Sunday, October 12, 2014

Parkour is fundamental and everyone should be doing it.

This weekend I had the chance to go to the Y Combinator startup school in Silicon Valley and had the opportunity to share what we do with some of the brightest, most brilliant people on our planet.  I met Googlers, as well as met individuals who are creating Minority Report technologies, Tech entrepreneurs, Creativists, Do Gooders... as well as listened to some pretty amazing talks from a wide range of start up backgrounds.  Probably the most impactful talk for the event was Danae Ringelmann (founder of Indiegogo).  You might remember, in our earlier days we used Indiegogo to fund our foam pit (raising $3,000) with this funding resource from members of our gym and community.  Many of the speakers directly impacted my life and business in a positive way, and it was really neat to hear them speak about their early ideas, early struggles, how they overcame them, and their wise insight.

Admittedly, I wasn't really there to do a startup (although plans are certainly on the horizon in regards to the overall vision of FFA).  I was mainly there for inspiration, as well as way for me to gain insight on what's happening in tech culture.  I believe my own personal future, as well as the future of Free Flow Academy, very much relies on the developments of these tech gurus.  These people mold/shape and influence our lives more than any other industry.  The tech industry matches the influence of entertainment/media, as well as industries contributing to overall design and infrastructure.  I am deeply fascinated with techists, their deep understanding of this other world that would seem alien to the every day citizen, but somehow they can harness this alien code, and transform it into something absolutely critical and useful to the masses.  And the more I study and become familiar with different cultures, it all seems to be even more connected and more intertwined.  Like, we're all learning the same lessons, and overcoming very similar struggles - but just in the language that we understand.

Movement culture - is it's very own culture.  And movement, is also a universal language, but each language - holding it's own code/dialect - that has to be introduced and learned over time.  Much like programming code, we must understand basic fundamentals.  And our binary is basic mechanics.  The body has a binary code.  It functions, moves, and has the ability to bend in only certain directions, with a few varying degrees.  But it is the patterning that makes the code, and ultimately it is the patterning of our code that unlocks a limitless design and world of creation.  I had the opportunity to share with many people this weekend, about Parkour, the fundamental nature of it, and why it's important.  To my delight, people were overall, sincerely excited, about what I had to share, and I noticed a deep sense of understanding of the utility of it all, without having to really explain much.  Parkour is a binary.  It is basic, and it is exactly what every human on the planet should learn first and foremost.  The interesting thing, is that Parkour generally comes natural to small children.  Children, as soon as they are able, start to climb, start to jump, and start to do Parkour.  But as western civilization developed, society began to look down on Parkour.  Children were scolded "Don't climb that!  Get off that!  Don't jump off that!"  And then usually followed up with something negative, like, "You'll hurt yourself!"  "You'll break you neck!"  So ultimately, society posed a stigma on our binary.  Instead, we skipped learning binary, and placed a huge emphasis on manipulatives.  We gave children balls, and said, "Here play with this instead!"  The only problem with that is that you are now training kids and people to put an emphasis on one type of coding, that limits the use as well as the understanding of the binary.  It's like teaching someone to program an app, by teaching them the code (already written for them), but then never teaching them how to actually code.  Basically, most of the population, especially in Westernized cultures, has NO IDEA how to use their body.  Instead, they know a few different codes (taught to them by people who wrote a code, and then kept passing on that same code...)

Which is why Parkour is absolutely FUNDAMENTAL.  People should learn, first and foremost, the mechanics of their body, AND what it's limitations are.  BUT at the same time, understand it's vast capabilities, and limitless capacity for creation and design in their movement.  Parkour is MOVEMENT, in it's most primal, natural, and fundamental state.  Parkour - the movement discipline - has progressions, a system and methodology for teaching these mechanics.  Just like you would learn how to count, to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and use decimals, the same goes for Parkour progressions.  Parkour is a binary code for your body - which is why EVERYONE on the planet should do it.

Now you're probably thinking - "Are you saying I need to be like those folks on YouTube who jump off of buildings and such?"  The answer - NO.  Although, if at some point, if you have decided to take your training in a way that includes jumping off rooftops, then so be it.  But understand that jumping off rooftops is only one form of expression of Parkour, and really only addresses one way of coding, that is expressed through the individuals patterning and design of their movement.  YOU on the other hand, will know, grow, and understand your binary, and then will come to create your own expression of Parkour.  Whether you express yourself through the design of utility and efficiency, or though creative and abstract expressions - that really is up to you and the direction you take your programming.  Ultimately once you grasp the basics, and the world has turned into your playground, your individual programming options just skied the limit.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Movement should be a Priority. Not an extracurricular activity.

I have the pleasure of talking to A LOT of parents.  It's always fascinating to me to get to know different people, their ideals, their life, their background... People are colorful, diverse, interesting.  I had a pretty cool talk, with a really cool mom today, who brings her 4 kids to Free Flow, and is currently pregnant with her 5th.  Go Mommy!  And what impressed me is that she's anxious to get out on the Parkour course after she has the baby, and get back into shape.  I find that we have some pretty amazing families - who are active, involved, and let me just put it bluntly... they have their PRIORITIES straight.

Whoa, did I so boldly declare that if you come to Free Flow you have your priorities straight?  Yeah... I did.  Here's why: MOVEMENT should be a priority in people's lives.  Not just some extracurricular activity that you do to get bonus points.  Movement drives our health.  It's as important as eating and drinking.  Your body NEEDS movement.  Furthermore, movement drives you to eat better ranges of fuel.  Your body cannot move at it's optimum if you eat crap.  Furthermore, MOVEMENT and HEALTH is far more important than grades, accolades, and everything else that gets far more credit than it deserves.  Wow... Now I'm getting real over here.  A parent who thinks grades aren't a priority... WOW... WOOOWWWW!!!!!  This is getting waaaayyyy too crazy over here!  But just think about it for a moment Generation X'ers and fellow Millenials.  Your health, and knowing how to use your body - this INCREDIBLE machine, SHOULD be a priority.  Because everything is nothing, without your health.  Do what you need to do to stay healthy - EAT WELL, MOVE, ENJOY THE JOURNEY.  Instill those habits early on, and don't lose them.  If you lost them, get back on track.  Your life depends on it.

Now that we are clear that Movement IS a priority, let's talk basics here.  Structure.  Your body is made up of bones and flesh.  Your bones need to be in alignment in order for your body to function optimally.  Meaning, there needs to be a basic understanding of postural alignment, good habits instilled early on.  Babies often have great posture.  But over time, too much sitting causes them to slouch, and to stand poorly.  By the time we're adults we walk, stand, and sit like utter crap.  So we need to constantly realign ourselves and fix/fine tune our posture and structure. Then their is muscle engagement.  We need to train our bodies to use muscles, to build upon them, and to gain new ones to perform more tasks.  We can train muscle memory to do ALL TYPES of things.  Then their is basic body mechanics.  A good rule of thumb:  If it hurts, it's probably not good for you.  But remember, there are good hurts, and bad hurts.  Just like in life, hurts can make you stronger, or leave life long scars.  We want the hurts that make you stronger.  Not injured, traumatized, and disillusioned.  Once we have a basic understanding of our own body, and how it moves and functions, we can introduce manipulatives, and even learn to work with the mechanics of another person's body.  Basics are so important, and are really all you NEED.  At Free Flow we'll encourage you to get what you NEED, but also go on and fulfill your potential.  Because the journey of fulfilling your potential is indeed... fulfilling. 
Anna Fisher - The first mother in space.  We encourage you to boldly go where no one has gone before. 

Anyone can take a class.  When I say anyone... I mean ANYONE.  Think you're too old for tumbling class?  Think again.  Check out our adult tumbling class filled with seasoned mom's who are sending their kiddos off to college.  Not preschool.  COLLEGE.  And let me put the record straight.  These mom's came to us with no fitness background at all whatsoever.  They just decided, as they entered mid-life, to take up tumbling, kung fu, parkour, and a number of other things for that matter.  Or check out one of our Saturday adult classes with our pal Travis.  He is a cancer survivor, and is also blind.  He sort of rocks at Parkour.  I'm not kidding.  The dude is a beast.  So excuses aside...

In order for Free Flow Academy to really progress, we need to change the way people think.  The general mass is still brainwashed, and still focused on the importance of WINNING!  Or perhaps having the "Commercially Appealing body" Or perhaps focused on getting their kid to "Toughen up" and overcome the competition.  I can attest, as a member of the human race, that the world actually doesn't need more people doing all those things.  What we do need is more understanding, compassionate, happy, innovative and collaborative individuals.  We need people to be HEALTHY.  Let's let medals and trophies have their place.  Let's let letter grades and accolades take off their crown.  Let's focus on the tangible reality, that you live in your body every day.  And you will live in your body every day until you die.  So take care of your body.  Move.  Play.  Live.  That should be a priority. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Parkour Skill Sheet

We provide Parkour Skill Sheets for your convenience to give you the direction you need in terms of progressing your Parkour skills, and overall improvement of body mechanics, strength, and mobility. 

Here is a snapshot of just a few things on the skill sheet (downloadable off the website) or ask for one at the front desk. 


Under Bar
Lemur Lock


Bar Walk FWD


Running Form
Wall RunTic Tac
Cat Pull Up
Cat Leap
Tic Tac to Cat
Climb Up
Cat to Cat
Support to Cat
Support Jump
Tic Tac to Support
Cat Pull Up
Climb Up
Cat to Support


Front Flip
Overhead Roll
Dive Roll
Front Up Tuck
Front Flip
Back Flip
Back Roll
Back Roll Handstand
Back Roll Off Box
Spotted Backflip
Front Hand Spring
HS to Bridge
Front Handspring

Monday, August 11, 2014

How the Fitness Industry Brainwashed you

In one of my earlier posts, I expanded on the idea that Free Flow wouldn't ever try to sell you an "identity".  I'd like to expand on that, and what I REALLY meant by that.  I often get people that talk to me about health, about fitness, about what they think they know.  When I talk to people about owning a gym, they almost always, scan over my body with their eyes, and immediately it registers in their eyes their ideas on how they view fitness and health.  Let's first evaluate the word "Fitness".

According to Google "Fitness" is defined as:  The condition of being physically fit and healthy.

...So to be clear, fitness is health.  Health and fitness is one in the same. 

To me, "Fitness" means - Optimum and ideal FUNCTION of the body we have, personal fulfillment, long life.  

To others, "Fitness" may mean - Muscular, slender, toned, tan, white teeth

At some point in your life, you were probably brainwashed into thinking that "Fitness" meant one of the above definitions.  And here's the truth, and it may be to the surprise of millions, but one of the above definitions is totally WRONG.  One of the above definitions is completely, totally off the mark.  Can you guess which one?

Meanwhile - here is a picture of Kristin Rhodes.
I would say she is fit.  That would be because she is a 5x world champion strongman athlete.  She is also an inspiration to the world, mother of 3, owns her own business, and is downright awesome.  Her body seems to function at her optimum/ideal.  She seems as fulfilled as any human could ever be.  A champion, a family, travel and leisure, awesome body, and personally fulfilling mission.

Here's another picture of Kristin

... just because we love to admire her.   

Alright - so now that a picture is worth a thousand words, you can see my point yeah?  Fitness does not mean muscular, slender, toned, tan, white teeth.  Actually... the shape of fitness is rather no mold at all.  It can come in many forms!

Check out the Vegetarian Shaolin Monks playing soccor.  Soccor isn't their sport.  Kung Fu is what they are known for.  But it looks like they have fun with soccor too.

Oh and let's not forget, the 100 lb. 5'0 first female to dominate American Ninja Warrior - Kacy Catanzaro.

I don't understand.  It doesn't make sense.  How is she so strong!  So agile!  So.... so... FIT!

Isn't it interesting to note, that our extremities can only bend one direction, with a few varying degrees, yet have LIMITLESS applications!  It's really, truly, incredible.

So how fit are YOU?  And what more would you like to achieve?  Ignore the following images below, for they are lies.  Actually, never mind - not going to post those images at all.  Simply being on the internet will bombard you with images of tan and oily 6 packs, promises to lose fat, and be the BEST YOU by spending money on weight loss pills, miracle diet plans, and more.  The "Fitness" industry is the most advertised industry in the world, probably because it's a $60 Billion dollar industry.  That's right.  People are spending $60 billion dollars on this industry alone.  WHAT??  But, there is only 6 billion people on this planet.  So if we're spending $60 Billion dollars, shouldn't the whole world be healthy and fit 10x over?  I don't understand... it just makes no sense.  People are starving, people are dieing of heart disease, people are... totally and completely NOT fit!!!!!

I have a theory on that.  That would be because we don't actually understand what Fitness is.  Our understanding is very shallow, very... dare I say it... "Molded".  Dude, we have been brainwashed. 

So now that we have the word "Fitness" clearly defined, and can reprogram ourselves to think in truths, let's move on to your optimum and ideal function.  First off, fitness should not feel like an obligation.  It's a natural human desire to be healthy, to be fit.  In order to be healthy, to be fit, you need to move, you need to play, you need to fuel your body with good quality fuel and calories.  Next time someone tries to convince you that you need to take in 70 grams of protein for breakfast, you can most likely ignore that advice. It really boils down to what you are trying to achieve, what function you are trying to attain.  You need to always, define your goals.  Next, have fun!  Life is meant to be lived, the journey part is the BEST part.  The destination is secondary to the actual journey.  Have fun, have joy - this is the purpose.

And lastly, your body is a gift.  Love it for how it was made. Every body has it's own ideal/optimum function.

Inspired much?  Feeling a tingling of gratitude?  You should.  Because you and your body is amazing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. 
If anyone tries to make you feel bad about you and your body, it's because they are trying to reach into your wallet.  Or because there are dark forces around us - who want us to feel miserable about our incredible gift, because those dark forces do not have what we have. A body.  Amazing, incredible, body. 
Be hopeful, cherish, love your gift.  And don't let a multi-billion dollar industry brainwash you.  Resist it!  CRUSH IT!!!  Look at yourself in the mirror, and admire your beauty.  If you can't see it, understand you have been brainwashed.  Your beauty is there.  Look beyond the many filters the dark matrix has placed upon you.  Admire that your eyes, your brain, can process images, that you can pick up a safety pin, that you can roll over, that you can read and process these words and letters!!!!  It's freaking AMAZING!!!

With that said - have a beautiful day and play safe!

- Elle


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I call BS

Yesterday as Corey, Lon and I were discussing how we can add more value to what we offer at Free Flow, we began the discussion of how parents and many adults have forgotten how to play.  We talked about how we would like to see more parents out on the floor, with their kids.  Afterall, that is why we created the first ALL AGE parkour, freerunning, tumbling gym in NorCal.  No other gym in this area allows adults over the age of 21 out on the floor, to take classes, or participate in open gym - due to insurance liability.  So excuse my blunt repeal on such a mindset, I'm going to call BS.  And here's why:

One of the MAJOR factors that drove my husband and I to take the plunge of investing our entire life savings into opening a gym was because we wanted a place that we could play with our kids.  We took our kids to the whole lot of gyms in our area, and the only place that was really open about us being on the floor with our kids, was a place all the way in South Sac.  The drive was detrimental to our wallets, so after 2 years of making a regular 45 minute trek just so that we could be on a gym floor together became too much of a financial hardship on us.  The truth is, my husband and I, and Corey for that matter despise treadmills, and machines.  We want to move.  We want to play.  And speaking for my husband and I, that is how we choose to live an active lifestyle!  I get it, gyms don't want to be "liable" and pay more for insurance, hence they put a strict (no one over the age of 21 can participate in classes or open gym).  I have an issue with that.  Why, oh why, would you EVER teach your children that it's important to live an active lifestyle, but only until you're 21?  That makes no sense to me.  So let me get this message straight... it's okay and healthy to move and have fun until your 21, but after you are 21, you need to resolve to more "adult friendly" workouts, like treadmills, or weights, or adult only sports leagues, and adult only... etc...  No wonder kids are afraid to grow up.  No wonder we see more and more young adults staying in college for as long as possible, lost and confused about what they want to do, who they want to be.  Because not only does adulthood mean you need to work all day everyday, but it also means massive responsibility, stress!  It also means, that your activities you deem as "play" and "fun" are no longer acceptable.  I tell you, this cultural attitude that we have, is a form of poison.  We need to break out of this mold.  Because it's making us all really sick, physically and mentally.  And gyms - the very commercial institutions that are designed to promote healthy and active lifestyles should be on the forefront, encouraging ALL to get out on the floor and move.  More than anything, be there with your family!  Have fun!  Enjoy each other.  For goodness sake, between school, work, and everything else - we have plenty of time away from our family.  Let's not make recreation yet another reason to be separated from each other.  Let's make this time, a time to be together, to grow, and to promote our overall wellness.

However, let's not be reckless about our safety.  Adults do not recover from injury quite as quickly.  Why is that?  Well you can argue because of the hormonal changes that occur.  Which is part of it.  But could it possibly be because we stopped moving?  Could it possibly be more because we chose a more sedentary lifestyle rather than an active lifestyle - causing us to become more prone to injury when we DO decide to move and play?  Or could it be because we feel guilty at times, and are not focused while we are at play - we aren't fully present, due to the amount of things we feel we need to be doing instead of playing?  I would argue that there are a number of factors!  Not just because we are adding numbers to our age.  I think it's more arguable to point out the number of lifestyle changes that were made, that occurred, rather than the number being added to our timeline each year.  And recovering from injury, well it would make sense it takes adults a long time to recover.  Could it be because of our age?  Or perhaps it has more to do with our ability to take time to recover?  After all, we still need to work, take care of the kids, the business... if we calculated our "recovery time" allotment, I'm willing to bet it really isn't recovery time at all.  Therefore, it's more just a series of traumatic events that program our brain to tell us:  "Don't move!  Because you won't allow me to rest when I need it!"  

So what happens when we decide to not move? To not play?  Well... let's just say having a lack of body awareness shares some major consequences.  Some where along the line in our society, we decided liability was more important than our health, and some where along the lines we decided as a society that movement needed to be carefully and strictly monitored at all times.  And movement, for that matter is unsafe, especially for adults.  I'm here to call BS.  Because let's do the math.

Statistically, if you live in the US, you have more chances of dieing of coronary heart disease than anything else.  So let's think about that for a moment.  Let's think about your death.  What will you most likely die from?  You will most likely die from slowly suffocating to death.  That's right, suffocation.  From the inside out.  I think it's interesting that our number one killer in the US is heart disease, a disease that causes suffocation.  If you think about it, it's a metaphor, if you will.  We suffocate mentally, not allowing ourselves to play, or do, so the process of suffocation happens first because of our external factors, then slowly crushing us, from the inside out.  And it's also interesting to note, that heart disease is completely preventable.  It's a LIFESTYLE disease!  Deep breath now.  Let's move on to more statistics.  Let's see what else is killing us:

  • Heart disease: 596,577
  • Cancer: 576,691
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 142,943
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,932
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 126,438
  • Alzheimer's disease: 84,974
  • Diabetes: 73,831
  • Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,826
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,591
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 39,518

I pulled these stats off the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.  I think it's clear, judging from the stats, that we are going to die from our lifestyle.  Most of which can be prevented if we become more aware of ourselves, our bodies, and our specific needs.  First off - stop eating garbage.  Secondly - MOVE!!!!  Play!!!!  Thirdly - stop promoting stress in your life!  Seriously, stop it. Let's get real here. If you don't, you'll most likely die from the above list.  Let's break down these diseases in plain English starting from the top:  Suffocation of your organs, A foreign entity eating your organs, Suffocation, Suffocation, Accidental unawareness, Brain shrinkage (again lifestyle factors come into play), Your body parts dieing and having to be amputated, Suffocation after burning and coughing yourself into a coma, Toxin and acid overload causing your kidneys to fail, and of course chronic unhappiness that leads to your own self-destruction.  

Sooo, if your worst fears are dieing from suffocation, getting eaten alive, and all the gruesome completely preventable causes, then I suggest we break free from this mindset that I would prefer to call "poison".  All of us, have a loved one, that was taken from the above list.  I'd bet money on it.  All of us have been affected by the above list, maybe even more than a dozen times!  So let's be real here.  Let's look at the facts.  Let's look at the stats.  When I get another notice from the school saying my kids aren't allowed to run on the black top.  When I am told to get off the floor because I'm too old to play.  When I am told to not do cartwheels across the crosswalk... I CALL BS.  I hope you do too. 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Why Free Flow Academy will never try to sell you an "Identity"

In the July 2014 newsletter I wrote a letter to our members.  In that letter I touched on a few matters of discussion regarding the pressure for industries to sell molds or rather, "identities" to people.  I would like to expand further.  In the fitness, sports, and recreation industries, marketers and entrepreneurs have an extensive amount of pressure to not just sell products or services, but to sell "identities".  I myself have sold a number of products, services, and have formed and orchestrated a variety of companies, as well as found a place in the corporate and non-profit arena.  I also spent a good portion of my adult life in the Entertainment Industry - the capital of "mold selling", and "identity selling".  But I would say ALL industries, in some form or another, try to sell a mold, an identity.

Why is it so important to sell an identity?  Because people will buy it.  People seem to need it.  Want it.  Demand it.  People have a strong need to buy things that fit in with their self-identity.  And often, the purchase of a product or service actually solves our very own identity conflicts, or gives us something reach for, to strive for.  This is why people tend to wear brands.  It makes them feel good, and they can stand by the product, the service, and it helps them share it with others.  So here is where I get hung up a bit.  I often feel that although, we make a conscious decision to purchase the brand, because it suits us, I can't help but notice we are often swayed and manipulated to purchase the brand by marketing tactics that attack our own genuine identity, or even convince us that our current identity is inferior. 

I have often pondered the psychology of why we need to buy an identity.  Why is there a pressure to label ourselves? It seems this pressure usually begins around middle school - the time where we figure out that we need to adapt our personalities in order to fit in, to survive the social status quo.  But we're not born into this world seeking an identity.  If you watch a small child, they are generally very true to themselves, and to others.  It's arguable to say that they haven't "found themselves" yet.  But I would disagree - I believe we are born with our personalities, and natural tendencies.  I believe as we get older, if we allow ourselves to seek our true selves, we become more like we once were.  The child.  The child we always were.  The child self, is our natural self, and later on, as we grow, we acquire an "adaptive" self.  The person we need to be, in order to survive.  Now there is nothing wrong with the "adaptive" self.  We are complex beings, with multiple layers.  And sometimes, we become the person we need to be to obtain a favorable outcome for ourselves.  However, it's not the "adaptive" self that I'm referring to.  I have an issue with the "identity" buying portion that comes into play without us really realizing it.  Let me explain:

I believe we need to be very cautious and weary of buying an identity, because it can give someone a false, and artificial sense of self.  It can also be detrimental to a person's ability to think for themselves.  I also believe it can often times create unintentional divides in communities.  People go where they fit in, where they feel they belong.  I can understand that.  But diversity in my opinion is extremely healthy.  Just like our diet, we need a diverse selection of foods and nutrients to keep our bodies functioning at optimum levels.  The same goes with personal development.  I believe diversity is again key to optimum function - knowing and growing with a diverse group of individuals and personalities.  Friendship in diverse places have broken the bonds of prejudice, racism, sexism, slavery, and all the deplorable human conditions that still exist today.  So if we're buying into labels, and identities, then we are essentially subconsciously buying a group of people that we feel are best suited for our company.  In addition we are constrained by the culture that comes with the purchasing of that identity.  There are exceptions, sure.  The ones who break the mold.  But that's what I'm trying to address here.  How about we strive to not put you in a mold to begin with, if we can help it?

One of my past time hobbies is to listen and read personal development books, as well as regularly research industries (especially fitness and recreation) and I often follow and keep up with trade magazines, blogs, and anything and everything that has to do with business innovations.  But one thing that has always rubbed me the wrong way, is the orchestrated attack on people's identities.  Even the top gurus in every major industry stress that the key to success is to give people not only a product or service, but an IDENTITY!  And of course, the media is no exception, if anything - they are the top dogs.  Sell an identity, sell a product.  It's the magic formula. 

So I suppose the only way we can really address the issue, is if we become more self aware.  And if we are going to exist within a certain niche we need to be aware that we are learning and growing with a community that exudes a certain collective energy.  And if that's the case, we need to always keep in mind, that the energies that we choose to be with are the energies we will ultimately absorb, and contain within ourselves.  So be thoughtful and wise about the energies you choose to partake of. 

Which brings me back to the title of this blog.  We aren't going to focus on putting you in a mold.  We are trying to be much more far reaching than that.  And it is simply our goal to give you the opportunity to DEFINE yourself.  Which is why we are named "Free Flow Academy".  Our symbol, carries the essence of the Fibonacci spiral, surrounded by the Japanese character meaning "Zen".  So that you can always remember to find balance, while appreciating your own, very unique, grand design.

We hope to set a new standard in the movement arts and fitness industry - one that can be powerful, genuine, and true.  I'm tired of seeing the fitness industry, as well sports and recreation industries, and the entertainment industry purposely pressure consumers to look and act a certain way, because it's more pleasing to the eyes, because it will make you more acceptable, because it will make you more important, because it will...  Well... it's actually just pleasing to their wallets, if you buy into their manipulation.  

Last month in our newsletter I stated, "No labels.  Just you!"  I want to always maintain that Free Flow Academy will always stand by this.  We don't need to label ourselves, we don't need to fit you into a mold.  You are who you are, reaching for your idea of an improved version of yourself, whether that idea of improvement may be in form, function, or personal development and growth, or all of the above.  The important thing to note, is that it is YOUR idea.  YOU decide how you want to improve yourself, and YOU decide how to get there.  And the identity that you may choose to take on, will be rather a symbol of trust, between you and our company.  I hope our symbol is always one that you can count on, one that you can trust. We are the place where movement, creativity, and innovation are intertwined.  I firmly believe and have stated, "Geniuses do not come from and are not created in a mold.  But it is geniuses who create molds."  So it is our challenge to you, to first define yourself, and by doing so, you have created YOUR mold.  It's your place to innovate and to reach your full potential.  

Written By:  Elle Beyer

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Gym Wish List

With our expansion already in effect, we just became the largest parkour gym in California.  Which means we have our work cut out for us, to make our play space the way we originally envisioned.

Improving our Gym - how you can help

All of our operating expenses are covered by memberships but in order to improve and upgrade the gym as well as fund our outreach and scholarship programs, we rely on other funding sources, such as fundraisers, donations, and resourcefulness. We have incredible volunteers who scour Craigslist for us, or simply keep their eyes and ears peeled for anything that the gym might be able to use. You would even be surprised, that what you have laying around in your garage, might be useful to us.

Here is a list of what we currently could use:

Wood Screws (the black ones that are awesome) 2" and 3"
Extension Cords (25' or more)
Lumber (studs and 1/2" or 3/4" plywood)
Wood putty
Sand paper
Rubber Stall Mats
Black paint
Drill bits
Rock Climbing Holds
Gymnastics panel mats, crash mats, and pit mats
Medicine balls
Large Stability/Balance Balls
Cargo Netting
Climbing Ropes
Tennis Balls
Duct Tape

Furthermore, if you are skilled in event planning, and would like to host a fundraiser that would benefit the gym and our community, we would certainly appreciate it! 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Parkour Leaves No Trace and Builds Community

One of the most wonderful things about the Parkour community in the Greater Sacramento Region is the commitment to "Leave No Trace."  Parkour is all about adapting, relying, and using the environment around you.  I think what's truly unique about it, is that because you spend so much time in your environment, you grow to care of it, rely on it, and develop a unique bond.  For example, if you climb a tree, the branches are not just branches - they are your life net.  You sincerely rely on the strength of the branches, the traction from the bark, the design of tree to help you gain a very unique experience, that strengthens your own body and your own mind.  If you climb a wall, or pass a vault, you grow an appreciation for the architect, or the hands that built that obstacle.  The materials used, the design of the structure, holds significance in your eyes, and for every obstacle you overcome, you know you are stronger for it, thanks be for the ones who created the obstacles in the first place.  I have never known a sport or discipline that had such a connection to the world, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  What's more, is the commitment to community, that is very prevalent in both the online and home communities of which the practitioners evolve.  Jam sessions of all kinds are held, which include weekly, monthly, annual jams voluntarily hosted by a variety of practitioners, who open up their jams to the community.  A welcoming spirit is always present, giving newcomers a comfortable place to start and to feel accepted.  There are many ways to get involved with the Parkour community, which are totally free and are non-exclusive.  If you're thinking about taking up Parkour, but don't know where to start, check your local community and see if there are any gyms in your local area, or local parkour groups who generally have frequent jam sessions.  Usually you can locate these groups online via facebook, Instagram, or other social network. 

NeoFlow Parkour reaches out to the community through workshops and performances
Free Flow Academy hosts a "Leave No Trace" event every quarter.

NorCal Parkour holds weekly jams.  Anyone is invited to participate.
Placer and Sacramento County folks gather weekly at Bella Vista high school to jam, headed up by PK veteran Victor Lo Forte.

Folsom Parkour jam.  Anyone interested in learning are invited to attend.

Parkour is a sport and a discipline that celebrates life, humanity, and exploration.

Written by:  Elle Beyer

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Meet founding member Corey Romines

Corey Romines entered the Parkour scene in it's very earlier stages of development.  He has been involved with movement arts for over 20 years, but his passion is for none other than Parkour.  He is Co-Founder of Free Flow Academy, the largest Parkour gym in California, and has been personally training hundreds of students for the past 5 years.  His overall reach within the Parkour community has been literally thousands of students, as he has headed up multiple classes and programs in and around the Greater Sacramento region via gymnastics, parkour, and fitness gyms, as well as parks and rec centers and more.  He continues his education through research and internship programs, and works closely with a variety of medical professionals, including but not limited to physical therapists, as well as a podiatry clinic owned and operated by his parents.  He believes in training for health and longevity, fun, and promoting a play based atmosphere for his students.  Corey is also the head trainer of the all Women's Parkour group - Eagle & Hawk PK.

Corey contributes to the daily operations of Free Flow Academy, and gives additional time and energy serving as a consultant to other parkour gyms and programs who require equipment consultation and design, class programming, coach preparation, and the implementation of "safe play."  He has also designed the Free Flow Academy Parkour Coach Certification Program, as well as the Free Flow Academy Affiliation Program, and regularly volunteers and heads up "Leave No Trace" service projects with the youth and other members of the community.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Meet founding member Elle Beyer

Elle Beyer is Co-Founder of Free Flow Academy, founding member of Eagle & Hawk PK, and founding member of NeoFlow Parkour.  She is a serial entrepreneur, mother of 4, and has a physical fitness background of 14+ years Kung Fu and Martial Arts, and 25+ years of movement arts experience.  She has been training under the direction of business partner Corey Romines in the discipline of Parkour for 3 years.  She also has an entertainment background (under the name Elle Bennett), having traveled the world as a working stunt woman, actress, model, and sports newscaster/journalist.  She believes in creating the holistic athlete/artist and growing specific industries that have the potential to fill current needs while promoting overall health, longevity, environmental awareness, community, and humanity.  Bruce Lee's teachings heavily influence Elle's philosophies on the learning and growth of an artist.   

She is an accomplished entrepreneur in terms of social and environmental impact and creating sustainable business plans and models. 

She is the guiding force behind Free Flow Academy in terms of overall vision, creating additional and sustainable revenue streams, market research analysis, and shaping the industry in a way that has a positive impact that is unique in style, but fundamental in form.

Aside from her own companies, she has also worked extensively in the non-profit sector, creating and orchestrating fitness, artistic, and leadership programs for youth, as well as designing and coordinating events, camps, and overall business models and structures to promote cost effective, and affordable programming.  She has worked for some of the largest Non-Profit Corporations in the world (Girl Scouts of America), as well as one of the largest media corporations in the world (Clear Channel).  Her and husband Lon Beyer remain active members of their church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), and raise their 4 children together. 

Meet founding member Lon Beyer!

Lon Beyer has been training in movement arts for 30+ years.  His interest in Kung Fu was first introduced when he was given lessons by his Uncle who was at the time a General and Kung Fu instructor for the Taiwanese military.  His energy for the martial arts expanded to the study of many styles, including Ninjitsu, in which he achieved black belt status, and TKD, in which he achieved a 1st Degree black belt status, in addition to his achievements in Kung Fu, which earned him instructor status.  He has also participated in numerous styles including Kickboxing, Grappling, Weapons, and more.  In his early years, he achieved an Eagle Scout Award, and served and completed a 2 year mission for his church.  He served in Taiwan, is also bilingual, speaking both English and Mandarin Chinese.  He also traveled the world extensively, all throughout Asia and worked as a professional stuntman and actor.  His experience in fitness and youth education started while he was working in Los Angeles, he implemented and orchestrated the physical education programs for dozens of K-8th grade schools in and around Los Angeles County.  He personally served and taught thousands of students in over a dozen school districts. 

Lon Beyer is Co-Founder of Free Flow Academy and collaborates with Corey Romines, and Elle Beyer and other members of the Free Flow Academy team to develop a system involving the use of parkour and martial arts to form a discipline that is focused on self-defense and the usage of the fight or flight response.  He also oversees the internal operations of the company having 10+ years in the legal and insurance industries.  He is a major proponent in the expansion of Free Flow Academy in terms of franchising, national, and international growth, and has served as a consultant to a variety of other parkour gyms that have formed in the United States. 

Welcome to our Blog

The founders of Free Flow Academy would like to offer up a dialogue on what we do, how we serve, and how we contribute to the various industries of Movement Arts.  

Our approach is to offer Disciplines of Motion and Disciplines of Creation in a diverse variety. We offer a holistic approach to the athlete and artist. For general health and longevity, exercise and proper nutrition is essential, as well as finding a creative outlet.

Free Flow Academy is a training and production facility for those looking to develop and improve their talents. We are a literal Hybrid Arts training center centered on the flowing disciplines of Parkour, Freerunning, Tumbling, Martial Arts, Aerial Arts, Acting, Music, and more.

Our business model was designed to be a cross between a Beijing Opera School and Hollywood Stunt Gym.  Our studies abroad, mainly in China and Europe, and having the chance to work with a variety of talent from all over the world gave us insight into the needs of how fitness and recreation should be addressed in the U.S.  During our studies in China, we trained with the Shaolin Monks, as well as the top athletes from various prestigious schools from every province in China.  We gathered information from students from various styles of Kung Fu Academies, as well as Beijing Opera Schools.  Being huge fans of Jackie Chan, we were particularly intrigued by the students of Beijing Opera Schools.  They were very well rounded, and highly sophisticated.  We found it interesting that they studied a focus of what we came to know as "the 4 fundamental disciplines", which we recognized as Martial Arts, Dance, Music, and Acting.  Those fundamental disciplines, can be broken down even further, which we came to recognize as simply:  Movement and Expression.  

During study in Europe we were able to gain valuable insight into the evolving movement of Parkour.  Parkour is what we consider an evolved movement discipline, in that it has taken from a variety of existing movement arts, such as rock climbing, gymnastics, martial arts, and natural movement.  This hybrid of movement, fine tuned, and directed towards creating a holistically strong, acrobatic, mobile, and agile athlete captivated our attention, and we highly respect and regard the pioneers in the industry as some of the most considerably talented athletes of our century.  

Movement and Expression came to be our approach.  We found that we enjoyed the community and flexibility of the Hollywood Stunt Gym vibe.  Artists and Athletes from all over the world, from all walks of life, congregate to these gyms and "jam", share talent and moves, and then we see it explode on the big screen.  We wanted Parkour to be our showpiece, as it encourages athletes to overcome their obstacles, mentally and physically - which is an important message that should be shared on a daily basis.  We wanted to create this type of community and mecca for innovation.  So we brought to you Free Flow Academy - where movement, creation, and innovation are intertwined.

We are very pleased to serve our community in the capacity that we do, however, our overall Vision for Free Flow Academy, is a large one!  We hope to share a piece of that vision, and unfold it here as we reach each stage of development.  

Enthusiastically Yours,

Lon, Elle, and Corey