Ninja and George training a precision jump.
by HOPZ / @slaman10
We’re in the alley next to Ninja’s crib. It’s Easter. And it’s raining. And Ninja’s out here in sandals.
He busted his toe last night at the gym with George and wanted to help the wound heal by keeping it uncovered. The only problem is that the cold air is hitting the wound like a drum.
So we move inside and sit at the bottom of the apartment staircase. Just me, Ninja, Gramps, a kids tricycle and a women’s basketball. We talk about memories here, as Ninja’s family is being evicted from their home.
Obviously, this is no good. Ninja, Raizen and I refurbished an entire apartment building with their landlord last spring. We had some intense workouts on their building’s roof with him. Ninja’s family watched his children. Now they’re getting evicted.
But that’s just part of making it in the Republic of Brooklyn—when one door closes, another opens. And man, there’s hella doors in Brooklyn.
You probably want to know why I haven’t been writing. There’s many reasons. All of which suck.
But I’m still here, still writing, because if this thing called life tells us anything, it’s that we must live doing what we enjoy. That’s not to say it’ll be easy. Matter of fact, it’s going to seem impossible at times, but you have to do it. I can’t live with myself knowing I didn’t put in everything I got.
So that’s what we’ve been doing. Even though I haven’t been around the team, I know dudes have been giving it everything. And I mean everything. We all do what we do for the love of movement. My right knee is always bothering me, but I’m still going to the parkour open sessions at Gym Park every week.
Ninja says a lot of heads have came to him recently for parkour lessons, and he’ll officially be having classes soon. Of course, you’ll find the first updates—dates, times, probably even waiver forms—right here on this blog. The prices are dirt cheap ($5 for kids, $10 adults), and you’ll be training with the best freerunner in Brooklyn. And if you needed any extra incentive, I’ll probably make some guest appearances as well. ;)
Spidey, Tarzan…what’s good? I see your cryptic status updates every day, but if you’re reading this, please get in touch so everyone can read about the great stuff you’re doing for the spring. After all, this blog began with a Phantom Breakers label, and will end that way.
Waffles, Flex…let me hear from you as well. Waff, I caught you cruisin’ down Bedford the other day and we caught up for a few. I know you all are taking the dance team to the next level. We need to hear about that as well!
Our partner in crime, Impulse Parkour, posted some sick night training images recently. I’ll be re-blogging those soon. Big things!
Peace, peace, peace.
by HOPZ / @slaman10
"What are you doing later today?" Ninja asked.
"Taking a shower and dying on my bed," I replied.
Rain came down, soaking into Ninja’s mini-dreads and my wavy hair. We were walking toward Luda’s side, past the enticing $1 slices on Utica Ave. None of us had a quarter on us.
Patience was today’s lesson. After a serious meeting a month back, half of the team still didn’t come out for training. Sure, this was October and rain was coming down, but an essential quality of freerunners is the ability to move in ANY environment.
The rain had already soaked my original IMPULSE tee, and I was feeling a cold coming on. After a perfect training this morning—slow, relaxed, easy—I was ready to spend the rest of the day knocked out at home.
The team focused on stretching and flexibility. No question, flexibility has been my focus for the past couple months, and it will be for the rest of my life.
To become flexible, you must be able to first calm your mind. A million different thoughts rush through our heads every day. The trick is to acknowledge your thoughts and let them go. Breathe.
I led the stretches to begin. We started with the neck. Then the shoulders. Then the upper back and waist. Then we got to the hips, most people’s tightest area of the body.
Healthy hips are the key to a healthy body. There’s so many muscles in the hips that we rarely use. Our hips tighten up unknowingly and our movements become difficult and constricted. Our vital energy becomes unusable.
There was something healing about being out there. Chillen with Team IMPULSE. Working out the pain and lethargy, which like a cold, can be fought out of the body. Rain, my favorite weather, pattered off the remaining leaves on the trees surrounding us. A quiet Sunday morning. A good vibe to begin a much-needed day off.
"We look at human beings as physically weak," I said. "But no other species can be great at so many different things. Look at Michael Phelps. Look at LeBron. Look at David Belle.”
"People think it’s crazy when they see someone running as fast as an animal," Ninja concurred.
We’re uniquely designed to move efficiently through all environments. That’s the basis of parkour training. It’s not flips or leaping off three-story buildings. Parkour is, at its core, about learning how to move.
What’s the most painful stretch for human beings? The splits. Ninja’s very close to getting it, but the rest of the team suffered through holding the position for over five minutes.
We then squatted to loosen the ankles, knees and low back. We went straight for everything that gets tight. We put our bodies in positions that we normally would not encounter.
And speaking of abnormal body positions, the Spidey stretch is as odd as they come. Once Spidey contorted the hell out of us, we were all feeling as light as a feather.
Unfortunately, the long walk home would suck. The rain was coming down harder. It would been the perfect day to chill with Gramps, Luda, Spidey and Ninja, but I had a date with my mattress.
Before we parted, Spidey handed me a CD with some new Deadmau5 tracks. People need to stop fronting because we all know it: EDM is fire! This is the music of the next generation.
I’ve been listening to the tracks while writing this. Spidey, you’re right—this definitely blew my mind! Thanks, man.
by HOPZ / @slaman10
So much for a serious team meeting.
Being responsible and on time has been a problem. And we all promised that would change Sunday morning. We would begin training for 9 a.m.
Truth be told, only Spidey (who’s not part of IMPULSE) was on time. I arrived a few minutes late. Team captain Gramps came next, and then George and Luda showed up at the flagpole.
Ninja, the team’s trainer, came about an hour late. Nothing needed to be said: There are no excuses anymore.
As time goes on, responsibilities add up. To freerun long-term, you gotta treat parkour as a responsibility. Being on time to team training sessions is a necessity.
I looked over my right shoulder while we were stretching and saw this little dude moving in our direction. He was the new freerunner guys were talking about the previous night. George said his name was Reptile, which was mad ironic, given that he walked and looked like a gecko (I say this in the BEST possible way, man!).
After stretching, Ninja sparked Gramps and Luda with a quick L, and we were ready to begin the training.
Ninja took Reptile, George’s girl, Gramps and Luda to a bench to work on flow and the monkey vault. George, Spidey and myself began running sets of vaults over the five-foot, iron fences.
Ninja’s bro, Raizen, came through after we began training. Hellboy, who I hadn’t seen or heard from in a minute, walked in on top of a bench. Man, it was good to see both of those dudes!
It was nearly an hour and a half later than when we planned to start, but the morning felt right. We were training together, just as we did in the fall, winter and spring.
It was bittersweet. Because I knew this would be one of the last times we’d train together. If you can’t be accountable—after a serious team meeting no less—you will not be a part of this team. You must fuck with the intention. And the intention is to bring parkour to Brooklyn.
It’s now or never for Team IMPULSE. We have fun, but we can’t play.
by HOPZ / @slaman10
We’re training in less than seven hours. 9 a.m. Sunday morning. If you’re looking to freerun tomorrow, we’ll see you at the park.
Team IMPULSE is giving it another try. Starting fresh. With a slightly different crew. And (hopefully) a renewed focus.
We met tonight at my crib. It was Ninja, myself, Gramps, Luda, George, Spidey and my roommate’s friend Chi Chi.
Ninja and Spidey started things off with an epic encounter in the kitchen. It wasn’t anything like a comic book battle (unfortunately), but emotions clearly got the better of the both of ‘em.
I’m still not 100 percent certain why Spidey came. I’m glad he did, but he has his own freerunning team with Tarzan and his girl, who goes by She Hulk (if you see this woman train, you’d know why). Spidey repeatedly says his team, Phantom Breakers, “works like a well-oiled machine.”
It’s been a minute since we’ve hung out, so maybe Spidey just wanted to chill. Maybe he wanted to see where our heads are at. Maybe, deep down, he misses us.
Chi Chi took out a yellow notepad and checked in with each member of the team. She asked what we’re doing. I’m working and conditioning. Luda goes to Kingsborough. Everyone else is living at home and not working.
So there’s plenty of time to train… theoretically.
Chi Chi stressed what we’ve known for a while: The team needs to communicate better. Before we even talk about bringing parkour to Brooklyn and beyond, we need to create a training schedule.
We determined the need for a team captain and trainer. Ninja was an easy choice for the trainer. He’s still the best freerunner on the planet. Captain duties went to Gramps, who will be in charge of showing up at every training session, making sure dudes are on time and training with focus.
I will do what I do very well: make sure everyone knows where to be and when. The best option is to set-up an online calendar for the team, but dudes like George rarely use the computer. The best way to contact him is by phone. Gramps and Ninja don’t have phones. Ninja’s rarely home. So the best way to get at Ninja is through Facebook right now. Gramps is accessible on his house phone or Facebook. Luda has a cell phone and is pretty accessible. Raizen’s usually at the crib, so I can get at him whenever. And apparently, there’s a new runner who I’ve yet to meet. Hopefully, I’ll see him tomorrow.
Ninja said he’s out if this effort doesn’t work. He’s seen a lot of failure and redoubled efforts. He’s talented enough to make it on his own. But (hopefully) that won’t be necessary. We need to do this as a team.
The meeting adjourned in the bathroom. Gramps, Ninja, Luda, George and Chi Chi crammed in to smoke a few Ls and chill. Spidey and I had a nice conversation in the living room.
Spidey said there’s no beef between Phantom Breakers and Impulse, although Ninja, George and the rest may see it that way. If I want to join PB at any time, I’m more than welcome.
I’m honored, but as I’ve been saying from jump: I really just want to train! We out there again!
by HOPZ / @slaman10
I gotta find a better time to write. Inspiration hits me hardest at the end of the day. In the middle of the night. When I’m ready to pass out.
But there’s no time like the present. And there’s no perfect time for anything. So let’s get to it…
It’s been a minute since I last wrote, and I know I left you with far more questions than answers. Good news is… time usually provides us with answers. So what can I say…
Is ninja still running? Yes, ninja is always running. I saw him a couple weekends ago, and he’s doing well.
What happened to the team? The team is split up, mostly because Team IMPULSE wasn’t a true TEAM in the first place.
Are you training solo? Somewhat. I’ve been conditioning and focusing on my weaknesses. I’m refocusing on the long-term. I want to freerun for a long time. I’m playing basketball more, which I’m enjoying the most I have in my life.
Where’s Waffles? Sounds like a dope kids picture book, eh? Honestly, all I know is he’s probably not home.
What’s good with Spidey? He and Tarzan have been training together, focusing on freerunning. They vibe well together and both are getting nicer by the day.
Together, we can bring parkour to Brooklyn and beyond. But some serious issues are standing in the way. Those issues will be the focus of this blog going forward.
Positive evolution and sacrifice. Communication and understanding. Every freerunner mentioned in this blog has forgotten these very principles, to various degrees.
Stay tuned. It’s about to get journalistic!
by HOPZ / @slaman10
I’m sitting here. In the middle of the night. I’m supposed to move tomorrow.
I’m supposed to move on America’s 236th birthday. The country is looking old and tired. But also vital as ever.
I’m listening to a harp. I’m thinking about when my family went to San Francisco. My sister bought a chocolate t-shirt. We all bought Ghirardelli ice cream. My dad bought a harpist’s CD.
Over a decade later, I’m still listening to that harpist’s melodies. As I lie awake in the middle of the night.
In the middle of the night. I’m thinking about how this was going to be showtime. Thinking about how Team IMULPSE no longer trains together.
How time unexpectedly plays out. And how Team IMPULSE may or may not be reunited in the end.