of 40. This year we had dozens of athletes who competed in the CrossFit Games Open with a couple of our girls going to regionals and one athlete going to the CrossFit Games Finals in the master’s division.
Here are some videos relating to the growth of the CrossFit community. There are six in all, so maybe just pick a few to watch so you don’t get bored. It will be interesting to see for how long CrossFit can sustain its current growth and to see how it will compare to the other disciplines that are rapidly gaining popularity and exposure.
I think it’s an appropriate time to admit it, even if it’s not completely Kosher in the CrossFit, Gymnastics, or Parkour world. Baseball is pretty awesome. It’s just a sweet game. It’s the ultimate duel of wills and strategy. It takes that unique human ability to launch missiles out of our hands with just the powers of the human body (and awesome mechanics) to an extreme that boggles the mind. No matter how hard we train at anything, there are animals, other species that is, that can pretty much kick our ass at whatever we try to do physically- except for throwing. We’re the throwing champions and that ability has lifted us over the prehistoric giants. If it weren’t for throwing, we’d probably be extinct, because that’s how we made up for our otherwise great lack of physical aptitude and made food out of larger, stronger, scarier animals. Today we don’t have to hunt with stones and spears, but we showcase our great ability to throw and our amazing fine motor control in Baseball, and we have some pretty awesome teams right here in the Bay Area. Since we have quite a few baseball fans in The Cave, and two Major League teams to be proud of, I’ve decided that today’s blog is going to be about baseball and pitching mechanics.
How about our San Francisco Giants and Barry Zito keeping the season alive? Sometimes you just do have to earn your $126 million and extend the season. Here is a slow motion of his pitching mechanics:
Believe it or not, this does relate to CrossFit in some way. Pitching mechanics might be the most beautiful illustration of what Greg Glassman has called the common theme in functional movements: Core to extremity. The power is generated in the large muscle groups, which would be the legs and the core and is then transferred and magnified into and by the extremities, which in this case would be through the shoulder, upper arm, fore arem, wrist, hand and finger of the pitching arm. Here is a repost of my favorite pitching mechanics video featuring Tim Lincecum:
You have to love physics. Here is a little video regarding some of the strategy of pitching:
Most of you know that the Giants just won their last game 5-0 vs. the Cardinals, so they’re in a must win situation heading back home to AT&T park. Hey, at least we’ve got an exciting series!
The A’s have been eliminated by the Detroit Tigers, nonetheless they definitely deserve a lot of recognition, especially when you consider the following:
The 2012 Oakland team beat Texas to win the division on last game of the season after trailing by 13 games.
Team Payroll for 2012:
#1 NY Yankees - 195.9 million - 94 wins
#5 Texas Rangers - 120.5 million - 93 wins
#30 Oakland A’s - 49.1 million - 94 wins
Sometimes you just have to fight the odds, believe and go at it like you’re the champ, and the A’s have done just that, and they lost to one hell of a Detroit Tigers team. Here is the trailer for a great movie about what it takes to be the fighting underdog:
So let’s hope The San Francisco Giants rise to the occasion for the next two games to get to the World Series.
Our friend and neighbor, Andrew Frierson owns Andrew’s Camps next door. He is a former minor league baseball player who runs summer camps and coaches baseball. He has actually sent some of his aspiring Ninja Warrior kids over to our parkour classes and after they are done running, jumping, swinging and vaulting they go next door to hit some baseballs. What an awesome place to grow up if you’re a kid, next to the Cave and Andrew’s camps!! I just want to see our little Ninjas grow up to play baseball and be able to do a wall run up the outfield wall to keep a would-be homer in the ballpark! How cool would that be?!