Tonight instead of the elaborate blog post plans that I had I am simply going to let you all know that Rafe is visiting the San Francisco Bay area and that I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to meet with him to talk shop and train with him and Albert Kong. ”Who is Rafe Kelly?”, you might ask. Rafe is the founder of Parkour Visions in Seattle, one of the first and most respected parkour programs in the country. Parkour Visions is a non-profit that focuses on making parkour as accessible as possible to their community. I hold them in the highest regard. Here are a couple of videos of Rafe showcasing a little bit of his training:
At Parkour Visions’s National Parkour Summit:
And of those of you who are curious, studious, and patient enough, here’s is Rafe on Parkour Programming:
More on Rafe’s view on Parkour programming & a (related) Kid’s Night Out Blog to come later. For now I’m hoping for a few hours of sleep before training with Rafe!
Hey guys, check out this video from our friends up north at Parkour Visions, Seattle:
Justin Sweeney competed with us at American Ninja Warrior 4 ’s North West Regionals at Venice Beach, Ca back in Early March 2012. Look for him as well as your friendly neighborhood Cavers when it airs at 9pm (Pacific) on G-4 on June 9th, 2012. The semi-finals for the region should be on NBC on June 10th, 2012 at 9pm.
Can you name any of the moves that they do? If any are of note, name or describe them and post the time on the video to comments. I will answer questions or comment on the move/trick.
One of the things that is striking about competing in American Ninja Warrior and maybe even shocking to the film crews for G-4 (although they may be getting more accustomed to it after these last several years) is that everyone is very, VERY supportive of each other down there, even though it is a competition where you are strictly ranked against how well everyone else does. You’ll see “Ninjas” teaching each other, making friends and trading techniques and coaching tips. Almost every last person is actually rooting for you to be awesome and rock the course. You’ll even see people who are about to get eliminated from continuing on to the next rounds of competition cheering on their new friends who may just doing the eliminating. (To some degree, it actually reminds me of the CrossFit community when it was smaller. I think this remains the case in the CF communities on a very local scale, but the emphasis on competition and “dying for points” is so strong that it may have been choked out on a larger scope. Even back in the 2007 CF Games, when the community was still small, there was a different feel among the elite on competition day.) One of the reasons why there was so much solidarity in Venice is because of the spirit and philosophy that drives the parkour community where many of these athletes train and develop themselves. I consider us fortunate to be involved in such a supportive and magnanimous movement, and I hope that as efforts to capitalize on parkour and related activities such as “Ninja Warrior” continue, that we will have the presence of mind to not lose that Beautiful Vision of supporting each other and growing together. Here is a little video of what that Vision is all about.
Down at Venice I had the pleasure to run into Justin Sweeny and the rest of the crew from Parkour Visions. These guys are serious about promoting parkour in the local community and sharing it with everyone. They are also a collection of driven beasts. Sweeny is the first guy you see in the video. Rafe Kelly and Tyson Cseka, two of the founders of the community were unfortunately unable to attend due to work responsibilities, but their gym was very well represented and you’ll see what these amazing folks can do when the show airs in a couple of months. In the meantime, be sure to come experience some of the joys and thrills of parkour at “The Cave” and see what the fuss is all about!
When I was a little kid, one of my favorite things to do in the “whole wide world” was to climb trees. Looking back on it, the trees that I climbed were probably not all that tall, maybe 25-35 feet or so, but they sure seemed tall to me at the time. I lived in “Park Merced” in San Francisco. This beautiful little community next to Lake Merced is sprinkled with all kinds of pine, eucalyptus and other trees. The condo-houses also make nice little rings around a common back yard and they’re attaced, making it very convenient if you wanted to get from one roof to another, so for a kid it’s pretty much a natural climbing playground. A few weeks back, Rafe Kelley, founder of ”Parkour Visions” and Seng from BAPK dropped by CFM on a Friday night just after OSTN. We had an interesting conversation on training, the pros and cons of CrossFit, parkour, climbing, and training on trees. I told themabout my injured knee and how lack of consistent rest has been keeping it from getting better. Rafe and Seng seemed genuinely interested and concerned about my health and well-being. I asked them about their recent training and they told me that they had just been in UC Berkley and that the trees there were amazing. I asked about the trees and they told me that they had been doing quite a bit of their training on trees. It’scurious to think of the evolutionary forces and implications of developing competent movement on trees. When we do pull-ups, muscle-ups, pull-overs, kips, swings, etc, on bars we’re really using an artificial imitiation of part of a tree or branch. Pull-up bars and rings don’t occur in the natural environment, but trees do and although our recent evolutionary history has us generally roaming on open grasslands, thus our bi-pedal abilities, supposedly displacement through forest and jungle foliage was part of that history, albeit a little further back. I found this video of a famous traceur doing a little training on some pretty incredible trees. If you go out and find a tree to climb or decide to scout out a bunch for some good parkour and functional movement training, be careful. Remember that tree branches can break, especially rotten ones, and that you’re probably quite a bit heavier than when you were 8 years old. (I know I am.) Also, falling off trees is a great way to convert potential energy into kinetic energy, and as Jeff Jone’s t-shirt says, “It’s not the falling that kills you, it’s the sudden deceleration.”