Parkour - A Sport that defies gravity
Honestly, never been a fan of running personally. There are umpteen events that keep coming up all throughout the year but never has one event inspired me to go for that morning run (quarter or half or a full marathon). Ask me to hit the gym and lift weights, I’ll bet you would see me in the front line. Why is that? May be I am hardwired that way. Certain things are very difficult to change. On the other hand, we have a handful of super runners who are inspired to go for it and not really looking forward to lifting weights. Wrong? No, not really. Personal choice mate. And then you have functional training enthusiasts. Flipping tires over and over, slamming huge tires with hammer, kettlebell swings, battling ropes, climbing obscure heights with ropes, all done in a quick burst of time. Best part for them would be to do it as a group activity. This is their definition of fun. Fair enough ! But what if there was a workout or a sport that involves doing all of this in a combo? Interesting ain’t it? Well this sport is not of a new age. It has its roots traced back to the 1980’s. With the advent of youtube and internet, it has gotten more popular and started earning a lot of followers. What started off as a military obstacle clearing activity became a fitness rage among youth across many countries. Even India has its own circles where professionals teach you on how to go about it? Meet Parkour ! What is parkour? Parkour is a discipline of functional movement that involves a Traceur (technical name given to an athlete practicing parkour) moving from point A to B. Its just not about moving, but in a safe and a very efficient manner irrespective of the environment or the obstacles they face upfront. Having said that it involves running, jumping, climbing, vaulting, crawling, sliding etc., with the aim of tackling the situation at hand along with other movements they are trained on to get over standard obstacles one would face in life which could be physical or figurative. It brings about various physical training discipline together along with philosophical reasoning as to why one should be achieving mastery over these movements. In simple terms: Parkour is an art form that involves any of the above movements or multiple portions. You do not need to find a fancy place or equipment. It could be as simple as jumping over a fence (don’t trespass please :D) or a barricade (don’t do this during law and order situation :P) or a high rise wall or sun shade etc., How did it come to existence? David Belle was the founder of parkour. He and Sebastien Foucan (founder of free running) along with 7 other guys formed a group called Yamakasi popularised it back in the 1980s. What do you learn from parkour? Again, perspective. Just like you approach strength training for your own goals, parkour is a sport/activity that is done to achieve your own objective. For X, it could be new ways of exploring themselves in terms of clearing ground obstacles whereas for Y, it could be jumping across buildings or any insurmountable objects. But there is a common ground among all who train for parkour. PRACTICE!! Practice the simplest of techniques to achieve perfection. When you get the technique right, the fear of falling down or missing your target is ‘nearly’ impossible (people firmly believing in the law of averages would feel contented now) Points to remember • Parkour is a personal journey through one’s hard work. Comparing yourself with someone who is better than you and imitating him/her is only a disaster waiting to happen (a physical injury at the least) • Learn from experienced athletes, do some of your own trial and error and also explore movements yourself. Parkour is not about imitating someone’s movements for life by repeated training. Some sort of creative mindset is indeed required to better yourself over the years. Key part is to steadily progress as and when you learn. Key takeaway Parkour can be considered as sport or a discipline or an art form. Each practitioner understands the philosophy and implements it in his/her way suiting his needs. Parkour in a nutshell, an art influenced by gymnastics, martial arts, calisthenics and many other art forms. It is only bound to evolve continuously as long as one decides to safely improvise its movements and pass onto the next generation who’ll further the cause of it.