Blog Entries

So many bikes even GPS won't help you find yours. Angry Dutchmen could be hazardous to your health too, so no playing here.

Bike racks are everywhere; they come in all sorts of shapes too. Lots of possibilities for movement, if the bike racks aren't being used much for their actual purpose, anyhow. I got lucky in Galway earlier last week and found a set of at the local university, blissfully empty thanks to the dearth of students during the summer.

I only had about ten minutes to spare before the bus arrived to take us into Galway proper, but ten minutes is still plenty to experiment a bit and have some fun. Here's what I came up with:

I'll be on the lookout for bike racks like that again. With a bit more of a warm-up and more time I could find even more ways to play and improve on the existing ones.

Dance Practice & Progress

Since the [Digging for Energy]( "Digging for Energy: How Play Feeds the Body and Soul (and where I potentially make a fool of myself) post I've continued my (near daily) practice of dance, even while spending a solid month on an Icelandic farm. I never recorded enough video during my early days of Parkour training to properly track my progress, but I've been doing that with dance and it's nice to see significant tangible improvements over these past few months. I still have massive room for improvement in all areas, but here are two of the most recent raw practice sessions (still full improv, aside from having some ideas to work on):

You Got to Change

We Won't Land

I'm all videos and little writing today, more normal (and frequent) blog posts will be returning over the next month as I've wrapped up my combo of volunteering on farms and internet hiatus that this foray to Europe turned into.

I feel on the whole that aside from these videos I keep dance wrapped up more often than not and only do it on my own. Well, until yesterday. During the final day in Ireland my girlfriend and I were in a park in Dublin practicing rolls, random martial arts drills, and then later some floreio and dance. I guess the dance moves caught the eye of a trio of Libyan ladies and they came on over and asked a) if I was a dancer and b) would I show them something? I'm slowly becoming comfortable with A and after some internal mental prodding and gentle encouragement I agreed to dance a bit. I pulled out my crap phone and put on a song. To beat the initial hesitation I blocked out everything but the music and just started moving and it worked out.

So yeah, new challenge overcome: dancing to an attentive crowd. It feels different to me than when teaching or demonstrating other movement (Parkour, martial arts, etc.). It's scarier to me right now, but I like it.


I uncovered a hidden source of energy recently. Though now suspect that it had been there all along, lurking in the shadows as I was (metaphorically!). The problem was I never was able to harness the energy before because I was too shy and afraid of embarrassment. I was suppressing any urges to do it and get down when opportunities presented themselves.

Nope, I'm not being euphemistic here, just intentionally vague. All I'm talking about is dancin', so get yer head out of the gutter, that's my home not yours...unless you're one of them 4chan folk, in which case, it's all yours.

Ahem. So, back to that whole energy source deal - Parkour and playing around outside in general have always been a consistent font of irrepressible energy for me. A good training session always leaves me buzzing and upbeat, especially if I tried something new or conquered a tough obstacle. The feeling is addictive, which could explain why I'm always scanning for more opportunities to move and play (or I'm just obsessed, your call).

Problem is, sometimes life gets in the way and it becomes difficult to move outside every day. Dance though can be done anywhere. Ever since I let the beat infect me it's been near impossible not to dance every day. Yes yes, there will be video, I promise, but let's rewind first, because getting to this point was a complete, and rather illustrative, accident.

Chaos! Lost habits and drained vitality

In the years and months before I left Chapel Hill it was easy to get some movement in on most days. I could take a quick jaunt into the woods behind my house, screw around in the backyard, or get a bit of practice in before teaching classes. Even on days when I did not have had time for a proper, dedicated, training session I had little excuse to not do something since I was surrounded by good options.

Once I left - starting with a road trip to help my brother move to San Diego - all my usual movement opportunities disappeared. I felt as though I had less time and opportunity to move around, and all my established habits went right out the window. The amount of time I spent training and playing gradually declined over the next several months, with my energy levels and enthusiasm following suit. The drain became super evident in Switzerland. With all the manual labor involved in volunteering on farms I was moving around a ton every day; something was missing though. None of that daily movement was making me feel more alive, not like my own training and play did.

I didn't just need movement; I needed movement that brought me to life.

That isn't to say I faded away completely. I would find great opportunities to move from time to time. Playing around with climb-ups and hefting rocks during breaks from work at a chalet surrounded by stunning views of the Swiss Alps remains hard to beat. The problem was that those occasions were awesome but sparse, so the vitality boost I got from them would fade before the next opportunity presented itself.

Sure, I noticed the steady decline in excitement and energy I had, but I didn't do much to try and fix it. There's an observation that we are only willing to make big changes once the situation becomes unbearable; it was absolutely true for me in this case. It was only when I was feeling lonely and filled with sadness after my breakup that I sought out ways to revitalize myself and claw out of that emotional pit.

Two things helped me more than anything to climb back up: immersing myself in nature and exploration/play through movement. I spent most of time during those weeks quietly wandering the forest, finding a nice spot, then pausing to reflect for a while - sometimes at the edge of the lake, sometimes on some fallen tree. If, during my wanderings, an interesting obstacle caught my eye I'd stop and play with, on, and around it before continuing my meandering. The play in particular did an amazing job of pulling me up that I promised myself to get some playful movement in every day. Taking inspiration from Danielle LaPorte, whose book I was reading, I dubbed the habit "feeding the soul fire."

None of the above how or why I've become a dancing fool since then. A good beat wouldn't yank me to my feet as it does now. Sometimes discoveries can come from the most unexpected sources and people.

"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything." -Plato

All this talk about dancing, it's all Sébastien Foucan's fault. Well, kinda, I'm sure it wasn't intentional, it happened during a Parkour class after all.

I found out Foucan taught classes in London, so grabbed the chance to learn from him. I'm a lucky bastard and somehow I was the only one in the class, so it turned into a one-on-one session. It was Fall, so the theme of the classes was on flow and smooth movement. As part of that, Foucan had me do an improvised ground flow (like this old video, but without the imagined box), something I had done before, but to music. How you do it is simple. Put on some music and just let yourself move with the music. The only real rules are to stay (mostly) on all fours and to not overthink it. I was in love with the idea of combining music and improvised movement the moment he showed it to me.

Once I returned to the U.S. I put the new idea into practice during my breaks from writing. For a while it was all some chaotic jumble of crawling, rolling, and other practical movements thrown together. Bad idea with fast paced songs, zipping around on all fours for 5+ minutes was exhausting. Fun, but I didn't want to be a complete sweaty mess every single day. Still, after just a week of doing this I got the irresistible urge to move when a good song started playing. I looked up some (standing) breakdancing steps and started practicing them on some days to avoid burning myself out.

After a few days repetitive practice turned into improvised dance and this started happening (did I keep you waiting? Soo not sorry ;) ):

I was hooked and found myself relying on dancing every day to keep the "feeding the soul fire" habit going strong during the three months I spent in D.C. Dance has consistently left me feeling charged, even when I spend as little as five minutes dancing, that (for me) it's now integral for feeling awesome day to day. This is just the beginning, expect to see much more as I experiment on my own and take plenty of classes to continue improving (I began with a few Modern classes while in DC).

Perhaps dance or music doesn't seize you the way it does for me. Even if not, I know that there is some kind of movement that will consistently light you up and brighten even your lowest day. How do you discover what yours might be? Taking classes in dance, martial arts, Parkour, or other movement arts can give you some ideas and directions to pursue. Try Foucan's game (before and after you learn new skills) and let music pull your body into motion. The beauty of having no one right answer for everyone is that you're free to choose anything that drives you to move. Free choose a style or even combine what you like into your own unique brand of movement, à la Bruce Lee. As [Ido Portal]( "Ido Portal (Official Site) would say, you're a human first, a mover second, and only a specialist after those two.

Leap into the Void - Yves Klein Dealing with failure is difficult.

With practice brushing past the little failures that have few repercussions becomes easy. Easy enough to pick yourself up and try again immediately without hesitation.

However, if you get hurt, sometimes even a little, fear seeps into your mind. When that fear of failure gains a foothold, you've got a battle on your hands.

When practicing Parkour situations like that come up often. Little injuries happen that cause just enough pain to worry your subconscious (lizard) brain, which can trigger hesitation on your next attempt. The situation is common enough that an unwritten rule has formed: if you fail and fall, get back up immediately and try again*. Jumping again right away is a pre-emptive strike; cutting down fear before it has time to fortify itself in your mind.

(*NB: If you sustained an injury it is unfortunate but necessary to train smart and stop practicing for the day to let it heal and recover. A war's a lot harder to win with a broken limb.)

Sometimes you can't make that jump again immediately. The longer you wait between the failure and your next attempt, the more time the fear has to fortify and entrench its position. I dealt with a situation like this recently. One of my feet slipped out on a landing (usually not a big deal) and somehow that jarred one of my shins; it was just enough for me to pause and do a damage control check. By the time I got back to trying the vault again I found myself hesitating to re-commit to the technique. Fear had settled in and was ready for a fight.

If, like me, you get into a situation like this there is no magic secret to winning the battle with fear. Stepping up and committing 100% is what you need to do. Perseverance gets me there, even if it can take more tries than I can count.

Oh look, a video of my fail!

The good news is it works. If you want to see a glimpse into the process I happened to record the entire ordeal. For your sake I've cut the video down under 3 minutes, but the entire process took about 15-20 minutes. I had successfully landed the technique the day before, so it took less time than it could have.

With Parkour the experience of the fear is quite visceral, but the same process of dealing with failure can happen elsewhere in life too.

I just got word that my visa application to Belgium has been rejected. My initial reaction was along the lines of "well fine then, screw you guys, I didn't want that application anyway," but that's just some clever attempt to avoid the pain of failure, $500 and 8 months of waiting's worth of it. A failed attempt.

I'm immediately trying again. I have the ability to appeal the application and update it with some information I've been working on including in an updated business plan, including some generous and welcome help from friends and readers from Belgium. It's gonna take some extra work to make the case now, after already being rejected, but often times you need to push harder to succeed. Even if that second attempt fails - pushing against the immovable walls of red tape and bureaucracy feels almost futile - I have others (Berlin!) which might end up working out better.

Keep trying, persevere, and push harder than your mind is willing to let you; it's not sexy, but that's the secret to success. You won't win every time, but you'll be stronger and more confident from both the glorious victories and the unfortunate defeats.

Never give up.

One of the earlier photos from training. At least a year after I begun. Before that I dodged pictures too well.

It all started with a Youtube video; that's a story you'll hear often when you ask long-term traceurs/traceuses what inspired them to begin practicing Parkour, and the same was true for me. I get the feeling that most jump straight into trying Parkour out for themselves after that bolt of inspiration. Maybe I'm just an overly cautious type, but I dove into researching instead; that took perhaps a bit too long...I started the research in late 2008 (based on registering on the American Parkour forums) but didn't get started training until around Feb-March 2009 after I had decided Parkour meshed super well with Ninjutsu philosophy. The delay was worth it, I think. I picked up a lot of good info about the philosophy, mindset, and proper training progressions from around the internets. I wasn't charging in to training completely blind, but even then progress started out plenty slow.

I began by focusing on landing practice and lots of conditioning, which was especially important because I stubbornly decided I was going to train only in minimalist shoes (Vibram KSOs at the time). The conditioning kicked my ass, which was a huge surprise because I was already training 3-4 times a week, including some intense grappling over at the NC Quest Center. Even with only that practice and dabbling in some basic techniques I was becoming increasingly convinced that Parkour was awesome, so I picked up a tutorial DVD and scoured the internet for more videos to try to improve faster. The training was haphazard as I started out trying to learn the most difficult and/or high energy techniques first, because of that progress was slow. It took me close to a month to figure out the cat pass through trial and error (even with an excellent tutorial), and even then the resulting technique wasn't that good (using a two foot takeoff, ugh). I learned a lot through that process of failing over and over, but having a more thorough technique progression and a little feedback could have cut that time in half, at least. I'm sure it has helped me become a better teacher, but man, I do wonder what my progress would have looked like with some help earlier on; it was somewhere around a year of solo training before I began to work with Colin all the time.

Coaching, progressions, and feedback

After I started coaching with Fifth Ape got plenty of first-hand experience seeing how much of an impact some solid gradual skill progressions could have on learning speed, especially when coupled with good technique feedback. It's both amazing and frustrating to teach a student a new technique and see them get it within an hour, when that same technique took me at least a week to figure out on my own. Ah well, it's for the greater good.

If you get the reference, we can be friends.

I need to rewind a bit. I had some grand plans to move to Europe and start a business over there long before the whole wonderful experience with Fifth Ape started. If I'm anything it's overly stubborn and persistent, considering that was over three years ago by now. Sticking with the stubborn theme, I was firmly of the belief that trying to teach via the Internet wasn't workable, because it wasn't the optimal way to learn. Afterall, immediate feedback is key for rapid learning and you can't get that from a bunch of pre-recorded pixels, no matter how good the content.

Unlike the whole relocating to a foreign land thing, my stubbornness did slowly erode in this case, which all started when a mother of a Fifth Ape student asked if we had any way to learn some of the stuff online, and I had to tell her no. Getting some hands on coaching is perfect if you have access to some good coaches, but if you don't...well, don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good as they say. It took questions like that and remembering that when I started I had that tutorial DVD from American Parkour that at least pointed me in the right direction as far as good technique and safe training was concerned.

Jumping into online course design

There's a funny problem that happens when you start up online coaching and people know of you as a Parkour teacher...they want to learn Parkour. Now, I could "teach" online by scouring the web for good tutorials and just pointing them to them and saying "do this, and then that," or be stuck with what they already know, which is presumably very little; neither was an acceptable option. I decided I needed to create something of my own. At first I was just going to do it piece wise as I needed by students. It dawned on me go big and create a comprehensive course instead (formatted similarly to Fifth Ape's old Parkour Fundamentals course) instead. Afterall, I was going to create all these videos eventually anyway, right? My grand idea evolved into creating the resource that I wish my past self could have had access to as I began my solo journey into Parkour. Cheating the learning curve by packing all the experience and collective knowledge I've gained over the past four years with the help of amazing friends, mentors, and teachers (I added these to a Gratitude page earlier) about Parkour into one big course. Now where did I put that time machine...?

After figuring out the outline of the course in December I decided to split the course in half, focusing on the super important stuff that everyone could use for the first half, and leaving the more specialized, complex, and specific techniques for the second half. I'm glad I decided to split this into two pieces. I could list plenty of good rational reasons to split it, but sticking to my "one reason heuristic" (if you get the newsletter you know what I'm referring to ;) )my reason is distinctly irrational. It hurts to admit it, especially to myself, but the real reason is I don't know if this project will succeed. I'm afraid that it will fail. It's new and strange feeling for me, working on a project for months with no way to know if it will work out in the end; only armed with the belief that I must create this, regardless of its success or failure. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I hadn't expected to be recording nearly every day (so close to every day, damn you rain) for a month to a month and a half. Maybe I'm making it sound difficult, but I discovered that I love the video making process (if that wasn't obvious already) and got my hands on some better editing tools which has me all excited (squee!). A good helping of viking-blood to be able to record for hours in the cold (stubbornly still wearing a t-shirt) helped too - the risk vs. danger blog was done in around ~36F weather, for reference.

The persistence paid off, and I reached my own self-imposed deadline of finishing up the video on Friday. I've decided to add a couple more videos to the first course to make it a bit more comprehensive, so those will be done tomorrow. My plan is to release the course onto Udemy properly on Monday the 4th which will give me time to finish up encoding* and uploading the last of the videos and editing the drafts of the handful of documents included in the course. If you've signed up for my email newsletter I'll throw you a 25% off coupon for the course, valid for the first month that the course is live. If you aren't on it yet, sign-on up directly below this post. After this I'm going straight into working on the second half of the course and thinking up ways to make it an even better learning tool (toying with the idea of audio only lessons).

*Thank Zues for Adobe Premiere, I would still be encoding videos two weeks from now if it wasn't for the ability to queue multiple videos and leave my poor laptop to churn through 5+ hours of them while I recorded even more video.

Bonuses: I have somewhere around 80GB of raw footage (that's after deleting ~20GB to clear space) and I'm sure there's enough video of me doing and saying stupid things to the camera to make a short "deleted scenes/blooper reel". If you help share out the course once it's live and it reaches 50 students I'll sift through the footage and make a horribly embarrassing video of some of that stuff. Otherwise all that footage is going bye bye. ;)

(There might also be some involving doing borderline stupid/unhealthy things in the snow. I haven't decided what I'm doing with that...yet)

Off to Colorado in March!

In awesome and weirdly coincidental news I'll be going to spend a month training and learning from the guys over at APEX Movement in Colorado. I've been following Ryan Ford's stuff since I began training, so it'll be great to finally meet him in person. I had just missed an opportunity to train with him in France in October. Perhaps this is an accidental four year Parkour anniversary gift to myself? Thanks, I'll take it!

Terrible Harry Potter references aside, this is a kicking technique originally from Capoeira, but I never remember those names for long. I could comb through tutorial videos to find what I'm looking for, but this name is more amusing to me anyway. I picked up the technique from Stephen Carr who, by the way, was in Mario Warfare, which you should check out if you haven't already.

Anyhow, at first I was just dabbling with the kick because it was fun to do; plus I was taking some capoeira classes at the time, so I thought it might be useful there. It turns out that the kick is not a good idea in a Capoeira roda. A really bad idea actually, as it is more of a "fighting" kick. Using this kick in a roda would just result in fisticuffs coming out...or because capoeiristas don't punch, I guess it'd be footsicuffs (one thing I can't dodge: euphemisms)? Needless to say, being the conflict avoiding guy that I am, I never used the kick in a roda. So much for a practical application to Capoeira. I still continued practicing it, because spinning is fun and it felt graceful when done well. Sometimes "because it's fun" is the only excuse I need to keep practicing a skill, making it useful is just a huge bonus.

Speaking of which, by complete accident the technique because (almost) practical after I practiced it enough that it became close to automatic. Somehow it began to displace my usual way of getting weird looks when I wanted to get back to standing, which was back rolls. Now I'm sure people think I'm not only odd, but also a bit of a showoff. Eh, why not? Hidden bonus: The kick _might _be a faster way to get to standing than a back to standing too, on top of being all puurty like. Bonus numéro deux, someone charging at you at that instant would get a boot (okay, fine, foot...stop ruining my fun!) to the head. I can't guarantee its efficacy, because finding willing test subjects is...difficult (Please sir, may I kick you in the head? Why? For science!).

Who doesn't want a flying rocket tub?

Okay, enough of that silliness for a moment. The technique does take quite a bit of jumping power, but the progression from the video should enable you to develop it gradually while learning how to generate and control the spin. Odds are developing the necessary power may take some time, don't try to rush it. Also, a caveat: this requires good shoulder mobility and stability to be practiced safely. If you have really tight and/or weak shoulders, fix that first. Ido Portal's scapular mobilization and stabilization routines are a good start, I also find that all the different kinds of crawls help too. Once mobility is okay you can ease into trying the first step in the progressions. With all that in mind, go forth and spin!

Bonus Video:

Not sure what's up with all the bonuses today. I must be in a good mood, which may have something to do with this song (heads up: plenty of swearing).

Yesterday I was walking around a neighborhood in DC near me and found a path to a small creek. It felt like ages since I had explored barefoot, so I took 30 minutes to play around before heading back up the ravine to do productive things. Man, I forgot how much I missed jumping around on rocks barefoot! Rocks are far more challenging (even with shorter distances) than the usual stuff I find while wandering around cities. Luckily I had my camera with me. I had no real plan for this whole detour besides traversing up and down the creek. Here's the video:

I had a post series on my previous blog, Primal Ninja, called "training games." The idea was decent, but I only had written descriptions of each game; that's not all that helpful. I think it's time I revived the training games segment, but this time with video! To kick things off I'll start with a game of my own creation, drunken rolling (do this sans alcohol, trust me). I've had the idea for at least six months, but only now got around to making a video out of it. Despite the name the inspiration was less alcoholic (I rarely drink, Parkour + alcohol: baad combo) and more boredom while waiting for a class to start. Boredom can be productive, sometimes.

I explain some of the rationale and benefits for the game in the video, but those are secondary to the simple fact that it's hilarious. Pardon any bad acting in the video, I loathed drama class when I was in high school. At least now I have an excuse to improve. :P

You'll notice that I used a mixture of front, side, and back rolls plus some break falls in the video; if you don't know some of those that's fine. It is possible to handle most falling directions (except straight back) with a front roll if you can torque your shoulders and hips around before initiating the roll. You do need solid front rolls before you try that however, so if you haven't already look at these two excellent tutorials from APEX Movement on forward rolls: Part 1 - Part 2. I'm not aware of any great back roll tutorials...guess I just gave myself yet another video project to get to workin' on.

The more you get "in-character" for this the more fun (and effective) the game is, so really let go and play with it. You're going to look absurd in any case, so you may as well go all in. Bonus points if you have a sake gourd or something similar...or just play an (almost graceful) drunken pirate. Seriousness is overrated.* ;)

This is coming from a guy who used to be intense and serious all the friggin' time. Funny how time changes things, isn't it?

Sometimes I get the feeling that I can get little over obsessed with seeking big challenges. Whenever I'm wandering around I scan the environment constantly for stuff to play and jump around on. The problem comes when searching too hard for impressive obstacles and areas; when that happens I get tunnel vision for big jumps, walls, or elaborate obstacle combos and miss all kinds of opportunities. If you're looking only for the big stuff then it's easy to walk right by the smaller, less obvious, obstacles. Why does that matter? You can only safely practice the huge things for a brief time. As an example, I found the famous IMAX gap in London last week and looking at that drop just three jumps is plenty for a day of practice there.

The IMAX gap
Yeah...with that drop three jumps is more than enough for me.

On the other hand more manageable obstacles can keep you glued to the spot, unable to stop yourself from experimenting with them for hours. Plus, sometimes smaller obstacles also have more difficult challenges; especially ones that require more precision and control. Often times these small obstacles are everywhere. Perfect example? Parking stops, or whatever they are called. I ran across a great set of them around Lausanne, Switzerland and spent easily close to an hour trying different things on them, then I came back a second time and made a proper video out of some of it. Have a look:

I'm certain that there is way more stuff you can come up with that I didn't show in the video. I certainly have a couple of new ideas already for the next time I find more parking stops. The best thing about them is they are so small and low to the ground that you can try virtually anything without worrying about getting hurt; so go crazy and experiment with what you can do. Also, something to keep in mind: different opportunities will present themselves when the parking stops have different widths, spacing, and even other obstacles nearby (for precision jumps particularly). Bonus: if you're bored while waiting for someone there are usually some of these around to keep yourself entertained. Sure beats staring at your phone. ;)

Think you've exhausted the options? Get a friend or two involved and play some games with them. When I was training in Ohio with some of the NCParkour guys we must have spent at least an hour using a cooperative variation of the "floor is lava" game with a set of them near our hotel.

Now, enough of my rambling. Next time you find some parking stops take a minute (or thirty) and play.

Ever had a time where you really wanted to improve something more, but couldn't dedicate even more time to practicing? It is a frustrating experience, but I have one possible solution. There's a trick, of sorts, to getting around that little problem; sneak movement practice into your daily habits. Many skills can be worked on gradually through the day, you don't need to devote 15 minutes to an hour to working on them to begin seeing progress. Now, you aren't going to see quantum leaps in skill from brief daily practice, but you will make gradual improvements everyday which add up quicker than you think (similar to the concept of kaizen).

Now, there are tons of ways to inject some quality movement practice into your day, but I'm going to focus on three areas. I believe that these three: squats, balancing, and footwork are simple to add in and can be done just about anywhere. These three are also all essential parts of any good movement discipline; everyone can use better hip mobility, balance, and more precise footwork. Note: while it's tempting to want to work on all three right away, I would suggest picking just one habit and focusing on that before adding in the others.

Hinge them hips (squats)

If I had to choose one habit, improving squats would be it without question. Working on improving hip mobility through squatting is an excellent way to counter some of the negative effects of sitting for prolonged periods. I have two options (which can be combined) to add this into your routine. First, use good form anytime you go grab something out of the fridge. Keep your back straight and push your hips back, instead of leading the motion with your head and shoulders. If there's something at the very bottom that you need, continue that motion by dropping as far into a squat as needed (and is comfortable for you). Working on this has the HUGE bonus of developing good posture habits for lifting too.

Which posture looks better?

Second, I really like Erwan's suggestion of squatting at least once every hour throughout the day. I started adding it in and found that it was making the squat more comfortable; that paid off massively for me during the whole farming experience.


For physiological reasons balancing benefits even more than other skills from daily practice, and it is super simple to add in. Here are two ways I like:

While waiting stand on one leg and see how long you can maintain balance. Be sure to work both sides, of course. You can also do this while cooking or other standing tasks. Waiting with a friend? You can do simple push-pull games to make it hilariously fun.

My personal favorite: when walking find edges (imaginary or real) on the path and balance on them as you are walking. If it's becoming too easy, walk faster. Really want to take it to the next level? Try running along the edge.


Fast and precise footwork is super important for everyone, especially if you are spending a lot of time barefoot or in minimalist shoes. I have one simple drill that I talk about all the time that will develop accuracy, especially during running and approaches.

As you are walking (advanced option: while running) pick out some object or feature on the ground about 10 paces in front of you. Decide which foot (for more challenge, which part) will land on that feature. Do not make any noticeable adjustments to your stride; doing so teaches your body to make small changes to your stride that won't interfere with the flow of your run. You should notice that you stutter step far less often after practicing this regularly.

That's it, if you like this idea you can easily apply it to other, sometimes more specific, situations in your daily life and habits too. Remember that especially with little habits like these the changes are going to be very subtle at first. You might even think they are doing nothing. If you stick with it though, then you'll start to notice some small but powerful changes in how you move in the months and years to come.

The movement came from two ideas: the floor is lava game and attempting to slalom the entire bike rack. With this much bigger movement doing the latter is really hard, it may be possible but I wasn't making much progress with it. The move is a fun way to work on generating and then controlling momentum precisely (unless you like banging your shins into metal poles). Be mindful of the width of the bike rack, if it's too wide then this particular version doesn't work.

I'd give some hints about little tricks to make the technique work more fluidly, but in this case it's far more interesting to discover what works on your own. ;)

Here's a fun little movement I came up with a while ago:

The technique is mostly just fun to do, but it has some possible practical uses too. If you need to quickly get off the wall you just hopped onto (hence the "regretful" name) either versions of these versions work nicely. Just pushing yourself backwards off the wall works, but forces you to land and pivot without seeing where you are going - not good especially when moving quickly. Because this little movement spins you around before you hit the ground you're able to spot your landing and pick the direction to continue running before you make contact.

I generally prefer to use the first version, the second one creates more stress on the shoulders and relies more on power to actually complete, whereas the kick-out version is almost purely technique - taking advantage of the momentum generated by the kicking leg to create the rotation. Bonus points: great way to practice and apply the sit-out technique with more speed.

Try it out, it's strange how fun just adding a little spin into your movements is.