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!
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.”