Author Topic: How do you describe Parkour to someone?  (Read 9856 times)

Offline Dannyboy

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How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« on: November 17, 2005, 09:44:01 AM »
So yesterday I went to the chiropractor, and he asked me what sports I enjoyed, so I told him, swimming and parkour. He asked me what PK was and I did my best to explain it to him. I am fairly new to the "sport" but not to the idea of PK. I have always free run, just didn't know it was a sport. So I sat there and tried to explain PK without getting to much into philosophy of it. I told him it was a mix of urban ninja/Jacki Chan/jet Li/running/fluid movement. But I'm not sure that that is a good definition. Can anyone help me out here so that when I try to tell people about PK I won't screw up?
« Last Edit: November 17, 2005, 11:33:38 AM by M2 »
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Offline Skipper

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Re: What Is Your Definition of Parkour?
« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2005, 10:06:48 AM »
Ok, without sending this conversation into a HUGE contraversial spiral to nowhere, im just going to tell you to sit tight. Soon we will have a very respectable definition of what parkour is, and then you can paraphrase that to explain to people.

Lord knows if I were to put up a definition, someone from parkour.net will see it and instead of confronting me, they will have a 10 page discussion on how there are only two people in the world that are qualified to answer your question... blah blah blah.
Jesus i hate the politics round here. hah.

But ya, sit tight and we will get you your definition, then life will be easy  ;)

Offline Dannyboy

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Re: What Is Your Definition of Parkour?
« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2005, 10:39:29 AM »
Righto Skipper! Will do.
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Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: What Is Your Definition of Parkour?
« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2005, 11:30:39 AM »
Tell you what, I'll take a shot at it, because I don't care about politics, I care about helping people out and spreading a good message about parkour.

When I am asked what I am doing, I don't bother with a "definition of Parkour" ... that's useless to the average person who doesn't (and won't) know the history, won't understand the philosophy, and may not have anything in their own life to compare it to.

With that in mind, I try to keep it very simple, and use examples that the person can grasp. Then if they seem interested I have a chance to expand on it, and if not I am happy to leave them with just a small piece of fairly unspecific information.

For the sake of this post we'll assume that I am talking to a 52 year old woman in New York City. I'm going to assume that she doesn't know much about youth culture, extreme sports (action sports), or martial arts.

"We're practicing Parkour. Parkour is sort of like urban obstacle coursing, or doing some gymnastic moves using the architecture and environment as our apparatus. We strive to move fluidly from one place to another interacting with obstacles that we encounter along the way by jumping, vaulting or climbing on, over, or around them. It's a great way to exercise your body and your mind because it forces you to "think outside the box" and use obstacles and architecture in a different way than people normally think of them, such as doing a vault over a railing or running along a wall. Thinking this way gives us great respect for our environment".

This could be shortened to "It's like using the environment as an obstacle course to train and challenge our bodies and minds"

I'mm also changing the title of this post, because you're not looking for "a definiton", you're looking for a way to describe it to people, which is different. Aso, this is nit-picky, but you said what is "Your definition" ... I'm going to take the purist side on this and say that "your and definiton" don't go together well. You can have an understanding, you can give a description, but to me a defininton is a set thing.

10 ... 9 .. 8 ... 7 ... is there a post about this on parkour.net yet?  :P

« Last Edit: November 17, 2005, 11:35:16 AM by M2 »
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Offline Skipper

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2005, 02:19:46 PM »
Hahaha. And yes, thats about what i would say too. i had a hard time deciding if i should spit one out for the sake of helping people, but i didnt want to cause a stir. M2, you are obviously a bigger man than I...... on the internet  :P. sorry for my lack of help danny, and thanks M2 for jumping in here!

Offline skirodeo7

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2005, 05:26:18 PM »
I find that to people who don't know about it, freerunning makes the most sense. They can comprehend that. If your explaining it to someone who is interested in PK or someone in the media, a better definition should be used. But when I've been to the doctor, I just say I did it freerunning and it takes much less time to explain.

Offline gmpianoman

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2005, 08:08:05 PM »
This was posted by "the button" on the UF forums some time ago...


Imagine that you're late for the bus, but the bus stop is on the other side of the square. The quickest route to the bus is accross the square, because walking round the block would take twice as long.

The problem is, the square is covered with sculptures, ramps, walls, fountains, staircases, ponds, streams, rails - making just running accross the square impossible.

So there are two ways to get to the bus - one would be to run around the square. The other is to use movements such as running, jumping, climbing, vaulting and balancing to get over all the obstacles in your way - such as climbing over the walls, vaulting the rails, jumping the gaps and the ponds, balancing on the scupltures, and running in between the obstacles.

If you were to take the second route, and do it all quickly and efficiently - you would be doing parkour.

I don't like to mention the art & the philosophy of parkour when explaining it to someone for the first time, because it makes me sound pretentious and can turn people off. If someone shows interest after I tell them the first statement, then I go on to explain more about parkour"

Offline ERI104

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2005, 08:12:58 PM »
M2 you just gave me my description of parkour.

and i saw that post before on UF it's pretty good but i'd rather just say "it's treating your environment like an obstical course, our goal is to get as quick as possible from point A to point B"
I am the Egyptian Monkey



things people have called parkour
1) popcorn
2) park whore
3) par four
4) pa coop

Offline RhayneD

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2005, 02:41:37 PM »
I have come to use two words when explaining what I'm doing or that I enjoy, "Urban Gymnastics" as the "definition" of Parkour. If they inquire further I just say, "Urban gymnastics with a philosophy." *Shrug* The best I've come up with so far. It's hard to explain something that not many have anything to compare it to.
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"Forget blood. Parkour runs through MY veins." -RGM

Offline Flippusmn

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2005, 07:34:14 PM »
I don't even bother. Personally I don't like verbally explaining things to people so I just show them some stuff and tell them to go to UrbanFreeFlow.com and click  on fundamentals/basics (whatever it is now), or on the core level. They come back to me the next day and  tell me how cool it is. HEH :P ;)
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Offline Invisiblex

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2005, 09:12:52 AM »
i just tell them something like:

"the idea is to move as fluidly as possible through your environment, using things such as, vaults, jumps, climbing, balance, and anything else possible to do it."

that usually works
and if they are interested in it then i will tell them a little bit about the philosophy, and give them a website (APK or UFF for example)

then they usually think its pretty cool and theyd like to try it out


hope that helped

Gearsighted

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2005, 03:43:00 PM »
I like to run around and jump off of random shit like a moron.

That usually works well enough ;)

Offline Flippusmn

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2005, 06:33:40 PM »
Or you could call them Moses and move on, just as my grandmother used to say.
Parkour can make you or break you, each of which I have experienced. ~Feel the Flow~ "Don't think with your balls, think with your brain." -Houston

Offline Dannyboy

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2005, 03:56:51 PM »
Or you could call them Moses and move on, just as my grandmother used to say.


Or how about no, but nobody suggested that...+:P
Its what I do that defines me

Gearsighted

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2005, 05:15:48 PM »
First off, I was just acting an ass, because M2's description was spot on. I usually tell people I use my environment like an obstacle course to create smooth and fluid movement. Second, PLEASE abstain from the red text, it's the only possible way I could imagine a pointless post being MORE annoying ;)

Offline RhayneD

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2005, 04:31:26 PM »
This was posted by "the button" on the UF forums some time ago...


Imagine that you're late for the bus, but the bus stop is on the other side of the square. The quickest route to the bus is accross the square, because walking round the block would take twice as long.

The problem is, the square is covered with sculptures, ramps, walls, fountains, staircases, ponds, streams, rails - making just running accross the square impossible.

So there are two ways to get to the bus - one would be to run around the square. The other is to use movements such as running, jumping, climbing, vaulting and balancing to get over all the obstacles in your way - such as climbing over the walls, vaulting the rails, jumping the gaps and the ponds, balancing on the scupltures, and running in between the obstacles.

If you were to take the second route, and do it all quickly and efficiently - you would be doing parkour.

I don't like to mention the art & the philosophy of parkour when explaining it to someone for the first time, because it makes me sound pretentious and can turn people off. If someone shows interest after I tell them the first statement, then I go on to explain more about parkour"


This has to be the most visual response I've seen yet. If no one minds, I think this is the one I'll use from now on. I get the whole sounding "pretentious" and "turning people off." I'm too much of a newbie to take that route :) I like it, I really really like it! hehe.
"Definition is not the grand path. It is understanding that is the true destination." -RGM.
"Forget blood. Parkour runs through MY veins." -RGM

Offline provin1327

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2005, 09:19:03 PM »
I just call it running with more then just steps

Offline Corndogg

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2005, 04:38:08 PM »
parkour is free-running through urban environments, adapting to your surroundings and "flowing" through them using jumps, vaults, rail and wall moves, like a cat or a ninja... or a fugitive  :D
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Offline W0LF

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2005, 08:46:32 PM »
... or a fugitive  :D

Hahahahahahaha, sorry for the purposless post but that just cracked me up.

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Re: How do you describe Parkour to someone?
« Reply #19 on: December 04, 2005, 09:04:10 AM »
I usually describe it to people as using the city as an obstacle course.  Its short and simple but has that obstacle course aspect which M2 and others mentioned.  I tried to read the person and give them more information based on their reaction.

This might put you all at ease because a PAWA rep told me that (other than the fact that it's not limited to a city) was a decent kick off.