Saturday, March 19, 2016

Clinic Schedule 2016

The following Changes have been made to the schedule:

Self Defense Clinic - Disarming Knives & Guns has been moved to FRIDAY 9/16 @ 6:30pm

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Biomechanics - An Overview

As you begin your journey to mastering a physical discipline, you will inevitably become quite the practical biomechanist.  The study of STRUCTURE will lead you to achieving knowledge in gaining more power, more function, and more utility out of your own body's structure, as well as learning to avoid the stresses that compromise your structure.  Remember, you only get one body in this life, so take care of it!  We believe that training for longevity is key to health and fulfillment.

Biomechanics is a vast and complex field of study, but there are a few key components (that we have compiled) which pertains to your study of mastering a physical discipline.  We have made efforts in creating and compiling concepts that are easy to remember.

The first concept to understand is Macro-Movement and Micro-Movement.  Your macro-movements are the larger, more broad skill sets that you learn in any physical discipline - such as walking, standing, running, jumping, pulling, pushing, striking, landing, and vaulting.  Macro-movement engages the entire structure, as well as large muscle groups.  Micro-movements are more specific skill sets - such as turning, rotating, pointing, and stabilizing.

Most skill sets require both Macro-movement and Micro-movement techniques to achieve.  Here at Free Flow Academy, we test and experiment with macro and micro level movement techniques. They are tested, studied, and peer reviewed, and then we compile these movement techniques into our literature, so that we can  teach our students to optimize their function and utility, as well as minimize risk.  All of the progressions, and skills you learn at Free Flow Academy have been tested for safety and effectiveness.

Furthermore, think of macro-movement and micro-movement as you would food nutrients.  Your body needs macro nutrients to survive (such as fats, proteins, and carbs).  The same goes for movement. Your body has to move, otherwise the cells begin to die.  Diversified and continual movement all throughout your day, and all throughout your life preserves the health of the body. Walking, standing, and general movement all throughout the day are your Macro-movement nutrients.  But your body also needs micro nutrients (such as trace minerals and vitamins).  Your body doesn't create trace minerals and vitamins on its own.  You have to give your body those things, through food in order to optimize the function of your body.  Your micro-movement nutrients are just the same.  Your body is not naturally able to hand stand or balance on a slack line, but if you give your body the feedback it needs in order to do these things, then your body will become stronger, more adaptable, and it's function will be further optimized (in a physical sense).

Now that you know you need to be moving continually all throughout the day, all throughout your life in order to preserve your most basic function, let's talk about how your daily life affects your ability to build skill.  Did you know the average American teenager only walks 11 minutes a day?!?! Sedentary habits are the main cause of biomechanical disorders - such as back and knee pain.  Make every effort to avoid being in the sedentary category of society.  Try to get in at least 5 miles of walking per day, all through out the day.  Do not sit in a desk all day, then train vigorously for 2 hours out of the day, and expect your body to not experience the punishment of such a regime.  If you are awake 12-14 hours of the day, and sit for most of it, then workout for 2 hours, you are in a category called "Active Sedentary".  Be sure you are getting up from a chair and walking around every 45 minutes. Stand and walk a distance as often as you can.  Take the stairs, not the elevator, and develop lifestyle habits that make you stronger, not weaker.

Diversify the way you sit.  If you are sitting at a 90 degree angle for 8 hours a day, think of the stress the lumbar region of your spine is taking each and every day!  Diversify your movement constantly and continually.  If you have difficulty crouching or squatting, know this is unnatural, and is a biomechanical disorder that you have developed from years of being sedentary and/or not utilizing the function of the body that would allow you to crouch or squat.  The good news is that you can correct these disorders by diversifying your movement and giving your body the feedback it needs to rehabilitate and correct itself.

The second concept to understand is how important it is to Condition the body.  Conditioning is carefully planned and calculated to give your body the impact feedback it needs to build up strength in your bones, muscles, cartilages, and ligaments.  Furthermore, conditioning is designed to help you build up strength, while minimizing risk and unnecessary stresses on the body.  For instance, it's not a smart move to just practice flipping all day.  That's a lot of undue stress on your ankles, knees, and back.  It's also not particularly safe to flip your body as you become tired from physical stress.  You can build up the strength your body needs to flip and land with good technique and precision by doing conditioning exercises.  That way when you do orchestrate your flip, and move through your progressions, you have a higher chance of doing it correctly and safely because your body is built for it.  Then once you have mastered the skill you can move on to more advanced skills.

The third concept to understand is Application.  The whole point of attending Free Flow Academy is to accomplish two things.  1) Improve your performance, 2) Reduce your risk of injury/or rehabilitate an injury.  Your coaches are using certain methodologies to improve your performance as an athlete.  One of the most important take away's a coach can give you is their ability to judge the forces, that are causing you to perform poorly, or inadequately to perform a function.  Coaches use their wisdom and experience to pinpoint the flaws in your kinetic patterning and devise a plan to get you functioning in a way that improves your performance.  Apply your Coaches knowledge, as they have the experience necessary to propel you to success.  They are your observers, advocates, and supporters.  

Monday, March 7, 2016

Optimizing your Immune Function

In order to minimize risks as well as diminish your chances of becoming ill we have put together these guidelines to assist you in your training:

Basic Hand Care:

Always wash your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitizer.  The most important thing to remember when washing hands is to rub them together to create friction. It is the act of creating friction that rids bacteria.

For Parkour/Freerunning:  When training on the bars, it is common to develop calluses and inevitably... rip those calluses. These are common injuries, that can be very painful.  The best way to care for calluses, is to not rip them in the first place.  If you start to feel the skin on your hands wearing away, give your hands a break, or get some athletic tape on them BEFORE they rip.  It takes time to build up strong calluses, and ripping them prevents you from training effectively, causes pain, and opens you up to more complications, such as a skin infection.

For Parkour/Freerunning/Tumbling/Martial Arts/Aerial Arts:  Keep your fingernails short, and clean.  Do not apply lotion to your hands before training.  If your hands are uncomfortably dry, drink more water, and if needed, apply a natural oil to your skin such as coconut or olive oil.  Applying natural oil to your skin allows your body utilize whatever it needs to heal dryness, and then the excess oil is absorbed into the body, minimizing residue on the skin.

Basic Foot Care:

Everything starts with your feet.  Foot health is imperative to sustainable training, so let's talk gait first.  Your "Gait" is your manner of walking.  Do you walk with toes slightly turned out?  Slightly turned in?  Do your knees bow inward when you walk?  Take a moment and be mindful about your gait, and talk to your trainer about how you may be able to correct any biomechanical flaws.  Your standing posture is also important to consider.  If you think about it, almost every minute, of every day, you are either sitting, walking, or standing.  So let's make sure you are doing that well, before we move on to anything else. The body is designed to move, diversely, and consider that there is a multitude of stresses we can eliminate, which will allow you to have more energy, and minimize risks and challenges associated with biomechanical disorders.

Keep your feet covered and protected.  When barefoot training, make sure you work up to it.  If you are not used to going barefoot, give your feet time to adapt, and do not over train the skin and tissues.


Always come to class wearing clean, dry clothing. Make sure you wash your hands and shower/bathe after practice.  Always report any open wounds to your coach, or to the front desk, and let us know where the opening occurred.  Be sure to get a band aid and tape to cover up the wound.

Skin Health:

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, so if your skin is compromised, so is your immune system.  Keep skin healthy by staying hydrated, covering and treating open wounds, and follow through on progressions to avoid bumps, bruises, scrapes, fabric burns (aerial silks) and cuts of any kind.  Progressing is not a race, so although we love a student with plenty of zeal, we want you to be safe first and foremost.  It's not fun to be injured, so complete your progressions.  If you feel nervous about doing a movement, tell your Coach, and ask them to give you a progression to a movement that will increase your confidence and safety.

Your muscles, ligaments, bones, and tendons need to be conditioned.  The same as such for your skin!  Allow your skin, time to to adapt to any new environmental feedback and training.  Treat it kindly, and be mindful of your skin health.    

Internal Health:

Did you know that the feet have pressure points associated with every major organ in the body? There is a great deal of knowledge you can gather about your current health simply by checking your feet.  If you suffer from any kind of body aches, pain or discomfort, be mindful of your feet, and a quick fix is to push down and around parts of your foot and see if you can pin point any sore spots.  If you come across a sore spot, give it a good rub and massage it out.

- DRINK WATER!!  Half your body weight in ounces.
- BALANCE your HORMONES!!  If you are hungry, tired, or experience a craving, then it's a sure sign you need to balance your hormones.  Nourish your body with quality calories, sleep/rest when needed, and pay attention to your HEC (Hunger/Energy/Cravings).  Is your HEC in check?  Because if it's not, you need to be proactive about balancing your body.

Recover from Sickness:

Do not tax your body when you are sick.  This is counter productive.  There is no need to exercise when you are ill, and please take the time to allow your body to recover.  If you feel the need to "push through the pain", consider that it will take you two to three times longer to regain your full strength, therefore putting off your training even longer.  Remember, deep, focused practice, is what will progress you most efficiently and effectively, so take care of your self and your body's needs first.

The (Neuro) Science of Achieving your Goals

Anyone who has spent any length of time will have experienced the challenge of feeling like they are no longer improving.  Or if they are, it's slow going... the dreaded plateau.

When it comes to building skill, especially athleticism, it's important to consider that you have an extremely complex network to build.  Your muscles need to be conditioned and strengthened over a period of time in order to orchestrate the skill(s) you want to achieve.  But further more, you need to condition your ligaments, tendons, and motor skills.  You need to build strength, in each of these areas, but also flexibility and mobility, and of course... adaptability.  It's a fine balance of discovering what is too much, too soon, so it's always important to listen to your body's signals and work closely with your trainer, so that you can minimize risk, and prevent injury.  

One thing is for certain.  PRACTICE gets you to where you need to be.  There is nothing that replaces practice.  Modern scientific research, specifically in the field of neuroscience has proven that the only thing that sets people apart from others, is their time in deep, focused, practice.  

You can practice poorly... meaning, there is no intention, no planning, no strategy in your practice.  It's imperative to set clear, concise, and MEASUREABLE goals when wanting to achieve skill.  You need to have a clear vision, of where you want to be, and what you want to achieve. You can also practice dangerously.  Good practice minimizes risk and danger, so that you can achieve your goals without serious and detrimental set backs.   

Step 1) Set a clear path/Vision  - Step 1 is actually 2 fold.  You need to have a clear VISION/OUTCOME and your WHY.  Discover WHY you want to do this and write it down.  Make sure it is tied to something important to you.  For example, your WHY could be:  I want to learn Parkour because I want to have the energy and skills necessary to explore my world, travel, and hang out with other practitioners.  I also want to have peace of mind so that I can protect myself by learning how to fall, and escape any dangerous situations using my ability to adapt, think and move quickly and efficiently.

Once you are clear on your vision and your WHY, the next step is to create an Action Plan.  These are the steps (short term and long term) that you decide you need to take to help you achieve your goals.  For example:  I am going to to go to Parkour class 2x a week, and achieve 4 basic skill progressions in 3 months.  Then I will practice daily movement exercises each day by walking 1 hour each day, QMing for 15 minutes, and doing 10 pull up progressions each day until I am able to get 5 consecutive pullups with full range of motion.  

Step 2) Use your Resources - Talk to your trainer!  They have the wisdom, knowledge, and short cuts to get you to where you want to be.  Use your skills sheets, and read gym literature to enhance your study and focus.  

Step 3) Practice. Practice. Practice.  We can't stress this enough.  When you practice, your body produces a substance in the brain called myelin.  Myelin is a mixture of proteins and phospholipids that form a sheath around nerve fibers, and it increases the speed and efficiency in which neurons and impulses move from one area to the brain to the other.  This is how you are able to orchestrate smooth and "effortless" kinetic patterning.  So in essence, "muscle memory" actually takes place in the brain.  

Step 4) Growth takes patience, and the will to overcome challenges.  You will undoubtedly experience changes in your physiological processes.  Your body may feel soreness, and will need to adapt to the environmental feedback on a continual basis.  Constant growth, means constantly enduring and overcoming challenges, so you MUST prepare yourself mentally each day.  Remember your Step 1 (Vision) and why you are doing this in the first place.  

Step 4) Do NOT use Drugs.  Drugs and mind altering substances will inhibit you from achieving your goals because they destroy your body.  You simply cannot achieve any sustainable skill sets if you use drugs.  

Step 5) Never Compromise your Cognitive or Immune Function.  Your brain, also known as your "Governing Meridian"as well as your Immune system are functions that are imperative to your survival.  If you do not maintain the health of your cognition and immunity, then there isn't much more your body can handle.  Staying hydrated, eating healthy (no processed foods, and eating whole foods that are organic when available), getting plenty of rest, and not over training are ways you can take care of your basic functions.  If you are dehydrated, malnourished, or over training, your cognitive and immune functions are compromised.  Ideally you want to create and stick to a plan that is a good balance between low impact and high impact training.  You never want to only train in high impact movements.  Your body needs a break from that, so take into consideration that Free Flow Academy offers "mindfulness" programs to balance out the athlete, but keep you moving and active.

When training in high impact movements, you need to be absolutely focused when training, and it serves you no good to be exhausted, overly fatigued, and over worked.  If you over train, you are seriously increasing your risk of major injury.  Talk to your Coach if you feel "foggy", overly fatigued, or don't feel like you have the ability to focus or continue.  These are conditions that need to be addressed, and it may not be safe for you to continue participating for that time period if you have any of these symptoms. It is your Coach's job to push and challenge you, as well as help keep you safe, so if your Coach is adamant you push through, do your best to accept the challenge.  But also note it is always your choice to participate.  

Proper Attire

Proper Attire

Parkour & Freerunning

- Loose comfortable & stretchy clothing.  Pants should be cuffed or no lower than ankle length.
- Low soled, flexible, high traction, minimalist exercise shoes such as Feiyues (You may order shoes at the gym for $22)

Martial Arts (Kung Fu, Ninjitsu, Survival Science Self Defense, Armored Weapons, Combat PK)

- Loose comfortable & stretchy clothing.  Pants should be cuffed or no lower than ankle length.
- Plan on going barefoot (except for Armored Weapons) but please bring exercise shoes to class in case we run sprints outside.
- Wear close toed shoes for Armored Weapons Class.

Optional but highly recommended:

- 4-8oz sparring gloves
- wraps

Aerial Arts (Aerial Silks, Lyra, Corde Lisse)

- Form fitted leotard or tank top with leggings or stockings
- Plan on going barefoot


- Form or loose fitted comfortable/stretchy clothing
- Plan on going barefoot

Dance (Belly Dance, Poi, Hoop)

- Form or loose fitted comfortable/stretchy clothing
- Plan on going barefoot

- Jewelry & Piercings
- Sandals or Shoes with heels
- Excessive Makeup
- Long Nails