New York Parkour Goes Primal

On Wednesday, January 2nd, I hosted a group of traceurs from New York and New Jersey who bussed and drove down to visit Primal Fitness and the DC scene. Chris “Phreaknite” Salvato (spelling) is moving to Colorado soon, and wanted to visit Primal before he left. So over the course of a few weeks, we planned out and organized the trip. In the end, nine traceurs came down and joined Travis Noble, who was down visiting Primal from Michigan, and RandomPKGuy (RPG) and I for a really great jam.

It started at 10:30 when I picked up Jesse “Hardcoretraceur” from the bus station in Baltimore. We came back to my house, cleaned up a bit, and then I (almost) taught him to juggle while waiting for everyone else to arrive. We heard Vert and Arfel yelling as they got out of the car, and so we met them at the door, along with Pheaknite, Pyro, and Ish. My roommates from school, Artem and Charlie “ChadManX”, arrived shortly later. We hung out in the basement until it was time to go to Xtreme Acro and Cheer, a nearby gymnastics gym. We called M1L3S, who was still en-route, and had him meet us there. We piled into cars and drove an hour to Acro to meet up with Travis and RPG.

Much fun was had at Acro! Wallflips, backtucks, layouts, frontflips, diverolls, trampolines, butterfly kicks, and more. We ended up staying about 30 minutes past when we were supposed to, and then packed in the car and came back to my house. The twelve of us promptly ordered 7 pizzas, and finished them off in about as many minutes. The rest of the night was pretty low key, the highlight being Jesse giving himself quite the shiner after running into a pole in my woods while playing Predator versus Prey (Aliens!).

The next morning Charlie and I got up at 6:45 and started making pancakes. Artem soon joined us in our endeavor, and Happydud’s Emporium of Pancakes was moving along at full steam ahead! 64 pancakes, 1 box of pancake mix, 7 eggs, 5 cups of milk, a dash of olive oil, and one failed batch of pancakes later, everyone was up and eating pancakes, cereal, fruit, yogurt, and anything else we could find in the house. We managed, amazingly, to get out the door by 9:00AM (I did NOT think this was possible) and we headed to Primal Fitness, the main attraction.

After some creative convoying, we got to Primal as Jesse “Gearsighted” Woody, Steve Low, Leonn, and Britney were setting up a projector. We projected a big PRIMAL FITNESS onto the far wall, traced it, and then painted it in red. Other things got painted throughout the day as well, like the spiderweb, and a recreation of a Banksy. As far as the Parkour went, it was pretty awesome, as always. Leonn and Travis ran a really good warmup, which actually gave me a lot of ideas of what I want to incorporate into my standard warmup. Skipper stopped by, and the training continued throughout the entire day. The room was rearranged every few minutes to create new obstacle combinations and to drill different techniques. Later in the afternoon, Mark decided to run us through a workout.

The warmup: 3 rounds: 25x20lbs sumo-deadlift high-pulls, 1 lap of QM, 1 lap “uncomfortably high stepping” (stepping through a line of 3 to 4 foot boxes), 10 decline pushups.

I’m still convinced that Crossfit style “warmups” are equivilent to the workouts that some people usually get.

After the warmup, we got to the workout. Mark yells “Okay, who’s ready for 3 minutes of conditioning?” I respond sarcastically “Only 3 minutes? This should be easy!” We went back to the line of eight 3 to 4 foot plyometric boxes and lined up.

The workout: 3 minutes, as many rounds through as you can. Two footed jump from the ground to the top of the first box. Jump from box to the ground. Jump from the ground to the next box. Rinse, wipe hands on pants, repeat. It was pretty hellish. By the end of the third minute, my legs felt like lead.

Afterwards, we ran through some jumping and landing drills designed to facilitate the ease of continued running after a landing, without stumbling, slowing down, putting your hands down, etc. We were supposed to start at one speed and accelerate throughout the course. We started by running and jumping off of different sized plyo-boxes, and then we eventually built up to running, jumping onto one box, jumping to a higher box, and then leaping to the ground and resume running without ever slowing down. We then modified to it getting over the second box the fastest way for you. For some people, this was a kong, for others, it was stepping on it and jumping, still others speed vaulted it or just leaped straight over it. It was a fascinating thing to watch: to see four different people could pass over the box in four completely different ways, and each path was the most efficient for them. It was a great example of how there is never one correct way to do something, and how what works for one person may not work for another.

In the end, everyone eventually went their separate ways and headed back home. Everyone had a fantastic time, and the jam just reaffirmed something I see traceurs from different places training together. Despite being from DC, Brooklyn, Michigan, or anywhere in between, despite some people having never met before, or others only having met once or twice, traceurs can come together and instantly become best of friends. We may come from different communities geographically, but we’re all one big community when it comes to Parkour.

Written on January 1, 2007