Day 2: No Pain, No Gain
Waking up after a nine-hour parkour workshop was intense. My muscles were already sore before we ended day one, so it was no wonder I could barely prop myself up on the bed the next day. Like a dutiful soldier, though I marched on. I didn’t want my article to read that I bailed out halfway through. I wanted to be there physically, at least to show moral support.
I was pleasantly surprised that after the warmup, I could move around feeling less pain. It was weird that even my jaw muscles were sore, though. It was probably because I can be quite theatrical in contorting my face when I parkour.
If Day One was about learning the foundations of parkour, Day Two was our chance to build on the basics and explore. We kicked it off with a game called Quadrupedal Movement Tag or QM tag. For those unfamiliar, Quadrupedal is a form of locomotion wherein you are on all fours, like a chimpanzee.
In QM Tag, all players will have a towel loosely attached to the back of their bottoms, which they need to protect from stealthy hands if they want to stay in the game. Everyone aims to out the other players by snatching the towel away, and the last player with a tail wins.
Photo courtesy of Halo Halo Project.
I tried to stay in the game as long as I could, but even my deafening screams couldn’t keep my opponents away. (They did work once that Ken even considered banning any forms of screaming so we can focus on the movement.)
After the game, we were asked to explore the QM stance. Ian has then decided to give me a new name: Energy. I say this because whenever he would catch me squatting in one corner just watching my classmates do all the heavy lifting or if I was practicing the parkour moves lazily, he would say to me, “Energy,” as if trying to transfer some to me while he says it. I then try my best.
The next lesson was like Hollywood Stunts 101. We were taught how to do half circle turns between two intersecting planes, how to jump on an elevated object at least three feet high and turn around back down in different ways. I was beginning to think, given months of practice, I could probably give Scarlett Johansson (Black Widow in Avengers) a run for her money. (Mind you, some Parkour Philippines members were cast in Boy Golden: The Arturo Porcuna Story, a 2013 Metro Manila Film Festival entry. Unfortunately, they were killed in the movie.)
A good parkour practitioner is a master of his movement; every move is calculated. To get a little sense of that, we did the trust walk, which had two versions. In the first version, one person guides his or her partner who is blindfolded. But that wasn’t the challenge. The real test was the second version, which was going through the same terrain blindfolded in a QM stance, but without a companion to guide you through the obstacle. With that, you’ll be prompted to use every part of your body and become more aware of your motions as you move through the space.
Parkour is more than just a sport activity; it’s also a venue for expression and creativity. So for the rest of the afternoon, equipped with the basic know-how of parkour, we were released into the urban wild to explore the environment and our capabilities. It’s exploration the way pros do it.
This, for me, is the heart of parkour. It’s a self-expression, and an exploration of all the possibilities you can do with your body and your surroundings. I felt a little romantic as I sat surrounded by individuals who were so passionate about parkour that they are constantly pushing their limits.
Right to Left: RJ Calumpang leaps over six of us. Photo courtesy of Halo Halo Project.
Of course, the last day of the workshop wouldn’t be complete without another parkour relay. This time, we had to be more creative. It’s not just running through the parking lot, you can try rolling or turning on the floor. You don’t just land after jumping from an elevated space, you safety roll when you land.
I was worried that my parkour relay would be a snooze fest since I could barely walk, let alone run. I thought that when I climbed the stairs, my sore legs would have to take them one at a time, but my mind was blown away when I did it. I was skipping one step at a time. I didn’t know how I did that or where it came from. My body just seemed to be able to move when warmed up.
The last workshop event was strength training, which should be at the core of everyone who wants to do well in parkour. We did one set of 15 reps each for squats, pull ups, and push ups. Sounds easy? Not today. But I was just glad to get through. I am guilty of cheating for the most part of the strength training, until Ken noticed and then decided to move me to the stairs so I can’t cheat my pushups. Fair enough.
The parkour weekend was a wonderful experience. I learned the basics of parkour and pushed my body beyond its limits. I know last Sunday is just the beginning of my parkour journey, I’ll be seeing more of the people behind Parkour Philippines since I plan to join them in their parkour jam sessions every Sunday. I guess I just got hit by the parkour bug.
Batch 3 of Roots: Foundations on Parkour workshop by Parkour Philippines. Photo courtesy of Halo Halo Project.
This Parkour Philippines event was made possible by 360 Fitness Club, Feiyue shoes, Otter Box, and WhenInManila.com; in cooperation with STRONGERxDESIGN, Halo Halo Project, and Damit PKPH.