Parkour is a great way to keep fit, increase strength and agility, and explore urban spaces like you have never seen before. Parkour, also known as freerunning or freerunning, is a movement discipline that requires you to use your body to overcome obstacles in the environment. This includes climbing walls, running along narrow ledges, vaulting over railings, and more. Parkour is all about creativity and freedom. It also encourages you to push your mental and physical limits.
The History of Parkour
Although parkour may seem new to many, it has a rich and long history that spans several decades. Parkour was originally developed in France by a group young enthusiasts looking for ways to challenge themselves mentally and physically. It was heavily influenced from military obstacle course training and other forms urban fitness. David Belle, who invented the term “parkour” to make it more popular around the globe, and Sebastien Foucan, who helped refine many of its key techniques, are two of the pioneers of this discipline.
The Core Principles of Parkour
Parkour is about efficiency, flow, creativity, and movement efficiency. Parkour requires you to have a keen awareness of your surroundings, be able to move quickly and fluidly, as well as to constantly challenge yourself to discover new ways to navigate the city. These are some of the fundamental principles of parkour:
- Parkour is all about efficiency. Every movement must be as efficient as possible. This means finding the shortest, most direct route between two points with the least effort.
- Flow: Parkour practitioners need to learn how to link a series of movements together in a fluid, seamless manner. This takes practice and experience.
- Creativity: Parkour offers many opportunities for creativity. Each practitioner has a unique approach to urban navigating.
- Safety: Although parkour can be dangerous, responsible practitioners always consider safety first. This means that you must take all precautions, such wearing the right gear and using spotters to assist you when performing difficult movements.
Parkour: How to Get Started
Before you attempt parkour, here are some things you should know. Parkour is best approached with a healthy appreciation for its risks and challenges. It can be very rewarding and exciting, but it is also a discipline that requires skill, practice, experience, and a lot of patience.
Next, you will need to find a great parkour community in your local area. Parkour is a discipline that thrives when there is community support and collaboration. It’s important to find like-minded people who can help and encourage you. You can find local parkour groups on social media or reach out to local gyms, fitness studios, or martial art schools to inquire if they offer parkour classes.
Parkour Skills and Techniques
There are some key skills and techniques that you will need to master before you can start learning the basics. These skills and techniques could include:
- Running: Parkour is all about running. Parkour practitioners must be able run quickly and efficiently on a variety of surfaces, including pavement, grass, rocks, and other surfaces.
- Jumping: Parkour involves a lot of jumping both vertically as well horizontally. To clear obstacles such as walls, railings and more, practitioners must be able to execute explosive jumps with precision.
- Vaulting: Parkour practitioners can vault over obstacles using vaulting techniques, such as rolls, kongs and dash vaults.
- Wall Climbing: Many parkour movements require you to climb up walls or other vertical surfaces. To safely execute these moves, practitioners must have good technique and upper body strength.
Parkouring: Stay Safe
Parkour is a rewarding and exciting discipline. However, it can also present serious risks if not handled with care. It is important to:
- Wear the appropriate gear, including high quality sneakers with good grip, cushioning, and elbow and wrist pads.
- Parkour should not be done alone. Always have a spotter to guide and support.
- Start small and work your way up to more difficult movements and environments.
- To avoid injury or overexertion, keep hydrated.
Your Parkour Skills – Advancing
You can improve your parkour skills and techniques by continuing to practice parkour. These could include:
- Precision jumps
- Perimeter jumps
- Wall spins and flips
- Swinging and bar work
- Roll and dive technique
Join the Parkour Community
The community that surrounds parkour is what makes it so rewarding. Parkour offers many opportunities to grow, whether you want to push your mental and physical limits, meet new people or explore new urban spaces. If you are interested in learning more about parkour and want to explore all that this unique discipline has, don’t hesitate.