Friday, 26 April 2013

One step at a time

Hey all,

Few things to say in this post. I'm really happy with how parkour is going so far this term, it's great to have 12 people at each session when 6 was the average last term, and it seems that some of the newcomers are going to stick around, which is great! I've also found a couple of new locations for sessions so we can increase the variety so we don't get bored now that we're doing 3 sessions each week. Also the OxStu is writing an article about us which I'm told will be in print on Thursday, so we might even get more people joining us after that!

This does give the problem that it's harder to coach a larger group (the recommended ratio and limit for insurance is 8:1, not that it matters because I'm not a proper coach or insured), but that's a fairly nice problem to have and I'll do my best with it and split the group up and/or give more freedom and less structure.

Second thing I've got to say is a couple of announcements. Firstly, the Freemove tour is hopefully coming to Oxford – they're a company which make parkour equipment and they're doing a national tour for publicity and want to come to Oxford. They turn up with some low-loaders and vans and make a parkour park for one day, I went to one a couple of years ago and it was great. It's on the 20th May 2pm-8pm and there will be sessions coached by proper coaches as well as freedom to play – hopefully we can introduce a load of new people to parkour there too! Still waiting on confirmation of a venue for that though, Oxford is a hard place to find space in!

The second announcement is regarding a parkour project in Faringdon. Called “PumpHouseParkour”, a group consisting of a couple of teenage practitioners parents has managed to find funding and got a lease to turn an old theatre into an indoor parkour venue. It won't be completed until our summer term finishes, but hopefully we'll be able to use it sometime next year - it's a ~40 minute bus ride or drive away but sounds like it's going to be pretty good! This also means that there is a parkour coach not too far away who we might be able to get to come to Oxford, but that's just an idea at the moment.

Apart from that, I just thought I'd share a reflection I've had the last couple of weeks. Over the Easter break I managed to learn a couple of new tricks which I've now managed to do outside, and looking back on it, I've realised that I've got to a level of parkour that I'm quite happy with. I can remember when I started out with parkour I had massive mental blocks with doing flips and a few times was considering giving up (I took a half-year break at one point) and saw some of the things I can now do as really difficult and scary, but without noticing I've brought myself up to that level I looked up to. I'm not claiming to be great, but I've got to a stage that I had doubts I would get to, which makes it encouraging looking to the future about what else I'll find myself able to do.

With this, I had the thought that although it's nice to have a vision of where we want to get to, that can often limit us by making it seem too far away. Instead, what's important is that we keep improving ourselves and making continuable progress. Often we don't notice the change as it's gradual, until we go back somewhere and have vague memories of something which is now done with ease being difficult at some point – I know that's what's happened with me. It's also important not to get stuck in a rut – focussing on one particular thing or movement might get us stuck, but forgetting about it and coming back to it after doing some other things often helps. I tried learning backflips for three to six months, then gave up on them for half a year, and when I tried again, the first one I did was the best one I had ever done!

A journey of a thousand miles always starts with a single step – and you're only ever getting one more step further from when you started.

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