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How Parkour Can Restore Your Harmony

(pt. 2 of interview with Curron Gajadhar, a.k.a. Aspernaut)



You see, parkour is not about competition, but about expressing wildness, being liberated on a primal level, and allowing you to re-establish your relationship with the Earth around you. Methode Naturalle was so influential that the French military adopted it as a full system of training, which expanded and developed as parcours du combattant, (so you can guess where the name parkour came from.) But Georges Hebert’s goal with the natural method was not preparation against anyone, but training for yourself, your spirit, and your moral integrity.


More so than the strength and technique you develop, a sense of nomadic comfort washes over the soul like a warm wind when you can put your feet to the ground and move through your environment the way you were meant to. 




Curron, currently living in Atlanta, GA, has been doing parkour for about 6 years and isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In his view on parkour, movement is a lifestyle. Viewing indigenous peoples around the world with phenomenal strength, Curron realized how they had no specific “workout” or “training” time because they were moving so often throughout the day. So he started moving. He’d climb trees, run around, crawl, and move as freely as his body would allow. “Parkour helps express wildness; I need to be feeling my animality,” Curron noted.


Curron’s tips for anyone looking to express their wildness through parkour? “Move. If you’re a beginner, even if you workout, you’re probably mostly sedentary. You do an hour in the gym, then you sit for the rest of the day. Go do a mud race, go climb for your life, go Spartan race, get out of your comfort zone. We’re not doing sets, we’re doing ‘we have to make it there by nightfall.’”


curron_drop  curron_highjump


After all, the root of movement training is not in any specific technique or style, but in a group of people who moved to survive. One of my favorite videos that I’ve seen is one that compares the movement of traceurs through a city to the movement of monkeys through the jungle. If nothing else, the video shows how natural those movements are, and how movement training allows us to reclaim that mobility.



The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon


Survival is not comfortable, so step into your discomfort zone and move. Crawl, sprawl, tumble and roll, whatever will increase your rate of movement. The way Curron views it, parkour is a great way of escaping the mold of sets and reps that is such foundational part of most workouts. “Parkour,” he says, “negates the destructive process of stripping and processing fitness, and lets you become your own coach, rebuild that relationship with your body, and start over.”


Find an open field of grass, and empty parking lot, or just a new space for you to move in, and start over. Feel the Earth beneath bare feet (Curron suggests Onitsuka Tigers if not bare…lightweight with a consistent heel pattern and a flat sole), and move. Run, crawl, apply dynamic tension in some aspects, apply no tension in others, but move. Day by day, you’ll start to chip more at the “you” weighed down by the burdens of inactivity, and start to uncover the original “you” made to walk to Earth freely in harmony. Curron sees parkour as a ritual itself to “corner off [his] ancient land.”

Think about it. Each building and road you see was once filled with trees and stone formations to move about. Yet, from one jungle to another, you still have a world before you prepared to help you reverse the destructive process of a sessile lifestyle. Even fitness itself, with sets, reps, and regimented movements, is often catered to accommodate a sedentary life of sitting, eating, sitting some more, and sleeping.

With parkour, there are no sets or reps. There is just movement. There is just freedom. There is just harmony.


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How To Meditate Through Movement pt. 1


(From an interview with traceur Curron Gajadhar, a.k.a. Aspernaut)


Movement is not simply something you do, but a part of what you are. It is in our structure, our very DNA, to move with strength and efficiency. We have drifted from our original nature with our sedentary lifestyles, and try to compromise by going to the gym for an hour or so a day. Natural movement was never limited to sets and reps; the set was survival, and each rep was the course of a day. If you look at the natural world, the solution to sedentary life presents itself; nature itself is movement.


Parkour is one fantastic expression of the art of movement, and Curron Gajadhar, a.k.a. Aspernaut, is an avid parkour enthusiast who channels himself through the paved lots, railings, rooftops, fences, and general environment of Atlanta, GA. Curron learned about parkour in 2005, but his exploration of the history truly began in 2010, when he learned about the Yamakazi group started by parkour expert David Belle from a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not special; furthermore, the documentaries “Jump London” and its sequel “Jump Britain” (you can find Jump London 2003 full on YouTube).


The movement skill and art of the Yamakazi group is what really helped parkour to be called a non-combative martial art. But David Belle’s new expression of movement was in fact very old; Raymond Belle, David’s father, studied Georges Hebert’s methode naturalle.


This, the Natural Method, is what truly embodies the spirit that Curron expresses as a traceur. Hebert developed the natural method from his observation of well physically developed indigenous people in Africa, and wrote, “Their bodies were splendid, flexible, nimble, skillful, enduring, resistant and yet they had no other tutor in gymnastics but their lives in nature.” Movement itself, as Hebert presented it, is both a training and a meditation.  In Curron’s own words, “Parkour has been a reintroduction to being competent with my body.” No tree can grow without roots, and learning to reconnect with one’s body through movement across the Earth will allow the tree of might and physical mobility to truly grow.


You see, parkour is not about competition, but about expressing wildness, being liberated on a primal level, and allowing you to re-establish your relationship with the Earth around you. Methode Naturalle was so influential that the French military adopted it as a full system of training, which expanded and developed as parcours du combattant, (so you can guess where the name parkour came from.)

How to do the One Hand Handstand by Professor Orlick
ow to do the One Hand Handstand on Amazon

(To be continued…)

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Handstand Pushup Variations

handstand pushup variations

Handstand pushup demonstrated by Logan Christopher of Lost Art of Hand Balancing


The handstand pushup is an advanced hand balancing skill that demonstrates shoulder strength, scapular mobility, and a proper challenge to those who are willing. But let’s say, for the sake of argument, that you’ve already achieved the handstand pushup, and are looking for something a bit more thrilling…some handstand pushup variations.

(Note: these handstand pushup variations aren’t only for the advanced trainees. In fact, variation 2 and 3 helped me to achieve my first HSPU, so don’t be afraid to try something new!)


Variation 1 : Lateral Handstand Pushup

Well first, what would be the benefit of exploring different handstand pushup variations? Without the variations, there is still sufficient opportunity to progressively improve the intensity of the HSPU and get stronger with each turn. With the variations, however, comes the opportunity to increase all-angle strength in your training.

For instance, while the basic HSPU does a lot to strengthen your shoulders, traps, and scapular elevation, this lateral HSPU variation trains scapular protraction, retraction, and upward rotation. In addition, as your mobility increases, you can slow down and exaggerate the lateral movement to emphasize your one arm handstand balancing skill.


Variation 2: (Elevated) Backbend Pushup

Furthermore, your posterior deltoid has a critical role in your handstand stability, as it is the primary shoulder hyperextensor. One of my favorite handstand pushup variations to train for developing that strength is the back bend pushup.

The back bend alone is a powerful stability exercise that, with isometric tension, can provide incredible strength. The integrated strength, posterior deltoid strength, and scapular mobility that you can build from the back bend pushup will do wonders to strengthen your HSPU. To increase the difficulty of this exercise, elevated your feet by putting them onto a wall.

As I said, this exercise was a huge part of the reason I was able to develop the strength and range of motion for the HSPU.


Variation 3: Handstand Walking

Often times as kids, we have an easier time walking in a handstand than we do holding a stable handstand. However, having the strength to walk in a handstand position without compromising the integrity of your form can develop your technique, strength, and mobility fairly quickly.

The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing
The True Art and Science of Hand Balancing on Amazon

This is one of my favorite handstand pushup variations to couple with the lateral HSPU, because it does the same work to progressively improve balancing strength on one arm, but has a much sharper focus on the shoulders and triceps because…well, you’re walking.

When you’re searching to advance not just in strength but also in skill, especially with hand balancing, be sure to add some fun and variation to your training, and you’ll be sure to see some results. Be sure to let us know in the comments how these variations help you, or if you’ve tried them before. Finally, if these do improve your training skill, be sure to share!

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