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.