Parkour has only been in the public eye for the past 10-12 years, having been created and developed within the past two decades. As a new practice there is often misunderstanding as to what Parkour is and what it's about, here's the first post for Frequently asked questions:
What is Parkour?
Parkour is a physical practice which develops functional movement ability. Parkour's practice improves muscular strength, coordination, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and your ability to move safely and effectively. To us, Parkour embodies so many qualities: Strength, flexibility, fun, balance, exploration, coordination, respect, self-knowledge, community, persistence, discipline, longevity, powerful, endurance, challenge, adaption, function, creativity, inclusivity, progression, hard-work, self-confidence and self-knowledge. As a lifelong practice, Parkour will continue to grow and evolve through our own experiences and ongoing learning, sharing with others and journeying together. From it's roots Parkour aims to create a strong body, strong spirit and a strong person through training.
Is Parkour for me?
Parkour is a training practice which develops functional and effective movement skills and techniques, enabling you to adapt and overcome obstacles faced. Parkour avoids the aesthetic and focuses on function. As such, Parkour is open to all, it does requires work and training to progress and a change in thoughts and approaches to continue to learn and develop within it's practice.
As much as everyone can begin the practice of Parkour through learning movements to better movement capabilities, Parkour is and should be hard, but rewarding work. "Être fort pour etre utile"- "Being strong to be useful". No competition, no pressure, just your personal goals and working to adapt and overcome, becoming a more capable individual through practice.
Is Parkour just about jumping off of things and climbing to high places?
No. Unfortunately, a lot of media focuses on height and stunts, because it is more appealing to the general public. More often than not, climbing at height or taking large drop impacts are very unnecessary and more effective training can be done firmly at ground level to gain the same results.
If the aim is to move and keep moving, taking unnecessary risks, increases the likelihood of injury and therefore the inability to move effectively. In short, taking large impacts and spending more time at height, greatly increases the chance of a greater injury. Parkour is a very introspective practice, practitioners learn about their their capabilities and limitations through training and with time develop the confidence and integrity to effectively assess risk and make an informed and effective choice. To try something, or to walk away, train hard and try again when ready.
This is why, injury rates in true practitioners are often very low, there is no pressure, just you and your choices.
There may be situations where an individual may require a jump at height or taking a drop (such as in a real-life emergency), but if there is a safer and more effective means to get from "A to B", we should choose that option as being more effective and safe. We like to use the word effective to explain Parkour's practice. The fastest way down from a high space is to drop or jump down. This might be okay from 3 metres, but from 20 metres.... this will most likely result in injury; so it may not be the most effective choice of movements.
Our coaching sessions keep students firmly in the remits of their abilities and in a safe but challenging environment, as guided by our training and coaching experience, certification training and within National Governing Body guidance and recommendations.
Is Parkour just for guys?Parkour is for any gender. Parkour does tend to be dominated by younger males, however, Parkour is practiced by both men and women of any age, across the world. Both genders, from experience, bring their own approaches and mentalities to the practice, teaching each other how to move more effectively through the sharing of different approaches to training and movement.
What kind of clothing should I wear?
We recommend loose fitting clothing which is comfortable to move in. Clothing can and may get stained, marked or ripped during practice so don't wear your favorite clothes! As for shoes; a simple, low profile trainer, preferably with a solid/complete sole (no plastic sections at the arch). We'd also recommend a small backpack that you are comfortable wearing while running to keep your smaller personal items safe.
More questions to follow. Have a question? Contact us here.