I am, and always will be fascinated by the potential of the human body, all the ways it can move, adapt and it’s capacity for graceful fluid movement. That’s probably why I moved away from the traditional gym setting to achieve fitness, with all of it’s machines, gadgets, guys bragging about who can bench more and women who spend countless hours running on a treadmill that goes nowhere, in favour of more artistic and playful forms of movement such as dance, gymnastics, Capoeira, Martial Arts and one of my favourites Parkour. Which in my opinion creates more holistic fitness due to the necessity to train balance, agility, flexibility, strength and power, if you want to become proficient in any of the movement modalities just mentioned.
I also think people misuse the word fitness in general. Having a six pack or looking good in a bikini doesn’t necessarily mean you are fit. In my opinion, fitness is the ability to adapt and execute different tasks under various circumstances with relative ease. So if you have 24″ pythons but can’t wipe your own ass because your arms are so huge, how fit are you REALLY? You may be able to pump out 50 strict pull ups but if you had to outrun a dog and jump over a wall could you do it?
Don’t get me wrong I am not dissing power lifters, body builders or people who train purely for aesthetic purposes, it still requires hard work and discipline which I will always respect, but simply see that type of training as more of a hobby rather than an effective way to achieve well rounded fitness, not to mention limited if looked at from the perspective of the human body’s potential capabilities.
I’m going to be honest, my love of the “movement arts” has mainly been a spectator sport lately, besides some inconsistent dabbling in Muay Thai kickboxing, and Parkour I have been predominantly sedentary this past year. I have let stress and unhappiness in my job take over my life which resulted in a bad case of insomnia and a devastating decline in my movement.
After feeling the effects of atrophy set in for some time, brought on by extended periods of sitting (desk job) and poor diet (the desire for bad foods goes hand in hand with insomnia, and lack of exercise), I decided to leave my job, and with every passing day I feel it was the best decision I could have made for my health. After doing some reading I found out that prolonged sitting on a regular basis can not only negatively impact your physical well being but your mental health as well (which explained A LOT in respect to me feeling down, I’m not meant to be indoors and sitting 8 hours a day).
In an attempt to regain my vitality, I will kick off my open ended adventure starting May 1, 2014 in Thailand at a Muay Thai kickboxing camp called: 301 Gym. What better way to get my mojo back then to combine three things I love: moving my body, travelling and adventuring.
The last time I felt the exhilaration of combining movement with travel was this past summer, when I had the opportunity to spend a week in Morzine, France to participate in Parkour Generation’s parkour camp with my son. It was an amazing experience, where I got to meet wonderful people from all over the world, and was trained in the fundamentals of Parkour by a group of friendly, knowledgeable and physically gifted trainers.
Given my very sedentary lifestyle it was difficult, but at the same time energising, to get up at 5am every morning to start off our 6 to 7 hour training days with a run. The jolt of cold mountain air hitting my face, with the only sounds being that of the groups feet hitting the pavement, our heavy breathing and the bird’s morning song had a meditative quality to it, and at the end of it I was left feeling very invigorated.
I adored spending ENTIRE days outside, learning how to move the way the human body was meant to move, getting instruction on how to climb, jump and swing more efficiently. Learning how to properly condition our bodies, through fundamental body aligning movements such as squatting, quadrupedal movement, and push ups. Building up strength by lifting and throwing heavy objects, muscling up and sprinting were just some of the things we did to awaken long dormant muscles.
Unfortunately I can’t make it to this years Parkour camp that will be held between 20 July 2014 and 26 July 2014 because I will be in Thailand on a different movement endeavour, but look forward to checking out Parkour Generations Asia in Bangkok while I’m in Thailand; any chance to get instruction on how to be a better mover from the Parkour Generations group is time well spent.
Here are a few pictures of my experience at the camp last year, I hope you enjoy, and if I could give one piece of advice to anyone out there it would be to MOVE! Before you are unable to.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we
stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw