On parkour for deconditioned persons

Sean: Yeah, and so once we had our people, now I’m trying to figure out, “What am I going to make them do?” Because I had an idea of what people should do, and I’ve taught older Parkour classes, and in my training experience I’ve dealt with rehabilitation with people in their 60s coming off of surgeries, coming off of cancer, coming off of, you know all the vagaries of life, and trying to get back to it. I wasn’t shooting blind, but I wasn’t seeing them, so I had to be extremely detailed for the coaches about what exactly we’re going to do.

Sean: It was such a fun challenge because I’m thinking, “Okay, I’ve got scared 80 year olds on week one, and by week eight I’ve got to get them in a park doing obstacle courses.” How do you fill that gap, you know. I’ve done this for kids and teenagers, and young-ish adults mostly, what’s that gap look like for an 80 year old? I hadn’t dealt with the question in that kind of detail yet, and what that brought out, and what’s going to fuel the next phase of our curriculum in PK Move, is understanding that posture and balance just on one point, actually not locomotion.

Craig: We both just sat up straighter.

Sean: Yeah. No, it’s great, it’s great, all you have to do is tell people because everyone slouches, and sucks at just sitting, and that was the point, and that filled out almost the first three weeks of that study. Well, we definitely got them moving on day, but we moved from, the curriculum moved from a single point to three dimensional. So you’ve got point, and you’ve got two points, which is a line, and then you’ve got three points, which is like a vector, but then you bring in into 3D, now you’ve got multiple dimensions.

Sean: What does that look like for someone who is 80? Well, we’re going to spend a lot of time on the single point, and for all the Mine Craft kids listening out there, my fortnight players who want to do Parkour, single point is still your best training tool, and it’s seriously overlooked in the community because it’s hard to make money selling ninja stuff where you’re just standing on one foot for a while. But what I discovered writing this curriculum, is there’s so much that can be gained in full-on, high-speed, dynamic, three dimensional Parkour from standing on one leg, and playing with a broom, stuff like that. I had a really great time thinking about, “Can standing be Parkour? Can sitting be Parkour?”

Craig: I believe so. Sure.

Sean: Can just getting down on the ground be Parkour? Well, actually, yeah, for someone who’s 70 the adventure from just standing up to getting down on the ground, to getting back up, that’s actually a serious process that can be broken down into multiple steps, and actually taught for like 30 minutes at a time. If you asks most 70 year olds to pick something up on the ground, A. They don’t want to do it. B. They’ll probably ask you why you can’t do it for them. Why?
Sean: If you’re going to talk about teaching Parkour to seniors then you have to get in your headspace as a coach, as a curriculum writer, as someone who shares this with people like, “What if your field of action is restrained to just up and down, not forward around, sideways, three dimensions? What if you just can’t get to the ground? What does that Parkour look like? How do you make a game out of that? How do you make it fun?”

Sean: So, what was fun to see as the curriculum writer for this study, because I didn’t know what was going to happen, I kind of went into it with a broad toolkit, and just started throwing shit at the wall to see what would work before I sent it out to Virginia to actually be practiced on real 80 year olds. I was doing this in my kitchen, and I kept learning over and over again, the curriculum kept coming to me as a surprise like, “Oh, this is what we actually need to do.” This is what we actually need to do, and so much of it was not actually going anywhere. I’m going to teach locomotion by not going anywhere, that was the surprise.

Sean: I think one of my really pleasant surprises from this study, from writing this curriculum was, and it’s something that I can’t wait to share again as a Parkour coach for all ages, just to see if I can make the kids do it, is try to convince them that staying in one place is actually vital to your Parkour training. The easiest example to think of is a precision jump, what is a precision jump? You’re landing on a single point. What’s the perfect execution of a precision jump? The stick.