Friday, July 17, 2009

Keeping Busy This Summer

We're now officially halfway through Summer, and I've been keeping busy. I've started, finished, and am working on quite a few different projects.

1. APK Affiliate Program
Toward the beginning of the summer, I came up with an idea to connect American Parkour more with other websites and communities. This eventually developed into the APK Affiliate Program. I've been leading the charge on this, and Im really happy with where this is going. At the time of this posting, we have four published Affiliates, two more waiting to be published, about 6 more in the works, and I'm getting more and more emails about it every day.

I think this is a great way for APK to boost the visibility of a lot of smaller, local sites and drive a lot more traffic to them. It's also a great way to get the people from those sites connected with, using, and contributing to APK and its resources, which will make APK a better community for everyone.

2. Marketing APK and Primal
I've always been very vocal about my ideas for APK (and I've had plenty), but this summer I was hired on as the official Marketing Manager for APK and Primal Fitness DC and Miami. I've been putting together plans and projects to help get the word about APK out there to new people, and to help grow awareness of Primal Fitness DC and help get Primal Fitness Miami started on the right track. This is an exciting opportunity for me to work even harder to grow and guide the organizations that have helped me so much.

3. Content Manager for APK
For almost a year now, I've been in charge of updating the front page of American Parkour on a daily basis. There is the occasional slow day, but for the most part there is something to post every single day. I have a couple different methods of gathering information: I use a series of Google Alerts to track breaking and developing stories. I check the forums for interesting videos, posts, articles, and information. People email me if they think they have something newsworthy.

I email everything to myself, then use a special Gmail label I set up to label it as a front page item. After I post it, I archive it. This system enables me to search my gmail for the string "label:frontpage in:inbox" and it will display all the stories I have yet to publish.

The role of content manager helps me really keep track of what's going on at a local, national, and international level and stay connected with people all over the world. These connections have enabled me to do a much better job with some of my other projects, like the APK Affiliate program.

4. Nunchucks
This is a bit of a side project. I decided I wanted to make a set of nunchucks, but really go all-out on them. I looked up a local woodworking club and went to one of their meetings. I sat and talked with some of the members for a few hours to learn more about basic woodworking. I went to Home Depot and grabbed a utility knife, then I went to a place in Annapolis called Exotic Woods. I was looking through their scrap pile and found 3 pieces of walnut wood. I cut one in half, and ended up with four rectangular pieces of wood.

Homemade nunchucks
The left pair have been sanded, the right pair gets sanded today.

I spent about 10 hours whittling (probably a good 4 hours for the first one, 3 for the second, 2 for the third and 1 for the fourth. I was getting better and better!) them into cylinders. I've spent about an hour sanding and that step is half done. Next, I'm going to use a tool my friend lent me. It's kind of like a soldering iron, but it's for burning designs/lettering into wood. I'm going to engrave four quotes, one on each chuck. I've decided on two of the quotes:

"Power Is Nothing Without Control"
"Etre fort pour ĂȘtre utile." (Translation: Be Strong to be Useful)

I haven't decided on the other two. Leave suggestions in the comments!

After I etch the quotes in, I'll stain it and then attach the chain. And then I'll have some awesome homemade nunchucks, and will have learned more about whittling, etching, and staining.

5. Local Parkour Training
Some locals and I have set up regular, twice a week sessions in the Severna Park, Maryland area. I have a lot of friends who were interested in training, but didn't really want to go off and figure it out on their own. When I came back from college we set these up, and we've had a good number of beginners show up (and stay!). I've done a ton of teaching in Rochester, but this group is a mix of experienced and inexperienced people, so finding a good balancing point of activities has been an interesting task.

I trained with the Bar-Barians a bit in NYC a few weeks ago, and it's solidified my opinion that strength and conditioning is paramount not only for safety, but will also in learning new techniques. See video below to learn about the Bar-Barians.

We were doing parkour with one of them, and he moved like he'd been training for three years. Turns out, this was his third parkour session. His incredible amount of strength made learning new techniques a piece of cake. Because of this, we've been doing mostly conditioning at our training sessions. I'm subscribing to the belief that if you focus almost solely on strength and conditioning for the first months of your training, you will progress much faster later on.

Those are some of the projects I've been working on this summer. While it was definitely frustrating not being hired this summer because I wasn't willing to work for free, I've definitely been keeping busy and staying productive.

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Blogger Josh said...

The conditioning is a good thing I think even though it's killer. I agree about it being better to be conditioned from the beginning. Technique is a lot of finely tuned movements, but a lot of the stuff in Parkour requires physical strength. You can't work on the fine movement and really get it down if you can't support yourself while you're doing it. So I agree with you. Do you think you're going to end up doing Parkour stuff for a living or as a hobby?

July 17, 2009 at 8:45 PM  
Anonymous Bryan Augstein said...

There is always a third option!

July 24, 2009 at 10:36 PM  

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