On Saturday evening I attended the second major Parkour gathering held by Parkour Generations. In my opinion it far surpassed the first in terms of organisation, structure, intensity and value. Not that the first rendezvous was lacking in any of those areas but it seems the guys over there have greatly honed their teaching abilities during the few months between each meeting and they managed to squeeze so much more in to only three and a half hours.
The seminar started with a 30 minute warm up consisting of lots of jogging, running up and down stairs, running outdoors, running indoors and then a fair few circuits of skipping, running sideways and running backwards. Next we were exposed to a healthy dose of bouncing on the spot on our toes, on one leg and side to side which really got the blood pumping and the calves burning. Finally we did lots of quadrupedal crawling variations, weighted squats with a partner on our back, joint preparation and general loosening off.
Now the real work began. There were a total of five different stations; four in the gym and one outside. We were split in to groups of around 10-15 people and spent 25 minutes at each station where a whole host of interesting challenges awaited us. We were presented with a series of obstacles and shown a possible route through them then encouraged to find a way past them that suited us. With each lap of the station we were encouraged by the veteran French traceurs present to try something new and more challenging. All the time they were constantly giving us personal feedback and advice with each lap of the station. This format worked very well and although there were a lot of people present, I never felt like it was too crowded due to the space management and station system.
The time flew past and before we all knew it we had been training for three hours without rest and without realising how we had been moving past physical obstacles that both challenged and inspired us, as well as mental barriers of fatigue. I was pleased that the intensity of this session was nothing new to me as I have long become used to the feeling of 3-4 hour training sessions without rest.
To finish the session we warmed down with Laurent who led us through a series of very relaxing stretches and I felt my core temperature gradually return to normal resting rate using the breathing exercises. Finally we spent five minutes lying flat on our backs with our eyes closed focusing on our breathing and letting the blood flow through our bodies. I nearly fell asleep as a wave of comfort just washed over me.
Sadly the day was coming to a close but before leaving there was a 'question and answer' opportunity with the Yamakasi, Forrest and Stephane really expressing their opinions and giving everyone some valuable advice and encouragement for the future.
I wish to thank everyone who made this day possible - everyone at Parkour Generations, the additional French traceurs who travelled over for the event, everyone who attended and worked hard and in particular Laurent - who I feel left everyone going home with a new sense of personal purpose and a deep spirited question resounding through our minds: 'why do you practice?'. Indeed every action must have a purpose, or it is simply a wasted effort.