How these posts are organized

(Part 3 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

Quoting

I’m not going to quote/include any of Thibault’s book. Pull-quoting is time consuming to do well, and by the time I’m done, I’d have way more of his book “excerpted” here than I’d feel comfortable with. That means, if you really want to follow along, you simply must get a copy of the book yourself and read the original material. It’s easy, and you can thank me later.

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§1 – The growth mindset

(Part 4 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

“I can’t.” versus “not yet.”

Right out of the gate in the first section… hitting the ground running. This mindset is something that I already find critical. Critical in the sense that I attribute my success –– what success I can be said to have achieved –– to two things: This mindset, and sheer willpower/determination. (spoiler: the later is covered elsewhere in the book.) But I’d already made my own connection to the Stoics’ philosophy, and that’s a very apropos piece of bedrock.

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Alternative paths

(Part 8 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

Post class thoughts? Not many. Class is usually pretty visceral, (as one would expect,) and there’s not much time for an internal dialog of philosophical thinking. There were of course various opportunities to come up with relatively creative solutions to physical movements and challenges. But nothing particularly interesting in the context of this discussion. I think the primary reason this “alternate paths” section didn’t stand out in class was that everyone there already thinks this way. Almost everyone in class is already applying this section’s ideas — at least applying it in the physical context.

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§3 – The rose that grew from concrete

(Part 9 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

Resilience.

Why does Parkour so effectively teach resilience? Because your regular world and your regular life are DESIGNED for your interaction. Stairs are a certain height, walking surfaces are smooth and even, door knobs are convenient, chairs, air conditioning, trains and autos; Everything you interact with is designed for human interaction. In a very real sense, that’s what “civilized” means.

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Was that resilience?

(Part 10 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

Sunday’s class contained a block of time where we were told to set a specific goal for ourselves, and then go work on it.

There’s a particular technique that I’ve been stuck on for nearly two years. It’s completely a psychological issue. Each time a coach brings up this technique, I equivocate, and they drop me back to the progressions for the technique. But, I can do the progressions, and every coach then says, “Then just do the technique.” Usually, they manage to encourage me enough to eek out a few tentative iterations of the technique. At which point I’m all like, “Yeah! Progress! Awesome!”

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Others’ thoughts on what exactly is resilience

(Part 11 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

A key point from the following podcast is the idea that resilience is not a “broad” skill, but rather something that you develop in a particular aspect of your life. Being resilient in social circumstances is not directly related to being resilient in a violent (eg, combat) circumstance. So that’s something to keep in mind: In Parkour, we’re practicing and developing our resilience in the context of MOVING, and moving is something we do every day.

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§4 – Close the gap

(Part 12 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

“What would the greatest version of myself do?”

I can think of no better personal compass than that simple question. I whole-heartedly agree with its sentiment; that exploring your own concept of “greatness” is the single most important thing you can do. Each of us will come to a different answer; potentially very different answers. But, the act of honestly exploring your own conceptions, and the act of self reflection, are what will move you in a positive direction.

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Point “B”; the me of tomorrow

(Part 13 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

Over the last few years it seems I have — finally! — learned some key lesson about pace; the idea of enjoying the journey. The idea of focusing on what I can control. The truth that some of these projects I will not finish, some places I will not see, and some people I will not manage to spend enough time with. These ideas are patently obvious and unequivocal, but learning the Lesson, and deeply and truly making it part of your work-a-day life and personal philosophy takes effort.

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§5 – Moment to moment

(Part 14 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

I reached section 5, and got stuck.

It’s obvious the key idea of section 5 is mindfulness. So I started by thinking about “mindfulness in Parkour practice.” But I wasn’t able to find a compelling thread to unify my thoughts. I came away from a few writing sessions with nothing of value. Eventually it occurred to me to circle back and reconsider my writing process.

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Practicing mindfulness

(Part 15 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

Mindfulness is an inward directed practice of contemplation. It is a continuous process of being present. For me, because it was initially unfamiliar, it was more difficult to approach than the obvious physical activities such as running, jumping, and climbing. But after some practice, it became a critical part of the foundation on which I’ve placed many other parts of Parkour.

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§6 – I Choose To Fall!

(Part 18 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

I’ve now read the entire book several times, and Chapter 6 never ceases to inspire!

Three thoughts:

I may not be the strongest. I may not be the fastest. But I’ll be damned if I’m not trying my hardest.

~ unknown

 

It ofttimes requires heroic courage to face fruitless effort, to take up the broken strands of a life-work, to look bravely toward the future, and proceed undaunted on our way. But what, to our eyes, may seem hopeless failure is often but the dawning of a greater success. It may contain in its debris the foundation material of a mighty purpose, or the revelation of new and higher possibilities.

Failure is often the turning-point, the pivot of circumstance that swings us to higher levels. It may not be financial success, it may not be fame; it may be new draughts of spiritual, moral or mental inspiration that will change us for all the later years of our life. Life is not really what comes to us, but what we get from it.

~ Chapter 14, “Failure as a Success”, from Self Control, Its Kingship and Majesty, by William George Jordan, 1907

 

The application in the Ways is to falls in life. To be able to take a disaster or a great failure, with the whole personality, without shrinking back from it, like the big smack with which the judo man hits the ground. Then to rise at once.

Not to be appalled at a moral fall. Yet it is not that it does not matter. The judo man tries by every means not to be thrown, but when he is thrown it does not hurt him and in a sense it does not matter. It matters immensely, and yet it does not matter.

‘Falling seven times, and getting up eight.’

~ “Falling”, from Zen and the Ways, by Trevor Leggett, 1978

§7 – Lemons

(Part 19 of 19 in ~ Study inspired by Pakour & Art du Déplacement by V. Thibault)

“Lemons” simply reminds us that sometimes we need to make lemonade from whatever lemons we find before us.

I am acutely aware of this aspect of Parkour; This searching what is right in front of me for something to do. Initially I felt like a one trick pony. Every time I’d be faced with some little area, I’d stare at it thinking, “I can only do, literally, a step vault. What am I going to do here?!” Yet somehow, I manage to force myself to stand in the face of my ineptitude and to search for inspiration.

Eventually I came up with a sort of “wedge” for the problem. I would seize on, literally, the first thing I could think of. Often that would be something even I felt was ludicrous. But this first ludicrous movement, got me moving. (That’s the wedge.) From there, I invariably saw something else.

Usually the second thing was also ludicrous, but sometimes it was better (whatever “better” might mean to me at the time). So I’d change to doing the second thing. I’d throw my shame and ego to the wind and start doing repitions of whatever that first ludicrous thing was, then the second thing if it was better, and so on. Sometimes, I could only see a single thing which I feared, and so I’d start with ludicrously simple progressions to the thing I feared.

In my mind, I called this “busting rocks”. Pick the biggest, ludicrous rock and smash it. Pick the next biggest rock, and so on. As I smashed, I’d remind myself of something I’d written years ago: “Parkour is the grueling work of self destruction.”

One day, I participated in the most surreal jam session. On a sign. It was just a slightly sloped, big flat sign with a map on it and four skinny legs into the ground. One person did something near it, “interesting,” I thought. Then a second person did a little sliding thing across it. And I thought, “I wish I could do something on there.” And the wedge happened automatically and I thought, “I can try this ludicrous move.” And I tried it, and someone said, “Craig, what are you doing?”. And I failed. And someone else said, “OH! That’s totally a thing!” And in the blink of an eye a dozen world-class traceurs — people whose abilities all boggle my mind — LINED UP to play on this little sign. And for what seemed like eternity, we all took turns trying crazy stuff on a sign, at night, in a busy public square. And passers-by stopped and some even applauded or cheered. And we all ate ice cream and drank milk-shakes as we waited our turn and pondered our next go. And I for one wanted it to never end.

It was the greatest lemon pie I have ever tasted.