Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My friend and training partner Graham is figthing again on the 6th June so he is training 5 times a week now. The regular place we use for fight training is shut for a few weeks so Graham and Colin are training at the same place where the regular classes are. Colin put the heavy bags up last night and has said that since I am taking classes along with Denise I can use the heavy bag when they are there so that at least I get some practice.

I decided to work a lot on kicks and knees since my kicks are looking rubbish just now and my knees are my strongest weapons and I have been neglecting them recently.

I completed five two minute rounds using all techniques and at full power then I had a ten minute break for some water. Following this I had two rounds of shadowboxing then three rounds testing some coombinations of kicks and knees on the bag at maybe 30% power so that i could work on my movement and foot placement as well as technique of the attacks themselves. Finally I completed a round of the combo's I had just been trying but at full power.

With sweat pouring from me and my hands buzzing with adrenaline I left feeling tired but happy. After a full day of parkour, an hour on the bag is not to be sniffed at! bring on the sore shoulders tomorrow...


New-found confidence and new training

The first aspect I'd like to blog about today is helping someone learn parkour which is something I've never really done before. Earlier I decided to train some more parkour and called up Conner to come out and train with me. He is having some confidence issues with his parkour so I tried to help with his training. I showed him some things I done when I started, as he is coming back from a long break off parkour and feels like he is starting again. I told him that for vaults and things he should just forget about what 'type' of vault he was doing and just concentrate on passing the obstacle. Once he could pass it five times safely I explained that then he could focus on how he was approaching his vault and how he was landing, where his hands were going etc. This way he doesn't think "I'll lazy vault this" or "I'll speed vault that" but thinks "I have to pass this obstacle in this manner with this hand, moving from this side and land like this so that i can pass the next obstacle" etc.

While he was working on various things like that I was working on basic things but from my non-dominant side so that I was at a disadvantage. I was trying to do two vaults in close proximity so that I was passing one wall at a disadvantage and examining where I was landing so that I could pass the next wall in the most efficient manner. This was very useful and something I plan to do more often. Especially since you can't always choose where you approach things from and if you need to move fast, you also need to be able to take off from and land on both feet, same with your hands and arms.

Secondly, I've been very surprised to find out that I have much more confidence than I did when I was training parkour more often a few years ago. When I started training again a few weeks ago my confidence was shot and I had to start very small and work my way up but this didn't last long and now I have more confidence in what I can do. I also had more ideas on how to improve myself in areas in which I am not as good and feel better trying things I previously wouldn't have. As an example of this, I filmed a few bits of footage for myself to examine where I was going right and wrong. I'll stick them up below. These are both things I have never done before and I've tried different ways of approaching and departing from each.

This first one is a decent first attempt:

and this is me trying different things, different landings and movements, ending in a bail. :(

I've never done this particular obstacle before, as I explain in my video I was playing a game where the pavement was water or something like that and I had to take off from the kerb and land on the wall:

This is the final video and I was doing the same thing as before but also trying to clear the imaginary water hazard both ways - from and to the kerb.

Overall, I had a lot of fun both playing about with inaginary hazards and also trying new things, as well as experimenting with new training methods. Conner has a little bit less hestiation and now has new methods for training too which helped both of us alot.

I apologise for the poor video quality but it is raw footage from my phone. I'm going to make a 2 min video of things I'm training so that I can make another one in a few months to check on my progress.

Thanks for reading,

Monday, April 27, 2009

Parkour jam in Dundee

Today I have aching shoulders and legs, I had a bath last night but to no avail. I also feel quite tired. No, it isn't swine flu but the after effects of training in Dundee on Sunday!

Sunday was the first jam organised in Dundee by the Dundee University Parkour Club (DUPK) and brought together traceurs, free runners and trickers from Dundee, St. Andrews, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Coatbridge to enjoy some of the architectural delights in Dundee which unravel before the eye of a traceur. Dundee University and the associated grounds were put to good use by over twenty people, as was the Caird Hall.

While I knew a few people who attended from the Glasgow parkour forums, most people were strangers. I am not usually put off by training on my own or with people I do not know so I branched off on my own while a large group were getting into trouble by an Overgate (shopping mall) security guard for flipping and tricking inside.  Outside is a church which offered a number of variations for precision jumps and after dipping my foot in a number of these I decided I'd best not lose the group as I have never been to Dundee University before and feared missing out on any of the spots which Chris and BJ from Glasgow had told me about.

I did not see anyone come out of the rear entrance after me so I assumed everyone had kept moving and come out of a side door through H&M.  I have no idea where they actually did go as I didn't find them all for about half an hour. I decided to just head up the Perth Road and have a nosey outside the Union.  En route, I met Calum who is a part of the DUPK, who had also lost everyone at some point.  I discovered a nice little spot previous to meeting Calum behind the Dundee Rep theatre but we decided to keep moving to find the group rather than track back and re-visit the Rep.  After moving through the University grounds without any luck we happened across Mikey, from St. Andrews but Edinburgh originally, who had just parked his car.  Shortly afterwards we met up with the group who had taken the (very) long way round which is why we couldn't find them.

From here, a number of different opportunities were opened up to me, similar to a child realising that the 20p ride outside the fun-fair wasn't the only fun to be had. The University grounds offered a very long multiple rail structure as well as a number of disabled access ramps with all associated railings and obstacles, plus a number of walls which all differed in structure, materials, texture, height and obstacles surrounding them, such as lack of ground space, overhangs, and small walls surrounding the bigger walls. Needless to say I worked mostly on balance and climb-ups.  It was while exploring these opportunities I met David and Ewan from Edinburgh, who knew Mikey and also Andy from Glasgow.  The five of us set out on a different path from the rest of the group, initially to hang about on a thick tree branch which David decided was ripe for a 'table bouldering' challenge and then towards a nice set of low walls that were just outside of my comfortable precision range.  We worked on standing and running precisions here over the 5 gaps (only about a few inches up to half a meter above the ground), exploring foot placement and various advantages and detriments to the space.

We moved on and discovered a very nice spot only five minutes away, but outside of the university grounds which I will go back and take a picture of shortly. David and Ewan helped me with a number of issues here, but especially departing on my non-dominant side. David set more challenges at various locations and fun was had by all. We found our way back to the church outside the Overgate centre and spend a while there drilling the various precisions and challenging ourselves to complete certain tasks i.e. landing softer, more precise, using less of a run etc.

I left David, Ewan and Andy at my bus stop feeling tired but still wanting to keep moving. It is days like this in which you fall in love with things all over again and I emphatically fell for Parkour again on Sunday.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Went out and challenged my nemesis today. I'm not timing it and doing everything by feeling but I can tell that I'm getting faster at climb ups which can only be a good thing. The thing is, I can see what I'm doing with my hands and arms fine but my legs are a mystery! I know I'm trying to kick off and up the wall but I have no idea what it looks like. I took a small video to see what it was like and I was surprised by the speed I scaled the wall but also quite surprised at the dominance of my left side in the "pushing" section of the climb up. I had never noticed that before so I'm glad I filmed it.

I'm not gonna put the video up simply because it is a crappy quality video at a strange angle that looks even worse on the computer screen. I'll wait until I feel I've got it spot on and film it properly with some of the other stuff I've been training.

Here is me standing next to the wall for comparison. Looking at this photo I'd say the wall is about 11ft. I'm 6 foot 1.


*edit* Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this wall is called my nemesis because I wanted to get stronger to do this before I progressed any further in parkour. My strength was so lacking that I usually had to use my elbows and knees to get up. The fact I can do reps of this climb up and climp up properly shows the leaps I have made in strength while I've been away from parkour. This wall is what put me off parkour a few years ago so I'm extremely happy that I can easily scale it and it gives me confidence back about other aspects of parkour.

Going to a parkour jam in Dundee instead of inter club in Glasgow.

Bunch of Glasgow traceurs coming through for the jam in Dundee, I'll be able to see guys I've not seen in a while. Also, see Dundee spots I've not seen before. Griphouse hold inter clubs every month but there's not a Dundee parkour jam every month!

Gonne be good :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

So today I decided to go out and do some parkour training. I've previously tried a few things to get back into the swing of it but noticed I was really lacking in confidence.

I was out for two hours today and visited two locations. beside the college is a park called McDonald park. Most of this is just grass, where I do sprint training but local amateur football team Arbroath Harp play here and have a clubhouse. The outside of the clubhouse offers a small set of obstacles which I use. I mostly practiced foot placement and motion here. Single standing jumps where I pay attention to where and how heavy I land, trying to land as quietly as possible on the tips of my toes and also recovering my balance quickly.

I then moved across the path after about an hour to try a kong to cat over the metal barriers that are put in place to slow down cyclists. I have never tried this before but I believed I could do it so decided to film my first couple of attempts.

After this video I noticed I was getting frustrated so decided to stop before I got annoyed with myself and ended up getting hurt. In case you cannot see it in the video, I kept missing it with my right foot, a if I was mentally holding it back for some reason. I know I can do this so before the week is out I'll practice it more and film myself getting it right.

The second spot I went to is the car park for local council building Bruce House. They have recently repainted and renovated this car park due to Tesco opening and more people seeing it so I now have some more obstacles, which were fun.

I firstly played with balance and tried to walk the full length of one of the handrails on all fours, managing to get most of the way before I slipped. Next I moved to small yellow rails which have recently been erected and then grinded by skaters! They are quite thin and curved which made it a good challenge. Excuse my wild flailing arms in this clip!

Next I decided to play around with various vaults, trying to figure out which one was most efficient from different approach angles and basically just playing with my movement, trying out various things. This was the most fun part of the session. On more than on occasion I laughed out loud at myself for trying things which blatantly weren't going to work.

Finally, I went round the corner to practice climb ups on a wall which I've decided to call my nemesis. I can beat it but it is challenging and always makes me happy when I get to the top. I'm not sure how high it is but it is maybe just bigger than double my size which would make it just over 12ft. I have to kick off and up in order to even reach the top. I can make this almost every time I try so I can practice getting faster, better technique etc. No pics or vids but will be soon.

All in all, a good day.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I have been watching the Base Muay Thai show from 05 April on today. I really want to fight again. I will see if there are interclubs (smokers for you yanks) at any point soon so I can get some more competitive sparring against different folk. I know that Glasgow Caledonian hold interclubs once amonth and their April one is on the 26th but I'm not sure if I can afford to get to Glasgow and back! On top of that you have the issue of going on your own, Graham has offered to drive or come with me as he thinks that he is off work that Sunday so we will see what happens. I've only been to one interclub before but I've also had a fight so I know how things operate and conduct etc. I have the knowledge but I really need ring time and experience so hopefully I can make it to this interclub. If anything it will be fun!
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

So my upper body 5x5 workout is now a 5x6 workout as I try to make it  5x10 workout eventually.

The pull ups were much tougher with 6 instead of 5, even without the added weight. The dips were easier than expected but still pretty tough. Gonna have sore moobs tomorrow!

I finished it off with 30 seconds of jabs while holding 6kg handweights then after 30 seconds rest I done 30 seconds of crosses. I didn't count the jabs but in the 30 seconds I managed to do 27 crosses. I'll work up to 30 - one a second, then see if I can burst through that.
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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

So far today I have done three things I am happy with:

I've made a list of stuff to do and completed it.


Tabata core exercises.

Ok, so the last two were part of the first one but I've decided to set myself a list of things to do every morning for that day and today was the only day I've completed everything. I had sprints, tabata core exercises and studying for college. I've  yet to do the studying but I'm copying out an essay so it is in my mind and I'm going to time myself and do it in the library at college once I've finished my noodles and written this so it is almost as good as done - so I'm counting it. I have to go return some books to the library too.

The sprints I done were not timed as such. I was going to do them following tabata protocol but I don't think I can. I don't handle heat well and it is pretty warm outside so I knew I was in for a tough time anyway. I decided to do sprints using a football (soccer) pitch as a guideline. starting at the halfway line, I jogged to the corner and sprinted across the goal line from corner to corner, jogging back up the touchline to the halfway line again and sprinting the width of the pitch on the halfway line. I managed one test to see how long the whole thing took (around 45/50 seconds) and then completed two with one minute rest between them. After two I couldn't carry on any longer, standing seemed to be a daunting task to I lay on the grass for a minute. I'm not happy with my performance but I am happy that I have started this and now have a routine and suitable location for this workout. Also, I know what level I am at and now have a target: three. Once I can do three complete circuits, I'll do four, then five. When I can do five complete circuits I will be happy. Then I can work on not being so tired after five! That will be just shy of five full rounds for "C" class Muay Thai rules.

Before I went out to sprint however, I got down and tabata'd the hell out of my core! With twenty seconds work and ten seconds rest all the way through, even between exercises I completed sit ups, crunches, toe touches (lie on back, legs straight up, touch toes) and cross over situps. I completed twenty seconds full work with ten seconds between for a total of four times with each exercise which comes to a total of eight minutes. I will work up to doing this twice, back to back so I am completing a total of sixteen minutes. I'll try and make this a standard thing for Wednesdays.

Right, I'm off to the college which is ten minutes walk along the road so that I can get some History books out and then copy out my research issues essay to try and imprint it into my mind! UFC FN18 tonight, followed by premiere of The Ultimate Fighter Season 9: USA v UK! Really excited about this season. Just about finished watching Season 8. Got four more episodes to go, then the finale of course.