I arrived at Seattle's airport and called Tyson Cecka, who said he was waiting outside and to give him a call when I got my bag. So I waited. For about fifty minutes. I finally saw my bag coming down the conveyor belt... when someone else grabbed it! See the pictures in the first “Where's Zac” entry for reference, but my bag is pretty easy to identify, and not easy to mix up with someone else's. I started running to intercept them... when I recognized who it was! It was Jesse “Hardcoretraceur” from New York, just with no hair! We went outside and I hopped in the car. Matt Perry from California, Ryan Ford from Colorado, and Tyson Cecka were already inside. After Jesse and I hopped in, I noticed Jereme Sanders from Texas jammed into the trunk.
We headed back to Tyson's house and spent the afternoon jamming at Gasworks Park, an old gas refinery station that they converted into essentially a playground. We crashed that night, and then headed off the next morning in a rented MiniCooper to Bellingham, Washington to visit with Rafe Kelly.
Rafe is a traceur, but he also trains MovNat (an update to Methode Naturelle). We arrived at his house late in the afternoon, and headed to Whatcom Falls, a huge park with some really awesome trails. We asked Rafe to run us through a Movnat style workout, so we could learn more about it. He explained to us that Movnat was all about replicating Natural Movement. The twelve core parts of MovNat are walking, running, jumping, climbing, quadrupedal movement, balancing, swimming, lifting, carrying, throwing, catching, and defending. Combining these ten real-life activities into a single methodology trains you to be a truly well rounded athlete. Unlike programs that focus on strength and conditioning to get you ready for an activity or sport, in MovNat, performing the activity or sport IS the strength and conditioning.
For our warmup, we started off running around a field. There are many ways to run however – forwards, backwards, sideways, rotating, sprinting, jogging. We went from one to another seamlessly, and alternated often. We then progressed into walking movements. This is something I always found confusing – I figured walking was walking. First, we just walked. But then we had to try and move as silently as possible. We then tried to walk, staying as low as possible, then switched it up and pretended to step over something very tall. Next, we combined the two. Pretend you have to step over something very tall, and then crouch and waddle under something very short, and then repeat. We transitioned into QM, and did a lot of QM variations, but also added in some crawling (forwards, left, right, backwards, rolling to the sides) on our elbows and knees which isn't done too often in a lot of Parkour warmups. Standing up into a fighting stance, we practiced bouncing, sliding back, forth, and to the sides, and some punches and crosses. This pretty much wrapped up the warmup, and then we moved onto the workout.
Throughout the workout, we moved pretty much constantly. Running through the trails in the woods, balancing on fallen treetrunks and handrails as we went. Several times Rafe had us stop, pick up a rock (a large rock) and we ran with it, passing it off whenever Rafe called out “Pass!” We eventually stopped along the trail, and then practiced lifting. This is very different than lifting weights. When doing a clean and jerk (weight starts on the ground, you pull it up and push it over your head) with a barbell, you have a good hold on the bar and the weight is evenly distributed on the two sides. With a rock, you have to fight to find a decent place to put your hands, the weight is uneven, and we had no idea how heavy it was. Everyone lifted the rock over their head several times, then we played some passing games (just passing the rock down a line). We continued our run, stopping to flip some logs (like telephone poles) and climb up a rock face. We wrapped up the day by finding a big pool of water nxt to some cliff faces about 30 feet up... so we jumped off. A bunch of times.
It was a very educational experience, and I think MovNat something that everyone should try to incorporate into their training. I know when I go back to school, I'll be looking for some rocks to carry around.