Fear in Parkour

Parkour is often associated with fear and for good reason. Fear affects many aspects of parkour. It can keep you safe but it can also keep you from improving or even getting started.

The first kind of fear is the protective fear. This is the fear that keeps you from making that jump beyond your abilities and stops you from trying that kong gainer. This is the most useful fear. It’s the guardian angel that, when listened too, can help keep you training for years.

This is the fear instilled in us when we were children. The fear that comes from touching something that’s too hot or jumping from something that’s too tall. This fear comes from our experiences.

The second type is that pesky fear that holds you back from doing things you know you can do. It stops you from doing a kong because you might catch your feet and keeps your from doing a backflip because you can’t see the landing from the beginning. It’s that nagging fear that we all hate when trying to do something for the first time.

This type of fear comes from past failures. It comes from doubting that you’ve improved and not believing you can do something. The best way to overcome this is by knowing yourself. Know that you aren’t the same person that experienced past failures. If you’ve put the work in give yourself some credit. If you haven’t, keep trying. You will get there soon enough.

The final type of fear I’ll discuss is a fear not normally associated with parkour. It’s the fear that comes from a lack of confidence. The fear of failure, the fear of dying and the fear of inadequacy are all in this category.

This fear affects most people at some point of their lives.

An example of this fear can be seen in someone wanting to lose weight. Many people are scared of being overweight or even just unathletic. They are so scared that they get on the internet and try to find as much information about getting in shape as possible. They read and read and read but they never start. They’re so scared that they won’t get all the right information that they fail.

Another example of this “paralysis by analysis” is a CPR certified person not doing CPR on someone because they are scared they might give the wrong number of breaths or the wrong number of compressions. Out of fear they just do nothing.

This fear is double edged sword. How you react to it defines you and defines the fear. Take that fear of inadequacy and turn it into energy and motivation. Take the thought of failing and use it to step up your training. It’s OK to have fear. Ambrose Redmoon said “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

What is more important to you? Getting everything perfect the first time or learning and improving so you can be a better athlete, a better traceur, or just a better person.

Written by

Patrick Witbrod

Patrick is a Technology and Business senior at Missouri S&T where he practices parkour. Constantly trying to improve himself, he's lost 30 lbs because of parkour and martial arts and doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon.