Sunday, August 18, 2013

Go Ninja! GO! GO! - The Grand Opening of UE Baltimore

Goddamn, folks, I apologize for the obligatory title of this post, but I literally had no choice.

(Just kidding I had lots of choices.)

Anyway, so Saturday morning I woke up at an ungodly hour. Ordinarily of course I prefer to sleep in on the weekends, but the fact was that it was big day, so I crawled out of bed, pulled on my clothes in bleary-eyed exhaustion, and readied myself for what would no doubt be a momentous occasion. I checked my phone as we climbed into the car and prepared for our long journey: 11:38 am. I should have been dead asleep for at least another two hours, but alas, when duty calls there are those of us courageous enough to answer, no matter how early the hour.

On March of 2012 I attended the opening of Urban Evolution's Manassas location, and it was, I do not exaggerate, a life changing experience. I knew that yesterday, at the opening Urban Evolution's Baltimore gym, I would get to see more lives changed and imaginations unlocked as the local population got to check out parkour for the first time. I was not disappointed. The facility was huge and impressively full (although it really supported the large numbers well) as dozens upon dozens of people learned to roll, vault, and hang for the first time.

Not Pictured: THE OTHER 3/4's OF THE GYM!
Despite the large numbers and organized chaos, I got do a lot of work while hanging out with my BF and a couple of other UE friends we don't get to see very often. As soon as we got settled in, my boyfriend was ushered over to the challenge of his fitness career: a 750 pound tire. Guys, if you've never flipped a tire before, please, please go out there, find a tire, and flip it. It's an incredible experience. If it's a 750 pound tire, however, you might want to just leave it be. Sebastian tried, and could not get it off the ground. Then he tried with me helping, and we got it about an inch into the air and couldn't make it any further. It was tragedy on an unfathomable level. That son of bitch was heavy. 
But then first one duo got it, and then another. I couldn't stand it. So I demanded that we give it another try. With Sebastian beside me, I sank my butt down all the way to the floor, got my hands underneath it, and used everything my quads had in them to lift while my back and shoulders braced the weight. Every inch was agony, but slowly we got it into the air. But lifting is only half the battle in a tire flip. Once you have it up, you have to shift your position and get fully beneath the thing and push it over. Sebastian got underneath the rubber without too much trouble, but it was agony for me, so he had to brace it while I made the shift. Once I had my position right I used everything my shoulders had and shoved the son of bitch over. It slammed with a resonance that silenced the population of the gym. And in that silence, I let out a cry known only to those who have faced the impossible odds of battle and seen triumph when they expected only death. My only regret is that I do not have videographic evidence of this event.

I do, however, have some videos of my bar work! Recently I discovered, to my utter surprise, that I can actually do a chin-up. So I got Sebastian to get a video of me working on my still extremely weak but getting better lifts. 

A friend named Charles also helped me with my circle-ups. It's important to me that I learn to do a circle-up and do it well in order to perform better at trapeze, but it requires much more control than I currently have, so Charles showed me how to do reverse circle-up in order to teach my muscles that particular control.  So now guess what I get to work on three days a week...

Yes, it says, "Trespassers will be eaten by Zombies."

But of course the best part of the UE Baltimore Grand Opening wasn't me; it was everyone else. I got so caught up people-watching I didn't even get pictures or videos of all the incredible things happening around me. I saw hand-stands and laches, amazing vault work, bar free flow, dance, martial arts, gymnastics and amazing parkour as total strangers exchanged the best of their abilities and taught each other new ways of moving. At one point I did get a video of my friend Charles doing a handstand. If you listen, you can me scream when I realized just what was actually planned...

Trust is a very important part of parkour.

I came home exhausted and sore, and today my shoulders and upper back are still complaining from all the work they did. But I had a great time, and I'm so glad I went. 

Congratulations, Baltimore, you just got yourself one hell of a gym. 

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