A 23 Degree Dragon, and a Pit of Foam – June 21 to 27, 2014

Posted: June 27, 2014 in Weekly Updates
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In this past week a few interesting things have happened. Varkour day happened in Calgary, the goal for number of supporters for a Bylaw change petition was met, and I went to Parkour.

Varkour Day

Varkour Day, which occurred on June 21 this year, is a day dedicated to the women and girls of Parkour, some of whom are crazy with what they can do. Three of my female friends from Parkour are May, Sylvia and Cassandra. These three ladies show just how different the walks of life that people come from can be and yet still love Parkour. May is an older than thirty Economist, Sylvia is a 20 something dancer, and Cassandra plays hockey, and all of them love Parkour.

From what I hear there were a lot of women that came to this all day event, and got to experience Parkour indoors and outdoors, and have the fun of being around other women. You can find a video of the event on the BreathePK YouTube channel or right here.

Calgary Slacklining Petition

There was a petition started on June 18, 2014 to get an amendment made to Calgary Bylaw 23M2002, which basically says “No attaching things to trees”.

Now, for the sport of slacklining, which is basically tightrope walking except you are on a 1 inch nylon band and pretty close to the ground, this law stops people from attaching their temporary lines to the trees even when they put padding in between the tree and the nylon band. One of the members of the Calgary community stared a petition online (found here) to get this Bylaw changed to allow slacklining. I personally find this situation somewhat amusing because Calgary is, as far as I know, the only city that has a law like this.

As I said at the beginning the goal for number of supporters was met and exceeded this week, but more support is always welcome, so if you want to support this petition, go to this petition on change.org and pledge your support.

June 21, 2014

In order to accommodate Varkour Day at the BreathePK gym, all of the normal classes were pushed back to the afternoon, which was fine, because it gave me a chance to get some chores done at home before class so that I wouldn’t have to worry about them after class.

When I got to the gym at about 12:45 I was a little surprised to see the number of people there that I did. Don’t get me wrong, is a good thing that there were so many people there, and I was glad to see that many people there, but I was still surprised. Turns out there were that many people there because there was a birthday party going on and a Piano teacher had brought all of his students to the gym.

I joined in my level 1-3 class in the gym, which was probably at the toasty temperature of 23°C (73°F), which is a little warm. The class consisted of three guys, including me, and two girls. It was a little weird because I was the oldest one there by eight years, I’m 23, but overall age doesn’t matter in Parkour because we are all there to do the something that we enjoy.

We began the class with the usual warm-up and stretch and then we started the training portion of the class. For this class we began with practicing our forwards and backwards rolls, I personally need to work on my back rolls because they are not as good as they should be.

23 Degrees is Really Hot and Climbing a Dragons Tooth Can Be Hard

After we practiced rolls for about 20 minutes we began working on our vaults and did that for most of the remaining time in class. We set up two lanes for vaulting, the first one only having a single box to get over and the second having three vaults in a row. The challenge that we were given was to do three step/safety vaults in a row, switching which side we went over the next obstacle (eg. left-right-left or right-left-right) without stopping. This gave us a great opportunity to practice our flow, or the ability to string multiple moves together really well, and practice using the side of our body that we aren’t used to using. After we had done about five sets of these the teacher, known as Tall Rob, added a 1.8 meter (6 foot) wall run using the tallest dragons tooth shaped box that we have. When I saw him putting it there I was just going over the last of the three boxes, but I stopped halfway through with a slight sense of frustration and exasperation, but I still went and did it! On my six set of these I approached the wall run and, suffering from exhaustion of both heat and fatigue (aka I was hot and tired), I approached the wall run, stopped, had “Screw this, I’m hot and tired, and I’m not climbing this thing this time” go through my head and went back to the lineup for the obstacles. I think that we only did this about two or three more times before we moved on to the next part of the class.

The Foam Pit of Upside Down and I am Afraid of Falling

The next part of the class was took place at the foam pit, which I would like to mention is currently Calgary’s largest foam pit, so it’s pretty awesome. I should probably mention something so that there is a bit of context for this next part. There are three things that I am afraid of in this world, the first is being a failure, the second is bugs that are bigger than my hand (if I was around them often enough, it would stop scaring me, so this one is conquerable) and the third is heights, which is full of delicious irony considering I spent three years of my life rock climbing.

So we went up to the foam pit and we began what was something very difficult for me, we needed to stand at the edge of the pit, bend over so that our head was facing our feet, and fall over backwards into the pit. I did this okay the first time, when we were only half a meter (1.64 feet) above the foam, but then Tall Rob took us up to a higher place to do the same thing! So now we were about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) above the foam, and for me this was a big deal! So after some coaxing I fell backwards into the pit… Sort of… According to the people watching I kind of fell forward a little bit and then did a hand spring, which wasn’t what we were trying to do, but I still fell backwards into the pit, which I feel is an accomplishment.

After all this we finished the class with our customary cool down of stretching, and we ended the class. I walked away from that class having released a lot of fluid comprised of water, minerals, lactate and urea (aka sweat) from my face, so all in all it was a good day of Parkour.

Quote of the week

That is what happened this week so as always I will leave you with a great quote.

“Be strong and of a good courage”
      – Joshua 1:6

Digital version here for download and here for viewing.

There are two questions that come to my mind when I read this, one is “What is courage?” and the other is “What is strength?” If you ask Hollywood to answer either of these questions, you would probably get the wrong answer. I would like to try and answer these questions, and provide a more correct answer.

I’ll start with “What is courage?”

Nelson Mandela said:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

A picture of this quote can be found here

From this, and many other sayings like it, I learned that even the courageous are fearful, they just move beyond that fear and don’t let it rule them. You also don’t have to do anything miraculous or enormous for it to be courageous, it can be something as simple as walking across the street for the first time by yourself when you are a child. I believe that every time I put a rope on to go rock climbing, or when I fell over backwards into the foam pit, I am being courageous, because I am scared of what I am doing, but I do it anyway.

So, when have you shown courage?

The next question is “What is Strength?”

There are two different forms of strength that I would like to try and answer this question with. The first in outer strength, and the second is inner strength.

Outer strength, the strength that you find in someone’s physical stature, while important, there are a lot of things that you can’t do unless you are physically strong, is not as important as the inner strength.

Inner strength, the strength that is found in not reacting to someone when they doing nothing more than trying to get a reaction out of you, and the strength to keep fighting for something even when it is hard, is way more important because of how little of it is found in our society these days.

So, when have you been strong?

That is all I have for now, as always if you have any questions for me, you can contact me via the contact form on the right side of the page, you can leave a comment and I will respond to it when I am able, and, yea.

Good Bye,

– Nathan

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