Author Topic: Senior Paper - Parkour!  (Read 5051 times)

Offline Ryan

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Re: Senior Paper - Parkour!
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2010, 03:42:45 PM »
Yes, I always double check my citations, and I'm constantly editing them. And I'll definitely ask if there's any problems that come up! Thanks!

Offline Ryan

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Re: Senior Paper - Parkour!
« Reply #21 on: January 20, 2010, 08:28:36 AM »
If i did the interview over the phone I would record it so I could refer back to in when I was writing the paper, and for general tidyness, if there was something I missed or whatever.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Senior Paper - Parkour!
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2010, 07:23:37 PM »
Great news! The paper's almost finished, and I'll have it up very soon. Once I've finished editing and getting some peer edit.

Steez

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Re: Senior Paper - Parkour!
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2010, 11:45:15 PM »
I wrote a 16 page term paper for fall 08 semester on Parkour as a performative critique of social norms concerning movement in public spaces.  I didn't have room to discuss freerunning vs. parkour, and I wrote this before Dan's book was available.  If you'd like (sounds like you're already almost done..), pm me and I'll email it to you or something.  There are a few citations that you might find useful, and maybe an idea or two as well. 

Offline Ryan

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Re: Senior Paper - Parkour!
« Reply #24 on: February 11, 2010, 08:12:37 AM »
yeah It's completed, though I'd love to read yours!

Offline Ryan

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Re: Senior Paper - Parkour!
« Reply #25 on: February 11, 2010, 08:49:44 AM »
Here is the finished product, feel free to critique and comment:

The Art Of Movement
            “At first glance, parkour seems to be in the same category as skateboarding, snowboarding, and other action sports that seem to attract the attention of adolescents (boys in particular). And given parkour's relative youth compared to other physical pursuits, it's understandable that parents would be hesitant about supporting their children's interests in parkour. Why not something safe, like soccer or hockey(20)?”  Safe is relative, I also play soccer, and have been hurt many more times, and more seriously while playing or practicing soccer.  Parkour, contrary to what it looks like, is a very safe discipline if you train in the correct way, and it is not acrobatics, tricking, stunts, or reckless activity(27).  Training for Parkour is incremented and purposeful, only doing what one is capable of and not attempting any movements that one is not ready for, with a slow progression(8).  Train to your full potential, but don't over-exceed your boundaries.
            Parkour originated in France in the mid 80s, through the development of a group of people, headed by David Belle. There are many benefits to be gained from Parkour, some of the body, and some of the mind. It is a great motivator and can be used in life when presented with obstacles, to find a way to overcome them by the best means.
            As a child I, like most children, liked to run, jump, and climb on the playground. That has carried over into my current life, where I am still physically active with sports, and now, with Parkour. I found myself jumping onto objects needlessly and only for the fun of it. Until I found Parkour, my movement had no purpose. Parkour is a discipline that gives me a direction for my physical activities and provides a philosophy that I can
live by. It is a freedom of expression in physical manifestation that is spreading throughout the world.
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Parkour and Me
Throughout my life, I have been very active outdoors, with different sports and hobbies like camping and soccer.  I always enjoy putting myself to work in some way or another and it has always been a great satisfaction knowing you did something meaningful for your health but had fun at the same time.  Parkour allows me to apply physical movement towards overcoming mental obstacles as well.
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Parkour History
            Parkour as we know it today did not appear suddenly in the world, and the foundation of what Parkour is can be traced back to ancient times when our mode of survival was movement through our environment. Called by many names, this way of movement is nothing new to the human race; it has only been re-discovered and re-applied to an urban environment. Modern Parkour started in France, with a group called the "Yamakasi," which means 'strong man, strong spirit,' in the African Lingala language(12). The Yamakasi called their way, "L'Art du Deplacment" and the group included people such as David Belle and Yann Hnautra. They were working on their own, alone in the development of a new discipline.
   David Belle's father, Raymond Belle, was a fireman who applied George Hébert ‘s Natural Method to his own life and work. George Hébert was a French Naval officer who developed the Natural Method for military training(3). He introduced his son to the
Natural Method, which instilled a mindset of self-improvement(12) which is one of the core beliefs in Parkour today. In the beginning, the Yamakasi were just a group of kids, but as they aged, their discipline became more refined and eventually, they started having set types of movements and developing themselves to a greater level(12).
   When a couple of the members of the Yamakasi made a film documentary, "Jump London," it created a rift in the core beliefs of the discipline. Some believed that there should not have to have the 'restriction' of efficiency of movement, and that there should be some freedom to do what you wanted with it.  The term "Freerunning" was coined during the filming of Jump London(12), as common translation of Le Parkour to English, but became associated with the more acrobatic-oriented activity.
   Parkour is inherently a visually stunning activity, and the its spread across the globe was inevitable, although it may not have been in the way that the originators had intended. David Belle especially believes that it is spreading in the wrong way. "It frustrates me because public perception hasn't been evolving as fast as Parkour itself has(7)." The way Parkour has spread in the US is completely different than it had in Europe, here in the US we found these videos online, and many of us attempted to imitate the movements performed in these videos. This is not the way, and because of the popularity of YouTube and the American "go big or go home" mentality there are an increasing number of injuries attributed to Parkour and Freerunning. Danny Ilabaca mentions “I don’t do it to show off.(4)”
    Still relatively young, with the most experienced practitioners in their 30s, Parkour is still evolving and will see more progression in the future. "...Parkour is here to stay; it isn't going anywhere. Or rather it's going everywhere(12)."
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Physical Aspects
When taking part in any physical activity, one will gain physical fitness because of it. When one uses their body, it becomes the tool to the end that they’re trying to achieve, be it to be more fit or to play a sport better. Women’s Adventure magazine states that, “Training for Parkour can increase endurance for almost any sport.” To get to any point, there are steps that one needs to take to get to a goal.  Parkour is about self-improvement, of the mind as well as the body.
   A large part of training for Parkour is conditioning, which includes performing bodyweight exercises or using weights to improve muscle mass and connecting tissues before starting to attempt different Parkour movements.  It is important to be strong of body before attempting any Parkour training. Slow progression of training is key to doing Parkour safely, and a serious practitioner should never try anything outside their abilities. Safety is the most important aspect of Parkour(2). There are some movements that are considered dangerous, like roof jumps and large drops. These are dangerous, but experienced practitioners who attempt these have been training and conditioning for years to build up their body to take that kind of landing, and to have the technique to roll out of the landing safely. “The way to avoid this danger is to build up to each challenge incrementally and gradually(11).” These ‘superhuman’ feats that we see practitioners do are not necessarily superhuman, they are well within the human potential, it just that no one challenges themselves enough(10).
When attempting new movements, such as a wide precision jump or a new vault, it is important to think of the progression. One should not just try to do something; there
are body positions, foot placements, mental preparations, and many other things to consider before actually attempting a movement. When one actually starts to attempt the movement, it should be broken down into individual steps that can be practiced individually and then together to form one continuous movement, which is what Parkour is about.
The way one lives their life defines how they will be, the product of your environment(9). While “working out” may help one increase theirs fitness, that is not Parkour. Parkour is a lifestyle, and is so much more beneficial than just working out because it removes the linear isolation of weight machines and promotes holistic use of the body(9).
“The physical aim of Parkour is to be as functionally fit, string, and capable for as long as possible in life…(9).” Functionally fit involves being able to move with speed control, and coordination at all times(9). To be functionally for as long as possible is a tall task, and as we age there needs to be a motivator to keep us going. Parkour has the physical movements to achieve that, along with the mentality to sustain it.
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Mental Aspects and the Parkour Philosophy
   The way people move through life defines who they are, and how others think of them.  Parkour practitioners move through life with a purpose, both when training for Parkour, and in their everyday life. Parkour may be about moving the body, but it starts with the practitioners’ mindset and why they choose to move themselves.
   “Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle in one’s path by adapting one’s movements to the environment(26).” This requires many physical
attributes, as previously discussed, but also mental attributes. When training, one must believe that what they are doing is for a greater purpose rather than just jumping or climbing from one thing to another, they must be focused.
   Parkour defies social norms, and challenges the original design of objects and buildings. When one has been practicing Parkour, or training for Parkour in different areas, one develops ‘Parkour Vision.’ This ‘vision’ is an altered way of seeing one’s environment, “Walls, railings, buildings, barriers… structures of every shape and size cease to bee seen as they were intended to be seen and become, instead, components of a vast almost limitless playground(9).” Now when one is walking around places that they’ve seen before, they see so much more than what they ever could have imagined before. I can relate this to my own life, in that when I started training for Parkour, walking around town, or through school, there was just so much that I see now as an opportunity that before would have been a barrier, or an obstacle.
   Parkour engrains the concept of gradualism into practitioners, which is taking things slowly and working up to your own potential.  When a practitioner trains, they should focus on basics, making sure that they have complete proficiency before moving on to more difficult movements, and even then drilling the basics every once in a while to make sure that they still have them mastered.
   Something else that one learns while training for Parkour is goal-setting(20).  When one starts out in training they should have goals in mind, goals to better themselves and constantly work towards a new goal once a previous goal has been reached.  Within the Parkour community, one finds many people to help them with setting and keeping
goals, with encouragement and resources.  Learning to be part of a community can help
anyone in life, whatever one is doing.
   The primeval concept of Parkour is finding the most efficient path and maneuvering one’s body through it.  That path is not always clear though, and to help us in those situations to figure out what Parkour is, there is a simple analogy, imagine an emergency situation where one has to flee from someone or something or one need to get to someone,  demonstrates in your mind what it means to actually “do” Parkour(18).  In most situations the most efficient path would be to simply run around obstacles, rather than jumping between or vaulting obstacles(14).  Practitioners train with inefficiency and repetitiveness that has no direct application to having an efficient path, but the purpose of ‘training inefficiency’ is that one becomes more aware of opportunities in the environment and thus allows for the best path to be chosen when the need arises.
   The way Parkour is seen by the practitioner, is what sets it apart from just the empty shell of mindless physical activity(18). “First you need a toned mind, then you need a toned body, and then a body that has basic knowledge of how to do [movements] without injuring yourself(1).” Mental stability and focus should come before any physical preparation is made, otherwise the wrong type of training will result, and therefore the mentality of the practitioner is one of the most important things in Parkour.
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Freerunning Vs Parkour
   There is a wide-spread belief in the media and in public opinion that Parkour and Freerunning are the same thing.  This is not true, they are similar, but different at the same time on a philosophical level.  While one may be both a freerunner or a traceur,
depending on the situation, there are major differences in how one thinks when moving through the environment.
   Parkour is about the efficient traversal of the environment using many types of movements.  Movements incorporated in Parkour focus on the “best” way of getting around, over, under, or through an obstacle.  Some of the core concepts of Parkour include: running, jumping, climbing, balance, stealth, and touch or sensitivity(9). Basic movements include: wall runs, tic tacs, rolls, various vaults, underbars, and cat leaps(23).  The most important movement in Parkour is the roll, which allows the practitioner to drop from heights and dissipate the energy through the ground, and remain safe. It is important to practice rolls from both sides and the rear, not just the front(15), so that when one is faced with a situation where they need to roll, no matter how they happen to be oriented, they can perform the roll safely. The roll is the most important because when something goes wrong, one needs to know how to react to it and keep themselves safe.
   When Freerunning and Parkour were being developed, there was a rift that formed between practitioners about philosophies.  Freerunning allows for more freedom of expression in movement, releasing the practitioner from the restriction of efficiency as a mindset.  Freerunning movements are the same as those in Parkour, but allow for acrobatics which are not part of Parkour: flips, handsprings, and “tricking.”
   It is important to know that Parkour and Freerunning are very similar, and while I have mentioned specific movements, that is not what they are about. Both disciplines are about linking movements together, and flowing from one place to the next seamlessly, not just performing a different moves when one meets a different obstacles.
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Misconceptions
   Parkour is hard to categorize, and is often miscategorized as a sport(17). Some may even place it with extreme sports, but Parkour is nothing like that and has more similarities in philosophy with disciplines such as martial arts(8).  Some say Parkour looks dangerous, and to some extent, it is, but so are many other activities where injuries are more apparent. Parkour has a similar injury rate to action sports like skateboarding and motocross(8), and this could be much lower if practitioners trained smart and prepared themselves correctly.
   When you see YouTube videos of traceurs jumping off of buildings and other large stunts, either they have been training for years to work up to that point, or they don’t know what they’re doing and are going to end up hurt. “Understand the difference between serious practitioners and those who are just interested in making a good YouTube video(20).”  Understanding this difference is paramount in one’s own training. Serious Parkour practitioners will train at ground level, and not on rooftops(20).  Again the concept of progression applies here, and one needs to be able to jump off of something two feet tall consistently without error before they can move on to three feet, and so on.
   Progress at your own rate, safely and slowly(20),  it is about you, the lone person.  Parkour is non-competitve; Parkour is not about showing off, nor is it about performing stunts, or reckless or senseless jumping off high objects for no reason(27). There is a purpose to the movement, and as Dan Edwardes says, “…Move is what traceurs do.”   
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For Everybody?
Parkour is developing very quickly in the world, through the internet and word of mouth, and  there is still some misunderstanding with many people who are not practitioners that believe Parkour and Freerunning are the same thing, or that it’s about jumping from rooftops, this is not the case. Parkour is about the art of movement, the efficiency of how one moves their body, and about how you can overcome obstacles in your life through mental and physical self-improvement. Almost anyone can do Parkour, though it is not for the weak. “’I want to learn Parkour, but go easy on me, I don’t want to push too much,’ well go do something else(7).” Says David Belle, and it makes sense, because nothing is for everyone and everyone can’t do everything.  It’s not an extreme sport, though the media is trying to market it like that.  Parkour provides many benefits to mind and body, allowing one to be free and discover themselves deeply. I have myself, and I hope that many others can also.

Works Cited
1. Armstrong, Luke. "Parkour: Maximizing Body and Mind: Overcoming Physical Obstacles as a Means to Empowering the Self." Personal Development. 3 June 2008. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://personaldevelopment.suite101.com/article.cfm/parkour_maximizing_body_and_mind>.
2. Beauregard, Lance Cpl. Justis T. "OFFICIAL SITE - News Article 175." MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR. 23 Jan. 2009. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.miramar.usmc.mil/newspage175.htm>.
3. Brown, Neill. "The Art of Displacement." Parkour Generations | Training, Resources and Community. 2009. Web. 11 Jan. 2010. <http://www.parkourgenerations.com/articles.php?id_cat=2&idart=21>.
4. Choose Not To Fall. Dir. Matthew Marsh. Perf. Daniel ILabaca. 63 Productions. 2009. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.63productions.co.uk/film_pages/choose.html>.
5. Christensen, Krisan. "Try This:The World is Your Playground." Women's Adventure. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.womensadventuremagazine.com/features/article-index/april-09/try-this/>.
6. "Danger and Parkour." American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 7 Dec. 2005. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/208/378/>.
7. "David Belle Interview." Interview. American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 5 Jan. 2010. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/4895/378/>.
8. E:60 Parkour. Perf. Ryan Ford. ESPN Video. ESPN, 6 Nov. 2007. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=3097213>.
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13. Edwardes, Dan. "The Discipline." Urban Freeflow ® Official Worldwide Freerun/Parkour. 26 Dec. 2008. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.urbanfreeflow.com/2008/12/26/the-discipline/#more-1734>.
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16. Graves, Travis. "Parkour Mindsets." American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 23 Dec. 2007. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/1666/378/>.
17. Mai, Jeffy. "Students on campus are mastering Parkour, an art of self-awareness and body control." The Lantern. 14 Apr. 2008. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.thelantern.com/2.1347/students-on-campus-are-mastering-parkour-an-art-of-self-awareness-and-body-control-1.74990>.
18. "Movement within a Mindset." American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 4 Jan. 2006. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/294/378/>.
19. Noble, Travis. "Fear in Parkour - A Practical Guide." American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 27 Jan. 2008. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/1789/378/>.
20. "A Parent's Guide to Parkour." American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 01 Feb. 2009. Web. 15 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/3499/378/>.
21. "Parkour Investigated In Teen's Death." KRCA.com. KRCA, 2 Nov. 2009. Web. 11 Jan. 2010. <http://www.kcra.com/news/21503335/detail.html>.
22. "Parkour Is... A Philisophical Look." American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 1 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/4496/406/>.
23. Point B. Dir. Michael Alosi. Point B movie. 2009. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://pointbmovie.com/>.
24. Rawe, Julie. "Student Stuntmen." Time. Time, 5 Apr. 2007. Web. 11 Jan. 2010. <http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1607235-2,00.html>.
25. Tucker, Kyle. "Parkour." The Pulse Magazine. Sept. 2006. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.thepulsemag.com/wordpress/2006/08/parkour>.
26. "What is Parkour?" American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 12 Oct. 2009. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/221/417/>.
27. "What isn't Parkour?" American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Connect. 11 Dec. 2005. Web. 01 Feb. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/223/417/>.
28. Wilkinson, Alec. "No Obstacles." The New Yorker. 16 Apr. 2007. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/16/070416fa_fact_wilkinson>.
29. Woody, Jesse. "Greater than the Sum of its Parts." American Parkour - Parkour and Freerunning - Home. 06 Nov. 2005. Web. 15 Jan. 2010. <http://www.americanparkour.com/content/view/78/406/>.