Monday, 30 July 2018

Parkour Examples and Caution

Following on from my post What is Parkour?, which explains what Parkour is, how it differs from Freerunning and what its origins are, we focus on examples of the fundamental element of efficient movement, Parkour moves, and cautions when practicing.

Table of contents

A basic example of efficient movement

To highlight how simple the idea of Parkour can be implemented is and how it differs from person to person is to consider the most efficient way to transverse from A to B, which in this instance is a football pitch where you must move from on end of the pitch to the other. The most efficient way to do this is to simply walk, jog, or run in a straight line across the pitch. There is no need for any special moves.

Now say that a 4 meter wide river runs across the half-way line, with a bridge at the far left of it. You start at the far-right corner of the pitch and need to go to the opposite far-right corner. What way is most efficient? Some options would be:

  • Simply run straight and leap over the river
  • Walk up to the river and statically jump over it without momentum
  • Take the longer route and go over the bridge
  • Depending how deep the river is, walk or wade through it.

The first option would be the most efficient and take the least time to execute. However if you do not have the mental confidence or physical ability to do it, you may end up in the river and injure yourself and thus it was not the most efficient. Indeed taking the long route might be best. The key point here is that everyone is different and it all depends on their individual abilities.

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Some common Parkour moves

Below are some of the basic Parkour movement categories.

  • Jumping: A key component of Parkour is the ability to jump, especially over or across objects. At their most basic this includes high, long, one-footed and two-footed jumps.
  • Rolls: Vitally important, rolls when done properly help you break the force of a landing or fall by lightening your impact.
  • Vaults: Another key component of Parkour this involves using your hand(s) to help pass over an obstacle. Examples include the speed vault, kong vault, and dash vault.
  • Landings: Vitally important. If you don't know how to land properly and safely you can seriously hurt yourself and/or cause joint problems in your knees and ankles. Landings are often combined with rolls to greater lighten the impact. An example of a landing is a cat leap, where you land on a vertical object with your hands on top and feet against the object.

For more movement categories along with associated moves along with descriptions of how to perform them take a look at the excellent Parkour resource - Parkour Wikia. These along with their myriad of variations are combined to form a flow between movements.

An example of how to do the Turn Vault

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A word of caution

Parkour can be incredibly dangerous especially if you do not know your own limits and lack the adequate training and abilities to perform some of the more advanced movement techniques. Even if you do have the prerequisites for what you are doing, tackling dangerous obstacles and high jumps require prior investigation to ensure safety when tackling them.

Parkour like any physical activity requires gradual progression to safely accustomise and adapt your body and mind to its more challenging aspects. Indeed just to ram home just how dangerous Parkour can be just watch this video:

Now a lot of the instances in this clip are actually Free Running not strict Parkour, but there are a few in there. The clip also shows how important it is to check your surroundings before hand. This clip also helps to emphasise that no matter how skilled you are, accidents can happen anyways.

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Where to next?

Over time I will post articles on various Parkour moves and techniques with relevant coaching tips and videos. However if you are hungry for more until then search for Parkour on Google and YouTube and immerse yourself in just how amazing it can be once the required skills and abilities are acquired.

Lyle Richardson,
Gym Pal - Unlock Your Potential


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