Parkour and FEAR – Are You Too Afraid to Start?
When most people hear the word “parkour”, they immediately think of a scene from an action movie and they think that it’s inherently dangerous and not for them. This could not be further from the truth. People seem to be “afraid” to get into parkour the same way that they are afraid to get into any extreme sport, such as rock climbing or hang gliding. Be assured that parkour is very different in terms of danger and risk. You are in control. No one is running at you to tackle to the ground, no one is trying to punch and kick you. You are not in a competition. It is just about you.
Still, injuries can happen in parkour and they can be so easy to do. To avoid this you need to pay attention to the key ideas and end your fears.
The first is to train your body to absorb the shock of landing. This means good technique. Learn how to land correctly on the balls of your feet, body leaning slightly forward, then drop into a shoulder roll to spread the force of impact. The roll goes from right shoulder to left hip aka diagonally across your back thus protecting your spine. Practice your rolls leading with the left shoulder and then leading with the right. It must become instinctive. Of course for landing shoes with a good grip and some cushioning make your parkour run more enjoyable.
The second key idea for parkour is to strengthen your body to give you confidence to carry out even the most challenging moves. Do this sensibly. Your goal might be to complete 100 push ups. To do this you need to break it down. For example after two weeks aim to complete 15 push ups, then, aim for 30 and so on. The biggest hurdle is starting. The next hurdle is continuing. If you aim too high too fast you will be disillusioned and give up. There is so much information available see what works best for you. Do it with friends, or join a club or a gym. Gymnastics is a great way to learn and have good technique and strength.
The third and most important is to be aware of your own limitations and don’t “bite off more than you can chew”. It’s good to test yourself out but do so in incremental steps. An injury makes you a spectator not a participator! You will soon know what you are capable of and want to challenge yourself. This will maintain your enthusiasm and lead to creating new sequences and moves.
Forget about fear, forget that the parkour you see on YouTube looks so amazing that you, could never possibly do them! You can begin it now and you can enjoy it now. Parkour is for everyone, gender and age are no barriers only the doubt in your mind. Get out there and give it a try.