Learning from Your Elders

Learning from Your Elders

My dad is not primarily a physical culturalist. He does not believe in training, just doing.

I am not sure he fully got parkour when I first started it. He comes from a time when most of what we call parkour now was just the way kids entertained themselves without video games or TV.

He spent his youth in the woods climbing trees, jumping creeks, building rope swings and diving in the lakes. Over the years I have been told more and more stories about the feats he and my uncle got up to.

For example, when I showed my dad my “waterfall video,” shot at the Pixie Falls in Whatcom Creek, he told me he thought it would be scary to go up the waterfall tunnel; he had only ever gone down!

I was blown away. I had no idea he even knew where the Pixie Falls was; it’s a 45-minute drive from where he grew up. Realizing that I was exploring and finding the same physical challenges my dad and his friends had been doing as teens was fascinating.

I had also heard stories over the years that he and my uncle used to climb cedar trees, by practically falling out of them, and just ride the branches down. I had been trying to understand how that would work ever. A couple weeks ago he finally told me the story himself, and added a few details. He described it as a slide down the outside of a cedar tree using the branches to guide himself down.

With that image in mind I went back to one of my favorite cedar trees and suddenly saw a whole new set of possibilities. I slid in various different ways down multiple sections of the tree, and it was amazing! I have much to learn to identify how do this fast and safely, but it will come, and I have just a few words from my dad to thank for this new tree vision.

So many of our elder’s lived lives that were more in balance then what we have seen. They may not recognize what they know that has been forgotten by the culture at large but simply by sharing and hearing their stories there is so much to learn.
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Rafe

I’ve been a movement teacher for 12 years. Beginning as a child, I practiced various martial arts, started gymnastics at age 15, and parkour at 23. I was also lucky enough to grow up at the end of a dirt road surrounded by woods. I spent my childhood climbing trees, hiking up creek beds, swimming, and throwing rocks and sticks. Learn more.

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    Scott Palangi

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    Thanks for sharing this Rafe! Coolest article yet, and inspires me to keep training and maybe inspire other young people too! Great pics, and thanks to your pops for letting us in to the background! The part about you learning from the trees, man, so cool that you got present to your dads experience by walking in his footsteps on those branches! Love this one!

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