Since leaving London I’ve been trying to keep abreast of the events and training activities of the community back there and I realized that the event below is not only noteworthy, but potentially of interest to a lot of people back home. As parkour becomes more and more popular and widespread, the use of parkour as a fundraising agent is being explored. While this isn’t the first charity event involving parkour that I’ve heard of, it is by far one of the most impressive, not only due to the movement being performed, but because of the sheer volume of repetitions. The concept is pretty simple, it started off as a semi-joking question of “is it possible?”, started to germinate in people’s minds, became a popular topic of discussion amongst a core group of people in London, and eventually evolved into this. The rules: 24 hours. 1000 muscle-ups.
Below is a video demonstration for those of you that might not be familiar with “muscle-ups” (Courtesy of American Parkour Website).
The video below was put together to publicize the event, for more information you can go to the Parkour Generations website.
Just a note on what the money is actually being raised for. Naoki is a Japanese teenager that I met during the month that I spent with the Yamakasi and the rest of Majestic Force in the summer of 2009. When I arrived he was the other “foreigner” that was shadowing the team at the time. While I was there to do research and interviews, Naoki was there to train, and was pretty impressive for his age, even when his extensive martial arts background was taken into account. He was my first glimpse into the next generation of traceurs that was developing throughout the world, and kind of opened my eyes to the true international extent of the sport. He was also a really friendly and fun-loving guy, and always seemed to have a smile on his face. Despite not knowing more than a few words in French and a limited grasp of English, he got along pretty well and even did a brief interview for me to include in my research. After spending a few weeks with the guys in Evry/Lisses he went to London to train with Parkour Generations. Apparently he made a pretty big impression while he was there because when I arrived in London a year later people still said his name with a slightly reverent tone. While in London, Naoki broke his back during a training session and had to be repatriated back to Japan after being stabilized in a British hospital. In Japan he has undergone extensive medical treatment to get back to health and despite the fact that he was initially told that he wouldn’t be able to do parkour again he has made a pretty impressive comeback.
Video of Naoki pre-accident:
Needless to say, the cost of the repatriation and ensuing medical costs have been huge, so any money that can be raised to defray those costs will be most welcome for his family.
When I first heard of the challenge back in October I thought about trying to attempt the full 1000. At that point I had just done 105 over the course of a 1.5 hour class and was pretty confident that with 2 months of training I could be in physical (the mental is the tough part here) shape for it. Since my departure from London I’ve been struggling to keep muscle-ups in my regular routine and will admit that I haven’t been quite as rigorous about the conditioning as I could have been. In an effort to not injure myself by attempting things that are out of my range I joined some of my fellow “classmates” from London in doing 101 repetitions to support the efforts of our instructors at PKGen. I completed mine this past Friday with surprising ease, clocking in at a pretty speedy 25 minutes, 45 seconds, and ripping only one callous off in the process. While they definitely weren’t as hard as the last time I did them, I definitely started to feel it for the last 20 and was hard pressed to stay motivated to do any more. I managed another 10 after a break just to set a personal record for “Muscle-ups in 1 hour” so now I guess I have something to shoot for….
As I write the guys have just finished the challenge back in London. At the moment they are probably either in a comatose state of exhaustion or having their hands stapled/superglued/taped back together from their efforts. The last word I had from someone on the inside was that witnessing the event in its later stages was somewhat akin to watching someone give birth, over and over and over…
Hopefully I'll be able to post a link to the video that they make for the event in the near future …
Great job guys.
Note: for those of you interested in donating to this very worthy cause, click here:
Another note: HERE is another parkour fundraising event that was done by a guy that I met in London at the ADAPT Instructor course. 8 miles of quadrapedie to raise money for victims of the Haiti earthquake (To see what the "cat crawl"/"quadrapedie" is, see below).