Definition of Parkour

Pieces of writing giving a basic description of parkour.
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Definition of Parkour

PostPosted on Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:48 am

Parkour is the Way of movement.

It is a training method that enables practitioners to rely on just their own skills to get past all obstacles and limitations, regardless of their source, so that they are free to go their own way and achieve their own goals. It uses movement as a basis to train a broad range of practical abilities and fundamental skills, including a positive approach to life, in a way that is enjoyable and accessible to all.

The training method deals with all aspects of functional movement, everything that might be useful to us as we more around in our environment. The variety of life means that even the most unusual and bizarre movements may prove useful at some point, but the emphasis is firmly placed on developing the most useful and the most commonly required skills first, and using these skills that are used in every day life as a means of developing many capabilities that are useful to us almost every day of our lives.

The positive approach to life is the principle that there is always a way forwards, always a way to get past an obstacle, and comes from the desire to be yourself, not to be limited or restricted by others. This desire not to be limited and the belief that obstacles can be overcome is a desire that is not restricted to movement, but one that applies to all actions and beliefs, in essence every part of life. The obstacles that you face in movement and the majority of the skills that are required in order to get past them are the same as those you face in all areas of life.
~ Dave

Trying to be a helping hand from NorthernParkour and the British Parkour Coaching Association
Dave
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Re: Definition of Parkour

PostPosted on Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:19 pm

Are the following things part of parkour, would you say?

- Walking
- Running
- Swimming
- Canoeing
- Skiing
- Learning about Maths, Physics, English, Psychology, Computing or something along those lines
- Travelling (i.e. around the world)
- Performing necessary social tasks such as going to the bank or post office
- Watching TV (I'm referring to you (Dave) watching a documentary or something and having a good reason for watching it, rather than Joe Bloggs the couch potato watching Hollyoaks)

Thoughts?
Ben
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Re: Definition of Parkour

PostPosted on Tue Oct 14, 2008 6:36 pm

All of them can be involved in your training, in fact, almost anything can be involved in your training to some extent, but some of them will be more useful to you at a particular point in your training than others.

Things like walking and swimming are more likely to be useful training at a much earlier point in your training than running (because they are simpler forms of movement), and learning physics and psychology are more likely to be useful at an earlier stage than going to the bank or post office (because social interactions are more likely to be useful once you have a sufficient level of understanding of sociology to start observing aspects for yourself).
~ Dave

Trying to be a helping hand from NorthernParkour and the British Parkour Coaching Association
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Re: Definition of Parkour

PostPosted on Wed Oct 15, 2008 12:18 am

I agree. But how are we supposed to train for everything? But why should be concentrate on certain training over others? There is so much training we miss out on because there isn't enough time in the world for us to get through enough training, and even if there was, it wouldn't be effective because we'd be out-of-practice in so many areas. I suppose it could be a question of which ones you think are more all-round, generally more useful and that you are more likely to need to use. I can canoe and would be able to cope if such a situation arose that I needed to use my skills in this, but I certainly can't ski, drive a car, ride a motorbike, fly a plane, swim the channel or snowboard. I also wouldn't be able to deal with seriously high or seriously low temperatures or pressure because it's not something I include in my usual training. I'm sure most people are the same, maybe some can ski but cannot canoe, maybe some can swim but cannot run, fly a plane but not a helicopter...
Ben
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Re: Definition of Parkour

PostPosted on Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:45 am

I think you answered your own question. The best way to train for everything is to train things that are useful for as many areas as possible, i.e. the most fundamental abilities.
~ Dave

Trying to be a helping hand from NorthernParkour and the British Parkour Coaching Association
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Re: Definition of Parkour

PostPosted on Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:00 am

Exactly.

The reason I do kayaking is not because I think it's beneficial to parkour. I do it because it's an enjoyable activity- I enjoy it in the same way I enjoy parkour; I enjoy the sense of continual improvement, the learning, the thrill from moving through the rapids, the feeling of achievement when I successfully get from A to B on a river, putting my strokes into practise in order to do so, and recovering from any difficulties such as being tipped over and being able to roll back up safely. I didn't realise until recently how similar my attitude to kayaking is to my attitude to parkour. Some people like doing tricks and what's known as "freestyle" - I have a dabble in that to see if I can do it, and do enjoy dabbling, but my main interest lies in running rivers and putting useful challenges upon myself. It makes me feel great - much the way parkour does. The only difference is that parkour is all-round where as kayaking is just water; rivers, lakes, seas, etc.

Ok here's a sort of media-friendly definition I put together a year or so ago for my website:

Parkour is a French discipline, a training method devised by David Belle, inspired by his father Raymond Belle, and Georges Hébert, a French physical educator, theorist and instructor who lived by and taught the ways of la Methode Naturalle or the Natural Method.

Parkour is the art of movement, the aim of the activity is to move through any environment as quickly and efficiently as possible using principally the abilities of the human body. Practitioners of parkour are recognized as traceurs. It should be noted that Parkour is non-competitive and is purely a programme of self-improvement rather than a basis of comparing skill level with others.

I have been practising parkour since January 2005 and since a year or so into training it has become an integral benefactor to my healthy lifestyle; it has made me think about how I treat my body by the things I eat and drink, and the way I train to prepare myself for continual improvement and accompishments in the physical side of parkour. I also love the opportunity to spread the word of parkour by helping others get involved and answering their questions.


(The last paragraph is more personal to what parkour is to me)

Any comments?
Ben
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Re: Definition of Parkour

PostPosted on Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:38 pm

The phrase 'beneficial to parkour' is something of a misnomer, since what that really means is 'beneficial to life', but I see where you're coming from. Kayaking is beneficial to you.

With regard to your definition, there are many people who would dispute David Belle's role as the sole creator and point also to the others who were training with him at the time. it is difficult to say with the limited information available to us, but I think overall it's safest to say that nobody exists in a vacuum and attribute the creation to all of them, and then pick out David as one of the more influential amongst them (more on this when I finish editing my own understanding of the history).
I think maybe it would be best to start with what parkour is, rather than who started it, since knowing who created it is not essential to understanding the concept. Also, although it shares similarities with the Natural Method, comparing it to something else with distinct differences is also perhaps not the best way to begin an introduction to parkour.

Also, it is probably worth mentioning self-improvement much nearer the start, since it is 'the' core element to parkour. As it stands, that part is hidden amongst the explanation of another point. Maybe you could add something about how movement is connected to self-improvement too.
~ Dave

Trying to be a helping hand from NorthernParkour and the British Parkour Coaching Association
Dave
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Re: Definition of Parkour

PostPosted on Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:17 pm

As a complete newb, I might be out of my depth. However, I've been pondering these kinds of questions for what I, as a 23yr old, would consider to be a long time. I think the question 'how do we train for everything' generates a few thoughts I would like to share.
1 is that we should not attempt this, as it is futile.
2 is that to train in things that are most useful to us serves its purpose, however if we remained with the fundamentals of everything, life would not become the deep, meaningful experience it was destined to be.
3 is that we should include and delve deeper into things in our training that we enjoy (whether directly useful or not), simply because enjoyment increases our levels of happiness - which helps us with motivation and so allows us to overcome more obstacles in our lives in general. I think Dave touched on this when commenting about school subjects and the like being beneficial to our training. I'd just like to draw a little more out of that point.

Maybe, there's something in that little lot, or maybe I'm just re-iterating what's already been said. Either way, that's what I think. Of course, your comments are most welcome.
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