I primarily advocate training in nature because of complexity of natural environments and the challenges it offers us and the pyschological benefits of being in natural environment. There is more though to nature then just as a place to move.
I was in the Hoh rainforest the last couple of days training with Mick Dodge, and while we trained we would stop at regular intervals because an eagle flew overhead or we came across a pond full of breeding western toads, or we found a rare green garter snake. We also munched on miners lettuce, spearmint, salmon berry flower while a week earlier at the Anake wilderness awareness school I had learned how too eat raw stinging nettles, and how tasty oregon grape flower buds are.
We live in a generation of specialization, many of my friends can’t drive a stick shift some can’t drive at all, that could be seen as good thing of course our reliance on fossil fuel powered vehicles must end and public transport is far more efficient, but it another example of a lost competency a signal of our increasing loss of self reliance. More importantly most people have no capacity to independently achieve the basics of life we can not grow gather or hunt our own food, we have no idea how to build the shelters we live in or another shelters for that matter, we can’t make fire, or basic tools, most people are completely incompetent with animals(much to detriment of our poor neglected pets).
I have come to think of these as elements of lost culture, the world in general is being homogenized and whole cultural systems are disappearing but its not just happening to other cultures we are losing elements of our own culture at an astonishing rate. I think of what I do as movement culture and play culture, my dad’s generation didn’t practice parkour but they sure did climb trees and boulders, race down woodland slopes, flip of cliffs into water and build crazy rope swings. That didn’t need a name in that generation, before video games before shopping malls , when movies were a rare and special treats and there were three TV channels if you even had a TV. It was just an unnamed unexamined part of the way young people played and young people didn’t just mean kids it meant teens and young adults too. It was so common it barely excited comment it just was.
Parkour is reclamation of that, and movement disciplines in general give us permission again to play like kids and in some ways they are better more systemized more progressive and more deeply explored. But in others it is much worse because as great as parkour is less then one percent of young people engage in it were as it’s less systematic forebear once had close to 100 percent participation.
Primarily Evolve Move Play is about reclaiming our movement and play culture, but as it focused on movement in nature it overlaps with woods culture.
So that is my challenge for you today go play in the woods and don’t just focus on jumps and vaults, take time to experience the wild fauna and flora. Recover some of your woods culture.