Author Topic: Parkour Bushido  (Read 4048 times)

Offline Mark Toorock

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Parkour Bushido
« on: August 26, 2011, 05:19:20 AM »
We talk about be strong to be useful.
We talk about self-improvement.
We speak of being better citizens through leave no trace and our general attitude.

Is it reflected in our every day lives?

How are we perceived? How do we actually represent ourselves from an objective 3rd party view?

Are you polite to everyone when you train?

Do you move aside and allow pedestrians right of way?

Do you avoid high-traffic areas to not interfere with others' rights to the quiet and peaceful enjoyment of a space?


Even in our own space - Is it reflected in our treatment of our own training companions in these forums?  Do you take time and care for spelling and punctuation to get your point across intelligently to other practitioners from whom you are seeking help, advice, comradery?


In other words, how do you carry yourself overall? Can you be seen as not only a competent or practicing traceur, but also as a polite, friendly, and educated person?

What is the Bushido of Parkour?
Be Useful.
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Offline Chris Seaton

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2011, 06:57:32 AM »
This is going to take some severe time and thought just to see if I can elaborate further on it, M2, but for the time being I think you pretty much nailed it on the head.

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Offline Stevie Leifheit

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2011, 07:16:28 AM »
Bushido was originated by the samurai, correct?


Its basic definitions is: "...Bushidō, then, is the code of moral principles which the samurai were required or instructed to observe... More frequently it is a code unuttered and unwritten... It was an organic growth of decades and centuries of military career."


Obviously we can't require people to follow a certain code of conduct as practitioners. It's always great to spread the word and encourage good and polite behavior, but we can only hope people choose this type of conduct for themselves.

Quote from: M2
What is the Bushido of Parkour?

Would it aid the discussion to make a rough draft or "basic definition" for Bushido in the parkour world? I realize that the original context of Bushido was "frequently unwritten", but for the purpose of the discussion it might help. We could listen to how people incorporate their version of Bushido into their own lives and try to mold the definition around this.

I don't actually want a set definition, it might help form the basic concept in some people's minds though. 


Great topic BTW, Mark!
« Last Edit: August 26, 2011, 07:25:26 AM by Stevie Leifheit »
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Offline Ryan Sannar

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2011, 08:51:58 AM »
As someone who grew up in Japan and feels that I have an understanding of Japanese culture I'd like to throw my bit in and hopefully clarify what Mark is talking about. Though you are correct about the Bushido being a code of ethics and about it being very rigidly defined it can be explained in a sense by calling it Japanese Chivalry. This "Code of Conduct" evolved from a simple code to a cultural obligation, and moral expectation and a basic way of life.

One way to explain it would be to have different men from the "West" explain what being a Gentleman is. This will differ to small and large degrees from person to person. Some would say that opening a door for a Lady would be considered Gentlemanly others would say that always being honest no matter what, but that the physical action of opening a door doesn't make you a Gentleman. Some will be learning how to be and may only know the rules. Others understand the spirit of the law which doesn't necessarily require certain actions.

In this sense a Gentleman could be defined as someone who wears a suit and has a hankerchief, who opens doors for women and always carries a ladies luggage. Or you could define a gentleman as the 70 year old grizzled senior who wears wife beaters and sits on his porch smoking his pipe at nights, who treats his wife with respect.

These two different men have vastly different appearances and possibly differing opinions about what chivalry is.
In many ways the Japanese code of Bushido is similar, though infinitely more subtle.  The way my father liked to explain it is that their religion is their culture and visa versa. So to act a certain way was unacceptable and was frowned upon, as honor is seen as one of the most important things to aspire for, receive and keep in this life.

So kind of as a rambling way to say this. I think Mark is talking about the subtle spirit of parkour rather than a code of ethics and moralities that is set in stone.
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Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2011, 09:48:42 AM »
+1 Ryan

Yes, I do not think we need a printed list of commandments, but rather a mutual understanding of what respect means and a mutual wish to present ourselves as chivalrous :)

I feel my list of "questions" pretty much outlines the spirit of what I'm driving at, and that people's answers and further discussion will hopefully reveal very practical ways this can be applied.
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Every person has a choice - live by your fears or live by your dreams

Offline Jordan Strybos

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2011, 02:05:46 PM »
Agreed, great topic, Mark.

I don't really think that there should be anything official (i.e. a page on the main site linking to a list of ideas/questions to live your life by) to represent this set of ideas. What I'm trying to say is, this shouldn't necessarily be a list of things to follow in order to truly practice parkour. The mentality and ideas presented in a bushido for parkour should be something that a traceur/traceuse naturally and instinctually incorporates into his/her life. In other words, the ideas that govern parkour should lead the practitioner towards a more holistic lifestyle, a lifestyle that incorporates the kind of morals that you're outlining in your questions.

Offline Brendan McEntee

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2011, 03:38:33 PM »
I think that eventually we should try to create some kind of page where we can show people the ideals towards which we as a community are striving. Not to say "we're better than you", but to show people what we are about. Along what M2 was saying, I think we should be trying to tell people what parkour and this community are about, and display the kinds of behaviors that he wrote about in our training and everyday lives.

What good is it to the community if people are only polite during their training?

We should try as a community to examine ourselves and try to be the people we want other people to think we are.

Offline kalinflip

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2011, 03:56:58 PM »
in my everyday life i am a very polite person a gentlemen maybe,but when i train i am just to nice i rarely get time to train because i am talking to the bystander that want to no what i am doing where my parent is and i take the time to carefully explain what it is. hope i anwsered the right question
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Offline Ian Want

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2011, 06:07:06 PM »
I like to think that the bulk of my crew/team including myself, practice a parkour mentality in every day life. I suppose when I truly look at myself from the outside I think I can do alot better. I suppose I could be less forceful with my team when it comes to upholding a code, and replace that with a more supportive approach.

When my friends and I get together and its just us, we are a lot harder on each other as well. We make a little meaner jokes, expect more from each other in our movements, and are more of a "boys club" for lack of a better phrase.

I suppose I can see where I need to change.

Offline Vagabond

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2011, 09:27:19 PM »
Being that is was a code unuttered and Unwritten it is not what Inazo Nitobe described on his book.  His application was fusion of Christian principlas and morals on what was, as Ryan stated, the Cultural requirements expected of Samurai.  I think there is already a common though, such as the philosophies of the founders, etc.  However Parkour is too diverse to make sure everyone follows a basic guidlines, even to the degree of respecting the law (unfortunately).  For that to exist it would have to be for the specific clan/group/crew.

Also as Bushido is the way of the warrior, I hardly consider traceurs warriors when compared to samurai or soldiers.  Maybe Traceur-Do (way of the Traceur), but like I said parkour and freerunning attract too diverse a population to set any type of code.  Even for those who say always improve and grow is the philosophy, there are those who jsut like the feeling of practicing, and do not seek growth.  My thoughts would be, spend some time practicing, figure out what it means to you, write it down, discuss it, figure it out again, practice it and you will attract like minded individuals.  Some things we just have to figure out ourselve, and sometimes it takes a long time of 'aimless' wandering and practice before you get it.  Then at the last moment it can all change.
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Offline Brendan McEntee

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2011, 04:28:34 AM »
that's not to say we shouldn't be challenging each other though. On the contrary, if we didn't constantly push ourselves and each other to become better, the community would stagnate. That, I think, would be one of the worst things possible for parkour. We just have to be careful about how we challenge each other, making sure it isn't mean spirited.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 09:37:54 PM by Brendan McEntee »

Offline Vagabond

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2011, 05:09:10 AM »
Challenging each other, boosting moral, and things of that ilk are all good and fine, but they are far far from what Bushido was suppose to be.
I still feel that what we are talking about is more of a microscale group motif rather than a macroscale motif for say APK.  None-the-less there will be a common thought pattern found amongst most traceurs.  We have a lot of people growing, and striving to push each other and themselves forward.  We also have a lot of people just trying to show off, kind of like joining the football team to be attractive.  If there is anything that we should all strive for in parkour it would have to be fairly vague.  My vote goes to "Take the time and figure your way of movement".
I base this on my agreement with Daniel Ilabaca's current mode of thought being that there are a lot of ghosts out there.  People just making mash ups of cool moves with no real purpose or art to the video.  For me it seems to be taking the route that KArate had taken (Going from a Budo to a sport).  So this is in fact a great topic, because I think we need to find the Do (the proper way of something) of parkour.  I just think it'll be a bit different for each of us.
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Offline Kyle McGowan

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2011, 06:27:05 PM »
I think that Bushido, in Parkour, is an understanding that everything in this world has its place and as traceurs/ tracuses, we need to develop a respect for that fact, as it links everyone and everything together.

We develop a respect for the environment around us, the pedestrians looking on in curiosity, obstacles themselves, etc. Leave No Trace has done a wonderful job driving the concept of our relationship with our environment, that we use the world around us as our training facility, and as such, there should be a desire to take care of it. Nobody takes a piss in their kitchen, because we understand that where we eat and prepare our food is closely linked to our well being. This understanding of a relationship ultimately brings us to respect our environment and want to maintain it.

We find that the obstacles used in our training, because any obstacle comes with an inherit challenge and risk, share a relationship with our progress and well being. It's a respect for this fact that drives us traceurs/ tracuses to check surfaces for any debris, water, and the condition of the obstacle before actually engaging with it. This is also what pushes us to constantly train movements with the obstacle; we repeat the movement until we can't get it wrong. Neglecting to respect the obstacles that we train with leads us towards an inevitable danger. We take the time to make sure rails aren't dripping or to see what is on the other side of that wall because we respect the relationship that each and every obstacle has with our well being.

There, too, exists a relationship between practitioners of Parkour and non-practitioners. Non-practitioners can include the girl on her cell phone who is standing right were we want to jump to, the curious guy who asks why we do this, or the mother who was talked into driving her son half way across the state for a jam. As practitioners, we need to develop a respect for the relationship with non-practitioners. Practitioners affect how non-practitioners view Parkour and the Parkour community and non-practitioners affect how Parkour will be welcomed by the rest of the world.

I could go on about the various relationships that are seen between traceurs/ tracuses and the rest of the world, but the list would be endless.

So basically, I believe that the Bushido of Parkour is an understanding that everything is connected and that we need to develop a respect for the impact that we have on the rest of the world and the impact that it has on us.

Also, I think it's noteworthy (although obvious) that more experienced members of the community have a great deal of influence on the younger members, and as such, should play an active role in trying to develop this understanding in others. I didn't really take Leave No Trace to heart until I met a certain individual who did.
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Offline Ryan Sannar

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2011, 11:08:30 PM »
@Kyle I think we're looking for something a tad more direct than that though. It seems to me like what you said in a round about way is that we should be better people. Which I totally agree with, but I think that some basic ideals (in place of tenants) should be set forward. Something that we explain with verbs rather than adjectives (we don't try to define the ideal, but rather suppose or re-tell situations in which we believe the ideal was emulated to a degree). Do instead of tell. But tell what we did. If that makes any sense.

The problem with this discussion is that we risk putting the parkour "spirit" in a box. I think that what happens when we try to define things down to a "T" we end up alienating everyone and everything that doesn't fit at the "right angle" that the "T" makes. From my understanding of parkour and the positive intentions that come with creating or defining the spirit or bushido of parkour we should work to include instead of exclude. I think this is where the difficulty lies. We are taught from a very early age that 1+1 does not equal 3 or 1 or any other number besides 2. I'm not denying that 1+1=2, but rather that when we get that "wrong" we get a big red mark on our homework after we turn it it. That is instant exclusion. We were wrong. The world becomes smaller (Note: Not coming down on america's education system, or making any suggestions for change, I can do that later somewhere else)

So not only do we need to change the way that we teach, but also the way that we see things. This has been discussed before on these forums as "Parkour Vision". When we practice parkour our eyes are slowly opened and we gain an appreciation for the lines, slopes, ideas, possibilities and things around us. That new found awe grows within everybody as we realize how amazing the world is, we see the play in the ground (making a playground everywhere). Things that were impossible simply by their omission from standard life are now possibilities, things that we didn't see in the past are clearer to us now.
I believe that this naturally occurs, whether or not someone is seeking for it. I see the changes in the eyes of my students that go train on their own, I see it as they try something new, or as I have them set up a course in our class. In contrast I also see those that still exclude and that is okay, they will eventually see. Parkour opens up your brain, the movements allow you to do something completely by yourself, without any special equipment. No computer, no vehicle, no special club card, no gi. Parkour becomes an expression of yourself upon the world. You begin to see how you fill a space, how you flow, and how you feel. This change is, as I see it, inevitable.
The question in this case is how do we define/speed up/understand completely/categorize this "opening" of the mind?

I'm not sure. Is it even a great idea to define? You could define it in a mathematical statement. But would that demean it, or will it add to understanding. Will stating this allow me to "cross-train my mind"?  I think so.

I Δ < x

or: I change to be better. X is a variable, which means it can always change (btw the triangle is the greek symbol for change, also known as "Delta") it can always grow. It's something that we can choose to be different. We are constantly seeking to be more.

See parkour can be "defined" but by defining it do we loose the true meaning? Or can we see past what is on the screen in front of us and realize that it is simply a weak attempt that our minds can understand now. Down the road will we see breathing as parkour, or will we exclude that. Will parkour = living. Or will parkour be on par with survival. Is survival living, or are they two different things that happen to be related? Will parkour become synonymous with sight or imagination? Because the truth to me is that parkour is an elusive concept simply because life is elusive. Always changing always growing always becoming more.

Now that we get that. How do we do that? What makes us the same as someone who is trying to be a better person. What do we do more?

...

...


Wow, well anyways that got a tad deep, hope you guys cross train swimming with your parkour.

....

Or I'm just crazy.

Also,

@Kyle Just to clarify I'm not trying to disagree with what you said. Also if I misread and you are simply stating your opinion then.... whoops, sorry.
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Offline Gabe Arnold

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2011, 04:20:55 PM »
From APK's 'What Is Parkour?' definition...

Parkour training focuses on... safety, longevity, personal responsibility, and self-improvement. It discourages reckless behavior, showing off, and dangerous stunts.

Parkour practitioners value... community, humility, positive collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and the importance of play in human life, while demonstrating respect for all people, places, and spaces.

Offline Ian Want

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Re: Parkour Bushido
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2011, 04:09:42 PM »
Its all relative I suppose.

I think we're all on the same page for the most part, just sort of splitting hairs. =P