Bay Area Parkour

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passes not vaults, and center of gravity t-shirts

The idea that kongs (and most other vaults, but especially kongs) are actually quadrupedal movement has been knocking around in my head for the last few weeks. I've been meaning to write something more stodgy and authoritative sounding, but since I've been too busy to do so I'm just going to throw it out there. The idea occurred to me when I was working on double kongs because the way I gained confidence in my arms was to bend forward and fall or jump onto them and feel how they supported my body movement. I had to feel like I could control myself with them as much as with my legs. Bouncing back and forth between hands and feet started to feel as much like QM as vaulting.

Even after successfully and repeatedly executing double kongs over my chosen obstacle, I wondered if it would be more efficient and perhaps also faster to leap forward bringing my feet up close to my torso and land at the near edge of the obstacle then level kong the length of the obstacle. Certainly this would feel safer when slightly tired during a run or with added weight such as a backpack, at least at my level of confidence in my abilities (Foucan doing it in the 007 chase is another thing).

Then, in another conversation about multi-kongs v. "bear" vaults (which is my default- I feel much more relaxed with that technique, especially when touching more than twice with my hands) where my fellow conversationalist felt that the bear technique was a bail-out for multiples, not so much valid on its own. But in a way that's like the difference between split-foot and paired-feet takeoffs- the former tends to more powerful vertically while the latter tends to be smoother when trying to maintain level movement.

To get a little conceptual, while legs are certainly stronger than arms in humans (we are bipeds, after all), the point of all these the techniques we practice isn't to jump over an obstacle or leap a gap, it's to move. The way I see movement is that the limbs serve primarily to redirect the core; ideally, the the ground (or walls, rails, window frames, etc.) aren't hard surfaces to push against but edges of air that are occasionally checked for balance. The difference between a pass and a vault may seem pedantic when looking at one movement, but it's essential when moving on to flow.

So given that, I'd be interested in making T-shirts with a thick, easily-visible-from-fifteen-yards-away, solid line printed across the chest (or abdomen for women) at approximately the center of gravity of the wearer. This would make it very easy to see how much the c.o.g. moves in comparison to the contortions we put ourselves through to find an efficient line. Plus it could be a neato design element.

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Comment by Fyrel on December 1, 2008 at 3:08pm
It's also known as a traveling kong, I think.
Comment by SafeNSure on December 1, 2008 at 11:47am
I'd say more like a "one-and-a-half kong": you 'walk' your hands while leaping...
Comment by Philosofist on December 1, 2008 at 10:21am
Nevermind, center of gravity...duh >/body>
Comment by Philosofist on December 1, 2008 at 10:20am
So the bear vault is essentially like a dive kong?
Comment by Philosofist on December 1, 2008 at 10:19am
the limbs serve primarily to redirect the core; Very good statement. This post itself holds a lot of rhetoric. So what is c.o.g.?
Comment by SafeNSure on November 13, 2008 at 8:54am
...I'm reluctant to believe that something, in life sciences, is ever invented, I'm always more leaning for discovered, rediscovered or just labeled:


Also interesting: Bear Walk: a non-practical walk. It is essentially a walk or a march (bear march), where each arm is brought up with the leg on the same side rather than the opposite side.

[source]
Comment by Seng on November 13, 2008 at 1:21am
Of all people, Albert,I was really hoping you'd engage in some speculation on how language serves to limit discourse and contain thinking in the same breath that it communicates and generates new ideas. Maybe I'm drifting into semiotics and not so much linguistics.

I would put the speed vault as possibly one of the few rudimentary techniques which is not so QM (which is why I opened saying "most" instead of "all" which gave me the option figure out if it was or not as I wrote), but the recognizablly parkour vaults, ie kong, dash, kash, lazy and thief, are very much QM movement. I tend to think of underbars as inverted vaults and so also as inverted QM. Climbing is perhaps QM tilted 90 degrees.

I wonder if "bear vault" is a term of BAPK origin, coined at GWHS.

As for what would make up the thick stripe, I was thinking just text, like "www.baparkour.com" or your favorite pk-related catch phrase- that text might not be legible from a distance, but the line it formed would be. Then it's relevance to c.o.g. would be a hidden meaning which is only really only apparent when seeing the shirt/user in motion, and maybe even then remaining intriguingly obtuse.
Comment by SafeNSure on November 12, 2008 at 8:22pm
...a "bear"-like movement is generated by staggering one's hands in a 1-2 motion while passing the obstacle, in a gentle, assisted, dive. Holding the hips above one's head will assimilate it to walking on one's hands.
(Sounds about right...)
Comment by hillexallen on November 12, 2008 at 8:18pm
Yeah, I like to use the "bear" to get over longer obstacles, or to catch myself if I happen to slip or something.
Comment by hillexallen on November 12, 2008 at 8:09pm
Very good post! Very interesting.

I think parkour is nothing but movement. Some basic movements have been given names, so it is easier to refer to them. But, I don't really care what we call "vaults" are categorized as, or what they should be called.

As for the part about the center of gravity, I totally agree that manipulating one's center of gravity is the most important part of most movements. The sweatshirt idea is cool, but I think it should have something else on it besides a huge line.

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