If you are thinking of taking up parkour then there are a few things you should make sure you have thought about and understood before you start throwing yourself around obstacles.
1. Understand parkour
Parkour is a training method to improve oneself through learning to move naturally and overcome obstacles. The principles you learn through parkour can be applied to all aspects of life. The benefits range from the immediate effects such as ability to move effectively in difficult situations, to longer term increases in fitness, confidence and self control, and finally to becoming a more relaxed and positive person overall. The drawback is that it takes time and effort to gain the real benefits. Physical training is hard and tiring. There is no magic solution; you get out what you put in.
2. Decide that you want to try parkour
Once you understand what practicing parkour involves you can make an informed decision. If you decide that parkour is not for you then that’s fine, hopefully you will never come across a challenging situation you don’t already have a solution for. If you decide that you do want to try parkour, then you need to start learning how to go about it. All you need in order to start training is the desire to train. No special equipment, just determination.
3. Learn exercise theory
The person in the best position to judge your condition is you. You have access to a huge range of sensations and feelings from your body that nobody else does and so to train most effectively you need to understand the principles yourself and get used to making your own decisions. Even if you are already strong and fit, you still need to make sure you understand the theory because the physical demands of parkour are generally much greater than other activities and often very specific to parkour.
4. Spend some time exercising all areas of your body and listening to your body to find your current physical level, and trying out different ways of moving to learn what you are capable of.
Before you can know how to improve your body you need to know what it is like to begin with. Taking a week to push your body a bit beyond your normal exercise limits, without endangering yourself by pushing too far, gives you enough time to exercise all areas of the body and see what you can do, but also enough time to let your body recover and for you to observe the effects of pushing your body to that extent. This is a process that you should repeat regularly throughout your training to maintain a good understanding as your capabilities increase.
5. Decide on starting exercises that suit you as an individual
Once you understand the general principles of how to train and know what your body is capable of you need to work out how to adjust exercises according to the principles in order to suit you. This will require some experimentation at first but gradually you will come to understand things better and better until you can judge your training more and more precisely.
6. Find local training group
While practicing parkour it is necessary to learn a lot about how your body and mind works and you need to come to these realisations by thinking things through yourself. However, having an experienced person to point you in the right direction occasionally can be invaluable in this process. To this end, if you can find someone who is sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced to act as a guide then this will help greatly. No two people will help in the same way and it is worth the effort to find someone whose methods work best for you. Ideally, this guide should be someone who also embodies the qualities you strive for as then it will be easier to see a more direct link between their way of thinking and your own. Don't rely on their judgement, but make use of the additional ideas and perspective.
7. Start training
All movement techniques require a certain level of strength and fitness to perform effectively so technique training needs to go slowly to give you time to become comfortable with each movement and to allow your strength and fitness to keep pace. Start with simple ways of moving, walking, running, crawling, climbing etc. and then move on to more difficult movements such as jumping and vaulting.
Above all, remember that everything you do is your own responsibility. You are in control of everything you do. You are the one that determines how safe or dangerous your training is. Listen to your body and if in doubt take things slowly. If you try and progress too fast you have a good chance of injuring yourself and going backwards. Most problems can be solved by simply taking the time to think about what you are doing and experimenting with small changes in technique or approach.