The Point of Parkour
By Drew Taylor 25/06/08
Recently I have had a huge realisation about the purpose of parkour, and how best to train for it. I was watching a new set of videos on YouTube called 'Behind the Jump'. It showed how the founding traceurs train. And I can now sum up their technique in one word - repetition!
They repeat the same combination of moves, or specific jumps, over and over again to perfect them. Of course, by doing this repeatedly they build up muscle mass in the relevant places, which helps with the specific movements. But also the traceurs' overall performance is greatly improved because each movement is perfected for maximum height, speed, distance and efficiency, through trial and error. This method of training is far more effective than that generally favoured by many less experienced traceurs. They tend to do a trick once, film it, then only repeat to film again, or to show off!
This made me realise that parkour is not about showing off on videos and doing one off moves. So I then went on to think about what the point of it actually is. I came to the conclusion that the point of any art or sport is to gain personal enjoyment. Think of parkour as a game in which the quicker you can go from A to B, over, under or through obstacles, the higher points you score. This makes deciding what is parkour, and what isn't, a lot easier. Is the movement efficient? Does it help you conquer the obstacle as quickly as possible? If not, it is not really parkour - it's 'tricking' or 'street gymnastics'.
To me, parkour is an art form of human movement. We should train in a way that utilises the philosophy and mental determination needed to succeed in it. And above all, practise, practise, practise, each and every move until you perfect them, then run them all together into a seamless flow that enables you to move almost effortlessly across any terrain.