I have mentioned my approach to aliveness in movement a few times here on the blog and went into greater depth in my interview with reconnected human. I will go even more depth soon but aliveness is about being able to deal with more variables and to step outside of the preplanned and and be able to adapt, this means the capacity to improvise.
In the parkour community I have found this capacity very lacking, and in the community now called itself the movement community I see the same thing. Improvisation is not a focus and building progressively towards the capacity for improvisation is very underdeveloped.
Improvisation is at the heart of combats sports and alive martial arts, as well as team sports though the variety of movement is often underdeveloped, partner dance, improvisational dance and Capoeira are all great for improvisation ability while offering more movement variety though less intensity.
Three years ago Frosti Zernow from team tempest introduced me to a contact improv drill for parkour which I have found incredibly developmental for improvisational ability, for movement sensitivity as well as being really fun.
In Parkour the focus is so often on doing specific movements that it can be easy to get stuck in a mindset of failure if you miss an element or disappointment if you focus too much on stuff you don’t yet feel ready to do. This drill allows us to let go of that mindset and touches deeply on our innate sense of play, we never play this without lots of laughter, smiles and excitement developing.
I wanted to share a quick clip of the drill with some of the rest of my training from colorado this last week.
Contact improv is in the second clip first clip is improv without contact.
and then some improv inspiration from dance
The basics of the drill are simple, one player gives another a push or pull to give them some momentum the second player tries to move with the contact and then create as sequence of movement out of it ending by intiating the next player. Learning how to get the right mindset, ways to give other people momentum in a way they can interpret effectively, as well as more variations on the game require more hands on teaching, if your in the bay area definitely check out our next seminar if this interests you it will be a significant focus.
Next time you get a chance to train with some partners make sure to play with this drill.