The Parkour community is unique, in that we are all part of the same extended family. Just yesterday Take Flight partner Apex Movement traveled from Colorado to Oregon to spend the night at Revolution Parkour Academy, another Take Flight partner. The two plan to share insights and ideas in order to mutually improve both organizations and have a great jam.
Early this year Take Flight partner Texas Parkour joined with ATA Martial Arts to hold workshops for kids and adults on the art of escape. This kind of collaboration is what makes Parkour so amazing and will continue to help Parkour grow and spread the world over. If you have any questions about the workshops visit our partners websites by clicking on their logos.
Today is the one year anniversary of the Take Flight International Clothing Launch! We couldn’t be happier for this day and what has been accomplished in the last year, not just for us, but more importantly for Parkour worldwide. In fact, the way we see it, if anything it is NOT us that has advanced as much as our advancement is a reflection of the growth Parkour has experienced around the globe.
With that in mind we wanted to take this time to look back on how far we’ve come since June 25, 2009. Here are a couple milestones to give some perspective:
- In the last year we’ve tripled our product offering through our site by adding new Parkour clothing and PK gear.
- We’ve released new shirt color combos for the Original Parkour Tee, the Parkour Wings Tee, the Parkour Skyline Tee, and the Take Flight City tee.
- We’ve added completely new clothing products including Parkour hoodies, PK thermals, and training pants.
- We’ve added the completely new category of “Gear” to our site and filled it with Parkour DVDs, Parkour posters, gift cards, and most recently magazines!
- Our Take Flight Facebook Fan Page has grown almost 10,000 fans!
- Shared more than 500 of the world’s best Parkour video through our Facebook page.
- We’ve been endorsed, worn, filmed by/at some of the best Traceurs around the world from Australia, to Vienna, from England to Russia, and from the USA to France, including the Red Bull 2010 Art of Motion competition in Vienna and the largest Parkour event in U.S. history via the Revolution Parkour Gym Grand Opening.
- We’ve partnered and sponsored some of the most well known and influential Parkour athletes and communities in the world including Texas Parkour, Parkour Egypt, Kinetic, Apex Parkour, Revolution Parkour, and Urban Vanguard.
With another year behind us and the next one beginning we are super excited with what we have store for the PK community including new clothing launches, new brands, and some huge athlete sponsorship announcements as well. We’re hoping you’ll be there with us as we continue this journey and continue our focus on Parkour and bringing Traceurs around the world the most authentic and highest quality Parkour clothing, gear, and products.
What was expected to be the largest Parkour event in U.S. history did not disappoint. Last week Take Flight partner Revolution Parkour held the grand opening of their new gym by hosting an open house with free pizza, free drinks, and of course free Parkour. The event was a huge success, and a monumental step for Parkour in the United States. The gym was packed from the beginning of the night till the end, so much so that some people had to wait more than 45 minutes just to get in! All in all more than 500 people attended from all age rages and socioeconomic backgrounds constituting the single largest Parkour gathering in U.S. history!
We could not be prouder of Revolution Parkour and their academy for the effort they have put in and the steps they have taken to bring exposure to Parkour and legitimize the discipline in the U.S. and beyond. In all aspects of their company and gym RVPK is continually furthering the credibility bestowed on Parkour by representing the discipline in a humble community oriented and professionally impressive demeanor.
Take Flight representative were in attendance at the Revolution Parkour open house giving out free Parkour clothing, DVDs, and posters. Below are a few pictures from the event, and we hope to get some video from the opening posted here soon too!
Take Flight partner Revolution Parkour recently opened the largest Parkour gym in the United States. Their new gym is equipped with vaults, scaffolding, beams, plyo boxes, weights, and the most comprehensive set of ParKubes every assembled in a U.S. Parkour gym. In excitement of this momentous event for Revolution Parkour and the Parkour community as a whole, Revolution Parkour is hosting a community open house which is taking place tonight.
The Revolution Parkour Open House is taking place tonight, Friday, April 30th at their new gym in Beaverton, OR, USA. The event is absolutely free, and there will be free pizza and free drinks. RVPK will also be giving away over $500 of prizes including Parkour DVDs, Parkour posters, class memberships, gift certificates, and Parkour clothing from Take Flight.
The Revolution Parkour Open House has already generated a huge buzz. As of tonight it is expected to be the largest single location Parkour event in U.S. history! If you are anywhere near the new Revolution Parkour gym make sure to get out there for the open house. This is an event you do not want to miss!
Official Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=104503542920742
At Take Flight are always working to build partnerships with Parkour communities and organizations. Whether partnering with a statewide Parkour community, a nationwide Parkour site, a Parkour company, team etc., our mission to spreading Parkour stays true and is fully developed in our pursuit of these partnerships and in the creation of these relationships. One of our partnerships is with Parkour academy and Parkour consultation firm Revolution Parkour. We have been a partner of this organization for a few weeks now, and we thought we’d announce it here with an official blog post.
The partnership between Take Flight and Revolution Parkour was always somewhat expected. Both organizations were founded by Take Flight founder Adam Dunlap, so the strong ties and relationship have been there from the start. But even if Dunlap wasn’t a part in the inception of either organization, Revolution Parkour is a model Parkour company that we would have still desired to be associated with.
Revolution Parkour is a Parkour academy and consultation firm that first opened its doors in 2008. As one of the first Parkour schools in the United States, Revolution Parkour was a pioneer in the developing and establishing the Parkour class model that we are now seeing taking root in cities across the country. They have made huge strides in bringing Parkour to the U.S., and they have always been dedicated to using the discipline of Parkour to positively influence others, especially young people. Since its inception, Revolution Parkour has given presentations for numerous groups, and run public and private Parkour programs for schools, athletic facilities, and non-profit organizations.
In addition to teaching the discipline of Parkour, Revolution Parkour has also made its mark by providing choreography and consultation for firms around the world. Working with companies from the U.K. to its home town in Oregon, Revolution Parkour has worked in television, advertising, and has collaborated with local to internationally companies including athletic faculties, book packagers, talent firms, and internationally recognizable apparel brands. Revolution Parkour has experienced enough success that they recently opened their new Parkour training facility which is the largest Parkour gym ever opened in the United States.
Ever more important than the success and reputation Revolution Parkour has experienced and garnered, the organization has always maintained its focused on staying true to the roots of Parkour by David Belle. Says the Revolution Parkour Facebook Fan Page very simply:
“Revolution Parkour is a Parkour academy and consultation firm that adheres to the teachings and philosophy of Parkour by David Belle.”
It is for all these things, the passion Revolution Parkour has for Parkour, their dedication to community involvement, and their pioneering spirit coupled with the unwavering devotion to Parkour by David Belle, that we have entered into a partnership with Revolution Parkour. Every one of us here at Take Flight is excited to be working with Revolution Parkour. We are looking forward to working with them and helping them further spread Parkour in their community and beyond.
You can read more about Revolution Parkour on their website and social sites via the following links:
Grappling with gravity
Revolution Parkour turns urban architecture into playground and offers enthusiasts an extreme challenge
You’ve probably seen parkour, but didn’t know what to call it.
The French sport jams breathtaking athleticism into the urban environment; its practitioners sprinting, jumping and weaving in and around the things we normally take for granted. That railing on the stairs may look like a good place for your hand, but in parkour, it’s also a good place for a foot-launching jump.
The parkour-thinking mind sees urban architecture as, literally, a playground.
Adam Dunlap is a 23-year-old, life-long Beaverton resident who runs Revolution Parkour and teaches a twice-weekly class in the discipline. He wants the public to know that the sport is not just insane stunts like those seen at the beginning of the James Bond film “Casino Royale” — it’s a serious training method.
“I think a lot of people see parkour incorrectly,” Dunlap says. “They haven’t made the connection that this is something people do.”
Dunlap admits that what first interested him in parkour were the incredible YouTube videos of elite practitioners like parkour-founder David Belle. But, as he focused his craft, his insight into the sport changed.
“The ideas of movement and how to move quickly are built into us,” Dunlap says. “You take from parkour what you want.”
Craziest thing you’ve ever seen
Parkour can best be described as an outgrowth of a particular French philosophy, which is built on the fluid movement of the physical body through urban spaces. It’s about encountering obstacles and overcoming them using both your wits and your physical prowess. If you look up videos online, it will also seem like the craziest thing you’ve ever seen.
Right after graduating from Oregon State University, Dunlap got a temporary job at Nike, but quickly grew restless. The office environment wasn’t for him. He decided to take his long-brewing interest in parkour and turn it into a business.
Revolution Parkour was intended first as a parkour-instruction program, then as a TV and film consulting firm. For the last year and a half, Dunlap has been teaching twice-weekly classes at ADAPT Training, and seen a steady increase in participation. Tuesday night, 25 students, from pre-teens to people in their 20s, attended the class to get a dose of Dunlap’s expert instruction.
And while the consulting side of the business has been slow going, with only a few projects here and there, Dunlap says that a potential deal with a new major-network television show is in the works.
To develop his training program, Dunlap took the effusive parkour technique videos that were available online and broke them down into step-by-step methodology. He stresses that while these techniques are tried and true, there isn’t necessarily one single way to do parkour. It’s always about doing what comes natural.
‘No parkour on the furniture’
Besides technique training, the class also gives its students extensive physical conditioning, focusing on lean-muscle, body-weight exercises rather than free weights.
“A lot of people just want to find a unique way to workout,” Dunlap says. “As far as I’m concerned, parkour is the best there is.”
Students at the class seem to agree. Brandon Latocki, a 21-year-old Beaverton resident who’s been going to the class since it started, seems to echo the obsession of a lot of dedicated parkour enthusiasts.
“I’ve been looking for my entire life for something to do,” he says, “and this is it.”
Another student, Rick King, 25, says he first saw parkour when he saw the videogame Mirror’s Edge, about a dystopian future where revolutionaries use parkour-like methods to combat an all-knowing, all-seeing government.
“I didn’t know it was an actual thing,” King says. “I showed up (to class) one day and have been hooked ever since.”
Gerald Wright, of Tigard, was watching his 12-year-old son take part in the class on Tuesday night. He says that he’s been impressed by the rigorous and professional nature of the class since his son started it a few weeks ago.
“How can you say no to a kid who wants to do something different?” Wright says. “We do have one rule though: no parkour on the furniture.”
An adrenaline rush
Dunlap says that most students interested in parkour are exactly who you’d expect: young men looking for an adrenaline rush. He’s quick to point out, however, that as parkour grows in recognition — and there’s every indication that it will — the people who participate will likely diversify. Just like how other extreme sports became mainstream in the ’90s, Dunlap expects parkour to do the same.
Dunlap says the local parkour community is small but passionate, and often gets together to take advantage of downtown Portland’s diverse architecture. He says that, unfortunately, the suburbs like Beaverton don’t offer the same obstacle-rich environment as urban areas.
In the end, Dunlap stresses the simple joys of the sport he loves and the independence of its movement. He also stresses that watching the elite athletes shouldn’t scare people off. Most people will never leap from such great heights.
“Just because you train,” he says, “doesn’t mean you can jump off a building.”
For more information, visit www.revolutionparkour.com.
The Efficiency Principle is a new training principle created by MisterParkour.com. It seeks to correct and replace the erroneous ideas put forward by the efficiency paradox in an effort to aid Tracers across the world in implementing proper training methods in their own progressions.
Parkour is a utility art based on overcoming obstacles quickly and efficiently. Much of the Parkour community has found it amusing that to become better at this you have to train “inefficient movements.” (a misconception in and of itself which we will address shortly.) This enthusiasm has recently led to the coining of the phrase the “efficiency paradox” defined as training inefficient movements to promote efficiency. Unfortunately the “efficiency paradox” is a physiologically misguiding principle, and it should be permanently discarded from Parkour terminology in favor of the physiological accurate training concept known as the Efficiency Principle.
To say that Tracers train inefficient movements to promote efficiency is physiologically inaccurate (we will explain this momentarily). However, because of the linguistic novelty of the purpose of Parkour (namely, efficiently overcoming obstacles) and many common methods of training which do not encompass this type of movement, it is logical to see how some could erroneously and inadvertently support the Efficiency Paradox. Nevertheless, this concept has no credence once one understands two basic, foundational training principles that blatantly contradict the Efficiency Paradox. These concepts are What is Training? and Training vs. Performance. Analyzing these two training concepts proves the Efficiency Paradox inaccurate and also simultaneously provides the basis to found the Efficiency Principle.
The concept of true and proper training discredits the Efficiency Paradox because it contradicts the definition of the Efficiency Paradox. Contrary to the definition, correct training always reinforces efficiency of movement to the point that saying one is training “inefficient movement” is kind of like saying the color blue smells like roses. Neither statement makes any sense. Of course the rebuttal is that one could “move faster” or “move more efficiently”, but one must realize that efficiency in movement has absolutely nothing to do with speed, and efficiency in training has nothing to do with performance value. Efficiency has to do with optimizing output and minimizing waste given a certain input. Suffice to say that just because someone is not running as fast as he/she can does not mean that he/she is not moving efficiently or training efficiency.
The definition of the Efficiency Paradox not only puts forth physiological misguiding training principles by erroneously telling people to train inefficient movement (something that can not be done in proper training), the term also erroneously unites the two independent concepts ideas of Training and Performance. In opposition to the Efficiency Paradox the concepts of Training and Performance are two distinctly different actions. We do not perform so that we can perform better, and training is not a part of performance. Rather we train (concept 1) so that we can improve our performance (concept 2). The Efficiency Paradox however, erroneously assimilates and unites these two ideas. By explaining that we train inefficiency, the concept directly correlates Training and Performance by implicitly defining training as a lesser level of performance (the inefficient performance to be exact). Some may see this as a linguistic formality but it is not. The Efficiency Paradox is therefore in contradiction to the Training vs. Performance principle, and in this it is further misguiding and flawed.
The efficiency paradox puts forth erroneous physiological principles that are exposed when analyzing the What is Training? and the Training vs. Performance concepts. When combined, these two concepts not only defeat the Efficiency Paradox, they also create the new Efficiency Principle:
The Efficiency Principle is the act of training efficiency so that one can perform efficiently.
In the first person perspective one can explain the Efficiency Principle by saying, “We train efficiency so that we can perform efficiently.”
It is the linguistic novelty of the term Efficiency Paradox that has made it so widely publicized in the Parkour community. Unfortunately in spite of its originality, the Efficiency Paradox is an physiologically erroneous term, and its perpetuation is the direct result of a misunderstanding of the two principles What is Training? and Training vs. Performance. On the other hand, the Efficiency Principle is an accurate training guideline that succinctly explains the purpose and goal of training from a Parkour perspective through physiologically sound doctrine. Consider the Efficiency Paradox not only dead, but in the sentiment of Parkour, inefficient.
In the 5th behind the scenes episode of B13 – Ultimatum we said, “Pay special attention to David’s movements at :37 in the video… [it] is… an incredible testament to his athleticism.” We promised to explain this statement, and now we are keeping true to that promise.
Most people see David jump from buildings and awe at his athletic ability. In reality, even the simple things he does are awe inspiring from an athletic perspective. To this day no one has provided an accurate physiological explanation as to how David can do what he does, but simply enough it is through his seemingly inconsequential movements which we can understand and explain it.
What is so incredible about David’s movements at :54 of Episode 5 is his dexterity and range of motion (also shown in his window perched position in :58 of Episode 15). These are signs of the dynamic tension he has achieved in his muscles. Dynamic tension is the perfect state of muscular equilibrium, where every muscle is proportionally strong in correlation to every other muscle in the body. Not having dynamic tension (also known as having a lack of muscular integrity) creates unnecessary tension in the body, and pulls the joints into an improper alignment causing the body to move compensatively and inefficiently. One of the most obvious signs of a lack of muscular integrity is a lack of range of motion. A lack of integrity also commonly manifests itself in aching joints (forget all of the “itis” diagnosis’, it is caused by a lack of muscular integrity). Injuries in Parkour of every kind are almost always the result of a lack of muscular integrity as well.
David’s body has been trained into a perfect functional state characterized by this dynamic tension which is why he is able to do what he does. Most peoples see the big movements David performs, the man power gap at 1:44 in his Et Vous? video, or the massive building to building leap he did at 1:07 in the BBC commercial, and are in awe. But we would argue that far more inspiring are his subtle movements that clue to why he is so capable. You can see it in his abilities to immediately change direction as in his lateral jump at 2:53 in the French News Feature. You can see it in his explosion from a standing position at :47 in the Accrohes Toi video (notice there is absolutely no tension in his body when he jumps). You can see it in his leg movement at 30:19 during his interview at the New Yorker Festival. You can see it in his resilience to absorb shock in his jump over the railings at 1:43 in the Speed Air Man video and when he drops from the overpass later in the video at 2:21. And you can clear your mind of any confusion you have from David’s famous fall on the UCLA campus. The fact that he walked away uninjured was also the result of his perfect muscular integrity.
All of David’s abilities as well as his resistance to injury can be credited to the dynamic tension of his muscles. This analysis of course circles back to present day David where we can verify our claim. Many Tracers train for only a short time and begin suffering from physical aliments. Others train for a long time without aliments, but then are all of sudden seriously injured. Both instances are the result of a lack of muscular integrity. David on the other hand has never been seriously injured. Furthermore he is in his mid 30’s and he is stronger, faster, and more capable than ever. He has no joint pain, no shoulder, knee, or wrist issues, and he continues to perform feats of athleticism that a few decades before would have thought impossible by even the most capable humans. How can David perform such incredible feats of athleticism? Maybe we should not ask how David can do what he does, but rather how we can attain that same dynamic tension that will enable us to follow in his footsteps.
Demand vs. Function
This paper is based on the foundational principles of the ADAPT Training System
In the Training vs. Performance paper we defined performance and showed how it differed from training. We also touched on the principle that performing a movement which you do not have the abilities to do correctly (i.e. with the ideal muscular function) is dangerous. In this paper we will begin to explore the physiological explanation behind why it is dangerous to do so. Like always we will begin with definitions:
Function is how your body currently works which includes strength, endurance, and range of motion etc.
Demand is what you ask your body to do. This can be anything from skiing, to walking, to jumping off a building, and even taking a gallon of milk from a shelf in the grocery store.
It’s pretty straight forward but to rephrase it, function is you current physical capabilities, while demand is the performance requirement you place on yourself. Have you ever seen someone in the gym doing bicep curls with a barbell? If he can complete the rep with correct form then function is greater than demand.
No matter how strong you are there will always be demands that are greater than your function, and for the most part this isn’t a problem. If you can’t lift the back wheels of your car off the ground this doesn’t matter. However, when demand is greater than function DURING a performance move this is when the problem arises. Think back to the guy in the weight room. He is on his last bicep curl. He doesn’t have the strength left to complete the rep, but instead of letting the weight fall down to his waist he arches his back so that he can pull the weight to his chest. This time demand is greater than function, and because the lifter is performing the movement anyway he is putting his body in a compromised position and is physical vulnerable to injury.
Compromising your body’s integrity is what will cause injuries and that is why ‘Demand vs. Function’ is such an important concept to understand. Additionally when the body is not capable of handling a demand, adding more force will only increases the body’s vulnerability! Nowhere is this more applicable than in Parkour. If you are in the weight room and you have a hard time benching 150 lbs you probably won’t put another 25 on each side and attempt to press it. But in Parkour doubling the demand is sometimes as simple as jumping off the next highest step or ledge! And although it is commonly accepted that your body can and will become stronger and adapt to be able to handle these forces, when the demand is greater than function this is never possible. I’ll repeat this concept because it is so important:
When the demand you place on your body is greater than your functional abilities to handle your body will never learn to correctly handle the forces no matter how many times you attempt the move.
In fact, if you continue to place more demand on your body then it is capable of handling you are only bringing yourself closer and closer to inevitable injury (More on this in “The Biggest Misconception in Parkour Training” article*).
This week I want each of you to take some time out of your training to think about the movements you do during your Parkour workouts. What are the biggest movements you do and/or the ones that have the most demand and require the highest level of function? Are you able to do these moves correctly or does your body “cheat”? To accurately analyze this, you may not even have to look at your most intense moves. You might only have to look at your easiest. Try to do a full squat with your hands behind your head while keeping your heels on the ground. If you can not do this then jumping off any size ledge is not something that your body is capable of handling correctly (Reference “What is Training?” for tips on how to correct vulnerabilities like these).
In any performance where the demand is greater then your functional abilities, performing the movement will put you at serious risk because it compromises the structural integrity of your body. That is because when demand is greater than function, demand will always win. Do not be in a hurry to progress, but instead always train within your means where your function is greater than the physical demand you place on yourself.
*Although we will continue with the weekly articles, this specific article will not be released for a few weeks.
Training vs. Performance
This paper is based on the foundational principles of the ADAPT Training System (www.adapttraining.com)
In the last paper we covered the definition of training and its implications in our Parkour workouts. This is the basis for all material we will cover in future papers so I will repeat the definition of training here once again:
“Training is the act of introducing and reinforcing the ideal function of a muscle or muscular system.” (Brian Cassidy, ADAPT Training)
By perfecting the ideal function of your body you are instilling muscular efficiency which is at the center of Parkour philosophy and technique. However, before we can begin to unpack the physiological explanations behind this, we have to differentiate training from its brother performance.
Performance is not the same as training. We train so that we can perform, or, in other words, performance is the ideal we strive towards in our training. In thinking about the best way to describe this principle I was reminded of a post in a forum, written by “Pkdanno” of
Although we have now covered the idea of performance, like training before I will present you with a definition:
“Performance is the recruitment of the necessary movement to accomplish a task.” (Brian Cassidy, ADAPT Training)
Notice the differences between training and performance. Training builds the tools that make performance possible.
The one caveat that I will emphasize before I wrap up this paper is that ideal performance mandates correct movement. Unfortunately performance with the human body is achievable even without the proper tools, because even if you do not have the capabilities to move correctly your body will most likely still find a way to move. But this is highly problematic and presents severe physical dangers especially in a Parkour context. It doesn’t matter whether you are walking, doing a full squat with only your body weight, landing an 8 foot drop, or jumping the Man Power gap in Lisses, in the right context these are all performance movements and there are ideal ways for your body to perform all of them. And although the Man Power gap does require a much higher level of performance, if you do not have the tools necessary to perform EITHER of these movements correctly, then performing them puts you at risk for injury (More on this in the “Demand vs. Function” article).
This week my assignment for everyone is to figure out what parts of your Parkour workouts are training and what parts are performance based. If you are not performing a movement correctly (Note: strength and endurance are both parts of movement) then this is dangerous and you should ask yourself what you are doing wrong and how you can correct it. If you are performing a movement that you are not physically capable of doing correctly, then this is even more dangerous and you need to take a step back and find a way to train for that movement. Ask yourself how you can break down the move so you can build the necessary physical characteristics. This is the only proper way to ensure safe progression.
When you train you are building the physical tools necessary to move correctly. Performance is utilizing those tools to accomplish the desired movement. By understanding this difference you will be able to begin structuring your training and progression in the safest and most effective way.