Tag Archives: Falling

Parkour

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What is Parkour? “In the strictest sense as defined by David Belle, Parkour is the art of moving through your environment as swiftly and effectively as possible using only the human body.” –(Parkour Terminology & Definitions)

In other words? Free running–or being bad-ass and climbing walls, flipping off of buildings–or leaping over objects.

I can barely feel my legs–and I’ve still got a good five to ten minutes left in the parkour warm up.
“Everyone’s going so fast,” I say out loud, as I finish a spider crawl a good 10 seconds behind the 8 men in my class.

One of my classmates turns to me in support, “Go your own pace–this is about you getting better–don’t worry about us.” He smiles a hopeful–and helpful–grin.

We transition from backward spider crawls to front-ward hops. My body feels worn. I stop mid-way to the finish line. I hear my friend Matt begin to cheer me on. Then the other guys join in. Instead of being intimidated or embarrassed by the cheering–I breathe it in.  It’s like being back on a team again.  “I can do this,” I say to myself. “I can get to that finish line.” And I do.

After ten more minutes of warm up–some struggles–and a quick game, Matt turns to me and says, “I don’t think we are supposed to be winded after the warm up.” He’s not trying to mock me. He is tired too. Huffing and puffing, but also laughing, I nod along.

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After refueling, we head back over to the mat for the parkour portion of the class. Now, barely able to feel my legs, I try and mentally prepare myself for what’s to come. Before coming to class, I imagined them teaching us how to step off of walls and do basic jumps. I was wrong.

As Matt and I arrive back over at the mats, we realize that there is a four and a half foot vaulting box sitting in the middle of the floor. My jaw drops and I begin asking myself,  “How the hell am I — at  5′ 2″ — supposed to make it over this thing?” And now every excuse is going through my head as to why I should just stop now: “I think I hurt my legs during the warm up.” “This isn’t for me.”

I continue staring at the box–and then I make a motion as if  I am going to attempt to clear it. And then I stop myself.

My instructor watches me as I indecisively go back and forth between going for it and not going for it. He walks over to me. “Libby, part of parkour is seeing an obstacle and just figuring out how to get over it–any way possible.”

He’s right. — Of course he’s right, he’s my instructor. And naturally, as a writer, I begin comparing what he has just said to me about parkour — to life. I think about the past year and how I made my way over, under, and around all my obstacles—how I didn’t let fear stop my perseverance, dedication, or determination–how I took on fear on a number of occasions and for lack of a better term–kicked its ass. Why I am even so fearful now–at this exact moment–I’m not sure–as the worst that can really happen is that I don’t make it over the vault–in which case of course, I’d get back in line and try again.

Matt is clearing the vault in what seems like an effortless manner.

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I thank my instructor for the push–and accelerate toward the vault. Right foot up. Left hand down. Right hand down. Left foot up. Jump down.

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It doesn’t look graceful. And it’s not quite exactly what I am supposed to. But I make it over the vault and in that single moment my confidence surges from a 2 to a 7. I whisper to myself, “Don’t look at the top of the mountain Libs–look at all the parts you need to get there.”

My confidence stays high and I go to jump the vault again–this time in what feels more like one swift motion. And then again–and again–and again. Though to be honest, sometimes, it feels as though I am going in such slow motion that my parkour name could be “Freeze Frame.”
DSC00133 The others are moving quickly through the vaults–the jumps–the moves–but I am taking my time.

I remind myself that this is my first time attempting this sport and that it’s just fine that I am still getting down the basics while others are twisting and turning themselves over one–even two boxes.

With each jump, I can feel myself exponentially getting better–I can feel myself getting more comfortable with the approach, the jump, and the landing. And I can feel myself smiling as I watch the others land their trick moves–my friend Matt gain some serious air–and my instructor cheer everyone on.

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A young girl joins our class toward the end and as we are taught one last move (one that asks us to hold ourselves up on a wall spiderman style) she watches a bout of doubt appears on my face. She yells to me, “Believe in yourself.”

The doubt diminishes–and I am now overwhelmed with courage. I reach one leg out–grip my hands to wall, and lower myself into the Spideman like position. I am supposed to count to ten, but I make it to 2.5. My classmates–turned teammates–cheer.

By the time class is over, I feel exhausted. Parkour to me feels like it should be called parksore–and my legs are ready to come out from beneath me. As we go to pack up our things, my friend turns to me and thanks me for inviting him–he says that he had a lot of fun and that it was a great pick me up–for a down day. I smile and thank him for joining–for seeing what hobby hoarding is all about (Which is pushing through mental challenges–overcoming fear–mixing up daily routines–and challenging oneself).

As we walk out of the gym, I glance back at the mats and think to myself: We may not have done every move perfectly–but we did get one part of class right. We believed in ourselves.

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MattAndMe
Photos Courtesy of Elyse Mueller
http://www.elysemueller.com

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BKLYN BEAST
bklynbeast.com

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It’s All About the Rebound: Stunt Trampoline Jumping

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A trampoline can teach someone a lot about life. I didn’t know that, of course, until I made my way back to the Hollywood Stunt Center, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn this past weekend for my lesson. What’s great about a trampoline is that it teaches you the true nature of a fall–of getting back up–and the even more successful rebound (Of course I will be taking an urban rebounding class this fall!)

During many moments in life, I often feel like my feet have been swept out from right underneath me, even when they are still, right there beneath me–fully in contact with the pavement. Too often I forget to feel my feet on the ground, and the pounding of my heart against my chest–even when it’s the first lesson I learned this year in acting class.

It wasn’t until my legs and feet literally came out from underneath me, at this lesson–that I realized how important their strength in holding me up–and pushing me, really significantly matters–and has always mattered.

After several falls–regaining my balance, flexing my muscles, I found myself jumping–not only successfully–but even higher–the way I imagine the success I may find in life. It’s all about the rebound from the fall–all about the rebound. Jump up–Jump up and get around.

Special Thanks

Brent Hankins

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Hollywood Stunts
www.hollywoodstunts.com

Not So Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Hobby Hoarder Goes Rock Climbing

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“Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb!”
-Miley Cyrus

Life is a series of pushes forward–and steps back. It involves making decisions–choosing paths–and putting one foot in front of the other. It requires you to use your physical and mental self to maneuver above, below, and around obstacles. It asks you to take risks–and not to look back. It strikes you with emotional and physical cuts and bruises and above all it forces you to lead your life–and sometimes even, choose the path less traveled in the end.

Life–it’s a lot like rock climbing–or maybe I should say–Rock climbing is a lot like life–always asking you to look at where you should put your hand or your foot next; wondering if you are going to slip and fall–but knowing that someone is at the bottom to catch you (much like knowing we have friends and family to catch us as well). Rock climbing involves mentally deciding to go left–right–up–or even a few steps back to re-analyze where you really want to go. It requires you to mentally–and physically maneuver above, below, and around boulders (life’s bigger problems). Rock climbing asks your body to sacrifice itself at times, like life, for cuts and bruises in order to work through struggles. And of course rock climbing forces you, like life, to take risks–to lead your life–and sometimes even, choose the path less traveled in the end.

       -Photo Courtesy of Northeast Mountain Guiding

       -Photo Courtesy of Northeast Mountain Guiding

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Northeast Mountain Guiding
www.northeastmountainguiding.com

The Hobby Hoarder Goes Kaboom…I mean…Does Stand Up…Paddle Boarding

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Looking back at the video–I now have a really thorough understanding of why it was so difficult for me. How terrible can someone’s form be? Look at me all hunched over–like I am ready fall flat on my face–which I do. But what do you do when you fall down? You get back up–and that’s exactly what I did. And after managing to get back up on my feet, I took in the view, paddled against and with the current, and smiled brightly. For once, the water felt like home.

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Manhattan Kayak Company
Pier 66
http://www.manhattankayak.com

The Hobby Hoarder Walks It Out: Stilt Walking

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Each year, on July 4th, there are parades all around America–and in those parades, stilt walkers come out by the dozens–dressed as Uncle Sam, Lady Liberty–and more. When I went to choose my hobby for the week of July 4th, I took a poll on Facebook and Twitter of what hobby I should do. The majority voted that I should stilt walk–and so I did. It felt pretty nice to be tall.

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Special Thanks

Flynn Michael

Lea Perella

Brian Forman

Docking Bay 420

And all those who voted on THIS hobby!

The Hobby Hoarder Overcomes a Fear: Stunt Jumping…Falling

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When I was six, my brother climbed trees in the backyard. Fearless, I followed–until one day I fell out of a tree. That was the end of tree climbing–and falling for a long time.

As a freshman on the field hockey team at the University of Rhode Island, we were told that we would have to do a trust course with our teammates. The trust course involved a 10-15 foot wall that we would all have to get over–as a team. At the time, I was a bit heavier than I am now–and a bit more helpless. As I went to get over the wall, I slipped from my teammates’ hands–and fell to the ground from about 8 feet high. It shook me up for a bit.

Okay–not just for a bit–for five years.

On the morning of June 23, I overcame my fear of free-falling as I took a leap — or fall –of faith off a 30 foot platform at the Hollywood Stunt School in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. As I felt my feet leave the ground, I thought to myself “This isn’t too bad,” and as I landed in the air bag below, over and over again, I breathed huge sighs of relief. “No broken neck — no broken back — no fears — no nerves — no looking back. No freaking problem.”

But I think I’ll still leave the movie stunt jumping to the professionals…

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Hollywood Stunt School
Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Special Thanks

Michael Bonner
TakeBacksProductions.Tumblr.Com

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Naomi Hine

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