Feldenkrais and Parkour
Imagine yourself getting up to standing from where you are at then taking three quick, big steps. Where do you land? What foot did you start with? Imagine again, if there is now something in your way how do you go around it, or make a turn so you can can still take three quick steps? Can you imagine it? Do you get as far? What is different in the way you use your body and shift your weight starting from one side vs the other.
If one of our goals in parkour is correct movement estimation for efficiency, how can we do it if we cannot imagine or sense our body in action? The Feldenkrais method helps us to become aware of movement and thus be available for other possibilities to emerge.
In the 2015 ExtraEdu class on Feldenkrais & Parkour, we specifically explored how our body rotates. 15 bodies filled the first floor of a cozy house face down. The challenge was to roll onto your side using the least amount of muscular effort possible. In the beginning people all looked different - muscling only parts of themselves to do the action. Then they were guided to pay attention to the efforts in their face, to notice and allow their leg being rolled upon to naturally turn in, to feel how their hips and knee naturally bent with the rolling of their pelvis.
By the end everyone's movement looked much more similar because they were all begining to use more of their whole self. Once we repeated the three step imagination test from the beginning people across the board noticed greater clarity in estimation and efficiency.
Experiment to try for yourself:
- Choose an action you are working on, or a short 2-3 step parkour sequence.
- Keep your attention on where your belly button is throughout the sequence
- Then do the same with your tail bone
- Then your right and left shoulder blade.
- How does that change the sequence each time you do it even though it may look the same on the outside?
Article by Andrew Suseno
2015 ExtraEdu Teacher
New York, NY