A Blustery Day of Training.


© James Allen - Pete - Portrait.

© James Allen – Pete – Portrait.


I decided it was time to venture into the city centre for the first session of 2015. After popping out to see the main group on and off before Christmas for a few sessions, trying to train but mainly taking photos. I wanted to be out today and do some actual training though, the last time I was out my ankle hurt and it still does when faced with the harsh terrain of the concrete jungle. I was willing to get back out, jump around and see how it all felt this time, as I did enjoy being in town the last few times. This week I decided to leave my camera behind to help focus on training and had aimed to be out for a few hours to save myself from ankle death. It was a blustery day of training, the wind would cut you in and not even Plaza protected you from that element of the weather. It was so very cold, I’m glad I had wrapped up for the worse, and more, though that didn’t stop my nose from constantly streaming in the slightest. My fresh, beardless, baby face was protected by my scarf for the entire day to help keep me warm. I wasn’t use to feeling the wind on my face, it felt like ice was being thrown against it.

Though it didn’t go unnoticed on how short my beard was by people when I first arrived. Saying I looked totally different and like a normal person now. Vladimir was out this weekend, I wondered where he had been hiding, since I had only seen him once at the Parkour park last year [1] when arriving back in the UK. Since then he had vanished, busy with university work, partying and just not having the time to come out or opting not too. He was quick to point out how it feels like old times of training, even though ‘I’ve changed’ compared to how I was years ago when he was last here. Daniel the side burn king was out today too, another I hadn’t seen in ages! Even if he was oddly out in just a vest, in this freezing cold weather and was getting some pretty funny looks from people passing by with no doubt the same exact thoughts. It would seem quite a few familiar faces had made it out, 2015 was looking good so far. It was good to see and have Adam and Jack out this weekend for a long overdue city centre session. We’ll see after today how they feel workouts and park training has transitioned to town training and if they will want to carry on training the city centre in the future.


© James Allen - Hoodie.

© James Allen – Hoodie.


The session started as it always did at Crowne Plaza, I enjoyed jumping and working on my precision jumps, which I feel are getting stronger from my current leg workouts. Still I’ve got many months ahead of me until they are back to full power, but for the mean time, it feels nice not to fail at jumps and be able to partake in some jumping challenges with the rest of the guys. Such as a precision off the blue railing to the floor and then upward jump into one of the concrete arches, I found that so hard to do and only made it on a couple of occasions and shined myself on one attempt too when backing out. While Pete made it look easy and Ben just flew with next to no effort at all, even David was getting it! He seems to really be on form with his precision jumps these days, I’m quite envious. The group split and some moved over to the Atrium, across the road while others decided to go up to Mansion Studios to film. It felt like people didn’t want to move from Atrium, saying they would be up later, once they had finished trying running upward precisions. David, Adam, Jack and myself moved to others training spots due to being sick of the same old Plaza / Atrium circuit that seems to happen week in, week out.

IBM had changed, no more plant pots, some of the grills to stop you falling down into the car park below were missing and there wasn’t much to do there now. We move to Mansion Studios where some of the guys were filming and doing the crazy running precision and we left them to it and moved further up to the houses two spot. It was loitered with cars in the way of the walls to train now they were student flats. A few kong vaults over the main wall there felt great but was short lived and we made our way back down to the rest of the guys. It felt quite a depressive and boring day and I felt it would only get worse. Houses was the next location, again which couldn’t be trained due to all the cars parked there and then we went to High Pavement. It was really clean for once and looked like they were ridding the area of all the leaves, overgrown foliage and rubbish which had been packed in black bags. A few muscle ups and feeling the cold we decided we might as well venture back to see where the others were at now. The guys who had ventured to Orange Walls had been kicked off and escorted off the property by security, who seemed to be watching us all as we all crossed paths and conversed where to go next.


© James Allen - Vlad - Back Layout.

© James Allen – Vlad – Back Layout.


The university seemed to have some sort of open day and could be the reason security was on such high alert? While the others tempted fate and went training other university areas. I was feeling so cold, I felt cooled down and David would be leaving soon so I was tempted to call it a day too, Adam and Jack were feeling the same way, wanting to get an earlier train back. We made our way back to the others to say our goodbyes, who were STILL at the Atrium and had not moved at all. They said they were ready to move, but doesn’t seem to be any point if we had been moved from most areas now. Just as I was about to leave Steve had arrived, I am amazed he had come out at all, as he is never out at a weekend training session. I decided it would be rude to leave now and thought I may as well stay out a bit longer. George had twinged his ankle, Harry had rode in on his bike for a bit of training but wouldn’t be staying as he was already tired from other forms of training but thought he’s come and say hello. We used some of the loose bricks to put on the floor and use as a running step up to precision and slowly increased the distance between them every so often. I then spoke to James about linking a same level kong out of the movement. Something he hadn’t practised before and was unsure, Steve was game for this though.

In true Scotsman form, he just went for it no fear and picked it up really quickly. While James seemed reluctant about doing them and explained he had a fear of clipping his feet and just didn’t like how they felt. I explained that, that is more of a reason to drill them and they aren’t too hard to learn either. The first few times he really did hate the movement, coming out to the side, saying he won’t and can’t get them and will leave it for next time. Initially disappointed by hearing this we were all eager for him to keep trying them. It was there, he could learn them, it just required being out his comfort zone, many attempts, failing, tweaking and nearly getting there. I loved how he expressed how horrible they felt, in his clammy handed state, seeing the frustration build each time he got that bit closer. He’d come out less and less sideways, it was so nearly there. Now he didn’t want to give up, and then all of a sudden something clicked and he had pushed past the fear and got them, his first mental block achievement of 2015. The fear had gone and he didn’t need to think about doing them any more! He did them static and with a run up and drilled them with Steve, Pete and myself on the other walls too. What was this, he was actually enjoying the process and accomplishment?!


© James Allen - George - Portrait.

© James Allen – George – Portrait.


There was no stopping him doing them now. It’s always such a great buzz when you get something which scares you no matter how big or small. You just have to do that on a weekly basis and it soon mounts to more and more movements unlocked. Plaza at times feels like your very own photo studio, with the outdoor lighting providing a great backdrop / spot light for portrait shots and night photography, unlike other areas around the city. Not that I am one for taking that sort of photography, but it’s there for the ones who do. As you can tell via James shots in this blog entry, it produces some pretty cool ambience for photos. Though that could be down to the photographer’s skill too. James hadn’t been taking that many photos in the day but had got inspired all of a sudden once it was dark. The shots can be seen via his James Allen Visual [2] Facebook page. If you want to view the full set of images he had taken from the day. While a select few of them are scattered through this post for you to see and get an insight in what went off later in the day.

We also drilled some brick to brick precision jumps too, doing so many reps each then increasing the distance. This was to conclude the end of the session, even if Steve was still feeling fresh and doing more precision jumps as Pete and James cooled down. Getting annoyed at himself when he couldn’t jump as far as the rest of us could, though that comes with time and training, there is no secret way to increase distance, than by just doing them. It still felt early to me and strange to be here until the bitter end of the session, leaving when everyone else did as I’m normally long gone when it gets dark. It had been a really nice day of training, even if I did hate the day in the beginning, but it got better towards the end of the evening. I had somehow managed to pull both my shins though, it hurt to lift my feet up. I hadn’t had that feeling in many years, not since beginning my training all those years ago.



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