Author Topic: To Define Freedom  (Read 22673 times)

Offline RhayneD

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To Define Freedom
« on: December 06, 2005, 09:52:48 PM »
To Define Freedom

     In the Parkour arena, there has been a question plaguing me as well as a few others for quite some time. The question pertains to the definition of the very art, sport, philosophy that we all practice. It is often referred to as “the freedom of movement.â€? However, this freedom is constantly defined.

     Is it possible to truly define freedom? Does the concept of freedom have limitations that we must judge and hold ourselves to in the same sense? The word limitation itself, in association with the term freedom, conjures images of the very term ‘freedom’ shackled in chains and constrained. Isn’t this the very thing that we, as traceurs or practitioners, are trying to escape with our very defiance, motivation, action and drive? If this is so, why then, do we give this concept a definition?

     I know that society demands us to define or label. We cannot escape the little check boxes that are forced upon us. However, aren’t these the boxes we fight against? On the other hand, are we only conforming to what society wants yet calling it by another name?

Is Parkour truly about freedom, or the freedom to define?
"Definition is not the grand path. It is understanding that is the true destination." -RGM.
"Forget blood. Parkour runs through MY veins." -RGM

Offline Rafe

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2005, 12:02:12 AM »
Parkour is not about freedom, at least not in the way you think. Its not just messing around and do whatever you please, its not anything you want it to be. Its not freedom of movement or the art of movement, those ideas arose from translation errors. The freedom that is important to parkour is the freedom one gains and feels when are able move through their enviorment without constraint overcoming any obstacles before them. This is attained through training with the mindset specific to parkour.

If you want to practice the freedom of movement go ahead thats your freedom, all we ask is that if you don't focus your practice around the mindset of parkour, don't call what you do parkour. No one is saying that all you should is parkour, I practice all kinds of movement, parkour, gymnastics, martial arts skiing, their all part of my personal quest for freedom of movement. But martial arts and skiing are not parkour, neither is gymnastics.

Your having trouble only because your holding on to inaccurate ideas about what parkour means. You can do whatever you please and have allways been able to. If parkour inspired you good, even if what you do is not parkour. The only problem is that you still want to claim the word that inspired you despite the fact that the founder of the art named parkour has stated that is not what you thought it was. 
I shall not fear, fear is the mind killer the little death that precedes total obliteration

I will face my fear, I will let it pass over and through me and were it is gone, I will turn the inner eye and see its path, and only I will remain.

Offline Skipper

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2005, 06:49:48 AM »
^Correct

People may describe it as free, because they could have taken gymnastics, or diving where you can only do a dive or a move ONE way, no matter your body type to succeed. To only have a goal for the individual body type and level of agility to dictate how you reach that goal feels damn free to them.

But thats just personal experience, it could feel free for other reasons for other people. Another example is the very mindset that is involved. When these techs that you train daily become "thoughtless" and lost in a run of fluidity, it just feels like something took over your body.


Offline Altimot

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2005, 08:30:56 AM »
martial arts skiing

i know you meant to put a comma there but i just thought of it literally for a second, and it was a really funny picture in my head.  :D

Anyway, I think that people get confused with parkour meaning the freedom of movement. I think they get that idea because once you start to practice parkour, you realize, "wow i can do so much more now, if i wanted to i could get on top of that building in a few seconds."  It is kind of like driving, once you start, you realize, "wow i can go so far away from home now without needing a ride. I can go 60 miles away and get back within 2 hours."

I think that more freedom is what you get when you start parkour, the freedom itself isn't parkour, but parkour definitely gives you more freedom. ya get me?  :)

Offline Corndogg

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2005, 10:50:40 AM »
the above 3 speak the troof.  things that hit home for me:

I think that more freedom is what you get when you start parkour, the freedom itself isn't parkour, but parkour definitely gives you more freedom. ya get me?  :)

and pretty much faelcinds whole post.
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Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2005, 11:14:14 AM »
Faelcinds post is great, as is RhayneD's!  I feel that RhayneD is following some misconceptions, but that's nothing to be down on, it's more a chance to learn what's correct, and Faelcind has helped that.

I disagree with one thing Faelcind has said" ..Its not freedom of movement or the art of movement, those ideas arose from translation errors. "

From what I know, "The Art of movement" comes from "L'art Du deplacement" which is a term that was used to describe Parkour, and was never considered "improper" until very recently (last 2-3 years). Therefore, I really don't think that this is "a misconception" ... actually quite the opposite, parkour was termed as "L'Art Du Deplacement" I believe that term was even found on David Belle's own site.
This is one of the "changes" that I feel have occurred right under people's noses but seems to have passed unnoticed by many.

I don't know if someone can validate this quote which is attributed to DB:

Pour David Belle : "L'art du déplacement est une manière utile et harmonieuse de se déplacer dans la nature et le milieu urbain par ses propres moyens. Elle permet au pratiquant de développer des qualités telles que l'agilité, la résistance, la maîtrise et surtout la confiance en soi."


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Offline Asa Liebmann

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2005, 12:29:23 PM »
Yes, those are all "freeing" qualities. Parkour can make you "free-er", but there is no such thing as absolute freedom. We will always (while on the earth) be bound by gravity. No matter how much you train, and advance, we will always be subject to gravity.

If you think defining freedom is "unfree," then you've already decided on a definition of it yourself. Simply capturing "Freedom" in a written word is applying constraints to it.

I'm in a sour mood, sorry if this post reflects it.

Offline Rafe

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2005, 12:49:47 PM »
M2 thats the mistranslation, parkour is le Arte'Du Deplacement. Le Arte Du Deplacement is not the art of movement. That's were the misunderstanding arose, deplacement implies forward movement. I think much of the misunderstanding about parkour can be traced to that translation error, the art of movement is open ended it encompasses everthing, le art du deplacement is not open ended and it implies the mindset of forward progression that is integral to parkour. As a contrast I beleive deplacement was translated in german as Fortbewegung. Which is translates very closely to forward movement.

Granted I don't speak french or german this is simply how it has been explained to me by people who do. 
I shall not fear, fear is the mind killer the little death that precedes total obliteration

I will face my fear, I will let it pass over and through me and were it is gone, I will turn the inner eye and see its path, and only I will remain.

Offline RhayneD

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2005, 02:08:02 PM »
Thank you all for your insight. I guess many of you are right in that I have been following the wrong concept of parkour. However, I can say that I came onto the scene when the 'war' between the PK purists and freestylers was beyond raging. I also arrived with UF as the ultimate authority on parkour. It was hard to find meaning in a community that fought over what that meaning truly was.

Having said that, I get a sense of what the lot of you mean. Faelcind, you have a very strong point about parkour not being "just messing around." I have seen that for myself in others as we trained and this is where the questions sparked. I can imagine we are supposed to construct our own inner meaning of parkour coupled with the philosophy as well.

M2, thanks. I feel this is the only place I can ask the questions that I have to get true responses and not get ridiculed for doing so.  :)

Pistol, you have a good point as well. I never thought about it that way. To try and 'undefine' is doing just that, defining just the same.

Thanks again everyone. I'm off to do some more pondering while I train inside  ;D
"Definition is not the grand path. It is understanding that is the true destination." -RGM.
"Forget blood. Parkour runs through MY veins." -RGM

Offline Rafe

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2005, 02:49:30 PM »
Your more then welcome RhayneD. Its good to see that your open to hearing other peoples points of veiw. I myself thought I was doing parkour for months before I ever began to realize what it truly meant, and I asked allot of the same questions. I think lots of us did. Enjoy your training and pondering I hope you come to deeper personal understanding both of parkour and whatever your own personal goals are.
I shall not fear, fear is the mind killer the little death that precedes total obliteration

I will face my fear, I will let it pass over and through me and were it is gone, I will turn the inner eye and see its path, and only I will remain.

Offline Skipper

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2005, 02:52:10 PM »
Pondering is totally parkour!  ;D

This place was made for learning, and thats just what youll do.... because one of these days our knowledge is going to walk all over you.
dont hesitate to ask, all youll get is truth here  ;) Thanks for the question!

And its true, all it takes is time before you realize what parkour is first hand. its the only way to truly know what its all about. Just train and train, and one day itll just hit you, the morals youve gained, the focus you posess... itll fall into your lap if youre patient enough!

Offline Bachelarius

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2005, 02:53:05 PM »
Deplacement surprisingly enough means displacement. And yes it does make sense, if you think about the mathematical meaning of the word: the shortest possible route there are many types, other than the straight line one

e.g. circular displacement (amount moved in an arc)

It's wierd that most (english speaking?) people with no mathematical background have a lot of misconceptions about that word.
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Offline Rafe

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2005, 03:15:33 PM »
I don't think displacement is perfect translation for deplacement. The first meaning I get in my dictionary is the moving or movement of something from its usual or correct place. The mathamatical denotation is close to what deeplacement conveys I think but the common connonations of the word prevent from being a good translation in my opinion.
I shall not fear, fear is the mind killer the little death that precedes total obliteration

I will face my fear, I will let it pass over and through me and were it is gone, I will turn the inner eye and see its path, and only I will remain.

Offline Gareth EE Field

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2005, 04:46:23 PM »
There are only a few cases where the word in french can sound like a word in english and not mean the same exact thing, be a false friend. This isn't one of those times.

Funnily enough, we're in the Freedom unit in philosophy right now :) We've come to the general natural law consensus that to have more power over your life is to have more freedom, and you can only be more and less free. Unless you're a relatavist and you say that you're only not free because you believe you aren't. Free your mind, Neo. Or you can follow Rousseau and say that all this parital association is a bunch of bullcrap, which is ironic. Ummm ... yea. Pk4life, don't worry whether you're totally free. You'll know when you get there.

NOW DOWN AND GIVE ME 50!

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Offline RhayneD

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2005, 06:40:04 PM »
Quote
Pk4life, don't worry whether you're totally free. You'll know when you get there.

Twitchkidd, nicely said!
"Definition is not the grand path. It is understanding that is the true destination." -RGM.
"Forget blood. Parkour runs through MY veins." -RGM

Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2005, 07:26:41 PM »
Actually, "forward movement" is the misunderstanding. Whether in French or English, the concept of displacement is the same, and it only means to be in a different place, or more accurately for this usage "to have moved".

Faelcind I'm not sure what you mean by "that's the mistranslation" ... that's what the word means, unless I'm misunderstanding you now?

Perhaps we can assume that someone meant "forward movement" when they said "L'Art Du Deplacement", however Parkour itself and David's words from what I can tell don't actually specify forward. This is a point I have "argued" several times, with nobody ever giving me a convincing "other side to the argument. From what David says, many things including climbing could be part of Parkour, climbing would be "upward movement", hanging isn't necessarily movement at all yet there is an original French term for it.

The problem i run into is that Displacement or Deplacement actually specifies NET movement. In other words, if you move 3 blocks north, then 3 blocks south, your movement is 6 blocks, your displacement is 0. Therefore I find it an inadequate term for Parkour, because I could easily do a run where I go three blocks east, three blocks south, three blocks west, three blocks north. Displacement = 0.

From Dictionary.com:
A vector or the magnitude of a vector from the initial position to a subsequent position assumed by a body.

In other words, if the original position and the final position are the same, no displacement.
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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2005, 08:13:45 PM »
I'm really glad we have M2 around.

Offline Skipper

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2005, 08:31:54 PM »
hey hey, take it to the "M2 appreciation thread" buddy 8)

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2005, 11:09:57 PM »
Danno to the rescue.. lol

Pour David Belle : "L'art du déplacement est une manière utile et harmonieuse de se déplacer dans la nature et le milieu urbain par ses propres moyens. Elle permet au pratiquant de développer des qualités telles que l'agilité, la résistance, la maîtrise et surtout la confiance en soi."

"The art of displacement is a useful and harmonious way of displacing in nature and the urban environment your way. It permits the participant to develop the qualities of agility, resistance, control and especially confidence in yourself."

Quote from: M2
"The Art of movement" comes from "L'art Du deplacement"
Thats an improper translation. Ive never seen it called the art of movement by anyone in the David Belle camp... Thats a phrase I think that started on UF. Just like "Freedom of Movement".. *shivers*

Parkour is forward movement, its always been. Déplacement is forward movement. David says himself.... 'To always move forward, no matter what the direction, just always forward.'

Parkour can be climbing straight up. It could be going up something just to have to come back down on the other side if thats the case. Go where your eyes take you going on the quickest route to where you have to get to. Thats forward when it comes to Parkour. 'I have to get THERE, how do I get there, I move forward, over that, around that, up that, down that, I move forward to my destination'.

Its ... just forward. A to B type stuff. Almost like a vector. But a Parkour run is filled with many vectors. Lets break it up simple if we want to use the whole vector analogy... Take the 'man-power jump' as they call it, the one he does again in b13 and drops the 4 stories. The first vector (forward movement) is over the gap to a roll on the other side, then its down the 3 things. The total shape is something like a C, and it would have been a better vector to just drop the 60 feet right away to the floor, but that was impossible... So he made 2 vectors instead to get there. He always moved fast, and he took the most effiencient path for both those other vectors.... hence parkour.

People forget sometimes that Parkour for me, or my most efficient path, is NOT going to be the same as someone elses. I wouldnt do that 'man-power jump'... So I would have to go down the side of that building in Evry to the other one behind it, and make a totally different, longer route towards the end goal on the floor. Both shapes are different, yet, both are trying to get as fast as we can do that goal... So both are Parkour.

Understandable? Id hope so...

PS! I hate how it doesnt "word wrap" posts .. This whole scrolling nonsense is silly.

Edit.. Read more...

A city block square type deal would be defeating the purpose of Parkour. I would have to call it Parkour training.
Why?
Because if your just going to end up in the same place you started, although you have gone forward, and displaced like in which case the definition fits Parkour... The purpose is wrong. Escape/Reach/Be Useful/Have a goal... Your not really doing any of that.
Great training, real world though... Not really.

Parkour is like a subway system.. but.. Unlimited stops... Unlimited channels.
You always ride the subway forward.
It always brings you somewhere.. beyond where you started.
After it has, you then come home.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2005, 12:19:27 PM by Parkourdan »

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Re: To Define Freedom
« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2005, 11:32:45 PM »
Faelcind asked me to add a couple things.
Thanks to him for pointing this thread out to me as well.

1. Its not a direct translation to the vector displacement youd find in math.
Almost everything you see in the videos, or on the net has a french flavour,
slangness, or something to it. You cant take everything 100% literal..
Language barrier like usual... and Americans always want to fight about things,
which makes it worse! .. =P

2. Art Du Déplacement is still used... Just not as much.
The Yam use it too, so PARKOUR is the preffered word and is more 'David's'.
I think that should sum it up enough... atleast for people who know somethings about that.

As always ask away if you need more.