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.
Posts tagged Raizen
by HOPZ / @slaman10
by HOPZ / @slaman10
Believe it or not, the hardest part of making this video was the editing.
Raizen was going to make something really dope, but his cracked program crashed repeatedly over the course of two months. So Ninja finally put something simple together, and here we are: footage from Team IMPULSE’s first day of Spring Training.
Everything was recorded on March 18, 2012. My favorite spots are when the whole team does something over the mailbox at 0:35; the three simultaneous tree flips at 2:47; and of course, the final clip at 6 minutes.
This team—ninja, Spidey, Raizen, Hellboy and myself—trained as a unit for just three months through the winter. We trained a lot and sacrificed just as much, but we continued because we wanted to do parkour.
Just so we’re clear: There’s nothing special in this video. We do this type of training every day.
We practice big moves in dangerous situations, but anyone can learn parkour. You just gotta relax and trust your momentum. If you really want to become a freerunner, the biggest challenge is just letting go.
This was shot two months ago… Makes you wonder how nice we are now, eh?
by HOPZ / @slaman10
Spidey and I trained together yesterday morning at Brower. And it was good we did too—Spidey could have authored the kinesiology text on my bed stand.
We were talking about ways to improve my kicks. Not my (painfully bad) footwear game, but literal strikes with my feet. Spidey told me which muscles and stretches and exercises affect that area.
To have good kicks, you must have good hips. And it’s no coincidence that you gotta have good hips to be healthy. That area controls reproduction, excretion, strength and balance. Your hips literally are everything.
That’s pretty common knowledge, but I’d forgotten how important it is to do planks, leg raises, sit-ups, kicks, groin stretches and squats every day. They’re gruesome and painful, but they’re the only moves to bust your gut and make you feel light. Do these things every day and eat natural food… and how can your body NOT feel energized?
Toward the end of the morning session, I was front tucking over stuff (low stuff, tho) and feeling a lot lighter. That was an important morning session for me, thanks to Spidey’s help.
We did a few things after, but I gotta skip to the afternoon session…
While walking through an Orthodox Jew part of Crown Heights, I got a taste of what’s going on in Brooklyn. A couple Black teens were beating up on a Jewish kid in the street, most likely trying to steal something from him. I’m not sure if they actually took anything, but they eventually stopped and dipped around the street corner.
As Spidey and I were crossing the street, I overheard a Jew say they were calling the police. We got a perfect view of the kids before they ran off down the street, past the isolated, cookie cutter homes.
I asked Spidey if we should have stopped the kids. But he said you can’t get involved in that stuff because suspects are quickly confused.
We continued to train/walk down the street. It was about two blocks before the boys and a crowd of Jews rolled up on us.
It made sense. The two kids ran down the street in the direction we were walking. We’re two young people about two blocks away from the crime.
One big flaw, though: I’m White.
That little piece of evidence didn’t stop an angry Jew from pointing at us, screaming, “It’s them!”
The boys asked us where we were going (Ninja and Raizen’s). Where we were coming from (the Parkway and Nostrand). They asked if I had anything suspicious in my bag (I hoped not).
They asked what was in my pockets (literally nothing). And no one touched me. They frisked Spidey for “personal safety” though…
Orthodox Jews are honest, hard-working and mostly, very PRIVILEGED.
After figuring out that one White kid and one Black kid walking down the street weren’t the two Black kids running from the scene, the police eventually allowed us to leave.
But not before they took all our information. My name was entering the system. Spidey’s already been in there.
Spidey was clearly tight, saying stuff like, “all cops are really dumb” as we walked by a policewoman. We talked about the Detroit Riot and how he thinks a riot will break out in New York within a year or two. This isn’t something new that I just heard, and I believe it too.
As we turned onto E. 96th Street in Brownsville, the streets were littered with Blue. There are literally 10 times the cops (or maybe more) in Brownsville than say, Park Slope… or most parts of Manhattan.
And, on a day like yesterday, these cops had QUOTAS due in seven days. They were stopping anyone remotely “suspicious” on the streets on this Monday afternoon.
The perception of the hood is dangerous. And the police are there to protect it, right? Oh boy…
The people who live in this neighborhood are good people who want the same basic things as everyone else in life. I’d say these people are, as a whole, some of the most harmonious and peaceful people on earth.
They immigrated to America in search of making money and returning home for a better life. Problem is, it takes money to make money in America. And once proud dreams are quickly forgotten.
We finally met Ninja and Raizen, and Team IMPULSE was assembled.
We moved with the wind and stopped at a mini park between some major streets. Raizen and I were backflipping. Ninja was walking on his hands in circles. Spidey was side-flipping over benches, in his crazy running character.
And I must’ve REALLY looked suspicious yesterday. Because I turned around and the boys were frisking me, shoving into my backpack and pockets.
They frisked Ninja as well and took everyone’s information. They decided we were innocent, but everyone was tight. Because that’s what happens when people leave the crib in these neighborhoods, especially when quotas are due. This is why a riot could be neigh.
We got back to running, and it was a very good training. We ran through populated streets and caught a lot of attention—mostly awe and comments. (You see four runners doing something cool on the street in a serious, respectful and practiced way, and you’ll know what I’m talking about…)
"A freerunner has to completely give in and trust his body," Ninja always tells us, and that’s basically how parkour liberates minds.
Oh, and people have no idea what Ninja actually does. That’s gonna quickly change.
He thinks he’s slow right now, but he was doing things yesterday that will take parkour to new heights this summer.
by HOPZ / @slaman10
To everyone who’s doubted the validity of my words while reading this blog: You have not been forgotten.
Spring training began around 10 a.m. this Sunday. And, with cooperation from Raizen’s PC, we should have a video later this week.
Although this video camera isn’t leaving the team, I’d put the over/under on its life expectancy at three months. Does the camera survive the summer? We’re sorta reckless. Dunno…
All I can guarantee is some real Tumblr material soon!
by HOPZ / @slaman10
Today in review:
° Tried a front flip outdoors for the first time with a haywire back. Dudes said I could clear a car! That’d be nice, but I gotta build my confidence first. So here’s the simple plan toward flipping cars: 1) Practice regularly, 2) Read up about flips, 3) Watch every flip video on YouTube, 4) Pick the mind everyone who’s nice at flipping, 5) Get serious with dunk training, and 6) Obsess with flipping over cars. Simple!
° Was named manager of Team IMPULSE. It’s a good challenge. Producers watch out!
° Knocked over a light poll… Dead ass.
° Got supplies at Home Depot for a construction job. More dudes were hustling there than on my block! Ninja, Raizen and myself will (hopefully) be knocking down walls tomorrow.
° Drained because I’ve been writing more, sleeping less. I may make these entries shorter and sweeter. A mantra that works for me: Sleep more, live more. Front like you’re a machine, and you’ll become one.
by HOPZ / @slaman10
I became a Blood today.
… for a skit.
It was a regular training day at Lincoln. Me feeling apprehensive toward accomplishing something new. Ninja pushing through extreme sciatica in his left leg. Spidey flipping like a man possessed. Iron Hide ready for anything. Raizen cautiously determined.
Some young runners…
We were attempting 360 dive rolls (watch out for OD addictive replays at the end) on the mulch mountain when this Rasta came up the concrete sidewalk. Dude came up holding a saw and began telling Spidey and myself about the staffs he makes. No paint. All natural. Cool shit.
The Rosta was going to introduce us to a tall kid who fucks with staffs.
Iron Hide came walking over as the Rasta looked over his shoulder…
"That’s gotta be him," Spidey laughed.
Even the Rosta got involved as we dove over the 6-foot mountain of mulch. “I don’t do none of that flipping and jumping stuff. But I still have a few tricks,” the 39-year-old cracked.
I thought he coulda been 23—always cheesing, joking and withholding judgement may be childish traits, but they’re the only keys to the fountain of youth.
We move onto precision flips. Ninja comes through. Young runners come through. Raizen comes through. We’re moving out of the park.
That’s when we ran past some Crips and Bloods.
Performing a skit, of course.
Who asked us to take part in their production. We said, Of course. Because, Why not?
And I’m glad we did. We trained and acted more, but that’s a product of parkour as well. Freerunning opens up our world to an unreasonably high number of new connections.
The skit was for a local church. Spidey, myself and three others were Bloods. Blaaat! Ninja, Raizen and Iron Hide were Crips.
The director had us about to scrap. And that’s when God’s Child the poet stepped in between and spit enough truth to get us to put down our blue and red bandanas.
The group was full of singers who were really interested in cross-promoting with Team IMPULSE. I took the manager’s card (which is already lost, I think) and gave him my number.
Who knows if anything will come out of this connection. But if a certain anti-gang violence video surfaces in the next couple weeks, you’ll know where to find it!
I’m not sure why the weather’s so nice in the middle of winter, but we’re taking full advantage of it.
Saturday and Sunday were long and draining training days. About 15 kids came out Saturday morning and 10 ran on Sunday. Not only did we have great numbers, Team IMPULSE homies, Gramps and Luda, both went through a full training session for the first time. Both have potential to be good freerunners if they want it.
It was a busy weekend and I’m tired, so I’m breaking this into two posts. Beginning with…
Iron Hide and I were the first to appear at the north end of Lincoln Terrace Park, where the team usually meets for training. We went through 20 minutes of dynamic warmups near the flagpole before moving to the picnic area.
As soon as we started konging tables, three kids came up to us. A young boy on the left shouted, “You guys freerunners? My friend does parkour.”
Figuring I probably knew the freerunner, I asked, “Who’s your friend?”
"His name’s Ninja."
Yeah, I’ve heard of that free runner…
Matter of fact, I remembered that I knew the kid as well. I met him this past summer when he had braids and ran around E. 96th Street with the curiosity of a cat. Ninja sorta has taken him under his wing. For good reason, too—he has a strong positive energy and is very intelligent. He can go far with a level head and the right circumstances.
We talked as the ever-unique Iron Hide continued to work on some sort of hand-switch speed vault. I vaulted a couple picnic tables length-wise to entertain the kids, and almost on cue, Ninja and Gramps walked into the park.
Ninja’s a local celebrity for his daring and unique antics—kids automatically flock to him whenever he hits the training grounds. Within minutes, Team IMPULSE Phantom Breakers was assembling.
In the time that it took me to literally walk on top of the fence surrounding the park, about 10 young freerunners arrived and were ready to put in work. A lot of parkour training involves energy and imagination, and kids lack none of it.
We started with a series of jumps over a concrete baby whale and mist fountain. Freerunners shouldn’t stop after a single move—smoothly connecting moves is as fundamental as the moves themselves.
We continued to follow ninja, making sure only to touch cracks in the concrete when we weren’t cat walking benches or jumping picnic tables. We moved through the playgrounds a couple times; Raizen taught us a few things about handstanding; and Iron Hide had us cheesing as we traversed that baby whale.
But this was all an appetizer to the main course: HILLS!
There’s a steep, dirt hill full of glass shards, large rocks and dangerous shit that, if you bust ass, will have you fearing for your life. It’s perfect for training.
Here’s where I wish we had a video camera. ‘Cause you’ve never seen something like this.
We pivoted side-to-side up the hill five times. We side-shuffled up for another five times. We leaped, feet together, for 10; ran up backward for five; sprinted for 10; QM’d (quadrupedal motion—moving on both hands and feet) for five; and finished by carrying each other up the hill for five.
And the kids did everything! They were shouting and cheering each other on to the physical brink. We all hit Z-Mode—something important you’ll definitely hear more about soon—and still pushed ahead.
We finished, exhausted, after nearly three hours at the park. Gramps said it best at the end, “I’m hurting in places I didn’t know exist.”
All we could do was crawl home and prepare for Sunday. More on that session tomorrow!