Author Topic: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort  (Read 21835 times)

Offline Corndogg

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #40 on: September 17, 2009, 01:15:13 PM »
As a general rule:

The definition should be easy to read and understood by total newcomers of all ages and experiences.  That means don't use a lot of difficult words.  This is for the masses!

This is a definition, not a tagline.  That also implies it should be as clear, concise, and comprehensive as possible.
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Offline Elektrik

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #41 on: September 17, 2009, 01:17:33 PM »
Parkour: overcoming physical, mental and social obstacles everyday.

just my 2 cents

Offline Jeff

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #42 on: September 17, 2009, 01:19:27 PM »
Hi Travis,

To answer your question, first of all, I think your definition is really good. In particular I like the description of parkour being used to "navigate any terrain" and using the elements "strength, speed, balance, coordination, precision, power, and endurance."

I would emphasize a bit more the mental aspect of it. Not philosophical, like being dedicated to some notion of "efficiency" (which as people have noted, isn't sufficiently descriptive), but the way parkour training readjusts your way of viewing your environment. I worded it as "removing the cultural context" of an object, which I just mean you sort of let go of your expectations of how you "should" and "shouldn't" move in a place, and use what's there no matter what it is to create paths.

The definition isn't bad by any means though, and until I saw this thread was quite happy with it. Still am, actually.

I really like Beretta's use of the word "holistic". We'll never be able to list out the categories of movement, and certainly can't describe it by saying what it's not. I like the idea of an all-encompassing, hybrid-of-all-things-the-body-can-achieve view of movement.

I also want to suggest that the definition avoid words like "is" and "should" and instead use terms like "is valued by most traceurs" and "is characterized by". Once you start saying things like like "parkour is X", people will start debating the exceptions, of which there will likely be a great many.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 01:32:25 PM by Jeff »

Offline Corndogg

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #43 on: September 17, 2009, 01:39:51 PM »
I'll post more over the weekend, but would like to also dissect some posts and approach from the other angle:

- What points do you want included in the definition?
- What points do you want excluded from the definition?
- What are common elements, and common adjectives?

Stuff like that.


I'd also propose that we set up a wiki page somewhere, and let people mess with that for a while and see how that goes.
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Offline Dan Elric

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #44 on: September 17, 2009, 01:52:38 PM »
I think the trouble lies with many people trying to tell about parkour, and not define it.  A definition is a short description of something telling what it is, not the philosophies behind it.  It is short and to the point.  Many suggestions in this thread are a paragraph long, it isn't a definition, it is more of an encyclopedia article.

That's why I like Jake's quote.  It was short and attempted to define parkour, not explain it.

"A discipline focusing in the utilization of one's body to physically overcome obstacles in the most efficient way possible."

A suggestion by Prancer indicated that "the most efficient way possible" is too broad of a term and can be interpreted too many ways.  So if we replace that with something more clear it would work.  But what?  I suggest:

A discipline focusing in the utilization of one's body to overcome physical obstacles quickly and efficiently.

By saying quickly first the meaning conveyed is that the efficiency is a complement of speed.  I also moved the word physically and changed its part of speech.  There is much better flow and meaning in its current place.  The only weak part of this I can see is "obstacles," however, I can not think of a better word.  Possible alternatives are: obstructions or structures.  In addition, we can add the prepositional phrase "in one's path" to add clarity; thus eliminating the definition of weakness without disrupting flow.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 01:57:45 PM by Daniel Kelley »

Offline Corndogg

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #45 on: September 17, 2009, 01:54:10 PM »
I'd love for something to be included along the lines of what Dan Edwardes recommended to me/SFPK:


Drill the basics first, and drill them endlessly - general fitness, functional strength and physical conditioning, balance, spatial awareness, creativity, fluidity, silence, control, precision.  Inspire others by doing the same yourself.  Push yourself hard and aim to perfect everything.
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Offline max eisenberg

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #46 on: September 17, 2009, 02:33:24 PM »
the art of navigating terrain using your entire body aiming for speed and efficiency using the most direct approach possible.

sounds like a good kick off point to me.


my mind is constantly moving, one day my body will be strong enough to keep up.

Offline Dan Elric

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #47 on: September 17, 2009, 03:19:50 PM »
the art of navigating terrain using your entire body aiming for speed and efficiency using the most direct approach possible.

sounds like a good kick off point to me.

With grammar fixes:

The art of navigating terrain using one's entire body with an intent on speed and efficiency using the most direct approach possible.

The word using was already used once.  To include it again seems redundant and rather unnecessary.  I suggest deleting the bold portions to enable better flow and dispose of needless additions.  My variation:

The art of using (I think utilizing would be a better word choice) one's body to navigate terrain with an intent on speed and efficiency.

I switched the direct object and object of the prep. in the first part of the sentence to improve flow and show importance.  If "navigating terrain" is first then it suggests that navigating the terrain is more important than using one's body.  While they are both integral to parkour, I believe that using one's body is more important.

Offline Corndogg

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #48 on: September 17, 2009, 03:36:33 PM »
Though purely physical definitions neglect both the mental aspect of parkour (philosophy, guiding intent, overcoming mental obstacles etc) as well as the spirit of parkour (community, sharing learnings etc).  Too important to be ignored, and good practices that should be reiterated to and reinforced with newcomers.
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Offline Timothy Chen Allen

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #49 on: September 17, 2009, 03:39:34 PM »
Drill the basics first, and drill them endlessly - general fitness, functional strength and physical conditioning, balance, spatial awareness, creativity, fluidity, silence, control, precision.  Inspire others by doing the same yourself.  Push yourself hard and aim to perfect everything.

This is fantastic!  I'm going to look at my training sessions to see if I am working on all of this.
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Offline Dan Elric

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #50 on: September 17, 2009, 04:03:23 PM »
Though purely physical definitions neglect both the mental aspect of parkour (philosophy, guiding intent, overcoming mental obstacles etc) as well as the spirit of parkour (community, sharing learnings etc).  Too important to be ignored, and good practices that should be reiterated to and reinforced with newcomers.

Our goal is to define parkour.  We can go on to explain it later.  Look in the dictionary and tell me how many definitions you see that are over one sentence.

Offline Zachary Cohn

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #51 on: September 17, 2009, 04:08:30 PM »
The definition should also explain it. If a person sees the word "parkour" and they want to know what it is... this definition should explain it to them. It doesn't need to be comprehensive, it just needs to give them an idea of what it is people are talking about.

Offline Corndogg

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #52 on: September 17, 2009, 04:09:09 PM »
Though purely physical definitions neglect both the mental aspect of parkour (philosophy, guiding intent, overcoming mental obstacles etc) as well as the spirit of parkour (community, sharing learnings etc).  Too important to be ignored, and good practices that should be reiterated to and reinforced with newcomers.

Our goal is to define parkour.  We can go on to explain it later.  Look in the dictionary and tell me how many definitions you see that are over one sentence.


Agreed.  My point being though, is that in a "definition" of parkour, there is more than just the physical aspect.  Yes?
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Offline Dan Elric

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #53 on: September 17, 2009, 04:24:31 PM »
Though purely physical definitions neglect both the mental aspect of parkour (philosophy, guiding intent, overcoming mental obstacles etc) as well as the spirit of parkour (community, sharing learnings etc).  Too important to be ignored, and good practices that should be reiterated to and reinforced with newcomers.

Our goal is to define parkour.  We can go on to explain it later.  Look in the dictionary and tell me how many definitions you see that are over one sentence.

Agreed.  My point being though, is that in a "definition" of parkour, there is more than just the physical aspect.  Yes?

The problem is resolved if we leave out the word physical.  A definition of martial arts does not include the philosophies of it.  I am focusing on the definition (i.e., what would go in a dictionary).  We can certainly include an explanation beneath the definition for those curious and wish to learn more.  I just think we should follow the simple rule of keeping it simple and short without trying to throw everything at the person inquiring about it.  One doesn't try to define mathematics by explaining every little thing deemed important in the subject; it is simply too overwhelming.  With a single simple statement we won't frighten people with this large block of text.  If the person wishes to know more they can keep reading, but by defining it and giving them the general purpose of it we establish that as what everything comes back to.

While our training benefits our mental lives as well as physical, we train for the physical aspect foremost.  The thought starts with overcoming something physical and concrete, then stretches into the world of abstract as we grow as traceurs.

EDIT: The more I think about it the more I want to leave the physical part in.  Without it clarification is lost and the entire definition becomes a bit foggy.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 04:29:24 PM by Daniel Kelley »

Offline Corndogg

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #54 on: September 17, 2009, 04:29:36 PM »
I am focusing on the definition (i.e., what would go in a dictionary). 


I would ask then (to you and everyone reading), is the intent and goal of this exercise simply to come up with a short definition to put into a dictionary, or to create a definition for the general public that is easily understood and educates them on what parkour really is?

My thought is that it's the latter.
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Offline Chris [.5gibbon] Stevenson!

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #55 on: September 17, 2009, 06:14:39 PM »
In the classes I teach and the Seminars I host, I use this expression, as I feel it conveys the physical aspect of the form as well as the mindset we take on, which is equally important. But it's all done in a quick sentence.

Parkour is an art form that trains the body to overcome physical obstacles and teaches the mind to overcome fear and hesitation.


i like this one. there are alot of good ones, but this is short and sweet.
"Be like water making its way through cracks.  Do not be assertive,  but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it." - Bruce Lee

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Offline Adam McC

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #56 on: September 17, 2009, 06:41:40 PM »
And on second thought, change the "hesitation" in my phrase to "mental barriers":

"Parkour is a form of art that trains the body to overcome physical obstacles and teaches the mind to overcome fear and mental barriers."

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Offline Drew H

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #57 on: September 17, 2009, 07:19:00 PM »
No, we will not teach you to flip over girls...  :-Sarcasm

Anyways, I think it's all been said already....
Have you forgotten about the days when we just wanted to rock cause we like it that way?


Offline Andy Keller

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #58 on: September 17, 2009, 08:16:45 PM »
No, we will not teach you to flip over girls...  :-Sarcasm

Who do you mean by "we?"

I might. :P

Sorry, back on topic.

I like Adam's definition. Maybe that could be used for the first line of the description, then it could go into more detail in a following paragra
"Do it, do it well, do it well and fast."

Offline max eisenberg

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Re: Rewrite APK's definition of Parkour: A Collaborative Effort
« Reply #59 on: September 17, 2009, 08:32:42 PM »
any more definitions thrown out there will just be reworded statements of what has been said before. we need to think smarter, not harder.

what exactly do we all deem important enough to include? i feel a need to include the mental and the physical. while it is a physical art the definition cant be taken more serious than "a kid jumping around" unless you include the focus, dedication, mindset and learning how to conquer fear in it...

just my two cents. we want to be taken more serious right? i feel its important we let them know just how serious we are. 


my mind is constantly moving, one day my body will be strong enough to keep up.