Author Topic: Is Parkour the Act or the Training?  (Read 8362 times)

Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: Is Parkour the Act or the Training?
« Reply #40 on: April 12, 2007, 12:45:52 PM »
Tsumaru, I first want to thank you for that in-depth post.  I fear that I won't be able to offer the same courtesy.  Let's get into it, though.

First, there is this:

Quote from: David Belle
Le parkour, c'est aussi une philosophie, un mode de vie (sous entendu par là que l'on pratique le parkour régulièrement, non pas « une fois par mois »)

"Parkour is also a philosophy, a way of life (that is to say one should practice Parkour regularly, not 'once a month.'"

You may disagree and you may get offended.  This is off his blog, so it's rather recent, though I don't believe that he's ever said anything but that.  (Oh, btw, I always post the French as well because anyone who knows the language should be free to contest my translation.)  I would not believe that a casual performer is a traceur.  And I'm sorry for that, but that is my belief.

I believe that what it comes down to is where you draw the line between a traceur and someone who moves efficiently without knowing what Parkour is.  Because of the specificity of Parkour, I believe that there must be willing intent and prior training.  As such, for me, it comes down to dedication, the practice, and the discipline.  I will get into what I mean later, when I address some of your other points.  In any case, that is what I believe to be the line between a traceur and an "efficient mover."

As per my "changing definitions," I don't believe that they're contradictory at all, or even inconsistent, but rather exist codependently.  I'll try to address your points as best as I can.

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This covers two areas. Both training and discipline. Training is physical, discipline is abstract. This is hard enough as it is. Especially when you say "amount of dedication", as you cannot measure the abstract. So how do we measure the dedication? In the context you keep using dedication, it seems to be synonymous with training, so this can be interpreted as "the amount you train". This argument revolves, then, around physical training and the defining point of a traceur is how much they train.

I'm not asking anyone to quantify how much they train or how little, and based off of that, declare, "I am a traceur" or "I am not a traceur."  The dedication is personal.  One decides for one's self whether or not he/she is a traceur, whether or not he/she is dedicated.  It's not necessarily how much you train, but that you train and that you are dedicated to it.  The terms of which are largely personal.  As such, it is the training and the discipline that defines the traceur for me.  I hope the connection is clearly seen.

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Now you say it is something all-encompassing, you say it is life. Which includes the physical and the mental. You then pinpoint that the way to define the traceur is 'dedication'. Which, again, is abstract discipline. You cannot measure dedication. There is no scale. So how do we measure this? In this context it seems to be by measuring how much Parkour is in their life compared to how much there isn't and/or how much there could be. In this case then we look at someones thoughts and say "oh, yeah, they think a lot about Parkour" and then we look at their physical activities and say "oh, yeah, they're doing a lot of Parkour; and they do a lot of physical workouts too". And we add all that up and say "well, there's a lot of Parkour there" and realise that they are a traceur. Alternatively, if there's very little physical training and very little thought - they aren't really a traceur. We could also look at sacrifices which are an important part of dedication. How much do they sacrifice for Parkour? So there's a huge amount to look at here, and really I don't think it can be done by a human. So how do we really measure it? How do we define really? Are we to take "constrantly" literally? If so, well, if so I think we're all pretty screwed. However, regardless, this argument revolves around everything - physical, mental, how much is sacrificed etc etc. This is a setp on from just the physical.

I think you are trying too hard to put a physical measure on what is traceur and what is not.  As I said above, it is personal dedication.  As for now including the mental, I don't believe the "other definition" ever excluded the mental.  "Discipline" involves all forms of discipline.  A martial art, a yoga practice, etc. cannot exist without the physical and mental together.  It is part of the discipline.  I don't believe this is contradictory.  I also believe that "to dedicate" as a verb would infer some kind of mental discipline and mental fortitude to be able to dedicate, and so the mental has always been there in my definition.  I do apologize for not making it clear, though.  I figured that it would be clear enough to say that one's dedication requires a mental engagement to be able to be dedicated.

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Now Parkour has become entirely mental. It is purely the mindset. You cannot be doing Parkour if you do not have a mindset of becoming more efficient and if you do have that mindset, then you are doing Parkour. This becomes odd as I don't think people would be impressed if I made a video called "Parkour!" and then the entire thing was me working out in a gym. However, in terms of your definition, this would be perfectly acceptable. Your argument here revolves around the purely mental.

The mindset is the discipline itself.  It is the discipline to go out and train, to move, to condition, and so forth.  It is the intention of efficiency and the preparation of the body for efficiency and utility.  I can see why you would think this is contrary to the other definitions I have said/made, but I don't see it.  The mindset ensures the physical/does not exist independently of the physical.  Should I have said something that would involve the physical a bit more...?  Sure.  One of the other two is probably more appropriate.

As for bullet-pointing my view of Parkour or my argument...  There is no need.  This is it, in one sentence:

Parkour is the physical discipline of moving efficiently through two points in space, using only the human body, so as to render the practitioner and the practice personally and socially useful.

You have an interesting interpretation of Parkour.  I think you should include "safety" as one of your measures for efficiency.

Now, onto Mark...

Quote

When you (Ani) make a post, you do it in a way that seems like only one "opinion" can be right. A-la my first post saying I felt like it was too strong for you to say Demon was "wrong" about something that to me is ultimately an opinion.

The reason is clear.  I'll address this in a second.

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then the argument gets broader, more convoluted, and views change until it does become clearly an opinion, a philosophy that may or may not be shared by others (Tsumaru's post - offended that he can't be a Traceur by your definition)

Then you end up apologizing (no harm there, in fact, kudos for backing what you say while correcting at the same time).

My overall point is that these discussions might go differently if you started off from a more open stance, ie "this is my opinion, what is your opinion" vs. ""This is my opinion, your opinion is wrong".

Agreed.  I've said I'll try my best to change this before, and I still am.  However, I do believe this particular topic is different, as, quite honestly, I still believe Demon is wrong.  Addressing this in a second, too.

Actually, addressing it right now.  To quote you again...

Quote
Those would indeed be facts, but who cares what he said 3 or 5 or 10 years ago, David is also evolving, changing, growing, if you want to follow him, follow him where he IS not where he was.

Completely agreed.  And if we look at what Demon has said in this thread...

Quote from: Demon (paraphrasing)
David Belle is the only one who has a right to define Parkour.

Okay...  So if David Belle has the right, and we must take his words as they are in the present, then go hop over to his blog and read what he says about what Parkour is now.  Nowhere there is he vague about whether Parkour can only exist in the act of a run or if it is the discipline/practice/training.

And lastly, in regard to Faelcind...  I agree, it's very simple.  But this conversation has been entertaining, and I hope useful to others.
Andy Tran, C.S.C.S.
Lead Parkour Instructor
Urban Evolution
Parkour Virginia

Offline Gregg HIPK

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Re: Is Parkour the Act or the Training?
« Reply #41 on: April 12, 2007, 01:21:01 PM »
Thank you for the long discussions. My head hurts.  ;D

Here's my own two cents.
Last night my wife had me wipe some bird poop off the car. To throw away the dirty napkin, I vaulted to the top of a concrete wall, jumped a 3' gap over a lower railing and ran to the trash can. That was PK, as far as I understand it. On the way back, I detoured to avoid the low rail and gap, jumped the wall, detoured to jump a couple railings for fun, then ran back to the car. That wasn't PK - because I purposely chose an inefficient path.

When Belle does a handstand on Dame du Lac, that's not PK. When he does a flip in one of the videos he shrugs and says something like "That's not parkour, but I have the training and I enjoy doing it."

There's a concept in theology that's similar. In English it's sometimes translated as "be perfect." When I'm heading in the right direction, I'm "perfect", but when I turn aside I'm "not perfect." As soon as I correct my course, I'm "perfect" again.

I think that's how it is with PK. My garbage run started off PK, but when I made the detours, I was no longer PK. I finished PK. Was I PK the whole time? No.

Is Demon's Gauntlet PK? No. It's a lot of hard work :) Dropping to do pushups and situps isn't PK. Climbing light poles in the middle of nowhere isn't PK. Will it help with your PK? Yeah, if you don't die in the process. I get tired just reading the descriptions.  ;D

I have a pile of paperwork next to me. I came here, instead. That is not "perfect", not PK. Time to get back on course.





Offline Tsumaru

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Re: Is Parkour the Act or the Training?
« Reply #42 on: April 12, 2007, 06:53:19 PM »
Quote
Whatever your defination revolves around Tsumara or the APK defination revolves around doesn't matter much to me in the long term scheme of things, I have allways seen Davids definations as consistent and that is what I follow I don't see how you can possible see something described as an art of movement or a sporting practice as refering only to an emergency situation. Parkour is the practice. If you don't practice efficiency when you practice the movements maybe your not doing parkour to me it is very simple.
And your interpretation of David's definition doesn't mean anything to me either.

You missed my point about interpreting each of your definitions. I never said they contradicted each other, in fact I expressly stated they didn't. However, as you posted more and more, your definition changed here and there, and though "discipline" remained static throughout the explanations, the context surrounding it changed. It's quite possible to try and reconcile all the definitions now, but when you look at each one individually it comes off as having a different meaning compared to the others. So my point was not to suggest that you are in any way contradicting yourself, but rather to say it's best if right now you could lay down a short, concise definition. Which you did, here...

Quote
Parkour is the physical discipline of moving efficiently through two points in space, using only the human body, so as to render the practitioner and the practice personally and socially useful.
Which is good, thuogh I'd like you to define discipline here for clarity's sake.



However, this is where you should have been more careful. This is a clear contradiction.
Quote
The dedication is personal.  One decides for one's self whether or not he/she is a traceur, whether or not he/she is dedicated.  It's not necessarily how much you train, but that you train and that you are dedicated to it.  The terms of which are largely personal.  As such, it is the training and the discipline that defines the traceur for me.  I hope the connection is clearly seen.

Quote
"Parkour is also a philosophy, a way of life (that is to say one should practice Parkour regularly, not 'once a month.'"

You may disagree and you may get offended.  This is off his blog, so it's rather recent, though I don't believe that he's ever said anything but that.  (Oh, btw, I always post the French as well because anyone who knows the language should be free to contest my translation.)  I would not believe that a casual performer is a traceur.  And I'm sorry for that, but that is my belief.

Incidentally, I agree that it's hard to call someone who only trains once a month a traceur. However, this is where things may get a bit iffy. I would suggest that when he trains, he is practicing Parkour. However, he cannot call himself a traceur. This might sound stupid, but let me give you a synonymous example. You get a single free pilot lesson. You were flying a plane, and you were piloting right then. However, you can't go home and call yourself a pilot. Similarly, you can draw a single picture in your life - but you'd be hard pressed to really call yourself an artist.

What do people think of this as a distinction? Therefore you can practice or do Parkour occasionally, but if it's only occasionally then you are not truly a traceur?


I'd also like you to address the idea of "way of life". Are you really suggesting that somebody cannot do Parkour unless they make it their entire life? I don't take offense to the notion that somebody who only practices once a month is not really a traceur, I agree there. However, I do take offense to the notion that unless I make Parkour everything, I am never really doing Parkour.


I'd just like to point out that quoting David Belle here and there is really quite a misconception. David Belle is posting snippets in French. We have to translate them, interpret them, and then try and fit them into what we already know. The issue arises when David Belle is never challenged to think. Now, you cannot argue with David Belle about what Parkour is - but you can still challenge him by saying "well, by your definition, are you saying that X is Y, but Z is not Y?" In which case you are not saying he's wrong, but you're getting him to think. He might not have thought of a particular example, and this might change his perspective. I see this as the value of these discussions online. It's not about proving people wrong, it's about expanding your personal understanding and beliefs. But when you take a single sentence of David Belle and then say "he calls it a way of life - therefore anybody who doesn't make it a way of life are not doing Parkour" then that just doesn't sound right to me. How do you know that whatever the French term he used means is exactly the same as how you interpret the words "way of life" to mean?

Personally I have nothing but respect for David Belle and what he says. However, until I truly feel certain that we're interpreting it all the right way and this is "the truth" according to him - I'm going to stick with the basics of what I have known from the start. And that is Parkour is efficient movement. If you people want to sit here and tell me that "pfft, you're diong Parkour right now while working out!" then that's fine. I don't see how you can attack me for calling that "working out" and not "Parkour", and I don't see any true benefit in you doing so. It sounds like you're more interested in proving me wrong, then actually benefiting anybody. Perhaps before you try to do so, you have an actual conversation with David Belle and get his perspective in a much more meaningful way rather then snippets from a blog that, frankly, could probably have been written by anybody.

Quote
You have an interesting interpretation of Parkour.  I think you should include "safety" as one of your measures for efficiency.
This is an interesting thought. So you would say that it's not truly efficient if there is a high risk of failure and/or danger? I like that idea.



EDIT: Ack, sorry about the quoting of most of the post for those that saw that. I didn't notice. Fixed now though. All the content is still the same though. =)
« Last Edit: April 13, 2007, 05:20:15 AM by Tsumaru »

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Re: Is Parkour the Act or the Training?
« Reply #43 on: April 12, 2007, 07:25:22 PM »
Quote
Personally I have nothing but respect for David Belle and what he says. However, until I truly feel certain that we're interpreting it all the right way and this is "the truth" according to him - I'm going to stick with the basics of what I have known from the start. And that is Parkour is efficient movement. If you people want to sit here and tell me that "pfft, you're diong Parkour right now while working out!" then that's fine. I don't see how you can attack me for calling that "working out" and not "Parkour", and I don't see any true benefit in you doing so. It sounds like you're more interested in proving me wrong, then actually benefiting anybody. Perhaps before you try to do so, you have an actual conversation with David Belle and get his perspective in a much more meaningful way rather then snippets from a blog that, frankly, could probably have been written by anybody.

+1, though this was a lot of long posts to get to that...

Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Re: Is Parkour the Act or the Training?
« Reply #44 on: April 12, 2007, 07:56:44 PM »
Tsumaru, I like discussing with you.  :)  Things get done quicker.  I agree that these discussions allow for personal growth.  It's why I endeavour into them.

Now...  I dont' believe that saying a casual performer is not a traceur contradicts the "It's not how much you train" line because it was followed by, "It's that you train and that you are dedicated."  A casual performer will not be dedicated by nature.

That said, you don't need to make Parkour everything.  However, it is a way of life, and therefore a lifelong commitment.  Again, it's difficult to draw the line, but let's say this...  I'm a guitarist.  I haven't practiced in over two months, yet I still consider myself a guitarist.  Why?  Because I have dedicated myself to it, and just because I'm not practicing habitually and not playing all the time doesn't mean that I don't have that dedication which makes me a guitarist.  The same applies to being a traceur.  It's a very personal thing, yes...  But let's look at it this way...  You say you don't practice all the time.  That's fine.  But here you are, engaged in a conversation, seeking to expand your mind and grow as a person and as a traceur, to more fully understand what Parkour is.  Is that not the requisite dedication?  You may not train all the time, you may not put Parkour first in everything... but the only question you need to ask yourself is, "Am I dedicated?"

And don't misunderstand me.  I'm not trying to prove you wrong.  Rather, I'm trying to clarify my point so that we better understand each other.  It would be a fool's errand to try to prove you wrong.  You point out flaws in my arguments, which is great.  It makes me need to clarify what I have said, so as to be better understood.

The blog's written by Jeff Belle.  I'll see about asking David, though.  That means waking up really early for me.  @_@
Andy Tran, C.S.C.S.
Lead Parkour Instructor
Urban Evolution
Parkour Virginia

Steez

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Re: Is Parkour the Act or the Training?
« Reply #45 on: April 12, 2007, 08:24:43 PM »
others in this discussion have a much more thoroughly thought-out position on this subject than i do.  to them, i'd pose this question:

is being a traceur a permenant thing? or can it be conditional?  again, i'll go to the fireman example.  is that fireman, who is moving in the most efficient manner he can to save someone, a traceur while he is performing this act?  his mindset is to just forget everything and move through his environment in the best way possible.  for that minute or two, is he practicing parkour?  sure, he may not be a dedicated traceur, but for a period, he is functionally doing what we do, right?  he's *dedicated* to getting up this damn staircase as fast as possible

Offline Gregg HIPK

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Re: Is Parkour the Act or the Training?
« Reply #46 on: April 13, 2007, 12:16:17 PM »
I'll vote "being a traceur is conditional". Then I'll vote "I choose to NOT be a traceur."
Now that I'm NOT a traceur, I can run in direct lines if I want. If I want to [or need to] run back and try to get a vault right, I can do that.
If I want to argue how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, I can do that too.  ;D