Run, climb, jump, roll, vault. Do you think of them as merely words or as separate actions to be performed for fun or adventure? Then you are no traceur and you haven’t heard of parkour. Parkour is a physical discipline which focuses on efficient movement around obstacles, over, above, between, through them. Basically you move through the natural and artificial environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and jumping.
Though there are no official movements for practicing parkour (PK for short) it is generally considered that good running skills and landing abilities are needed in order to safely practice it. The roll, used to reduce the impact forces on the legs and spine, is probably the most important technique you should learn. But if you want to be a traceur then you also have to learn to move like a thief, to crawl like a cat, to do a monkey vault, to muscle up, to cat leap, to tic tac or to speed vault. These are just some of the parkour movements. Before you start this hobby make sure your body is in perfect health and well conditioned so you won’t risk injuring yourself.
Besides learning the movements and training, there is an entire philosophy behind parkour. With no formal equipment to stress about, Parkour is all about freedom, the freedom to use the obstacles around you, like walls and stairs instead of being used by them, sheltered by them. PK pushes you beyond your limits, it helps you overcome your fears and your pains both mental and physical and to be an active part of the world. Parkour helps its traceur to self-improve, to be more confident in his thinking and to seek more leadership situations rather than be just a follower.
So, by practicing parkour, traceurs improve both their bodies and minds. Their bodies become more agile, flexible, skilful, enduring and resistant, while their minds are taught to think outside the box. You have to have a creative mind, strength, courage and discipline in order to transform the city in your personal playground. Over the time, the efficiency of parkour has been proved to such a degree that nowadays the military forces have integrated it in their training.
Another great thing about parkour is that it brings people together. Though fun to do it alone, parkour is usually done in groups with friends. There is a whole international network and community that has been created to further develop parkour and especially to promote its values. The simple fact that every traceur has its style has made parkour into a very peaceful activity because there can be no competition between traceurs. That’s why many traceurs fight to keep this sport out of the reach of standardized sports in order to preserve its integrity and freedom.
Do you know any traceurs?