For some, Parkour Vision is a destiny, not a choice

A respected friend has a toddler who likes to climb. Of course she needs to keep him safe. This causes me to write the following reflection.

When our son (now almost 20 years old) was a toddler, he needed to climb. We tried to not say, “you need to come down.” We tried to simply find times, places, and ways for climbing to be safe. It was gut-wrenching for me, the mom, sometimes.

Our son’s need to climb is, and was, genetic. My husband grew up “rock hopping” in Billings Montana. My husband and son are coordinated, well-balanced, and sure-footed.

As a family, we always kept our eyes open, looking for places to do some rock hopping or a bit of recreational (not technical) climbing in the beautiful outdoors and even in developed settings.

When our son was in about ninth grade, he discovered the movement art of Parkour and it resonated with him in a way that was compelling. We are lucky to live in a time and place in which the people who lead the Parkour community approach it from the point of view of “Parkour Vision.” These young world-changing leaders practice and teach the Truth that Parkour causes you to move through any environment – physical, intellectual, emotional, or spiritual – by seeing the obstacles and devising a path through, over, under, and around them. It is a fully-embodied metaphor for what we want our young people to learn and develop into adult-world survival skills.

Because Parkour had such a strong natural call for our son, he wanted to “make the case” to mom and dad in a way that would invite us to say “yes.” And so he did. He wrote an essay with the right balance of informality, combined with some information and purpose. We said yes.

That was more than four years ago. The Parkour Visions folks have developed and grown a non-profit organization for the purpose of teaching the movement art and life skills of Parkour at an indoor gym. Along the way, they have developed curricula, methods and inventions to share with others. Our son has not had time in the past couple years to train at the gym regularly, as much as he would like to, and as much as we would like it for him. The rhythm of a rigorous academic life makes it challenging to work all the physical distances between home and school and gym, while working the school commitment with integrity.

But the movement art of Parkour is part of his life and his vision and his approach to life. Parkour, and the Parkour Visions people, have been formational to the independent-thinking young man who inherited his father’s balance, sure-footedness, and so on.

When our son was a toddler, we arranged our lives to look for safe places, ways, and times to honor his intrinsic need to climb. When he had reached “the age of reason,” we, as a family, decided that in Ireland, we would not visit the Cliffs of Moher, because, honestly, there could be no assurance that our son would stay far enough back from that dangerous edge. We visited an amazing set of caves, instead – rock hopping of a different kind.

It is better for our son if mom does not always see the movement life that he is comfortable with. That dynamic tension between any young man’s abilities, and any mother’s caution, is simply the way of the world. It is not a matter of right and wrong. It is right for our son to develop his own good judgment about how to develop use his movement skills, and it is right for a mother to find it a bit gut-wrenching.

 

The liberating movement art of Parkour

I noticed Stephen Maglardy’s“Five Finger” shoes and asked if he is familiar with Parkour. He was not. Until now. The good people at Parkour Visions have been birthing and nurturing the baby of this non-profit movement gym and outreach venture for six years or so. Our son, now almost twenty, has benefited greatly. One high school year, he and a Parkour Visions coach taught a weekly class at an inner city space for homeless youth in Seattle.

Start moving when you are young, keep moving, anywhere any time. Move over, around, and through obstacles. Develop the “vision” to see a “path” through obstacles. Parkour can look like cross-country running in an urban environment, except traceurs (people who do parkour) would vault over railings and other obstacles rather than go around them. Having an indoor gym for this movement art is rare in this country and also liberating to the hundreds of kids who need it.

The Game within the Game

Looking forward to 2012, I thought I would share some thoughts and short sections from The Athlete within You. I thought I would start at the beginning of the book as it is always a good place to start. Over the next few weeks I will perhaps jump around as very few things in our lives in completely linear.

The Game within the Game applies to virtually everything we do. We are aware or certainly need to be aware of those things that allow us to perform at higher levels in sports, business and life. Many of the components of the game are well established. Things like self-confidence, stress management, concentration, goals, visualization, mental toughness and motivation are all tools and areas of ourselves that help us perform at our best. How and when we choose to use them is only really up to one person.

INTRODUCTION TO THE ATHLETE WITHIN YOU

The Game within the Game

Are you familiar with the game within the game? It’s the game we play by ourselves and the one we play against each other. It’s about what we tell ourselves preparing for, during and after any competition. It is also the games we play with our opponents and at times even our teammates. It’s about self-confidence, stress management, concentration, goals, visualization and motivation. The game is one we play with ourselves to best prepare for the game that takes place on a field or other venue. How we play this game determines how we play the one on the field or court, (and consider as you read this book, how it also applies to how we succeed in other areas of life, including business.)

Are you ready to play? Do you know the rules? Are you playing this game with the proper background and fundamentals? If not, then you really need to get in this particular game, because in most competitions, whatever your level, what happens in this game determines how competitive you are and how you are able to perform. How you play the Mental – Game will ultimately decide your outcome and success in sports (or business). Striving to reach your potential is about the game within the game.

I posted a story on my blog site that follows this. Please check it out on Mike Margolies- The Mental Game

Relaxation: Best-Kept Secret in Sports, Business and Life

New Project: Producing Hypnosis/ Guided Imagery mp3’s for sports

I have been involved the last few months in a really great project that I will tell everyone about over the next few weeks. I am very excited about what we are doing. I have partnered with a master hypnotist and we are producing mp3 versions of individual sport hypnosis/guided imagery programs to help athletes. We are doing this for a new company that will be distributing them world wide. The company has a new concept for doing this kind of business. It is all very exciting to be involved at the ground level.

The process of using visualization and relaxation as far as research goes is well known in sport psychology. It is one of our most effective tools for helping athletes reach their potential. However in practice not nearly enough athletes and / or coaches fully understand the power of this process especially when used in a way to get the full benefit from the techniques involved. I think its a game changer for a lot of athletes and certainly for everyone as well. So what I will do is break down the process over the next few blog posts.

Athlete learning to relax

As this project involves Hypnosis / Guided Imagery / Visualization / Mental Rehearsal / Mental Practice I thought I would start with one of the most important components in this process; RELAXATION.  What follows is a partial chapter from my book,  “The Athlete within You” available through amazon.com. This is chapter 12 and just because some of you may have missed my praise (those who are deaf or have been out of the country perhaps) I could not have completed this book without the help of Deborah Drake. Continue reading “Relaxation: Best-Kept Secret in Sports, Business and Life” »