Author Topic: Why spread Parkour?  (Read 8204 times)

operation_jetpack

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Why spread Parkour?
« on: May 12, 2008, 05:28:37 PM »
why is the general opinion of the parkour community that we must 'spread' it as a discipline? why do we care if others practice it or not? this doesnt happen with sports or martial arts - people play/practice those regardless because theyre 'mainstream'.

i guess you could argue that those things are mainstream, and the goal of bringing parkour to others is to make it mainstream. but that doesnt tell us anything! what is the idea behind making parkour mainstream??

now i dont know the history of pretty much any sport, but im pretty sure the founders/first players werent as aggressive in 'speading the word' about their sport.

perhaps its the philosophy behind parkour. the whole 'you can overcome obstacles if you can overcome physical ones'. that seems plausible, but how many people will become serious enough traceurs to realize such a thing? is it worth the effort? and cant we assume that people who would take parkour that seriously would have found another way to the same reasoning?

OR perhaps the idea is to show the public that parkour isnt something channing tatum does to do crime, and that its just another physical activity. im not sure about this reason. even should someone see parkour as bad, if they do a little google search theyll find that the parkour community tends to be rather kind and level-headed...



so... why bother trying to tell the world about parkour?

Edited by M2: Edited Title for clarity "someone please explain this to me" doesn't tell anyone what the thread is about
« Last Edit: May 14, 2008, 02:53:50 AM by M2. »

Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2008, 05:42:10 PM »
My personal belief:
-It is a great thing that I will enjoy telling others about if they ask me
-If more people come to know about it, it will be more accepted which is good for numerous reasons
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operation_jetpack

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2008, 05:44:16 PM »
yeah man, but.... the thing is im not sure if its 'rejected' right now. sure, maybe security guards dont like it... but that comes with good reason. no matter how skilled someone is, parkour is rather dangerous compared to running, walking, rock climbing, etc. and what security guard would allow people to run up 12 foot walls and allow for a chance at a lawsuit (sp)? and what are the reasons ("good for numerous reasons")??

i dunno, i just think its a little weird. im not trying to say 'stop stop stop idiots!' but just curious as to why we should care at all! :) 8)
« Last Edit: May 12, 2008, 05:48:05 PM by operation_jetpack »

Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2008, 05:51:23 PM »
Well we are definitely doing things that are not anywhere close to "normal" so yes I guess it is sort of "rejected" by the common rules/guidelines/whatever of society. I want to be able to climb up light posts without people saying "wft are you doing!?" ;D

We all say "Oh being judged is just another obstacle!" but seriously, wouldn't it be nice to not be judged at all?

Also, the more people who learn about it and that it is a legit practice, the more people seem to want to do it. I keep finding more and more people at my school that want to join our club because of this. It is definitely more fun to do with others IMO...
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Offline Chris Kessler

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2008, 05:58:42 AM »
I think Parkour isn't like any other sport. There is a complete philosophy behind it. It isn't so much spreading a sport, but spreading a lifestyle and even a calling. There are people who have seen movies like The Matrix and are like "zomg thats awesome I want to do it," but they don't because they have no idea that it is possible. To bring Parkour to those people would be amazing.

Security guards are just doing their job. I don't see them as the people who reject us. I see the people who own the property as the people who reject us. It is a trend among the upperclass to look down on anything extreme or new that could possibly be dangerous. Yes parkour is dangerous, we all know that. But, with parkour being properly done and having time spent on training it could be accepted worldwide. I just love making people aware of parkour, so that people can know about it and realize it isn't a bad thing.
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Offline ursasmaller

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2008, 06:02:01 AM »
I for one would love to have just one person to train with, so I keep hoping that one of these people I tell about parkour will decide to give it a go.  The other thing is that practicing parkour has improved my health quite a bit, I see it as killing several birds with one stone..... weight loss, joint health, better mobility, more strength, a way to expend angst..... and I do all these things just by having a good time and doing what comes naturally to me.  There must be other people like me who would benefit from this,  but if they're never exposed, how can they?  Not that I get all evangelical about it, but I do always hope that someone who sees me training will want to join in.

Offline Chris Kessler

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2008, 06:20:20 AM »
Ursa, if I'm ever in Canada I'll totally hit you up for a jam!! But, I don't really go to Canada all that often.....as in.....at all
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Offline james2610

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2008, 08:05:01 AM »
if i tell people about it they dont care about the concept of parkour they just wana get on with it which i think is a bad thing. Some people just laugh at parkour aswell becuase they dont understand why you should kong something and not just jump over it which is much simpler. I think these people suck  ;D

Offline Hombre13

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2008, 09:59:20 AM »
Alright, I tell people about Parkour because it is something I love doing.  Whenever you love something, it is natural to want to talk about it.  Give me half a second and I will just as willingly tell you about my experiences with wrestling, hockey, and football.  Let me tell you about how I have the greatest best friends in the world.  Shit, let me tell you about what my dog does (you can put a piece of steak in front of him and how won't move if I tell him to 'stay').  Or, let me tell you about that gap, or wallrun or kong.  It's not so much that I am trying to spread it, it's just that it takes a little more explaining than anything else that I love to do.

Having said that, I am actually against making Parkour mainstream.  I don't think the mainstream society would ever really get it.  There will always be little kids on top of buildings jumping off and breaking something.  The way I think about it is this:  Really extreme Parkour is like a professional sport.  You would never have a 14-year-old kid in the NFL, he would get his head taken off and be seriously injured.  You have to build up to that by many, many years of dedicated training.  Same thing with Parkour.  You can't just jump in and think you're invincible.  Problem is, people do.

Offline Nik

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2008, 10:01:35 AM »
My reason (and I think a lot of other peoples) for wanting to spread Parkour is that it can help people.  If our spreading Parkour helps to get one overweight person off the couch and outside, lets someone be useful in an emergency situation, or even just brings people together I think it was worth it.

Offline David Glass

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2008, 10:04:05 AM »
The more awareness, the less likely you are to be bothered for practicing.

30 years ago, if you saw a guy running in a park, you'd probably think he just did something bad. Nowadays, he's just jogging. That's because, by comparison, few people exercised at all, and "Jog"? WHat on earth for?

This of course is a personal view. If I didn't know about Parkour, and I saw a couple of 15 y/o vaulting, I'd probably think they were punks looking for trouble (seriously). Now, if people knew it was a discipline, that required structured training, a state of mind and awareness, it would be more likely to cause respect and admiration, perhaps as martial arts are seen today... or what would martial arts be today had it not been because Bruce Lee made it famous?

There's that, and the fact that you are more likely to encounter people who share your views and with whom you can practice

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Offline sdwinder9x

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2008, 10:46:48 AM »
If we as participants get the word of Parkour out, it will become more socially acceptable.  The same goes for any sport.  If the guys who invented football and basketball didn't want other people playing their sport, what would they have done?  You cant play a 6 on 6 game with the same people everyday for the rest of your life.  A sport should be an activity that you enjoy among friends, and it's also an activity that can help you make new friends.

From my experiences, people are less willing to give you trouble for doing something if they know they can approach you while you're doing the activity.  If you were practicing Parkour in front of some building and the owner comes out to ask you what you were doing, what do you think he'd appreciate more?  You being nice and explaining the world of Parkour to him, or being a dick and saying "I'm not doing anything wrong, leave me alone"?  If someone feels like they can approach you, they feel less intimidated by your presence and will more than likely be more willing to let you stay.

On the other hand, if you try to keep something under wraps, people tend to think you're being shady and won't like what you're doing.  Skateboarding is an awesome example.  When skateboarding first started getting big, skaters had this big ego-centric persona about what they were doing.  Professional boarders would tend to act like they could do something ordinary people couldn't.  When you pick up a skateboard, there is hardly any support from people willing to help out. You're either a chode, a scrub, or some other random nickname just because you couldn't pop a kickflip within your first 10 seconds of standing on a board.  You either learn on your own or don't learn at all.  But look at the sport now: pedestrians don't like skaters, cops don't like skaters, and everyone tries to do everything in their power to keep skaters away.

But the irony of it is that Parkour is doing essentially what skateboarders do: we manipulate our environment so it works and revolves around us.  If we show people what our sport is and how welcoming our atmosphere is, they'd be more willing to let us practice on their property.

Just my two cents.

operation_jetpack

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2008, 02:57:21 PM »
hm well ok, so basically its just to let it be accepted.............. cool! just curious  8)

Offline Nom

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #13 on: May 13, 2008, 03:51:55 PM »
So far the reasons here are: to be accepted as a mainstream activity, to be acceptable in public, to teach a fragmented yet totally encompassing philosophy, and finding other people to train with.

Is that it? When considering the "acceptance" argument, I have this to say: Why? Suppose parkour becomes a mainstream activity. Then we end up with regulations, tournaments, sponsored events and corporate enterprises -- much of which we've already seen cropping up. This may be the direction parkour is to take, if so, then it is what it is. The public will find this hard to view as a discipline, which is part of the argument of sharing it with them, and consider it a sport. Even martial arts, while still disciplines, are considered "sporting" activities.  So what other view can we give the public to gain the acceptance of a mainstream activity without sacrificing our values? A few videos on youtube? Come on. Parkour isn't a game, parkour is more than just exercise and it's more than a state of mind. What we are sharing with people right now, honestly, is the fact that we can do things beyond average physical capabilities. This isn't what we want obviously, but it's what people are seeing and thinking about us. So, I propose that we share parkour to obliterate the ignorance of the common spectator. To let them know that what we do, we do for personal growth and development. What do we really want to gain by sharing with the populace, passive acknowledgment or do we want to prompt them to train/watch/like/buy t-shirts? For the most part, we as traceurs simply enjoy talking about parkour, that's why we share it.

Finding other people to train with is a viable excuse for getting the word out. Solo training can get pretty lonely.

The other argument I hear many times is that of sharing this blissful philosophy behind parkour. Overcoming obstacles in the physical plane will help you overcoming your life obstacles etc... etc... has become basically a staple for talking about this. That is not a philosophy. The idea that the ability to cope with the challenges of a physical world will help with the challenges of a "mental" world has very little to do with constructing a system of ethics, deciding whether or not God is real, or giving you a basis for action. Philosophy is the love of "wisdom." It's in the word. How then do we garner wisdom through parkour? We should be using our logic and reason to investigate truths, moral conducts even states of being or planes of existence when considering a philosophy. Can we do that with parkour? No. Try comparing the works of Hesse or Kant to our philosophy of parkour. Our philosophy is fractured in comparison. This philosophy is the least encompassing. The only wisdom I can see is the wisdom and knowledge gained from the self through experience. The experience of parkour can be very deep for some, and some rarely get in touch with this part of our discipline. This leads me to believe that our Philosophy works in a supplemental way and should not be a sole source of enlightenment. There's very little to share with the masses. Overcoming obstacles is just training for your body and your mind.

I don't really care if anyone practices parkour or not. The point is that I practice it. I don't want fame or fortune, I haven't even put out a video yet. Parkour is just something I do, for fun, for excercise, for myself and if sharing parkour lets other people get in touch with something fun or healthy or introspective then I'd like to share it.

Obviously, I await the counter to this post. I'd like more insight than I've read on the philosophy of parkour.
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Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2008, 04:33:06 PM »
^^ What he said. :)

For me personally, parkour means a lot. I am attracted to the discipline on so many levels. I think it is a natural, universal, human way to move and approach one's environment. I am powerfully influenced by the "human reclamation" arguments made for parkour (I'm sure I'm using the terminology wrong), i.e. that this is how we were meant to move, how our bodies were designed to navigate our environment, and that modern structures (physical and societal) have hampered/constrained that movement, and parkour "reawakens" it in us.

I have always been passionate about movement, and about living in accordance with our body's natural design. I am also passionate about wellness and see no divide between body and mind. So for me, the "obstacles in the physical helping with obstacles in the mental" idea is not so much a philosophy as it is simply an obvious statement. If mind and body are one entity, then there's no need to even point out that training to over come obstacles with the bodymind will help one overcome obstacles. It just happens. But I like that with parkour it happens inherently. So much of what passes for "fitness" training these days is really a separation of the bodymind: people just zoning out on a treadmill or stairmaster. Yes, our bodies were designed to run and climb, but repetitively, and without variance or thought? No way.

I look around and I see so many people searching for ways to get healthier, to be more mindful, to get more balance in their lives, to reduce stress, to connect with people in a genuine and meaningful way, and I see them casting about for ways to do that: they go on Fad Diet X-2000, they go to spinning class, they go to yoga, and they join a scrapbooking club. And still they don't seem to be achieving what they'd hoped. To me, parkour is a way to gain access to these things in the most natural way possible. It's so natural, in fact, that you aren't even aware of it. It's not like, "Okay, now I'm in yoga, so I have to be balanced and meditative." It's that it just engages all of those bits and pieces at once, and all the time. I mean, we are not always in the yoga studio, but we are always in "an environment" and parkour can be practiced in any environment. The way I see it, telling people about parkour is essentially saying to people, "Hey, it's all right here, it's been with you all along. You don't need special equipment or a class schedule or anything. Just be where you are, and start from there."

Some will argue that parkour is not a "complete" discipline, for various reasons, and I can see the rationale there. But for me it engages everything that I see people searching for. IMO there is a reason that kids, when left to their own devices on a playground, will do "parkour" naturally. Because it's what our bodyminds were designed to do! So yes, I do actively try to "spread" parkour. Because I believe that it is fundamentally beneficial for everyone. I don't expect everyone to be as zealous about it as I am. People will try it, and the ones for whom it "clicks" will stick with it, and those for whom it doesn't will move on. No big deal. People have to find their meaning where they will find it, and it's not going to be parkour for everybody. But I definitely want to at least expose people to it, to see if it grabs them. If it does, great! If not, no worries. At least they have been exposed to it and kind of know what it is, and won't hassle me next time they see me out training.

Of secondary, but no less vital, importance, is the idea of having a community to train with. I think that solo training is important and has its place; however I don't think parkour, at this point, can exist without a community. Something about the discipline lends itself powerfully to community-building. No, one doesn't need a community to practice, but I feel strongly that parkour as an abstract is a community activity. Humans are social animals and we are learning animals. Therefore any navigation of our environment using only our bodies has to happen (at least in part, over time), in community. Even if we're training solo, we are still participating in the larger social community. At its minimum, inviting a curious passerby to join me when I'm training is simply a compassionate, welcoming, human gesture; an opportunity to connect--things we don't see often enough in modern society, IMO.

I don't even know if I'm making any sense at this point. :) But I liked your post a lot, Nom.
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Offline Gregg HIPK

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #15 on: May 13, 2008, 04:54:32 PM »
Let's look at the flip side: Why WOULDN'T you want other people to know about parkour? Let's look at some of the basic human needs...

Survival/ safety: If you made your livelihood by catching or evading, you would not want your opponent to learn the skills. People can get hurt doing parkour, so maybe you'd want them to take up something 'safer'. If you owned property, you wouldn't want people wrecking it, or get sued if they got hurt.

Feel important: If your self-worth is tied up with being better than someone else, you wouldn't want anyone to be better than you. If they don't know about it, they can't be better. Also, it's cool to be part of something new, small and vital, and not so cool to be one of ten million.

Love/ be loved: This one's a bit harder... I love you, so I won't tell you about parkour. I didn't want my 3 and 4 year old nephews to get hurt, so I didn't do parkour in front of them. I want to be loved so I won't tell you about parkour.  It's still this dangerous fringe thing, and maybe you won't like me if you know I do it?

That's kinda a weird way to look at it...

Offline Chris Kessler

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #16 on: May 13, 2008, 05:22:38 PM »
btay's response is exactly what a lot of us don't like to see. We all know it's dangerous and that some people, alright most people, don't accept it. I want them to know that what we do is a lifestyle. It isn't just some stupid extreme sport fad. Like Nom I don't want it to blow up into competitions and all that crap. However, I do want it to grow. With growth comes evolution of course, just like with parkour came free running.

The simple fact is that anti-competition is a part of parkour and we won't let it come to the competition "sport" level. I think we'd all agree that it would be a perversion of our art.
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operation_jetpack

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #17 on: May 13, 2008, 07:07:40 PM »
So far the reasons here are: to be accepted as a mainstream activity, to be acceptable in public, to teach a fragmented yet totally encompassing philosophy, and finding other people to train with.

Is that it? When considering the "acceptance" argument, I have this to say: Why? Suppose parkour becomes a mainstream activity. Then we end up with regulations, tournaments, sponsored events and corporate enterprises -- much of which we've already seen cropping up. This may be the direction parkour is to take, if so, then it is what it is. The public will find this hard to view as a discipline, which is part of the argument of sharing it with them, and consider it a sport. Even martial arts, while still disciplines, are considered "sporting" activities.  So what other view can we give the public to gain the acceptance of a mainstream activity without sacrificing our values? A few videos on youtube? Come on. Parkour isn't a game, parkour is more than just exercise and it's more than a state of mind. What we are sharing with people right now, honestly, is the fact that we can do things beyond average physical capabilities. This isn't what we want obviously, but it's what people are seeing and thinking about us. So, I propose that we share parkour to obliterate the ignorance of the common spectator. To let them know that what we do, we do for personal growth and development. What do we really want to gain by sharing with the populace, passive acknowledgment or do we want to prompt them to train/watch/like/buy t-shirts? For the most part, we as traceurs simply enjoy talking about parkour, that's why we share it.

Finding other people to train with is a viable excuse for getting the word out. Solo training can get pretty lonely.

The other argument I hear many times is that of sharing this blissful philosophy behind parkour. Overcoming obstacles in the physical plane will help you overcoming your life obstacles etc... etc... has become basically a staple for talking about this. That is not a philosophy. The idea that the ability to cope with the challenges of a physical world will help with the challenges of a "mental" world has very little to do with constructing a system of ethics, deciding whether or not God is real, or giving you a basis for action. Philosophy is the love of "wisdom." It's in the word. How then do we garner wisdom through parkour? We should be using our logic and reason to investigate truths, moral conducts even states of being or planes of existence when considering a philosophy. Can we do that with parkour? No. Try comparing the works of Hesse or Kant to our philosophy of parkour. Our philosophy is fractured in comparison. This philosophy is the least encompassing. The only wisdom I can see is the wisdom and knowledge gained from the self through experience. The experience of parkour can be very deep for some, and some rarely get in touch with this part of our discipline. This leads me to believe that our Philosophy works in a supplemental way and should not be a sole source of enlightenment. There's very little to share with the masses. Overcoming obstacles is just training for your body and your mind.

I don't really care if anyone practices parkour or not. The point is that I practice it. I don't want fame or fortune, I haven't even put out a video yet. Parkour is just something I do, for fun, for excercise, for myself and if sharing parkour lets other people get in touch with something fun or healthy or introspective then I'd like to share it.

Obviously, I await the counter to this post. I'd like more insight than I've read on the philosophy of parkour.

hm, it seems youve said everything i wanted to say with my first post!
i definitely agree, the philosophy behind parkour is more pseudo than anything and i usually have a hard time finding parkour to reveal any truths about anything, including myself.

i think you said it best with 'i dont really care if anyone practices parkour or not' and that is why i posted this in the first place - to find a good reason why so many people feel the need to turn parkour mainstream. so far ive received reasons why, but nothing that i feel is sufficient! sure, being accepted is great... but as i said, if anyone gets curious enough they'll ask or research on their own, and if they just think we're weird.. who cares?  no need for us to preach about it!


as for muse's post.. that human reclamation argument seems pretty nice. but im not sure if i buy it quite yet..............  ........... ... i mean, im not sure if modern structures at all have hampered any of our movement. i dont see how buildings and rails really prevent us from doing anything.

your other point of it being 'human nature' to simply move this way seems pretty good too. so maybe the purpose to preach about parkour isnt so much about fitness or any other reason, but more like activism?

by preaching parkour, are you trying to say boundaries on what is normal and what isnt are rediculous? that there is no true human nature, so all of these social boundaries really have no basis? that moving in such a way is something we used to do, and just because theres no real survival use for it anymore, its still valid? is that more along the lines of what youre saying?
« Last Edit: May 13, 2008, 07:12:41 PM by operation_jetpack »

Offline Paul Leon Mederos

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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #18 on: May 13, 2008, 07:42:40 PM »
I get people into it cause I like and enjoy it. I also try to get people in Halo 3. Nothing fancy except the love of it  :)
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Re: someone please explain this to me
« Reply #19 on: May 13, 2008, 08:22:16 PM »
i love halo 3  :) lets play over teh internetz with xb0x live!!1