Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Street Gymnastics

Running and jumping from one rooftop to the next. Sprinting to the ledge of a 10 foot drop, then hitting the ground into a tuck-n-roll so you don't break your ankles. Scaling a wall with nothing but a single-foot leap, grasping the concrete ledge then pulling up to the base of your own Mt Everest. It all boils down to Body Control & Fear. Learn control and the fear will dissipate.

Parkour is the art of traversing your environment with maximum efficiency. To scale any and all obstacles of a given terrain using only your body.
The History of the discipline goes all the way back to World War I when French Naval Officer Georges Hébert witnessed the indigenous African tribesman and their strong, lean bodies which they had developed only through interacting with the jungle. Hébert began training his men to attack land obstacles using walking, running, jumping, quadrupedal movement, climbing, balancing, throwing, lifting, self-defense and swimming. Obstacle Course Running is still done by most military regimens around the world for the sole purpose of endurance and body control.

Then their are those of us who do it strictly for fun. Free Running is Parkour for everyone. Where Parkour can be dangerous and extremely painful, Free Running is more practical. The disciplines are essentially the same but Free Running is more inclusive according to Sébastien Foucan, one of the original practicioners of Parkour. Basically, we the amateurs Free Run & the Pro's do Parkour.

The Best Parkour Artists in the world like Jerome Ben Aoues, John Hennigan, Daniel Ilabaca, Ryan Doyle, Tim Shief and Damien Walters have shared their artform through famous videos like Jump London & Choose Not to Fall. They've inspired thousands to get outside and find out what they're made of, or at least find out how much it hurts to fall. Make no mistake Parkour and Free Running are practices like the Martial Arts which require years of study and practice. But like anything else, proper training and discipline will allow almost anyone to master these artforms. That means falling and failing but getting back up and trying again. Over and over again.

It really is gymnastics on the street. Instead of using high bars and trampolines, traceurs & free runners use bannisters and buildings. They learn to fall gradually, that is to land on the ground on your tip-toes in a forward position tucking to roll onto one's hands then shoulders. The best technique and form will result in zero injury. But once again, Optimal Technique & Form can only be learned through years of practice.

Gyms are being built as we speak. Areas have been designed. Courses are under construction. The idea is not to discourage but encourage people to Free Run. Obstacle Running is great for the body and mind. Parkour, as taught by originators Raymond & David Belle, is meant to promote respect for people & the environment. Respect the elements, Natural & Man-Made. Anyone can learn these disciplines and appreciate what they stand for. The Idea is to be healthy in Mind, Body and Spirit.

You won't need a skateboard or a ball for this stuff. Only Balls. Metaphorically speaking of course:)

Friday, November 22, 2013

November 22, 1963

The haunting footage of the JFK assassination. It serves as a reminder that our world is filled with evil. We must all do our part to quell it. And we must never forget our history. Learn from it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013


PG: Lebron James
SG: Michael Jordan
SF: Larry Bird
PF: Karl Malone
C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Michael Jordan and ESPN got everybody talking about their NBA ALL-TIME STARTING 5. Jordan went the loyal route and selected former teammates Scottie Pippen and James Worthy as his Forwards. He chose Magic Johnson to run the point and Hakeem Olajuwon as his big man in the middle.

The topic started a debate amongst every NBA fan as to which players would make up the best squad. Jordan is of course presumed on every team. 2nd most popular pick is Magic Johnson at Point Guard. I can't blame anyone for picking Magic. He won 5 Titles in 13 seasons and is widely reguarded as the best ever at his position. 3rd most popular pick is Larry Bird. You can't go wrong there. Bird's all-around game is right up there with Lebron James', and some would say even better. 4th most popular pick at the Power Forward position is Tim Duncan. 4 Championships, 1st Team All Defense 8 times and nearly 24k points, Duncan is another pick you really can't argue against, but I will. Finally, Hakeem Olajuwon rounded out the Five spot for the majority of teams. This one angers all the old-timers because they always say Wilt Chamberlain was the most unstoppable big man ever. Some even say Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Bill Russell should be the Center. The Center position has the most room for deliberation. Young cats say Shaq cuz he dominated the position and won 4 Titles, finishing 5th all time in scoring. Kareem got second most votes for Centers. Jabbar is arguably the 2nd best basketball player ever, yet he doesn't get much respect when it comes to the Best Ever debate.

My Team is a Multi-Era Juggernaut. A mix of Dream Team, Old School and New. This team defeats any other squad hands down with Offense, Defense, Quickness, Power, Athletic Ability, Shooting, Unselfishness;), Ball Movement. You name it, this team does it.

At Point Guard I pick Lebron James. He's the Ultimate Hybrid. When all is said and done for Lebron, he will have over 35k points, 10k assists, nearly 10k rebounds and 3 to 5 Titles at the least. I pick him over Magic because Lebron defends better than Magic could ever dream and Lebron is a superb athlete, where Magic couldn't jump over a soda can.

At Shooting Guard I pick Michael Jordan. Whoa, Dude.

At Small Forward I pick Larry Bird. Bird was a superior shooter, but he could dish too. His all-around game rivals anyone and his disposition is comparable to Jordan. Bird was a killer just like MJ and all clutch.

At Power Forward I pick Karl Malone. This is where I break away from the pack. Most picked Duncan for his size, scoring and defense. I take Malone for his superior scoring, imposing physical will and all around talent. Malone beats Duncan in athletic and scoring ability. Duncan is the better defender, but on a team with an already stout defense Duncan's size & slowness will clog the lane and hinder movement. Malone's combination of power, size and speed make him unstoppable. Duncan is large but slow. Great in half court but exposed in a running game. And this team wants to get out on the break, not play Popovich-ball.

At Center I pick Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Kareem is 1st all time in scoring, 4th in rebounds, 3rd in blocks and he won 6 Championships. Many picked Olajuwon for his defense and quickness. I take Kareem's greatness over Hakeem. The Skyhook. The Consistency. The Longevity. And the ability to run, run and run. Showtime. Kareem is a superior athlete, hence his 20 year career, 6 MVPs and 6 Titles.

Basketball is about one thing. Putting the ball in the basket. This team would do it better than any other.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I think it's safe to say Football has surpassed Baseball as America's Favorite Pastime. The 20th century was the golden age of Baseball, but the 21st is fast, furious, in-your-face & all Football. Baseball is now a game of history, romance and little kids, where Football is gladiatorial, manly and must-see tv.

So what does this mean for a Baseball Lover like me? Absolutely Nothing!!! America's Original Pastime is still my Fav too.

I still love the game as I did as a child. The Mystique is still there. I still pick up a bat and feel like I could play for the Phils. Just a silly childhood dream my soul refuses to give up. I know I can't play Baseball at the highest level. But Baseball is a game of Guts & Will, and I'd compete with anyone on those alone.

Our Culture has adapted from newspapers and coke bottles to ipads and energy drinks. People want their game to resemble a battle rather than a ballet. Not to say Baseball is a game of dancers and tutus because it's nowhere close to that. But Baseball is a game which requires patience. In Baseball the excitement will happen, but you have to wait for it. Not have it spoon-fed to you on every play.

Winning the casual fan has become a tall task for Major League Baseball. The Internet & Social Media blend perfect with the NFL's instantly-gratifying fantasy football-esque style of Red Zone action and Twitter reaction. Baseball could borrow a similar approach by instituting a "Power-Hitter", "9th-Inning", or "Bases Loaded" channel which would cut to a game when the best hitters are up, the 9th inning begins or the bases are jacked. Or better yet all three.

We need to get Baseball back a little closer to the cutting-edge. To me the game is perfect the way it is, but I’m in the minority.  All the Instant-Replays in the world won’t attract any more people to Baseball. And all the Dugout Interviews during the game add nothing to the excitement factor.  We need more interaction, but it needs to be cool. How bout putting a camera inside the batter’s helmet?  We can watch them batting and running the bases when something cool happens!  And definitely a Catcher’s Cam, because after all, the catcher sees everything on the field and so should we.

If you want to grow the game and not be left on the sandlots you have to intrigue the youth. Don't reinvent the game. Just tweak it a bit.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

He Ain't INCOGNITO Anymore

This story is a journalist's wet dream. You've got a racial element. It's the NFL. There's bullying involved. And when you put it all together, a locker room conflict between two football players may end up changing every present and future locker room atmosphere.

Football is a game of Alpha males. The biggest guys, the fastest guys, the strongest guys play football. From ages as young as five, little kids across America learn to strap on their pads, run out on green fields and just flat out hit each other.

People called baseball America's past-time for almost 100 years, but not anymore. We've realized what the game of football is and what it means to our culture. We are a country from a World perspective that has been deemed 'Bullies'. We use our Military Power and Diplomatic Strategy to manipulate every other country and people in the world. In Football, the same power and strategy is utilized on a ground level; Man to Man, Hand to Hand, Team vs Team. It's a game of violence and aggression with Coaches and Leaders acting like Generals and Commanders. It's WAR!!! How could Football not be America's Past Time?

It took a while for our people to figure it out but we got there eventually. And that's one of the great things about our culture and our people here in America. We make mistakes, but we rectify them.

The Incognito vs Martin locker room incident is laughable on one level, then shameful on a few others. It's laughable in that a 300lb man would quit his professional team, run back to his parent's house and basically act the way an elementary school child should. It's shameful in that two grown men couldn't handle their business face to face. Shameful in that this conflict will probably result in lawsuits that will force the NFL to enact legislation to, in essence, weaken the tough-guy mentality and promote a game & culture of Mothers & Sons.

The mirror is once again held up to our faces. A stupid game of balls and men has shown us that conflict resolution does not need a judge or jury. When someone wrongs you or disrespects you, stand up to them. Push Back. Give them exactly what they gave you. It doesn't mean you have to be reckless or violent. It means you need to communicate with people to resolve issues. And sometimes a fist is a great tool to get your point across.

And maybe a little more diplomacy is what America needs. The George W Bush way of "Bring it On," has succumed to the Obama way of Diplomatic Communication or "Let's talk. Then we'll fuck you up."

I'm sure Richie Incognito is not the monster he's being portrayed to be. And I'm pretty sure Jonathan Martin is not as much of a sissy as it appears. These guys need to get in a room together, shake hands and get back to playing football. Forget all this bullshit 'News' nonsense. Problem Solved.