Hundreds of Reps.

 

Spark & Parrish.

 

It was that time of the week again, to force myself to wake up and make the journey out to the city centre for the forth week in a row joining the Parkour Nottingham community who train at the weekends. It was set to be yet another very cold day, with a slight wind too which is to be expected with it being December. We had been predicted a big freeze soon too, with heavy snowfall which the news says each and every year. Had we seen any of this yet? No. Would we be expected to have some, maybe, but for the past few years it had snowed earlier in November and still we hadn’t had anything yet and so much for the chances of being a white Christmas. On the previous days running up to the weekend the weather prediction looked to be dry, but then in the early morning it had started to rain on and off. These April like showers had put most people off being out as numbers dropped on the event. I had the same feeling but I had to be out rain or shine as the legend that was Zain Brown was back out for the day! He had been released from his Army base training madness for Christmas period and so was making a trip over to train with us before going back home for the festivities.

I made my way into town, arriving at Plaza to find a lonesome David was out on this cold, wintry weekend warming up. No one else was to be seen and with this I thought maybe that no one else would be out at all this week! It wasn’t until a bit later on when Frankie arrived I felt maybe people still attend, after all the rain we had earlier had dried even if it was wet in the outer city areas. I felt good, even if my hands were so cold that they hurt. The wind could be felt through Plaza when it blew, constantly moving was the only way to stay warm. I drilled some diving kongs with David and attempted some kong precisions on the medium wall as well. David looked a bit stunned and asked said since when do I do a skip step for kongs? I’m pretty sure he would have seen me doing them at the Parkour park, I explained I had been doing them that way for many, many years since first being taught by the Leicester guys way back when and have never looked back since. It has since become the standard of doing kongs and kong precisions over the years as such too. Has it really been that long since I’ve trained with David in town?!

 

Parrish – Kong Precision.

 

I still hate how I move currently, finding myself landing heavy compared to how floaty and light on my toes I used to be years ago. In time I’m sure that the practice makes perfect idiom will come into play. David gave the skip step kongs a try and found out just how much they help with the movement, he has been trying them on and off but prefers the double footed technique still. It’s one of those things that you have to just keep doing until it becomes second nature. All of a sudden the masses had arrived, including Stefano who was a rare sight to see! I was surprised to see so many out, to say this morning was a dreadful day. Zain arrived, trying to sneak into the area without being spotted and failed miserably. He was equally amazed that so many people were out training today, compared to how the sessions panned out before he left for the army. He asked ‘what this sorcery? So many people are out, Npk has been resurrected!’ Which isn’t too far from the truth as in recent weeks the numbers have started to grow each session. So who knows maybe this will carry on into 2015 and we’ll have a giant community again.

I guess it was inevitable that with so many people out and all of us under the car park of Plaza, that we would once again be moved off… The same security guard, with the same excuses of why we had to move. Though we only moved across the road to the Atrium, vaulting the railings and walls there. Another blast from the past was out today too, Brandon who I had forgot I had asked to come out until I saw him coming down the street. I didn’t think he would show up, but he had and was wrapped up in his scarf. It had been years since I had last seen him out training and like he said, even though he is older the scene atmosphere and jokes which go on, never change. Even if some of the stuff he sees done now amazes him, along with thinking of what he used to be able to do. Continue reading ‘Hundreds of Reps.’

Precisions, Wallspins & Climbing Challenges.

 

Climbing Challenge.

Climbing Challenge. © James Allen

 

Once again it was the weekend and as per usual I was running late. I had put my alarm on snooze at 9am rather than get up and didn’t wake back up from my slumber until gone 11am. I then had to quickly get ready to make sure I was in town for 1pm, at the very least try to be there some time before then. I got to the bottom of my street when I saw a bus in the distance making it’s way to the bus stop, now that is what you call perfect timing. Even though I was on the bus at 12pm, way ahead of the meet up time of one o’clock I somehow still managed to be late… It was a very slow journey, the kind where the driver picks up every single passenger, and waits for the ones running to bus stop! The same kind of journey where the driver drives well under the speed limit, at a snails pace. The bus was packed full, with all the seats taken and people standing between them and yet the bus was still stopping to take on more passengers. Not to mention the heating was on full blast making the bus feel like a furnace, slowly cooking us all like chickens in an oven, was this some sort of sick joke?! It really was becoming one of those days… It had taken a good hour before I arrived into town, then I had to walk over to Plaza to join the others in a foul mood due to the journey.

I could only hope the training session would be good to make up for the lost time. There was no sign of Brigitte nor Olivia, even though they had confirmed as coming out today and for the past few weeks. Yet, I had yet to see them out at a training session, unless they trained on their own away from the masses? Matt, Aidan and some other friends of theirs were already training at Plaza when I arrived. A friendly guy called Frankie joined us today too. It was his first community session and so was looking forward to mingle with us and see the training spots. He had been Nottingham based for months but had only recently decided to join the Parkour scene here. He already knew and had trained with the London guys and gals and so he was a veteran of sorts when it came to training. It was another bitterly cold session, I don’t suppose being on an overheated bus for nearly an hour helped with me feeling the cold though. I did some skipping in aid of warming up and hoped to stay warm throughout the day with movement, more so than last week where I was feeling cold the entire time of being out. The regulars arrived slowly but surely, Mat, Holbrook, Pete, James, Femi and a few other ways and strays raising the overall numbers.

 

Pete - Muscle Up.

Pete – Muscle Up. © James Allen

 

I didn’t find being at Plaza quite as tedious today, the place was loitered with people and I found myself doing some diving kongs over the smaller walls with Matt and Aidan, as well as practising some kong precisions on the medium wall. Which I might add were terrible as I tried to get used to skip step technique when doing them, feeling like a complete newbie and bumbling my footing up. Though it was short lived as the Plaza security guard, came out saying we had to move on and used the same old excuses… This always seems to happen when lots of people are out and has been the same for many years. Going through stages where we would always be moved off then for months be fine, it must depend how predictable we are and when the guard is working. People collected their stuff and headed up to Mansion Studios, while Ben waited for Emma to arrive to say hello while she was in town shopping with her dad. I hadn’t yet met Emma, even though we had been virtual friends for years and yet I had yet to be out on the few rare occasions she had come out with Ben. Saying that I had been injured and inactive for many years, though I wouldn’t blame Em for not being out of late due to her having a rough time of it with operations and misfortune for the last year or so too.

We made our way up to Mansion Studios, just as we had turned the corner from Plaza, Kezza arrived joining us on our walk. He explained that he was late after his tram had broken down on the way to town and then he had to wait for another tram to arrive. He was a bit disappointed that we had been moved off Plaza, as he wanted to train there first. On arriving at Mansion Studios it was wet and it wasn’t too long until we all moved on, heading over to Bilbie Walk again, going via High Pavement first for a brief pit stop. The reason for this was so I could see the area again as well as get everyone to do some muscle ups too. Reluctant to use the bar because it was square and hurt the wrists and hands so people said. I don’t think it’s bad at all, never has been in my experience. Continue reading ‘Precisions, Wallspins & Climbing Challenges.’

Festive Coldness.

 

Sark – Running Precision.

 

Today was cold and frosty, I was already feeling pretty tired and didn’t want to really be out training. I was running late as usual and I knew the coldness would only make me feel worse, along with my mood after being out for many hours in the bitter cold. I made a concious effort to wrap up before heading out, the preparing for an arctic blizzard kind of wrap up with layers upon layers, scarves, gloves and being prepared for the minus digits. I arrived at Plaza to find that no one had arrived yet, even though I was running late I had still managed to arrive before half past twelve. There were two bikers in the area, riding, jumping and whatever else it is that those urban, freestyle, trail bikers do… I sat and watched them, while I waited for other to arrive, while they seemed alerted to my presence. Perhaps they thought I was trying to steal their possessions, which is far from the truth. It looked like they were destroying the walls from the force of their bike frames, clanking as they landed. I don’t have anything against skateboarders or bikers, but lets be honest here, they have far more chance of destroying their environment than we do. I mean the odd brick which may come loose from ourselves, and we have far more chance of breaking our own bodies than a sturdy concreted rail or wall. Plus when they are in the same areas we practise at, there would be nothing worse than seeing them damage something we used too. As we are very respectful of our environment and want to keep the longevity of everything we use.

It wasn’t long before they rode off to another area and I remained sat, waiting for people to arrive. I didn’t want to warm up on my own, only to cool down again once people arrived as I would be chatting to them. I was feeling the cold already, it was blowing through my clothing or I was that cold that I felt it more after being sat on an overheated bus on my way to town. Thankfully Ben and his friend Josh arrived and then I was able to try and warm up. Sark was next to arrive on his festive feeling tinsel wrapped bicycle. Pete, Aidan and Matt were next to arrive along with others and finally James, who had decided to bust out his pack lunch to eat before training. Shouldn’t people have already ate before coming out training, so they are fuelled and ready for the day? Denis had text Pete asking if people were out training today, I told him to reply and say people are always out and that he should know this by now… That and there is a massive swarm of people out too. He quickly text back saying he wouldn’t be out because of the masses of people! I had to laugh because Denis has become such a lazy yak, even more so than myself. I hadn’t seen him in a very long time, since he last visited to the Parkour park in 2014. I hope he comes out training again soon. I had grown bored of being at Plaza already, it’s fast become the Urine Nation (UN) of 2005 for myself what with people always training here. The more I seem to train it, the more I hate it.

 

Sark – 360° Wallhop.

 

People seemed up for moving to another, different area and so myself and Sark decided we would take a walk over to the Adams Building. Only for Sark who was leading the party to completely change direction once he got to the bottom of the road, stating he was now leading us to Bilbie Walk to session instead. There were groans about going to Adams in the first place, but who would have thought Bilbie would have been such a good choice once we arrived. I hadn’t seen or been to that area for many years! On arriving I saw there were lots of new bike rails, the cut through giant steel gates were open today. It felt very different to how it used to be in past and at the same time oh so familiar too, plenty of new challenges to be had. Some of the guys were using the wide bin to do vaults and flips over while others were doing  box jumping over the railings, precision jumps and striding along the whole section of them. This area is forever changing, I remember at one time when there used to be giant plant pots here like the ones which used to be in IBM area. We even used to use the raised concrete platform as a take of for tricking too, before the bin was put there [1] and I can even remember a time before the blue rails at the entrance of the building had been constructed and the colour theme was different too.

Turn vaults and then pop vaulting back up and over the blue railing, like a kong was another movement being practised. While others were doing a catleap the other side of the building, while I captured a few photos of Sark doing a running precision jump to one of the bike railings. I also took a wider shot (seen at the top) and due to the spacing between each frame of Sark I knew it will be a good shot to merge together in PS once home. Some tried to shimmy across the long part of the wall which was next to impossible due to having nothing but the brickwork groves to hold on too. Continue reading ‘Festive Coldness.’

Wet, Plaza Reunion.

 

Ben – Portrait.

 

For the past week I had made a concious decision that I would go out training at the weekend, that and a few others had suggested I should go along now my ankle was feeing better from the operation. I had been waiting ages for the weather to be kind, though my ankle felt like it would be able to withstand being in the hardness of town now, maybe I could even do a few jumps like I do at the park too? The forecast was set to be dry, I hoped that would remain the same in the coming days. There were set to be quite a few people out when I asked who was going, including the VTM guys too. There was no community event created like all those years ago, nothing mentioned on the Parkour Nottingham page. I knew James and Pete would be out and maybe Phil too who had been out the last few weeks in a row. I know from the photos that the sessions were smaller than years ago, that wouldn’t stop it from being a good day right? I got an early night for once in the aid of being able to wake up early and get ready for the session, though I was feeling restless and found it hard to get to sleep knowing I had to be up. In the middle of the night I woke up and heard the heavens had opened up and thought to myself that is just typical and it will no doubt carry on tomorrow.

I woke up, looked out the window to see it was raining, everywhere drenched which made me sad and not want to venture out to training at all. It seemed people were feeling much the same about the day too, concerned it would be a wasted journey. Kezza seemed to not be bothered about coming out, he didn’t even respond to the messages I sent, even though it said he had seen them. No doubt too busy bumming gaming, it seemed becoming a prestige on Advanced Warfare was far more important than training with friends and having a good day out… I slowly got ready with the hope it wouldn’t keep raining and sure enough it had started to brighten up, though I highly doubted it would dry up as it wasn’t a warm enough day to do that. I left my drenched like street and caught the bus to town, arriving to see masses of graduation students teeming the city centre with their black gowns. I thought that only happened during the summer months not December time?! I arrived at Plaza a little after twelve to find Matt, Aiden and a few other VTM people already there, Plaza was empty. I wanted to get there for 12pm to make the most of the day and daylight as when people meet at one I feel by the time you’ve waited for everyone to arrive it’s nearly two or later and then it’s dark at four and so seems a waste.

 

Ben – Portrait.

 

Plaza had changed since the last time I had visited, the flowerbeds now full of wood chippings, there was no plant life or thorn bushes in them and all the walls looked clean and fixed. The glass still littered the main pavement area, it felt great to be back in the city though, seeing the area, smelling the familiar smells and touching the cold, rough rails and walls. Everything movement wise to me looked impossible to do though, even a simplest lazy vault wasn’t as enticing as it once was and scared me. I was surprised not to see Ben or Adam here yet, as they had left early in the morning and said they would be in town before eleven, even before I arrived. They were running late and arrived a little after I thought of them – talk of the devil and he is sure to appear. James, Ben, Mat and Holbrook all arrived not long after and it seemed like the session was expanding. The session was much smaller than I had expected. I wanted a good old session where many people came out to train, the area flooded with people jumping around. We spent quite a bit of time at Plaza, I didn’t mind though it had been years since I had been here. I wanted to train but still had ankle fears, a few vaults here, and some jumps there to get my bearings. Finding out that it was much harder to jump these days, I felt so heavy and slow when I moved, my precision jump distance was halved too.

I could oddly enough still do diving kongs and didn’t have a fear of them on the smaller wall, but my kong precisions were terrible, even my technique. Struggling to tuck my legs, taking off for them felt such an odd thing to do too. I had the fear of clipping my feet once again, like in the beginning of training. My climb ups were sluggish and slow, it was all rather depressing. How and why was I so rubbish, I had felt like I was making decent progression at the park and yet here it hadn’t transitioned at all. I decided to get my camera out to take some shots rather than jump around getting more saddened. I took some photos of Ben doing a wallflip, it felt ages since I had taken some training photos and so I was feeling creative and fresh. The images of the wallflip came out brilliantly, better than I had thought. Continue reading ‘Wet, Plaza Reunion.’


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