Author Topic: 42 and Thinking of Starting Parkour  (Read 3067 times)

Offline Robert Simmons

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42 and Thinking of Starting Parkour
« on: December 05, 2012, 08:07:07 AM »
This last year I made some major changes in my life. I was sitting at 205 pounds and 5'6" and I decided at 41 it was sick of being fat. I decided I needed to lose about 30 pounds but I didn't do anything about it until late july. As I got more into it, I found that indeed I wasn't 30 pounds overweight but more like 65 pounds. As you can see with the attached photo I have made a lot of progress. I am now 152 pounds and I figure I have another 15 pounds to go. What was the magic formula? No diet plans, no diet pills, no radical surgery, I simply started expending more calories that I took in. I eat smaller portions. If I have a piece of cake, I have a smaller one. Regardless I get to the gym nearly every day. And now I am at another point in my life.

I came across the sport of parkour in a number of ways but never knew what it was. I think I first encountered it in the X-Box game Assasin's Creed but I immediately dismissed it as totally fake. Now I know that there are certainly fake things in that game but the cat grab skill, for example, and a lot of the less spectacular stuff is most certainly based on parkour. I also saw it in a number of movies and then a demonstration.

Now I have never been one for jogging as its a bit boring, but I am intrigued by the sport and thinking about starting out by taking some classes. I would never try to leap from building to building or that spectacular insanity as the consequences to my family would be far worse than personal injury or death would be to me. However, what I am interested in is what perhaps we should call the ground game? Obstacles one story or less, vaulting, rolling, landing, and that kind of stuff. In fact its the biomechanical aspects that interest me the most and in order to improve my fitness as well as simply just have some fun. I am an avid hunter and I could definitely use parkour in that pursuit as well.

I have a couple of reservations and that is why I am posting. One is that I am, in fact, nearly 42 and it seems that the majority of people doing parkour are 20 somethings. Even with my weight loss and improvement in fitness I am much older than them. Also, i don't know if this is a failing in me, but I am worried about how I will fit in with the rest of the people in the class given the age gap. I also have some more physical fitness i need to establish. Although I have been weight lifting while losing weight I found, to my astonishment, that I could only do one pull up and four chin ups. I find that what i need to do is do more lifting my body weight and less with other weights. I have purchased a door frame chin up bar and I am using it enough that I am sore as heck today. So clearly I need more strength to do muscleups, cat grabs and so on.

Also there is some body punishment in Parkour that I am concerned about. I am hoping that the techniques in the sport are actually biomechanical in nature rather than simply impact punishment. For example, in Jiu Jitsu, the techniques are more based on biomechanics than strength. You don't execute an arm bar with strength but with joint positioning and using leg muscles against the joint. In parkour I believe, but I am not sure, that the landings and are designed to dispel energy with technique rather than taking punishment.

Anyway, I would appreciate feedback especially from anyone near my age that does or has done this sport.

Thanks for your time.

Offline Dave Hofbauer

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Re: 42 and Thinking of Starting Parkour
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2012, 08:52:47 AM »
Hi Robert,

I am 37 and just started Parkour training this year.  In April, I took some adult gymnastics classes at a local gym and then took a few private lessons with the Parkour coach.  He taught me the basics of moves like rolling, vaulting and precisions.  Like you, I am more interested in the less-flashy, less-risky aspects of the discipline. I have very little experience but, based on my research, Parkour comes in many different flavors and is based on an individual's background and current level of conditioning.  It is about movement from one place to another and overcoming obstacles in that path.  How those obstacles are breached is a matter of one's preference.  And, there seems to be a lot of real-world circumstances where Parkour skills can actually help avoid injury.  For instance, the muscle memory associated with learning to roll properly can save you from a serious potential injury if you fall and your body's natural reaction is to tuck your head and "dispel energy" as you put it across your body in the form of a safety roll.