PARKOUR IN SHORT
What is Parkour?
Parkour is a natural method to train the human body to be able to move forward quickly, making use of the environment that's around us at any given time. This 'art of displacement' requires neither specific structure nor accessory for its practice. The body is the only tool. It's an athletic discipline accessible to all, because it combines all the natural skills of the human body: running, jumping, climbing, etc. It's a sport that permits exploration of the potential offered by your body. It's about being able to face the obstacles with which you are presented, whether they be in the natural environment or in the urban environment, in a search for movement that combines effectiveness and control. -Paraphrased from parkour.net
Who is David Belle?
David Belle is not only the founder/creator of the discipline of Parkour, but also a man we all look up to very dearly on this site. David Belle was born on the 29th of April 1973 in Fécamp, the Seine-Maritime departement of Normandy, and later moved to the Parisian suburb of Lisses, just outside of Evry. Running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, hanging, balance, surpassing himself, developing his self-confidence, being able to overcome obstacles so he could continue to advance... For David, all these things became an obsession. An obsession to release himself from all obstacles, constraints and fears, and to be able to go wherever he chose to go; achievements owing as much to mental development as to physical prowess. At the age of 15 he found others that would eventually share this passion with him and further develop Parkour with him. Today he can be seen on television and in the movies further promoting his ideals and the art he helped thousands in the world start. -Paraphrased from parkour.net
Is there a code of conduct (behaviour) which one must follow with Parkour?
All of the values in Parkour follow those of social responsibility and community integration, pretty much “common-sense” for a good citizen. Respecting other people, respecting places we train at, being helpful to others in all situations, training quietly in order to not attract attention or disrupt others, leaving no signs that you have been there training, and many more things. These are things that some take for granted, but are really simple things that if thought about while training, make the difference between being perceived as positive members of society or not. Of course on the same note, as following in line with being a good citizen, Parkour practitioners aim to not break any laws while training. Tresspassing and purposely disobeying laws is something we severly frown upon in Parkour, and is not tolerated at all within the Parkour community.
What are the base movements of Parkour?
The roots of Parkour are found within the natural abilities of the human body, and thus the movements are rather simple. Walking, running, jumping, quadrupedal movement, climbing, and balancing are mixed together in a fluid and dynamic fashion to move from one place to another. Physical attributes like strength, endurance, balance, speed, precision and control, perception and more are generally all at play at the same time. In short the base of Parkour movement is infact the human capabilites of your own body.
Is Parkour an extreme sport?
Definately not! Although it's sometimes presented that way on the internet and in the media, it's just glorified. Parkour is a progressive discipline where you train for years and years to be able turn your body almost perfectly conditioned natural athlete capable of many things. We differ from a lot of extreme sports by training extensively before actually doing, instead of pushing ourselves or 'just doing it' and learning from falling. Injuries are something that is backwards to our train of thought, and we try to avoid them at all times.
NEW TO PKTO
I'm really interested and want to start! How do I get started?!
The best way to get started is to read through this FAQ and explore the site to gain a basic understanding of whats going on. We have also written a small 3 step instruction list on how to get started along with a basic overview of where to find stuff on the site. It can be found on the new to PKTO page, which can be found HERE. Follow those instructions, explore the site, sign up for the forum, and come on outside to train!
What do I need to start Parkour?
All you essentially need is an open mind and a positive attitude. From there you can take in as much or as little information as you want from this site, the forum, and its community of practitioners. We are here to share as much or as little in terms of Parkour and training knowledge as you want to learn from us. Besides that, for your first meet a good pair of comfortable running shoes will help, but its definitely not necessary and you can search for a perfect training shoe when you get more into it.
I want to start, but am worried about [age/gender/weight/physical level/etc.]... what should I do?
PKTO has had people show up to meets from the age of 8 all the way to 67, from thin to overweight, from black to white to purple and there was a definite place for all of them. Parkour is great because there is no ultimate goal to accomplish, no set paths, no set difficulty level; it is fully scalable to whatever you are capable of or however hard you want to push your limits. You are generally not required nor pushed to do anything at meets and pending on what you want to do, you can be given small tasks in order to build your skills up. All in all, you are free to just watch the first few times as well while getting accustomed to what we do. We here at PKTO have seen people gain better confidence in life, experience weight loss, make new friends, share life experiences and more that definitely makes it feel like a community for all.
I am afraid Parkour is too dangerous for me. How safe is it? How does one stay safe/ensure safety while doing Parkour?
Parkour is structured progressively in nature, meaning you do not do what you see in videos right away, but rather build your skills up in order to do it safely. The purpose of Parkour is to be able to train in some capacity throughout your entire life.
In the 4 years we have been around, there has been very few injuries and we take great pride in knowing that we have been one of the safest Parkour communities in the world. 99.9% of our meets take place on ground level, using normal rails and objects. Realistically speaking, the greatest risk at a normal training meet is getting dehydrated, and if you are VERY unlucky, a sprained ankle is about the worst you will probably ever get.
What are these 'meets' and what goes on during them?
Meets are basically small meetups created by PKTO's community on the PKTO forums. You can find meets for certain areas in the different categories on the site. Generally what happens at a meet is people set a location and a time for people to meet up at. There is also usually a number to call or waiting period set just incase you are late. From there, a small warm up usually takes place amongst the members and pending on what kind of meet it is, they will either condition as a group, train together, follow a path, or just randomly play around. They are a great place to be first introduced to Parkour as you can be face to face with a lot of people that have a solid grasp of the basics. Anyone and everyone is invited to our meets.
TRAINING, CONDITIONING AND LIFESTYLE
I came back from a meet and my Wrist/Knee/Little Toe Joint hurts, what should I do?
Please note that generally after your first meet you will experience general all around soreness. This soreness is natural and will go away after a few days. Drink lots of water, eat well and stretch to help the process. If you are still scared the best thing to do is rest and ask about it on the forums. There is usually someone who can give a very valid opinion on things and assess the situation. Fighting through an injury will usually make it worse unless the proper precautions and care are used. We do not suggest training if there is something wrong with your body, and until it is diagnosed properly. If you have a very sharp pain, a worrisome pain that doesn't go away, if the area in question looks visibly wrong or if you can see bone it is likely that you should visit your doctor ASAP!
Should I eat before training?
Eating too much before training can hinder you just as much as not eating at all. We suggest as a safe measure and good practice to eat 1.5-2 hours before training, and bring along some fruit to eat before and during the meets. Bananas and oranges make for great foods to eat right before and during the meet as they can give you an energy boost and are full of wonderful vitamins and simple sugars. As well as these things, water is always essential during a meet you are training hard at.
What should I be eating?
Diet is an important factor, and although improper diet is not shunned on this site, it is very closely related to Parkour. Eating foods that are the closest to natural is always your best bet. For simplicity we suggest to avoid fancy diets and other gimmicks. One easy path is to stay as close as you can to the 'Canadian Food Guide to Health Eating' which can be found HERE. Water is always an important factor as well and it is something widely debated on the Internet, in magazines and more. We generally recommend on this site to drink 3L of water a day regardless of shape, size or color. Most estimates out there on water consumption are set lower on purpose in order to give people who don't drink enough water 'realistic' water targets to aim at. Exercise and regular training greatly increasing these water consumption numbers. Water will not only help you in the long run, but will aid in lubricating your joints and body which will help you avoid joint pain and cramps during training.
Is wearing a backpack a good idea?
This is an interesting question. In Parkour we train to be ready to react at the blink of an eye. If you are always with a bag because of commuting, school and other things, training with a bag is a great way to understand how the physics can change completely when it's on. It also offers many cons and limits a person to certain movements which is also great to feel. We suggest here at PKTO that if you do spend most of your life right now with a backpack with you, to try to train with it every now and then just to learn that little bit more about the body and how it moves under certain situations.
What is conditioning and how it is related to Parkour?
Conditioning in Parkour can be defined certain ways. It could be doing Parkour type movements in a certain way that there is little stress on the body, but the movements are repeated many times. For example a 6 foot precision jump 100 times. It can also take a different route from standard Parkour and become more related to normal fitness practices. Common exercises include running, pushups, situps, pullups, squats and so on and directly relate to the muscles used outdoors. Generally specific movements will not aid as much as movements that target wider areas of the body all at once. During Parkour there is no movement that only targets a certain muscle, and most things involve co-ordination of the entire body. Training less specific and with a broader range is key to Parkour conditioning.
Why should I condition?
Conditioning is essentially one of the foundations of safe movement and training outdoors. To avoid injuries and other long term problems, one must aim to make conditioning a priority above that of Parkour. Conditioning is what lets us last and practice Parkour for a long time to come.
How often should you train?
Training is something you can do anytime you like, for as long as you like. There is no set amount of time you have to train every day or every week. In the end, it's up to you to figure out how involved and how active you want to be with Parkour, and how your body reacts to the training. You always have to be careful not to overtrain your body, as it can result in injury.
Although we don't push everyone to train Parkour to an elite level, we encourage everyone on this site to get more active in life in general and to pay more attention to their lifestyles. Simple things like starting up a jogging routine or eating better, spending less time on the TV or in front of the computer can make a huge difference in your lives in very little time.
Is Parkour against the system/man/society? Does Parkour have any political or religious ideologies?
Parkour is an apolitical and non-religious discipline. Although there is a certain passive philosophy that goes along with training, there are no set standards that practitioners are required to follow in order to enjoy or participate in Parkour. All of the values that you see in Parkour follow those of social responsibility and community integration, pretty much “common-sense” for a good citizen. As said before, Parkour is for anyone and everyone. Since Parkour affiliates itself with no political movements or religions, practitioners from every element of society are welcomed into the community. The only exception is if one member is causing harm to a fellow practitioner, to someone from the local community, or to training areas.
Is making videos part of Parkour?
Not at all! In fact a lot of the times, it can be counter productive to actual training. People tend to forget what their bodies are capable of when they put a camera in front of them, concentrate less on what they are doing, and even try to show off. All this leads to injuries, which is counter productive to the steady progression needed in Parkour to be able to train properly for years.
Are Flips allowed in Parkour?
In Parkour, we aim to train a basic set of movements (Bi-pedal and Quadrupedal movement, Climbing, Jumping, Balance..) which have been used since the dawn of time of humanity. We train these things in every way possible because they are the base of our movement. As so, flips, stalls, grinds, equipment and so on are generally not a part of Parkour. All these things are essentially unnatural forms of movement, which take away from the simplicity of Parkour. That being said though, there are many people on this site that can and do train in gymnastics, and will even do the odd flip or two outside. Flips and tricking aren't frowned upon, and they are respected just as much, but as different forms of movement that require a high dedication to learn as well.
What's the best shoe for Parkour?
This is a very subjective question. The simple answer is that you need something that fits your foot well, and will be comfortable to run around with. Usually, or most people find, the best bet is to go with a cross trainer / running shoe as they offer most of the qualities we are looking for. That being said, if you want to take it a step further, there are many things to look for in a good "Parkour shoe". Most people want something that is very light but with good stability, with non-mesh pieces and quality leather around the front to keep the shoe intact. A good solid sole that wont break up with the harsh treatment it will receive is also a must. Generally when it comes to the sole of a shoe, the larger the part of a shoe that is a solid piece of rubber touching the ground, the longer it will last. "HighTech" shoes with many different pieces glued to the base of the sole will rip off with the treatment that they get during training. Please note that you do not have to spend a lot on fancy footwear and most of the time the top of the line shoes will not do you anymore good than the sub 100 dollar specials. In fact, some people around PKTO have even found hidden gems within the clearance sections of certain stores.
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