Parkour or Freerunning is a training discipline that emerged as a result of training methods inspired from military obstacle training in France. It has moved from a military inspired training discipline to an urban sport that has caught the attention of a lot of young people. Parkour involves seeing your environment in a new way and imagining how you can navigate through obstacles by moving around, across, through, over, and under them.
The forerunner of Parkour was a French Naval officer Georges Herbert, who before the First World War advocated for athletic skill based on the model of Tribes he met in Africa. He set up a “natural method” session when he was a Physical education tutor that consists of ten fundamental groups: walking, lifting, self-defense, running, jumping, quadrupedal movement, climbing, balancing, throwing, and swimming.
These sessions were intended to develop “the three primary forces” of Parkour.
These forces are:
- Energetic (willpower, courage, coolness, and firmness).
- Moral (benevolence, assistance, honor, and honesty).
- Physical (muscle and breath).
If you are interested in learning Parkour, you will have to understand the benefits of these three forces.
The man credited with creating modern-day Parkour: David Belle learned of the sport from his father before, training with friends in the area including the Yamakasi, who embodied these three fundamental forces during their training sessions.
A practitioner of Parkour is called a Traceur (Feminine: Traceuse). Traceurs spend a lot of time training to do death-defying stunts, with their guiding principle being freedom. Watching a Traceur in action can sometimes be intimidating, but anyone can become a free runner once they are ready to put in the time and effort required.
You can start learning Parkour on your own or with a group of friends; you will, however, see more significant improvements in training with others. The first step to take in learning free running is to teach yourself. To do that you will have to:
- Work On Your Physical Shape: Jumping from one rooftop to another, or climbing the top of a wall requires that you are physically fit. You need physical endurance to get started with learning Parkour. It could be advises that you should be able to comfortably perform multiple reps of push-ups, pull-ups, and squats before getting started with Parkour.
- Perfect Your Landing From Vertical Jumps: There is a lot of jumping in Parkour; learning how best to land will ensure you do not get injured. Once you can imbibe the energetic force of coolness, you will not see the distance you are leaping as an obstacle. Learning how to land correctly involves alertness and keeping your feet and shoulders in shape, so the landing does not harm your joints.
- Regularly Practice Vaulting, Climbing, and Jumping Manoeuvres: Free movements like jumping, vaulting, and climbing are actions that will help you manoeuvres obstacles common to urban landscapes. By practicing these movements regularly, you will know the manoeuvres you prefer as well as creating your style of practicing them. Ensure you practice between two and three times a week to perfect your necessary skills before moving on to harder manoeuvres.
- Know What Works Best For You: When you continuously train yourself on the basic Parkour manoeuvres, you will be able to create new movement by experimenting and finding new environments to master. You are the one who understands your body best, so making decisions on the training regimen to follow should be your own choice. You do not necessarily have to follow the regular movements employed by others.
If you have perfected these fundamental steps, and wish to go further in developing your Parkour skills, you should hire the services a Parkour coach. If you find a Parkour coach, who does not speak the same language as you do, translating services like Google Translate, and The Word Point will help aid communication.
Finding the right Parkour Trainer can be difficult; there are a lot of factors you need to consider when choosing the right instructor such as your location, the Traceur teaching style, years of experience, and so on. Below, we have outlined three things you should look out for when searching for a perfect Parkour trainer:
- LOOK FOR A TRAINER WHO CAN UNDERSTAND AND HELP YOU DEVELOP YOUR WEAK POINTS. Once you get used to the first rudimentary steps (getting in shape, regularly practicing, learning how to land after jumps, and knowing what is best for you), there may still be some weak points in your technique that need improvement. An experienced Traceur will easily spot weak points in your technique and offer you other training methods that will improve any deficiency in your free running technique.
- LOOK FOR A TRAINER WHO HAS YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN FREE RUNNING. Free running has become very popular, especially in Europe, which has resulted in more Free Runners groups being formed. Most Parkour athletes are usually in a group, so you should be looking at joining a group rather than just hiring a personal trainer. Joining a group will ensure that the individual masters the three primary forces of Parkour.
- WFPF PARKOUR ACADEMIES.
As Parkour and Freerunning has become more rounded as a Sport and Discipline, WFPF as well as other prominent organizations in the community have sought to further reduce barriers to entry by creating Academies across the globe that have safe consistent standards and coaching availability. These can be found on the WFPF Parkour Academy Page.
- LOOK FOR A TRAINER WHO IS NOT ARROGANT AND IS WILLING TO TAKE TIME TO GET YOUR MOVES PERFECTED.
If you join a group that understands the basic tenets of Parkour, you will not have to worry about them being arrogant. Most groups emphasize on each Traceur progressing and developing independently – “to create the means to be yourself.” Every Traceur is ideally required to encourage others and show confidence through their behavior.
Parkour is an exciting physical activity that involves the consistent practice of basic manoeuvres like jumping, vaulting, and climbing to attain perfection. It is essential to understand your body and what works best for you when learning the rudimentary of the sport. However, hiring the services of a trainer or practicing at an Academy will improve your weaknesses in technique and help to perfect your moves.
About the Author:
Frank Hamilton is a blogger and translator from Manchester. He is a professional writing expert in such topics as blogging, digital marketing and self-education.
He also loves traveling and speaks Spanish, French, German and English.