On Saturday, December 6th, Rochester Parkour held a “Leave No Trace Initiative/Beginner Parkour Workshop.” Thirty five people put on layer upon layer and headed out into 25 degree weather to Manhattan Square Park in downtown Rochester, New York.
We arrived at 2:00pm with three brooms, three dustpans, two (very) small rakes, six pairs of rubber work gloves, and about four thousand gallons of elbow grease. There were a lot of new faces, people out for the first time, so we all circled up and had a brief introduction to Parkour. Zachary Cohn explained what Parkour is, what it isn't, and what it means to be a traceur. We discussed the different facets of respect – respect for yourself, respect for others, and respect for your environment. Respect for yourself included a discussion on safety and an emphasis on slow progression. Respect for others was about respecting your fellow traceurs, pedestrians, property owners, and law enforcement. Respect for environment was the focus of the discussion however – we talked about how lucky we are to have these amazing locations to train on, and how it is important to give back to the community. We discussed how important it is to pick up trash as you see it; such a small effort can make a huge difference. On Saturday, we decided to clean up Manhattan Square Park.
Manhattan Square Park had several years worth of trash, broken glass, cigarettes, leaves, and other miscellaneous junk scattered around it. For the first 90 minutes of the day, we spread out around the park. We raked, swept, and picked up everything we saw. We ended up removing twenty one bags of trash and leaves from the park. It looked AMAZING afterwards, so much better than it did before. And the best part? I found out from a Fire Marshall that was there preparing for a fireworks show that night that there was a parade that evening, and it ended right smack in the middle of the park! So we ended up doing the whole city a huge favor by cleaning up the area for them. It was a very gratifying experience... even if as a whole the city never finds out who cleaned up, we still know and we still can be proud of that.
At 3:30, we started the Beginner's Workshop. The group was split about 50/50 between traceurs who had been coming fairly regularly and very inexperienced people. This workshop was focused on the very basics of Parkour, so that's where we started. Jeff Whalley lead the first half of the warm up, and Charles Moreland wrapped up with quadrupedal movement variants. Once the warmups were finished, Zachary Cohn taught landings in six separate phases: 1) Just jump. 2) Jump and land on the balls of the feet. 3) Jump, land on the balls of the feet, and bend the knees. 4) Jump, land on the balls of the feet, bend the knees, and use your arms when you jump. 5) Jump, land on the balls of the feet, bend knees, and maintain good back posture. 6) Jump, land on the balls of the feet, bend knees, maintain good back posture, and be silent when you land.