Leap of Faith

I couldn’t be more delighted! We have the incredible Michael Garvey in the house! Although,I’m feeling the irony as I sit with foot elevated, nursing the torn arch muscle I received while jogging back from the pool with my daughter. Jogging. Not leaping, not dancing. Jogging. Somehow we collided and the result wasn’t pretty.

I can’t help but think Michael would not have had the same result. Collision or not this incredibly fit and flexible spider man more then likely would have landed upright. This is not to say his passion is without risk. As a Parkour practitioner Michael tiptoes on the edge of trust and safety everyday. Today we are invited to join him, enjoy!

At that moment, fear has such a firm grasp on your throat making it hard to swallow. You can feel your heart hammering on your chest. Your knees are shaking sending tremors through your body as you rub your hands together in a prayer like position hoping for nerves to calm. You experience the fatigue the tension has on your body. Then, just as you are ready, it hits you. The invisible force of doubt collides with you like a freight train. You’ve reached that oh shit moment, as you are about to go to the nebulous destination by taking the inner leap of faith to that very thin line – trust.

It is a universal moment experienced by all at some point. The moment of complete utter commitment to – love, a business adventure, releasing your authenticity, making a physical ginormous jump, whatever. It is the next fear provoking, adrenalin rushing, heart pounding inner movement with the decision to act, in which you realize that is needed

Parkour is a “means of reclaiming what it means to be a human being. It teaches us to move using the natural methods that we should have learned from infancy. It teaches us to touch the world and interact with it.” – Andy Tran

What is Parkour?

Many practitioners believe we have lost the ability to move our bodies the way they are designed to move. Parkour can be described as manipulating your body through the environment as quickly and efficiently as possible using vaulting, rolling, climbing and jumping. Sometimes it is called Freerunning which includes tricking and therefore more creativity. This can impact speed and efficiency though. For those who are passionate about it, Parkour has become a way life. I have my own personalized way of defining Parkour that has grown from reading and my own experience of it. Parkour is a creative way to use public space, or a constructed environment, as you challenge your mind and body for the purpose of fun, fitness and inner growth. Transferring the skills and principles required to do Parkour into your day-to-day life is the distinguishing quality of the serious practitioner. This artful movement continues to evolve.

Nothing teaches you more about that moment of trust like Parkour. The Traceur, Traceuse in some circles for women, are practitioners of Parkour. For me, it is a body art in the form of movement that redefines the use of the environment. Not to mention each practitioner of the art I’ve met is grinning from ear-to-ear, totally in the now and has intense focus on their creation. Whether it is leaping a gap, crawling up a wall, dangling over the edge of something, vaulting over anything, or moving with absolute flow over everything in front you, the artist constantly embraces trust.

People do not expect to see individuals doing these spectacular feats of movement out on their daily earth walk. At 52, I was so self-conscious, of not only younger people watching me, but my peer group. I was totally vulnerable in front of others and most importantly, myself. Each time I practiced, I had all the physiological signs of stress and fear. I was consumed with doubt. I mean how often do you see someone that age walking down a railing, leaping off into a roll on the grass or cement, and quadruped the dirt spaces between plants and flowers in a garden, then vault over a picnic table, and disappear over the boulders. At the height of my vulnerability a quote by Bob Basso I discovered years ago flowed through me, “if your not having fun, you’re not doing it right.” Was I totally vulnerable in front of myself and others? Absolutely. Was I full of uncertainty? Absolutely. Was I fearing judgment from others and judging myself? Absolutely. Did I have total belief in myself that what I was doing was what I needed to do, or right? Not at first. As I reflected on the principles of this life altering way of being, this new lifestyle, and viewed it through the lens of a predominate theme through my life, it became clear. All successful things I’ve experienced in life have been “fun.”

Was I having fun? Absolutely. Once fun came into focus as a driving valued force in my life, and I gave myself to it, I opened to the most exquisite experience in choosing this lifestyle and the ultimate reward of giving into trust – it is what I believe to be the true experience of freedom.



Michael, a former baker, moved from Calgary to the West Kootenays of BritishColumbia and lives just outside the Village of Nakusp. He is a Youth Alcohol & DrugCounselor for Freedom Quest Regional Youth Services, Fitness Instructor for Discipline Fitness, a Life Coach and owner of Naked Bear Bed & Breakfast. Check out his B&B at www.nakedbearbandb.ca While working with youth he was introduced to Parkour, which has become a passion for him. This father and grandpa is an ambassador for fun, fitness and inner growth.

13 thoughts on “Leap of Faith

  1. Another one of my favourite people showing up here at Bliss Habits! Yay!

    Just the idea of parkour sends fear slithering down my spine, so that you’ve incorporated it as part of your lifestyle Michael is truly inspiring to me! And of course the value of fun would show up. As an observer, I have to say it looks like fun so I can only wonder at the level of fun you’re feeling as you’re flying through the air, leaping about like the wildest of creatures 🙂

    • It is so much fun Sandi. One doesn’t need to do the massive moves. It is truly becoming an alternate fitness concept. Indoors done on pads. Once you set your inhibitions free, crawling and jumping around sure can bring back the experience of childhood fun. Letting go of the adult inhibitions to embrace the child within, simply amazing. Origins Parkour and new indoor Parkour facility has recently opened the doors in your neck of the woods – should you desire learn a interesting level of self-trust.

  2. I’ve been curious about Parkour for a while, because it seems like such a fun way to experience my urban environment, but I’m admittedly hesitant (and more afraid of hurting myself than looking foolish – I do the latter quite well already). Do you have any “Idiot’s Guide to Parkour” sites or guides you can recommend?

    • Hey Danielle. Not sure what city you are in but indoor Parkour places are spring up all over. The comfort of the pads is a fun and safe place to start. Even with the indoor moves, one can find levels of self-trust improve immensely. Just to throw it out there, Parkour Visions is an indoor training ground in Seattle. Tyson Cecka, the guy in the photo making the enormous leap is the owner. He is one of several who has been here to Nakusp to play, work and train us. Love the idea “Idiots guide to Parkour”. Parkour Visions – Seattle, 3 Run and Parkour Generations both out of the UK have had some Youtube training videos. You can also find many training videos on Youtube. The best though is to find a local group or indoor facility. The Parkour community is so supportive and amazing.

  3. Michael this is a rad post (excuse my 80s)!

    I really like how you are able to take your experience with parkour and apply it to deeper life principles. This is exactly how I feel about martial arts. I love martial arts! It is so crazy to me, because every time I train there are so many lessons that transfer into real life.

    Learning how to combat fear is a huge one for me. When I train intensely in martial arts I always know in the back of my mind if I screw up I can end up hurt. I thrive off of this fear and love it.

    I currently live in Japan, I moved here specifically to focus on martial arts training. I live in the countryside and all of the martial arts facilities I have attended are really laid back. I have zero concern of injury… And I don’t like it! I want intensity. I want to stare my fears right in the face and go up one on one!

    It sounds like this is part of the reason you love parkour so much. Pretty awesome post man 🙂

    It is a universal moment experienced by all at some point. The moment of complete utter commitment to – love, a business adventure, releasing your authenticity, making a physical ginormous jump, whatever

    • There is something about that moment. You and whatever it is, and having to believe in yourself. Trusting in your instinct and abilities, whew!! Certainly in the realm we are speaking of, and at that level, the cost can be fairly high. So many things come together along with trust – intense presence, focus and feeling.
      I studied Tiger Claw Gung fu for 6 years. I so appreciate your journey.
      All the best to you Izzy.

  4. Michael, you are a fellow warrior!
    To train yourself beyond what you thought it was possible requires a powerful soul. You trained yourself to free your mind and body. That’s some epic shit!
    I think we should talk about a new inductee to my Hall of warriors. 🙂
    @Kathy, what do you think?

    • Hey Alex. Stopped by Enso Journey. Cool place to hang. Love your Hall of Warriors. It is awesome to come across people who train mind and body in whatever art form grabs their soul. And much gratitude for Kathy who brings all of these amazing warriors together and share.

  5. This was illuminating, Michael…thank you! I’m going to start jumping and skipping more today! :o) And hope very much you’re feeling better now, Kathy!

    • Thanks Tracy. Have fun jumping and skipping.
      The beauty of Parkour is that once you start looking at the environment with the artful eyes of PK, there are so many things small and large, for creative expression.

  6. Your awareness of your body, your surroundings, and your desire for and sense of being ALIVE is inspiring and contagious! Thank you for this!!!

    • Thank you Lisa. The body is what carries around the magnificence that is within us. For me, Parkour is the conduit in awareness and aliveness.. I get excited thinking about, getting ready to go train and the then being present to the body, mind, emotions, and community, all that sets the stage for the self-trust that is about to follow.

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