An Introduction to Parkour
Seen in almost every other movie, advertisement and mainstream media nowadays, Parkour has evolved into more than just a sport – it has become a lifestyle for its true practitioners. It is an art of discipline, where a traceur (practitioner of pakrour) uses his body and environment to get from one place to another.
One can jump, vault, flip, climb and roll under and over obstacles, while making it look extremely seamless.
Although there are no limitations in Parkour, there are certain fundamental movements that one should master in order to become an advance practitioner. Some of these moves are:
Jumping: Absolutely the most important and basic movement in Parkour. Improving your skill in how high and far you jump will be integrated into everything you do after.
Roll: The roll is what stops you from getting hurt when you jump from heights or distances. Knowing the right technique is crucial, so make sure you check out the tutorial videos and follow them exactly.
Vault: Running and faced by a waist-chest high obstacle such as a bar or a ledge? Vaults will get you over them with ease and style. You basically use your hands to direct and propel your body over the object.
cat leaps/cat grabs: This is basically a jump with an added combo of landing on a wall or other vertical object with your feet flat against and hands on top of the object.
Train these movements and master them to advance to the next, even cooler movements.
Free Running Vs. Parkour
Free running is another name given by the UK and US traceurs and it is more of an aesthetic form of Parkour. It involves a lot of flips and spins – much like acrobatics but without the mats and padded floors.
There are those who have disagreements about which is better but it all comes down to the excitement and challenge of the sport. Personally, I’m more of an advocate towards the pure Parkour discipline.
Tips for Beginners
Don’t get ahead of yourself. If you see someone do an awesome jump, don’t try it. Not yet at least.
Train, train & train. You will be surprised that most of Parkour training is done inside the gym, the park or level ground… not on rooftops
Join local groups and learn from advanced practitioners. You can learn quite a lot from them in terms of technique, safety and motivation. That being said, there is no equivalent to self-training.
Do it for yourself. Try not to be intrigued by movies and fame. If the opportunity comes, take it, but don’t make that your motive or end goal.
All you need are some comfortable shoes and light clothing
For more information, check out: The Definitive Guide to Parkour