Balancing – Corollaries of the manifesto

Balancing – Corollaries of the manifesto

Balancing: Corollaries of the manifesto

Ascent:

If you know me, you know I have a thing towards nice gadgets. I totally love them, and I do not plan to hide it. I do not cover myself up like a late baroque fetishist, but I use some.

They help me keep in my daily life in order, they save some time and they make my hours lighter.

I use a small chalk bag to carry everything I might need with me, I have a basic pair of shoes that can serve me in any situation, I wear comfortable clothes that often can be used both to train and to casually exist into different situations. When traveling I have a satellite bag that can come out of my backpack in case I need to drop the bigger luggage somewhere. When training I do not look for water, I have a big bag of many liters in capacity to become a camel myself.

Now the core of the matter. All these elements came out of the necessities I have encountered along the way, not the other way around. Therefore, this is a bottom-up approach, the practical theorists’ one.

On the other side of the spectrum, we have people like the preppers. They prepare for things that they have not lived. They think they are going to need certain things and they build from there. They do not actually know the specific needs that every situation will ask for, because they have no actual experience of them. The second approach is the top-down approach, that starts from an idea and from there it creates a practice.

Between the two ways of living my life, I prefer the first one, especially for the most relevant things that I do. I am a believer in field testing and from there investigation and development.
And I have had many confirmations of this in my life by many high level (in commitment, experience, and understanding) practitioners.

Now transfer this concept into a practice of balance. One can either go out and start to look around into space and from there create something out of practice or start thinking: what can I create in order to balance on it? And from there the Bosu and all the dark companies.

Ascending from an element up, descending from a concept down. Very different processes.

Availability:

On those busy evenings, one hilarious thing happens in many cities around the world. The treadmill runners are released. As if they were possessed by the Adédjé spirit or bitten by la Tarantula Siciliana, people of all ages suddenly fill the gyms. Usually, this comes with the realization that they need to take care of their bodies. Hence, they start a race against their lipids. You can see them all from the crystal-clear façade of big buildings running in a line and in a frustrating loop leading them nowhere. The valorous alleys are the unmissable perfect ultimate model cushioned shoes, the fancy gloves, the perfect matching outfit and last but not least the headbands against sweating.

What happens if all the elements are not in place? I.e. the treadmills are full, the gym is closed, the clothes are yet to be washed, the shoes are broken etc. – The only solution is “I’ll do it tomorrow”. Let me tell you, this sentence is already the root of the very end of your physical development.

“Cuttlefish bones” was writing E. Montale in regard to his poetry. It was a hymn to minimalism, an invitation to strip it down to the bone.

Did you want to go for a run? Go run. Nothing more, nothing less. Before thinking about it, get out, so it with what you have, it will be more than enough.

From here my view of using what is there, to never have the problem of not having something. A million of excuses are out of the windows and it all comes down to personal accountability.
You do not want to go out practicing on a floor? It’s on you. The soil will always be there, waiting for your soft body to interact with it.

On the other hand, a slackliner that is traveling and doesn’t have a slackline will sit on the sofa forgetting to be a practitioner. A skater without a skate becomes a hero without the costume. A juggler without …well you know where this is going.

Wherever I have been in the world, I scouted a bit and I found bars, I found walls, I found floors.

Applicability:

So, let’s start from this question. What is the purpose of your practice?

Let’s create a fictional character for this: Johanna.

Now imagine J. wants to train her balance. However, she’s a thoughtful creature so she doesn’t rush onto the Bosu without any research. She wants to get some evidence-based perspectives, so she goes through the literature.

After some hours of research and many disappointing findings later, Hoppa: a beautiful systematic review pops out. Damn, she rushes into it “…A total of 2395 articles were evaluated, yet only 50 studies met the inclusion criteria” wow, that’s kinda bad but still a lot of articles to draw conclusion from, she continues excited “The main aim of this review was to identify a training protocol based on most commonly used interventions that led to improvements in balance”.

Good she goes through the methods for inclusion into the study, she reads the influences of different balance practices for different sports, she goes through the exercises used.
The findings suggest that “8 weeks, with a frequency of two training sessions per week, and a single training session of 45 min” appears to be the minimum requirement of time to produce substantial changes in a body in terms of both static and dynamic balance acquisition.

Everything is absolutely rocking.

Until the very bitter moment in the end: “…it may be very difficult to establish one model of training that would be appropriate for each sports discipline, including its characteristics and demands […] No gold standard is apparent in this field”.

And suddenly she realizes, balance, likewise many other abilities, is specific. Also, she figured out by looking at the studies that almost exercise if applied correctly will produce a positive outcome in the exercise itself and with some near transfer to similar activities both in the scenario and in the skill.

But the question is yet to be answered: What is the purpose of your practice?

She is a bit confused now. A lot of methods work, which one should she use?

Please, Johanna, step aside, I’ll take it with my two cents.

Personally, I want to be able to apply my learnings to open as many possibilities as possible in future practices.

Training like this you will be able to do something that you couldn’t do before and then apply it in an open scenario. You will suddenly have developed some skills to take out of your deck of cards at any moment when exploring an area everywhere in the world.

Put it like this: the mean of practice becomes the tool, and the tool supports the mean.

(If not clear, re-read the last paragraph a couple of times).

Now some last words from a practitioner to the real practitioners out there.

I am going deeper and deeper down this road, but not because I did not experiment with others.

My philosophy comes from reflections that have started on the field, not the other way around. And slowly I have refined them to arrive at these conclusions. I have experimented with many but stayed with this one because I found it convenient, empowering, liberating.

This is my view, your honor,
Marcello.

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Balancing – a manifesto

Balancing – a manifesto

A balancing manifesto

Why would people choose to use a Bosu ball to work on balance?

It’s a real question, not a rhetorical one.

The answer (when is a good one) that I often get is:

“To develop leg stability and work the intrinsic musculature of my foot”

Well, to me this answer is wrong. Not because it is a bad answer in general, it might even be correct from a very pragmatic point of view but because it doesn’t address the core of the matter.

More specifically this question is asking the reason to pick an exercise (over another). Therefore, it is primarily a philosophical one.

One could then reformulate the answer and say:

A. “Because I like the portability of the object, in my view the capacity to bring the gear with me at all times it is more relevant the gear itself. Minimalism is my way of life. ”

To which I answer: A million other things are portable. Why specifically this one and not another basic proprioceptive board or another object?

B. “Because it’s versatile, I can use it with different populations, for different reasons”

To which I answer: Versatility is a state of mind, you can be versatile by balancing on a bumper plate, or on a line. An object in itself doesn’t possess connotations of any sort.

C. “Because it’s cheap” – ah, no wait, nobody says this because it’s NOT.

D. “Because the experts told me…”

To which I answer: who is this expert’s opinion? Does that person have a philosophy you comprehend and share? Does that person have any economic advantage in proposing that methodology? Did that person offer other options for you to choose from?

E. “Because they are highly available”

To which I shortly answer: Well, I do not like that answer, because it is false. It is definitely not the most available thing out there.

…but this availability is an interesting factor, isn’t it? Well, we’ll get back to it in a second.

Look let me tell you, no answer that has ever been given to me regarding this blue ball convinced me completely. Not even at 40%. Bosu is an instrument invented to make money, from people who do not practice balance for people who do not practice balance, in any form. It is a twisted conjecture of modern fitness. Period.

Similarly to the Bosu, an infinite number of gym ornaments are being produced with no specific purpose but that of making money by selling them. Cool, now that we are orbiting around the same planet, let’s move on.

Back with the availability view; I asked myself, what do people have available at most times, everywhere, with minimal effort to look for and that:

– can be found everywhere, in any city in the world, with minimal scouting.
– can be built with basic and simple material if needed.
– can be durable yet cheap.
– can produce a real scenario for development.
– can be versatile to produce as many options as possible.

And from here the view: bars, railings, poles, rails, lines, edges, gates, spikes.
These are the elements I train my balance on. When it comes to the root of a practice, awareness, and clarity is needed.

All the material in terms of progressions, regressions, set/reps and methodologies to increase balance via this philosophy will be delivered in details to my live and online students. However, if you follow my socials you’ll pick up a thing or two.

Bottom line: forget about the newest fitness tool you’re seeing on TV and use the ever-present ones. Stop thinking about making your body stronger and make it more intelligent instead. Throw away those Bosu balls people, stand on bars.
Not to mention, I just saved you over 150 €.

You’re welcome,
M.

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Environmental Practices – an introduction

Environmental Practices – an introduction

I see people every day boringly walking the roads or navigating into traffic, totally ignoring all the scenarios surrounding them. Leaving to die infinite possibilities for one’s development.

Environmental Practices: What is this about?

“We open our eyes, see the beauty of the day, marvel at the insignificant, rejoice in the mundane, and allow every moment to be full of meaning. When we are scared we know we exist. Life, previously taken for granted, becomes the most cherished treasure”.

The Bodivoodoo, on a crusade against a modern overprotectist society. (1)

With “Environmental Practices” I refer to all movement practices developed in a relationship with space, whether that’s in a city or in a natural setting. We live in a space, whether we want it or not. We can choose to ignore it, or we can use it to grow. 

Buildering walls, traversing pipes, walking pavements, rolling on floors, flowing on concrete blocks, brachiating on trees, standing on high poles, biking through traffic, balancing on rails and chains, squeezing through fences and so on are all scenarios of the interaction.

In order to do that it is essential to extrapolate a new meaning to the surroundings, removing labels and social conditioning. Things are just as they are: we can deconstruct their reason to be and then, we can add a new meaning to their existence.

“You must walk around rails rather than on them”.

Fixed descriptors of reality are used to build stability in society, however, stability kills challenge and if you kill challenge, good luck with that, it will be like killing the ultimate essence of being human. Get back to tabula rasa.

The reality, if faceless, becomes plastic, allowing creation and dynamicity rather than passivity and dogma.

The façade of a supermarket becomes a climbing gym, the cramped roads full of traffic become the pulsating veins of a macro-organism.
Pipes carrying gas and water on the side of hotels are a web to sit to watch the life silently passing by; the manholes to the sewers are portals to another dimension full of mysteries underneath the cities.

In my research, I have extrapolated elements coming from different fields to then connect them together, with the aim of maintaining the same alchemy of old disciplines, projected into their contemporary shape.

Motives to dive into the environment:

Many people (in extremely recent and documented history) realized the power of interacting with the city.

The main drivers that started these actions have been many through time. Since I have no intention to bore you, oh modern reader, I’ll go through some, just to get my point across.

In Parkour/ADD the Yamakasi at the end of the 80’ were using suburban complexes as a place for discovery, self-expression and search for personal identity (2). They realized that games, challenges, and problems to solve within a given space, could lead to their inner development. Thus, helping to build antifragile bodies and unbreakable minds. In pills, it gave them the motive to wake up every day to face the reality, creating a system of values to help them face life.

In the same period, Don Jean Habrey, founder of Combat Vital was looking for an un-domestication of modernity (3). He was convinced that an open mind towards experiments with the surroundings, refusing comfort and routines will lead to a deeper and more meaningful and aware existence. Adventuring in an “alive” city is a starting point and it constitutes an infinite source of energy.

Bradley Garret in his book’s “Explore Everything” (mixing words from the Situationist International leader Guy Debord and Peter, an explorer), gave one of the best definitions I have heard regarding Urban Exploration (4).

“It is at the same time a subversive response to the late capitalism that encourages spectatorship over participation and just a bit of fucking with people’s heads to help them understand how much they are missing every day”. 

This silent revolution has started many years ago and it’s not going to stop. Digging to find more information, I realized it was everywhere: from the Cave Clan in Australia (1986) to the Diggers of the Underground Planet in Russia (1990). In the USA, from the LTV squad in Brooklyn, NYC (1989) to the San Francisco Suicide Club (1977). In Europe, from the Berlin Underground Association in Germany to the Urban Experiment in Paris. And the list goes on and on, but I will touch upon it in a future article.

Why were they doing it? Well, reading through their manifesto one thing appears clear: because the environment is THERE. And the option to go figure out that space, simply exists. And yes, that is enough to make people take the chance to explore.

What to expect

I am going to release every week a piece both of a story and a practical session that can be added to all these practices in order to understand them and open the eyes towards a more creative use of the environment. We will explore risk and responsibility, tools for experimentation and an introduction to many practical methods for development.

Urban Adventure, Urban Exploration, Elevator surfing, Drifting, Urban Bike riding, Infiltration, Buildering, are just some among the long list.

Facing the deepest fears, exploring the darkest alleys, climbing without a way down, balancing in a world of almosts, ultimately becomes a venture into our own selves.

Get ready and see you next week,
Marcello.

 

References:

1. It’s a secret.

2. Angels, J. (2016). Breaking the Jump (1st ed.). London: Aurum Press.

3. Habrey, D. (1986). Combat Vital (1st ed.). Paris: Robert Laffont.

4. Garrett, B. (2014). Explore everything (1st ed.). London: Verso.

*Pic By Andy Day in a photoshoot for ParkourWave

 

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With “Environmental Practices” I refer to all movement practices developed in a relationship with space, whether that’s in a city or in a natural setting. We live in a space, whether we want it or not. We can choose to ignore it, or we can use it to grow. Buildering walls, traversing pipes, walking pavements, rolling on floors, flowing on concrete blocks, brachiating on trees, standing on high poles, biking through traffic, balancing on rails and chains, squeezing through fences and so on are all scenarios of the interaction. Get back to tabula rasa. The reality becomes plastic, allowing creation and dynamicity rather than passivity and dogma. The façade of a supermarket iis a climbing gym, the cramped roads full of traffic become the pulsating veins of a macro-organism. Pipes carrying gas and water on the side of hotels are a web to sit to watch the life silently passing by; the manholes to the sewers are portals to another dimension full of mysteries underneath the cities. In my research, I have extrapolated elements coming from different fields to then connect them together, with the aim of maintaining the same alchemy of old disciplines, projected into their contemporary shape. To read more about the topic, click on the link in bio. The new article is waiting for you there. To plan a workshop with me or for info regarding the 2019's intensive write to info@marcellopalozzo.com. Video from my last INTENSIVE 2018 workshop by the mastro @raffaele_najjar whose skill grow with every breath. #movementculture #parkour #parkourwave #urbex #infiltration #urbanadventure

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Impacts Circuit intro

Impacts Circuit intro

An extract from some instructional material produced on learning how to deal with impacts. The instructional set is aimed at learning the basic coordination needed for the action of jumping and landing. The other elements are some classic problems almost ever-present in any outdoor environment.

A. Impacts without impacts instructional set:

A1. Jumping without jumping x 50 reps
A2. Landing without landing x 50 reps
A3. Double arms swing x 5-10 mins
A4. Collapse and stabilize x 25 reps

Horizontal surfaces dominant:

B1. Landing focusing on time to immobilisation: three positions. High – Medium – Low.
B2. Precision jumps: low to high – same level – high to low. Land accurately on the forefoot. No noise and again, focus on time to immobilisation.
B3. Plyo challenge: pick a jump you can’t perform standing, that is possible with a jump in between.

B1-B3. Qualitative training: spend 15-30 mins on each element, according to fatigue. Quit when quality is decreasing too much. However, don’t make a bit of fatigue a reason to quit.

Vertical surfaces dominant:

C1. Vertical landing: Progress aiming to bring the body towards a horizontal position.
C2. Tic tac precision: tap the wall go over an obstacle to start with. Increase the height of the obstacle to clear and then the length of the movement.
C3. Tic tac toc:  Increase the distance between

C1-C3. Qualitative training: spend 15-30 mins on each element, according to fatigue. Quit when quality is decreasing too much. However, don’t make a bit of fatigue a reason to quit.

D. Impacts without impacts instructional set x 1 set.

Here’s the video on it:

A note and a reminder: As the surrealist painter Magritte was saying: “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” – “this is not a pipe” on the description of the painting of a pipe. He was underlying the difference between a real object and its representation.

Similarly, when looking through space, the focus should be placed upon looking at shapes and forms rather than function and perception.

Until next time,

-Marcello.

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