Concrete Jungle

Kevin Haack (Hak) is a Traceur / Freerunner from Chicago. His training in the last year has been inspiring and his progress amazing. He has wriiten a great, interesting article, in his own words: "Its  a short composition about  my deepest motivations for training. I am an athropology major, and throughout my studies i have had some realizations that  motivate me beyond anything else." "Read More" to see the article.

Concrete Jungle

It is difficult to imagine a world without concrete. Without the luxuries of a grocery store, a water faucet, or matches. Over the four million years that our ancestors have been bipedal (walking on two legs), man’s physicality was his only provider of sustenance and safety from the dangers of the wild. Food was scarce and required tremendous efforts such as climbing to gather fruit, silently stalking game for miles, and the caloric expenditure required to build a fire with sticks would rival that of the WOD. Although we have lost our predecessors’ abilities to survive without technological developments, we have inherited their bodies; bodies that have remained unchanged since the last era that man has lived as one with nature. Physicality was literally a matter of life or death, and over the millennia humans gained the ability to perform feats of athletics that would put a decathlete to shame. Only those who were fit enough to survive the harsh environment would pass their genes on to us. As children we explore the abilities of the human body, constantly in motion. But as people age, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle inhibits our exceptional abilities to move and react. Bodies take on unnatural shapes, and a myriad of health issues inherently follow. I can’t help but feel ashamed for the possibilities of the human body that are put to waste everyday by those who are unwilling, and unmotivated to seek movement. Against all odds our species has conquered the wilderness with physical divinity, for me not to use the tools handed down would be a travesty.

The concrete jungle that has replaced the natural environment has given rise to a discipline that glorifies the abilities of the nearly perfect design of the human body. Nothing is more ironic to me than the fact that manmade structures designed to decrease the amount of energy expended through travel has allowed me to train my body to gain the agility, speed, and strength of the thousands of brave souls that knew this world ages before me. Clearing obstacles is not unnatural and bizarre, as the inhibited public would like us to believe. In actuality, nothing is more fundamental then the combination of movements that we utilize to travel over terrain splattered with obstacles. There is nothing more natural then the essence of parkour, and the release of our primal instincts. The adrenaline that heightens our senses, speeds our movements, and causes the release of synovial fluid to allow our joints to handle the immense pressures placed upon them with relative ease, is not just a convenient solution in our make-up. The body’s ability to react during a fall without direction from the mind is not a matter of luck. These and countless other processes that occur regularly during parkour are the necessary advancements in all of us that transform the body into an unstoppable machine, capable of things its own mind cannot comprehend.

My years of anthropological study are still yielding secrets about the physicality of humans and those who came before us over the millennia. We are animals in every sense of the word, but the only animals capable of contemplating its own purpose and existence. The thought of wasting the precious tools that kept our ancestors alive is one of my major motivations to stay active, healthy, and constantly in motion. Finally arriving in an environment where we do not need to hunt our food, and trek hundreds of miles to fertile land, we can finally take time to admire the astounding qualities that compose us physically. Enjoy the ability to move not only for yourself, but in celebration of humans as a species, for they have provided us with the greatest opportunities imaginable.

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Written by Mark Toorock   
Friday, 20 April 2007 01:38
Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 22:04