Friday, 9 January 2015

9th January '15: Why Learn Parkour?

Short post to explore 5 reasons for learning Parkour, they may not be what you think but hopefully they will help you understand what we're about and what Parkour and you, can do!

1. Health 

Globally, the majority of us we are sitting or still for most of the day. Sedentary lifestyles increase a variety of health issues, we're not doing what we're built to do, MOVE!

We're built to walk, run, climb, vault, squat, lift, carry and chase. Not doing so leads to a 'wealth' of health issues which more often than not, shorten the quality of our lives. 

By moving more and realising where (using our surroundings) and how we can move (using our bodies safely), we start a journey towards doing what we're built to do, rekindling not only our ability to move, but our physical fitness ability and overall health.

2. Safety

We're all familiar with the "fight or flight" state, in a high stress situation our mental and physical response to a stressor is to either run away or fight to survive (We are built to move)!. Although these situations may be rare in the UK or "civilised society", things do still happen; fires, attacks, the need to chase, the need to reach, the need to escape.

Martial arts are a common practice in the UK, having dabbled in Wing Chun, Ninjitsu and Krav Maga, to varying degrees, we're often told, "Run first, but if you can't, as a last here's how to defend yourself."

Parkour develops the first part and is, in our opinion, as important as being able to handle yourself up close. As a practical example, a friend had a knife pulled out on him, he could immediately vault a rail safely and had a barrier between the attacker and him. Parkour is great for self defence, run, escape and move! If you've not practised escaping, running or vaulting under pressure, if your slip and are hurt, the attacker has you anyway... it makes sense to practice the art of escape.

Practising Parkour and movement also allows you to deal with mistakes better, through knowing your body and how to move. Most times when I fall, slip etc, my training enables me to avoid injury and still land safely, living to "flight" another day! 

We all make mistakes and will fall, Parkour tends to help us be safe doing so!

3. Fun

Parkour is fun! A big deterrent from most forms of exercise is that it can be quite boring, obviously it's perspective, but lots of individuals who try Parkour, latch onto it and continue. Competitive sports tend to focus your performance on other's ability, Parkour is different in that it accepts that we are all unique, we all have strengths and weakness and all move differently. 

You can't accurately compare yourself to another because you are and will be different! In training we move and explore, finding new challenges, new spaces, new situations to grow and develop. 

There is no ultimate "right or wrong" with Parkour as a practice, only what works for you and your movement in a given situation. We learn through challenges: personally and externally set; we learn through imagination and games: Playing "Stay off the ground" and similar games/ scenarios. 

Because we are all unique, we can set our own goals, to move towards them at our own pace and ensure our own safe and fun progression.

4. Benefits of Challenge

We face challenges daily in all areas of our, work, personal, social and recreational lives. In training and overcoming obstacles we have to apply our physical and mental being to overcome, practising practical problem solving skills. We physically and mentally overcome these challenges, we achieve. 

Through achievement, we gain confidence, building an "experience backpack", a collection of challenges faced and overcome, which we can apply to future challenges faced. 

People who practice Parkour tend to have a very similar attitude and approach to life in that things can be done and problems can be solved. Even if we don't know, we still try (as long as it's safe to do so), in turn, gaining experience and apply to our future personal conquests!

5. Adaptability

Being an adaptable person is a very useful skill/personality. Tying in with some of the areas mentioned above Parkour practitioners, seek, try, gain experience, reflect and apply what has been learnt, what works and what doesn't work, to future challenges both mentally and physically.

As such, Parkour tends to aid people in other sports and other physical activities from having a good experience and understanding of movement. There is a mindset developed through practice, to very quickly risk assess, problem solve and develop creative solutions to problems or challenges presented. In a world where change is an integral part of society; jobs, lifestyle, time, family, friends, technology, having the confidence to adapt and change yourself is something many people can struggle with.

To quote Sebastien Foucan, In overcoming, we become.

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