Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Truest Form of Zombie Survival: Parkour

So as part of my continuing endeavor to integrate more cardio into my week, I've decided to get back into parkour. That's my sane reason. Also, I'm kind of getting into survival preparation, by which I mean I am developing plans for bad weather, terrorist attacks, and end-of-the-world scenarios that involve stocking up on water, MRE's, and camping gear while learning how to plant crops, shoot a bow, skin an animal, forage and --
OK. Admittedly this is not a very normal or healthy hobby, but the fact is that if the zombie apocalypse begins I want to be able to climb a 6 foot wall, goddammit, cause ain't no way I'm goin out just cause I decided to stay home and eat pizza instead of heading to the gym when I had the chance.

So with this in mind on Friday night I headed out to do a little parkour. I was very nervous because for one thing parkour is one of those sports that involves a lot of interaction with other human beings, which is pretty far down on my list of skills (I think I roll a penalty for my low charisma when participating in social interaction.) Also, I'm not very good at parkour. This is not for lack of trying; I work hard when I'm there and I push myself to get the most out of my work-out. But one of the things I really like about parkour (even though it makes it a huge challenge for me) is that it is much more than a sport of simply memorizing forms or learning different ways to jump over things.
Parkour is cerebral. It's an exercise in creativity as much as strength, flexibility, stamina, and endurance. The challenge of crossing from point A to point B is about recognizing an obstacle and deciding on the best way to traverse it, factoring in your position based on whatever obstacle you've just crossed, your ability, and the obstacle you'll be facing next. The best traceurs are made of equal parts patience and quick decision-making, of calculation and artistry. It's fun when you get it right. It's annoying as fuck all the times you get it wrong (and sometimes painful).
So Friday I timidly did my warm-up, wheezing by the end (thanks overly muscular and under aerobically-disciplined body) and got in line to do some vaults. For the most part, I was my terrified of heights self, but I did do some damn fine jump to cat-hangs, and also managed to top out from a cat-hang. The top out was a big goddamn deal, and I'm hoping to get to the point where I can do a wall run to top out in the coming months. (I calculate the zombie outbreak as being more likely to occur in the late spring or summer, so as long as I cam make it up an 8-foot wall by then, everything will be fine.)

Anyway, after that, the class broke down into hey-it's-urban-evo-on-a-friday-night-let's-just-jump-on-things. I took the first steps to learning how to do a front flip, which is very exciting, and then we loaded mats onto a tumble track and jumped on/over them. There's no video evidence that I participated, unfortunately, but I did get two awesome videos of other guys vaulting the mats. (No, my vaults were not nearly as clean as theirs but YES I did vault this obstacle, which was about as tall as I am.) Enjoy.

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