Understanding Parkour

Ever wanted to be one of those actors in actions movies who scales walls, weaves in and out from alley to alley and jumps in between buildings? Good news is: you can be one of them. Except maybe you won’t be jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

Parkour or free-running is a non-competitive sport that involves quick and efficient movement around various obstacles. It is also described as “moving freely over and through any terrain using only the abilities of the body, principally through running, jumping, climbing and quadruple movement”. This physical discipline originated from the French and was formerly named ‘parcours du combattant’.

Origins of Parkour

Let’s go back to where it all began. Just like its original name suggests, the French origin of parkour is actually rooted from a training program for French Special Forces. George Hébert, is said to have developed the techniques and practices of parkour. Eventually, his methods became the basis for all French military training, and it was in the 1950s when the French Special Forces developed Herbert’s work into ‘parcours du combattant’.

Years later, Raymond Belle, who was a veteran in the French Special Forces returned to his hometown in Lisses and introduced the physical discipline to his son, David Belle. Thanks to the way that Hébert has paved, David adapted his father’s teachings and was named the ‘father of parkour’ in 1998 when the sport was first introduced.

Over the years and many generations, parkour has become increasingly popular across the globe – proving that it has come a long way since its humble beginnings.

Practising Parkour

Parkour can be practised alone or with a group of people. Although it is usually done in urban spaces, parkour can essentially be done anywhere – that’s the beauty of the sport! Other sports require specific equipment where you need to be at certain locations but with parkour, the possibilities are endless. Some great places to start are stairs, railings, walls, and ledges! Parkour can be practised at any time of day, but just make sure it’s safe and dry.

Why do people do it?

There are a ton of reasons why people choose to embark on the sport of parkour. First of all, it has physical benefits. The sport involves a variety of physical movements such as running, jumping and climbing. This can significantly improve one’s physical condition and even speed!

Although it may not seem like it, parkour is also a mental discipline, just as much as it is a physical one. People take up parkour not just for its physical benefits, but to train their mind. It fosters creativity; to think outside the box and make use of ordinary and everyday things as obstacles. It also increases one’s confidence – when someone’s body awareness is amplified through practice and training, you eventually become more confident in the long run as you progress through the sport.

And also, the most important reason why people choose to do parkour – it’s fun! Who wouldn’t want to feel like a ninja in real life?

One is never too old or too young for parkour. They say that if you can walk and move, you can do parkour. But do note: parkour is definitely for the agile and nimble. Now, what are you waiting for? Go outside, have some fun and conquer!

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