Surfing the Moment

Occasionally as teacher you tap into a moment that is beyond your own comprehension. You set loose something in your students that is more powerful than anything you yourself can teach. In that moment there can be an urge to actually take control to make the moment about you. Sometimes you have to let the moment you have created be bigger than you, to admit you don’t know why that which you just put forth is working so well, and let the students roll with it till they are done.

This was such a moment for me, teaching at the ancestral movement retreat. Simon had introduced many off the basic movement categories I would normally start with and I didn’t want to jump right into advanced movements at the beginning of my first natural parkour session, so I decided to play with some dance concepts with the group as a warm up. Something light and fluid to prepare the body. I have picked up various systems to organize interacting with the tree in dance like manner from my dance teacher Karin Stevens and thought it would make a nice warm up.

I gave the group the basic idea that any movement from parkour can be seen as series of weight transfers just as dance is series of weight transfers, connect the weight transfer to the beat first with you and ground, then with you and single obstacle. Next we explored the idea of how to play with the space above an object, around an object, under an object or on top of the object. Next we played with direct vs indirect and light vs heavy movement. After connecting into all these movements. I asked the group to just carry this feeling of flow into an obstacle course.

As we layered in each concept the group became more engaged and happy, a type of group flow state seemed to settle over everyone as we moved into the course it was a moment of ignition. I have never witnessed novice students of both sexes and all ages moving so freely in parkour setting. The dance angle seemed to move past peoples inhibitions and open up their capacity for powerful creative adaptation.

Students easily began expressing skills that they would later tell me they had been afraid to even contemplate trying before the session.

In particular this approach seemed to connect very powerfully with many female students who had felt intimidated by parkour, though the it was certainly not only the female students who responded exceptionally well to this approach.

This was definitely a special moment and highlight many of the students mentioned over the course of week, I look forward to more chances to explore these progressions.

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