Parkour Andy Pearson

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.

Skillful example of what diligent Capoeira training can achieve.
Skillful example of what diligent Capoeira training can achieve.
Photo Credit: Live Life Photo (formerly Cult Photography) https://www.facebook.com/ArmandOdekerkenLiveLifePhoto

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.

Bodybuilders
Roy de Wiest and Steven Delmot showing off hot bodies at a posing lesson. I will always be impressed by body building and the hard work that goes into it, but I see it as more of a hobby than a measure of fitness.
Photo Credit: Michael Bockaert

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.

Me in my gym  hayday with former WWF wrestler
Me and former WWF wrestler Greg “The Hammer” Valentine
Me in my gym hay day, I was an amateur body builder, never competed but trained mainly with weights simply to achieve a certain look.

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.

View from the front of the hotel
View from the front of the hotel
Morzine. France
Morzine. France
One of the water fountains found in Morzine. The town of Evian is only about 40km away from Morzine, so we were getting the water for free!
One of several water fountains found in Morzine. The town of Evian is only about 40km away from Morzine, so we were getting water most people pay $1.50 for 500ml for free! I swear this water was so cold, fresh and pure tasting that if someone told me it was the tears of God I would have believed it.
I needed a little help climbing up
As usual PKGen trainers are always there to help.
Swing badda, badda, swing.
Swing badda, badda, swing.

 

Psyching myself up for a muscle up.
Psyching myself up for a muscle up.
Band assisted muscle up, it ain't pretty!
Band assisted muscle up, it ain’t pretty!
My son was a boss at muscle ups, no assist and could do ten consecutively.
My son was a boss at muscle ups, no assist and could do ten consecutively.
One of the fun butchallenging games of who can taps whose hands the most while on hands and feet. Go ahead and try it, great core and cardio workout.
One of the fun but challenging games put together by PKGen. Who can taps whose hands the most. Go ahead and try it, great core and cardio workout.
Sloppy handstand practice
Sloppy handstand practice
What the Parkour Generations crew called the "Double Dragon" walk on all fours backwards up one hill, then another, then up the hotel stairs (still backwards on hands and feet) and then perform 10 pushups. You are allowed to rest but never allowed to stand up or or sit on your bum. Took me an hour.
What the Parkour Generations crew called the “Double Dragon” walk on all fours backwards up one hill, then another, then up the hotel stairs (still backwards on hands and feet) and then perform 10 pushups. You are allowed to rest but never allowed to stand up or or sit on your bum. Took me an hour.
There is no shortage of things to do in Morzine, France.
There is no shortage of things to do in Morzine, France.
During my free time I decided to go tandem paragliding. I am afraid of heights among other things so this was a very proud moment for me.
During my free time I decided to go tandem paragliding. I am afraid of heights among other things so this was a very proud moment for me.
Views from above
I took this picture while paragliding. Just gorgeous!
Day hike, this is the mountain we were hiking to the top of. Started out at 7am in the morning and packed a lunch.
One of our activities was a day hike, we left at 7am and returned at about 3pm.
Taking a break atop the ski lifts
Taking a break atop the ski lifts

 

What we found on top of the mountain: Wild horses! At least I think they were wild, no one else was there but them.
What we found on top of the mountain: Wild horses! At least I think they were wild, no one else was there but them.
My son has always loved animals, horses are apparently no exception.
My son has always loved animals, horses are apparently no exception.
Loved the baby
Loved the baby
I think mountains are my favourite landscape.
I think mountains are my favourite landscape.

 

Well deserved meal at the end of a long day.
Well deserved meal at the end of a long day.

 

SAM_1183
Aerial views of the surrounding area once we reached the top of the mountain on our day hike.
At the end of the week I felt like I could do anything.
At the end of the week I felt like I could do anything.

 “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we

stop playing.”  George Bernard Shaw

 

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “Travel, Movement, Adventure – These Are a Few of My Favourite Things”

  1. Very engaging post. It gave me a new perspective on fitness and has me wondering if, as an older person, I could approach it this way myself.

    1. I think no matter your age getting into shape should be fun and balanced, if sitting in a gym and lifting weights isn’t your thing, then definitely try something else, Parkour is for all ages by the way 😉
      Just be sure you get your training from someone knowledgeable who can accommodate the level you are at today and progress with you properly. Also don’t be shy to look things up online. Just get out and move, but remember that there is more to fitness then using a machine, feeling sore the next day and just looking good.

  2. I really love France, so this post is one of my favorites. I have never seen that part of France before. Is there a Parkour in America?

    1. Hey Hollie, thanks for your feedback, and there is tons of Parkour in the states, a quick google search will show you if there is anything in your area. Great fun for kids and adults.

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