Thursday, March 27, 2008

Zac "Happydud" Cohn's Summer Parkour Adventure

For the longest time, I've always wanted to wander. Every few months I'd come up with an idea. Last year I spent about a week trying to figure out how long it would take to walk across the country, from the Atlantic to the Pacific (ending in San Fransisco, because it's the best city that side of New York City).

For the few past month or so, I've been planning a Cross-country Parkour tour for this summer. Within the past month, it's really taken off. I'm going to be crashing on traceurs' couches, chairs, beds, and floors. I'm going to be hitting up as many of the national jams as possible, and visiting as many local communities as I can. I'm also planning on buying a camcorder (read: already bought it, waiting for it to be shipped!) and making a documentary about the whole trip. Kind of a "This is how America trains!" sort of thing.

These are the cities I'm planning on going to, most likely in this order:

Ann Arbor/UofM
San Fransisco
Oklahoma City
San Antonio
West Palm Beach
Athens, GA
Chapel Hill

I'm currently aiming for it taking about 7-8 weeks. I'll be starting in DC with (B)East Coast at the end of May, but then I'm hanging around the area until the Philly jam on June 6-7th. From there I'm headed back to NJ/NYC with Jesse/Hardcoretracuer, and I'm using his house as a base of operations until PKNY. So lucky NYC, I'll be around for two and a half, three weeks!

After that will be the Chicago jam, and then a general wandering across northern America until I hit Seattle, then down the West Coast, across the South, and then back up the Eastern Coast until I get back to DC. Sadly, I'll be missing most of the non-eastern coast jams (Madison, Texas, Colorado). I'll still be going to all these places, I just can't make the dates work. Oh well!

This trip should be pretty awesome. There will be pretty regular updates as to my progress, and then hopefully sometime in late August I'll have the final cut of the documentary done and released.

If you think you can make it to one these places, let me know! I look forward to meeting as many traceurs as possible!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Interesting Blogpost

I don't have a lot of time to update today, classes and such, but I just want to point everyone towards what I think is a very important post by Eliot, an Australian tracuer. The link is here, and the text of the article is copied below:

Parkour: To be helpful, to be capable, to be useful.

We as traceurs train ourselves to be useful, we train ourselves for reach and escape situations so that we can help others when they are in need. Whether it be helping people out of a burning building, or escaping from a pack of guys that would rather see you dead. But should our training go further? Should we limit ourselves to using physical applications of our training?
Most traceurs would already acknowledge that through parkour one develops a new mind set that can, perhaps, make us more inclined to help people in trouble, or to be confident. But I’m talking about taking it a step further, actually going out of our way, in to the community to help people, not just waiting for someone in trouble to present themselves.

Here in Australia we have people from many walks of life, many from wealthy backgrounds, many from poor backgrounds, we have European, Asian, African, American, Latin, Indigenous etc. etc. With such a wide array of backgrounds we are bound to have a wide array of problems, and we do. We face racial problems, moral problems, health issues, physical disabilities, financial difficulties, and many others, for many of our citizens. These people all need help, and guidance. We, as traceurs have the ability to provide this help.

We train hard to become strong, to become fast, fit and fluid, but there are not many that actually train to help those who are disadvantaged. Not many that go out of their way to improve others lives. This should be a key part in our training, this should be as big a part as training physically. This philosophy of helping others and being a valuable member of the community is what sets us apart from other street sports and ‘fads’.
Many youths today face terrible problems such as homelessness, depression, and domestic violence, however there are organisations, such as Youth off the Streets who try and help these people. Our discipline has the ability to appeal to the youth of today and give them a step up, and I believe that we have the moral obligation to further our training to help these people, help them have a new start, help them to become strong individuals mentally, and get back on their feet.

To follow the true parkour ethos, groups should be involved in community activities such as donating blood, raising money for charity, helping troubled youths etc.

I encourage all traceurs to participate in blood donation, events like the Red Shield Door Knock appeal, the 40 hour famine.
Talk to your local youth center and organise a class for disadvantaged people. Find out what programs are being run in your area and offer assistance, you can incorporate your physical training with these philosophies.
Send out information to your local members of government and let them know we’re here, and ready and willing to provide help. Talk to your parents, they know more than you could imagine, and they have connections :)
Get involved in as many things as you can and get the positive image for Parkour Australia (and world) wide out there!

We’re not just another street fad, we are not just a variation of skating, we’re here to help, and we’re here to benefit our community.

Be Pro-Active!

“To be Strong, to be useful” - Georges Hebert.

Do you think he merely meant physically?

I think this is something every Traceur should seriously think about. Go out, organize some community service project. Repair and rebuild something at the park where you train, repaint fences, pick up trash, something. It's more important than just community service - it shows the world that Parkour isn't just about jumping off of stuff and being reckless, it shows that we're serious about what we're doing. That we actually do care.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spring Break? More like Spring Active.

My titles really are lame sometimes...

So I am recently returned to Rochester from RIT's Spring Break. I went back home to Maryland with my roommate Charlie. Our break was incredibly fun and exciting, and anything but relaxing.

We got back on Wednesday and were treated to some of my sister's fine cooking, and Thursday we woke up nice and early and headed to Primal Fitness, the Parkour gym in Washington DC, for the day!

Primal was, as always, awesome. We arrived around 11am and spent a few hour hanging out with Mark. We talked about Parkour and future plans, I accidentally interrupted a video capture that had been taking hours to complete, and we helped out around the gym a little bit. Lunch time rolled around and we grabbed some Chinese food, ate Mark's, and played with his dogs (SO ADORABLE). By the time we got back to the gym, it was time for the evening workouts and Parkour classes. During the Crossfit Workout, we met up with Steven Low and fooled around a bit, and eventually ended up doing weighted pull-ups. We started light (bodyweight + 40lbs), and kept increasing to our max. I died at about 80lbs, Steve managed to knock out an incredible 115lbs - which is practically as much as he weighs!

The Crossfitter's started to clear out, and then it was time for the Parkour class. While I was helping some beginners with their kongs, Charlie and the rest of the class was working on more advanced Kong techniques, primarily double kong's and kong to cats. I popped by and gave it a few tries. It appears I have an issue misjudging the distance I travel when doing a kong, because I had some fairly epic bails while trying to cat. I think I'm going to work on my kong to precisions more to fix this.

That was Thursday, the first day of my break! Stay tuned tomorrow for an outline of Friday. Sadly, I didn't take many (if any) pictures over the break. I was a bit too busy training to carry around a camera. Here's a picture halfway through a kong to cat though, which is what we were working on at Primal:

Also, don't forget to check out my new video, PK Vision! See yesterday's post, or use this link

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

PK Vision

Wow, a lot has happened since I last updated. Sorry for the long break. I'm planning on updating much more frequently, hopefully once a day - even if it's just with a picture or a video.

Speaking of videos, last week I went back home to Severna Park, MD with my roommate Charlie, and filmed a video for Brian "Doc Akh" Belida's "Mid-Atlantic Monthly Member Movie" project. Found below!

Link to youtube version of Zac "Happydud" Cohn's PK Vision

A bit of history on the name: The phrase "PK Vision" is what some people call your shift in how you observe your environment once you've been training for a while. You start to see possibilities everywhere, whereas before you just saw a table, or a wall.

Study time now, but I'll be updating tomorrow probably about my Spring Break, and all the fun that was had.

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