Wednesday, April 15, 2009

24 Hours

(Originally posted on the Parkour Generations blog.)

The following takes place between 7:00am and 8:00am.
A familiar song is interrupting my conversation with a man who has no face. I linger for a while in some middle ground between dream and reality, wondering where I am and what day it is as I fumble for the snooze key on my phone.

The following takes place between 8:00am and 9:00am.
I'm showered and contain significantly more weetabix, oats and bananas than I did one hour ago. I find myself jogging past a church, the only person in sight wearing a smile as I weave between frowning commuters towards the tube station.

The following takes place between 9:00am and 10:00am.
I'm standing near to a pub that is more often than not occupied by men who particularly enjoy the company of other men. I'm still not certain why this has become the unnofficial meeting place for those about to add yet another crimson stamp upon the Vauxhall walls, but it's something I've never felt the need to question.

The following takes place between 10:00am and 11:00am.
I've been running for a while now. Sweat trickles down my face and all I can hear is a dozen pairs of worn shoes colliding with grass and asphalt in every direction around me. We started together and we will finish together, just as we always do.

The following takes place between 11:00am and 12:00pm.
Midday is about to greet us and I wonder if I've injured the ant that I've blown way off course as I exhale out of yet another press up. I'm probably hurting more than the ant actually. I've squatted, traversed, pushed, pulled and crawled my way through the last sixty minutes and my shouts of determination have blended with those of my friends to create a symphony, a chorus of pain.

The following takes place between 12:00pm and 1:00pm.
We're stretching, having recently done more muscle ups than any of us thought we were capable of, the arms no longer feel... well, anything. My heart is beginning its journey to a resting pace again and I look around to see tired but contented faces.

The following takes place between 1:00pm and 2:00pm.
Lunch is over and I'm upside down in a park, practicing handstands and balancing in the sun with an old friend.

The following takes place between 2:00pm and 3:00pm.
I'm on my own. Soon after a tube journey that greeted me with the usual looks of disinterest or curiosity at my dirty clothes and bleeding hands, I'm crouched on a wall trying to convince my body that it can reach the branch that teases me in the nearby tree. If I don't, there's a fair chance I'm going to get hurt since I'm high up and concrete is unforgiving at the best of times. But I will make it, I must make it. I've done a hundred jumps like this in the past, perhaps not at this height but the height is irrelevant if you make the jump. And I will make the jump.

The following takes place between 3:00pm and 5:00pm.
I'm on the last set of a series of jumps that I've been doing in quick succesion to build power in my legs. My arms are weak from a brief one-armed pullup test and I check my watch.

The following takes place between 7:00pm and 8:00pm.
I'm indoors, rotating my joints and loosening up once again along with thirty or so students. We prepare our bodies for what is to come for half an hour or so and then I position some obstacles in a half-improvised manner. As I watch the expressions of doubt turn to joy on a new practitioner's face, I realise that we never lose that feeling of pleasure in our success upon overcoming our fears. The relief on the man's face is a reflection of my own only a few hours ago as I caught the branch. Is this the most addictive part of our discipline? Is it the surpassing of our fears that brings us back time after time? I think about it a little more as the air in the room grows warmer still and the tired limbs attempt one last almighty effort.

The following takes place between 9:00pm and 10:00pm
Some of those around me might argue that the warm down would make a fairly good warm up. All at least would agree the stretching is a welcome relief. I shake hands, smile and say my goodbyes to old friends, new friends and strangers who I'm sure will grow to be friends in time. At last, the physical demands of today are over.

The following takes place all day, every day.
The Oyster card is at the bottom of my bag when the bus arrives.

The following takes place between 10:00pm and 11:00pm.
I find myself sitting down and eating. Checking emails and wishing I had more time to reply to some of them, I update my diary for the week once again before feeling the shower wash another day off my back. Blood, dirt, sweat and something unknown is dissapearing in to the dark abyss below me and I stand there a little longer than is necessary, allowing my muscles time to relax in the cool water.

The following takes place between 11:00pm and 12:00pm.
I turn off the light and try to get back to my bed without bashing my knee on something. I still haven't quite perfected the whole pitch-black navigation thing in this new room of mine but I'm getting there. I'm almost asleep before my head touches the pillow.


The following takes place between 7:00am and 8:00am.
A familiar song is interrupting my conversation with a man who has no face. I linger a while in some middle ground between my dream and reality and wonder where I am and what day it is, fumbling for the 'snooze' key on my phone...


Hiro said...

Amazing, it sure sounded like a great day

Rand Jordan said...

Blane you never cease to inspire me, I would just like to thank you for your write ups they are truly phenomenal.

n0k1 said...

nice Parkour timetable..) It makes me think, it was saturday-sunday... I don't know exactly why i supposed to think so, but... it seems close to me, may be because i try my best to use My weekends as much, as possible for training sessions, and to give my muscle much rest for regeneration during next few days to be completely ready for the next test...

There's one small question... Ain't it your dayly timetable for Parkour?? But... if so... what about rest... It seems to be 3-4 days per week, am i right?

Tez said...

One thing i'm interested in... who's the man who has no face?


Luc from Canada, eh? said...


have you ever incorporated or considered incorporating slacklining in your development?

I'm curious if slacklining has picked up any interest amongst the very dedicated top-level traceurs.

Bruno Campos said...


I think the article is written to give the impression that this routine goes on every day, at least that's my take. If you noticed the last entry is just the same as the first one, as if everything starts all over again at the end.

I guess it's up to Chris now. What do you say?

Take care!

n0k1 said...

hmmm...)) i think, you're right)) I like the article, particular the end of it...)
thanx for the reply, Bruno))

Keep training!

Animesh said...

hi blane
I'm an Indian practitioner. I've always had the problem of not begin able to motivate myself enough to practice that morning, but every time I read your blog It helps me to push that extra bit further.
Soon I'll share my video.

Chris 'Blane' Rowat said...

Thanks for the feedback guys.

This describes a typical weekday for me. Although the content of the training is different every morning, we meet up at 10am and train together until around 1pm every day, Monday - Friday. I tend to train six days per week and rest one day on the weekend now.

Luc, I've tried slacklining once or twice and it's very difficult! It's nothing at all like any of the balancing exercises on a rail and I'd like to try it again some time.

Tez, I have no idea who it is but his voice is vaguely familiar. :0

Animesh, I hope you continue to find motivation for your training, looking forward to seeing your video.


Ian Lyon. said...

I like it a lot mate :)

Reminds me of my own routine in a way.

Take care,

Lee said...

hey luc - slacklines are awesome :D good call- however i tend to use mine just wehn i m looking for something very low impact...coz otherwise...i d rather walk and jump on railings etc.....

Corey said...

Hey! I really loved this writeup. I was wondering if you or any of your readers would be interested in writing a piece on what a higher-tier training day is like for my blog,
Perhaps you have something concise already written on here that you could let me borrow?

TraceurZeno said...

A well very written post B.

Hope to see you soon


Chris Grant said...

i can see new entry emerging.

1pm to 2pm.
We gorge on a horrendous amount of calories in the form of pizza and pasta for 5.99 until the waitress looks slightly annoyed.

Susheel Chandradhas said...

I think you have a real talent for writing. The words are very 'visual', like you were visualising the scene once again, while you wrote it down...

It is also very inspirational and I hope to get there some day.


Nick said...

so you're that annoying person who's never ready with their oyster when the bus comes!

V ery nice post, must train soon!

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Unknown said...

Just found your blog after reading your 'dilution' post on, and it more thab lives up to my expectations! Hope to see updates soon, Cheers!

Allanpkjss said...

''a typical weekday for me''

Holy shit!!!!

I wishes I could have this week day, Looks very awesome =)...

Really good, looks poetry =)

Taguchi Bates said...

wow this is impressive. ive started a blog of my own and want to do something like this.
right now it has the basic workout routine that we do daily for core strength.

xmonter said...

Very nice

Mbhuw said...

i as a begginer found this extremly helpfull! I hope you could start making some more posts soon!

tash said...

It's been a while since your last post. Do you plan on keeping posting here or did you give it up entirely for pkgen blog?

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Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

Chris said...

I hope you read this comment and wonder who I am, in time you will find out who wrote this message. You might just quickly read this thinking nothing of it and over time slowly foreget this comment or you might not even read it. But some day I will meet you and train with you and till that day I hope you keep safe and dont forget that time is also another obstacle. Beacuse while I right this and the first time our hands shake it will seem like no time has passed.

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Hugh McIntyre said...

That amazing. To be honest, I do not think of a label you could put on me.
I have self taught myself parkour for a matter of years, but its not consistent like yours is. its more of an occasional thing, I'm can do more than a begginer could do, but I am not amazing. I have taught myself backflips, vaults, and whatever else I can find something to do a trick on, but I guess I do not have the motivation for it.
I have also started jiu jitsu recently and am now going for my second belt. That also helps motivate me.
I think it was you who my sensai trained with. He mentioned a 'Blane' from south London, parkour generations, he said that you two were training.

This helps in every little way.
Thanks, Hugh.

Anonymous said...

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