Philosophy of Parkour for Beginners

Philosophy of Parkour for Beginners

Most people are introduced to parkour via TV or movies. They see Daniel Craig as James Bond tearing up a construction site in his pursuit of a bomb-maker with insane parkour skills. Or they see a sick chase scene in a parking garage that involves heavy use of parkour stunts.

Beginners imagine parkour as a series of increasingly high-stakes stage fights.

These scenarios are admittedly cool applications of many of the skills you’ll develop through practice of parkour. But they miss one of the core philosophical points of parkour.

Parkour is non-competitive.

This isn’t just beginners’ parkour, like non-competitive T-Ball leading up to serious, competitive baseball. This is the ENTIRE discipline. At ALL levels. Parkour for beginners or for seasoned vets, it makes no difference.

In parkour, the only person you can be said to be competing against is yourself.

In most sports, your performance is judged relative to some adversary. You can play a shitty game of tennis and still win the match. Likewise, you can play your heart out and still lose.

Parkour on the other hand, is just you and the environment. The environment can’t win or lose. So that leaves just you.

That might sound a lot like cheesy “wax on, wax off” mumbo-jumbo, but its actually integral to improvement.

Many sports give mixed feedback. Excelling means conquering some external force. If you can make that force weaker then, say by committing an unseen foul or lying about a ball going out of bounds, you improve your cause. What makes you better and what makes you win aren’t always aligned.

In parkour, there is no winning, only what makes you better.

With no ref to bribe or opponent to cut down, you’re left to focus on your own weaknesses. The environment provides the means to gauge and test your skill. Beginners’ parkour starts with an understanding that the mastery is all inside.

I know this is borderline sacrilege, but hear me out.

I realize parkour purists insist that parkour is limited to the most efficient manner of traversing a path. No flash, no pizzazz. Free running, on the other hand, allows for a bit of self-expression, and sacrifices the efficiency for artistic creativity.

But the difference between efficiency and expression has nothing to do with a particular move. It has to do with the context in which it is used.

So whether or not we’ve made a free running DVD or a parkour tutorial DVD is really a matter of context. We’ll teach you how to do a kong. You determine if it’s a free running or parkour kong when you map out your desired end point and decide if that kong is the most efficient way there, or a fun way to get there.

I know some people will still object to calling BC-X a parkour tutorial DVD, but I’m sticking with it. For whatever reason,

Plus if anyone seriously insists, I refer you to my previous argument.