Author Topic: A Call To Arms  (Read 4003 times)

Offline 7Erik7

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A Call To Arms
« on: November 19, 2012, 09:54:32 AM »
Another great, truthfull, well-written text by Chris Rowat.

EDIT: Direct link to the post on his blogg: http://blane-parkour.blogspot.se/2012/11/a-call-to-arms.html

http://parkourgenerations.com/article/call-arms
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 03:30:44 AM by 7Erik7 »

Offline Ryan A. Vetter

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 07:43:33 PM »
Adding this to my sig. I've actually given up on tricking and redirected my focus towards those basics. A kong vault still feels like the greatest, most daunting movement possible.
So long as I have parkour I'm okay.

Offline Ryan A. Vetter

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2012, 02:49:34 PM »
Sorry on the double-post, but may I suggest if you support the ideal of this article, put it in your signature and support the cause.
So long as I have parkour I'm okay.

Offline Dakota Cantwell

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2014, 06:04:28 AM »
I'm inclined to agree with this.  When I first started I had absolutely no idea what it was all about.  All I saw was the tricking and balls out gaps.  My training was stunted for years because I didn't really believe it what I was doing and was continually getting injured.  It was only in the last year or so that I truly started looking into the roots of Parkour to better understand what I was part of.  Having found what Parkour is truly about and what it means to me I have seen more growth in the last year than I ever did in the other 5 years of training.  I'm not gonna say that tricking is the enemy or anything, but I believe it can be so destructive if it becomes the main focus on training.

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Offline Tim "Cabra" Cutts

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2014, 03:13:57 PM »
WOW! That was very well written.  I fully agree with Chis on this.   I really had no clue about any of this stuff  before this year,  I went to APK and did their coaching cert and learned way more than I ever thought.   When looking at videos now, I notice what they are doing wrong to their bodies, their training environment, and the sport.  I feel guilty for not knowing this stuff sooner and trying to teach these values.  The values are now apart of my lesson plans for my classes and will always be a big factor on how I teach!  We do need more coaches and leaders teaching these values across the world!


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Offline Spencer Young

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2014, 02:46:58 AM »
WOW! That was very well written.  I fully agree with Chis on this.   I really had no clue about any of this stuff  before this year,  I went to APK and did their coaching cert and learned way more than I ever thought.   When looking at videos now, I notice what they are doing wrong to their bodies, their training environment, and the sport.  I feel guilty for not knowing this stuff sooner and trying to teach these values.  The values are now apart of my lesson plans for my classes and will always be a big factor on how I teach!  We do need more coaches and leaders teaching these values across the world!




This right here. Back in 2011, I got into parkour from a tricker, but I was fascinated by the purist methodology than flair with what the sport has become today. Not calling out any names, but a forum user that disagrees with me often on here says that flips are part of parkour and should be taught at the novice levels in their 3+ months of training? I say no to this for the simple fact of I was there learning a flip for nine months before I could get the concept. I try to stress conditioning as much as I can without being to overbearing with it; however, people feel the need to go with the play and train mentality than the get in a 20-30 minute wod and then do parkour or drill a movement for 20-30 minutes at a time. From what I've seen is people would get something once, and not train that movement again in the moment. Flips kinda destroyed the sport into my opinion.

Yes, the increased athleticism and skill can mean something; however, how effectively can you go on with flow. Problem I always see is the short bursts of flow in videos and they just either stop after the flip or cut the video to another scene. Just like the people who edit out bad wall climbs and the struggle it takes to get over the wall, that takes away from your progression if you request help. These short burst of flow are just doing tricks off objects if you break it down. Some of the landings are just loud and sketchy.

Overall the article really hit me hard, reminding me the way how I used to train all the time before graduate school started and the hours I would spend trying out a move to get the technique. I consider myself an novice intermediate because I am still learning, but I understand the meaning of training sessions instead of getting bored with an area because it's not much potential because of the lack of using the environment like a traceur. Just my two cents.
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Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2014, 07:08:42 AM »
This right here. Back in 2011, I got into parkour from a tricker, but I was fascinated by the purist methodology than flair with what the sport has become today. Not calling out any names, but a forum user that disagrees with me often on here says that flips are part of parkour and should be taught at the novice levels in their 3+ months of training? I say no to this for the simple fact of I was there learning a flip for nine months before I could get the concept. I try to stress conditioning as much as I can without being to overbearing with it; however, people feel the need to go with the play and train mentality than the get in a 20-30 minute wod and then do parkour or drill a movement for 20-30 minutes at a time. From what I've seen is people would get something once, and not train that movement again in the moment. Flips kinda destroyed the sport into my opinion.

I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you're talking about me here and if so you're bastardizing what I said and taking it out of context to set up a weak straw man argument.

First off, I've argued that some flips can be useful in some situations and thus in those situations can be a part of parkour. If you deny that you either haven't seen one of those situations or need to open your mind a little bit. When I posted that topic I didn't see a single dissenting opinion and still haven't. Flips can be useful and can even be the best option for getting over obstacles which puts them pretty solidly within the realm of parkour, though it obviously depends on the circumstance. And that's not even mentioning the safety benefits you get from understanding how to flip and twist.

As far as when flips should be taught you're once again incorrect about what I said. I'm not gonna bother to find the link, but I argue that people can learn whatever they want whenever they want. The fact that it took you 9 months to learn a flip lends absolutely no credence to the idea that beginners can't learn them early. Your experience with parkour and free running is your own and you can't use it to impose regulations on others. People learn flips all the time just for fun, without any knowledge of what parkour is. You have no right to tell those people they should actually be training vaults and precisions because it's the "correct" way to do it. Not everybody wants to train as a purist and that's completely ok as long as they don't go around calling it parkour. If all somebody wants to do is flip and twist and impress their friends who are you to judge? Correct them if they call it by the wrong name but aside from that you have no business telling other people what to learn when. Everybody has their own journey and it doesn't have to be the same as yours.

Also the idea that flips ruin anything is silly. At it's root parkour is all about challenging yourself to become better and flips are an outstanding means of attacking that challenge. You can train flips with just as much of a parkour mentality as you can train vaults. People want fun, cool, challenging movements and complaining that not everyone in the world is a purist is just bitching about basic human nature.

Then there's also the fact that parkour itself is doing great. I've met a ton of people who train with the purist mindset both online and in person. Flashy youtube videos are all over the place which makes it hard to find the strict parkour and it doesn't help that a lot of the more strict guys don't draw as much attention to themselves, but that doesn't mean parkour is getting destroyed or dying or any of that other nonsense. More and more teachers are popping up and stressing values, more and more jams are happening, and parkour is becoming more accepted. I say the future is looking exceedingly bright. For people who are supposed to be so positive and about self improvement traceurs complain way too much about minor issues and I feel like that just gets divisive. What ever happened to "shut up and train" and respecting that other people have their own ways of doing it? If they're hurting themselves or spreading misconceptions it's a problem but aside from that live and let live and be able to appreciate all types of movement. Parkour, free running, tricking, gymnastics, break dancing, and so on are all awesome, beautiful arts and we can all be so much happier if we appreciate everybody for what they love rather than only the people who do what we think is best.


Offline Spencer Young

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2014, 04:16:12 PM »
I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure you're talking about me here and if so you're bastardizing what I said and taking it out of context to set up a weak straw man argument.

As far as when flips should be taught you're once again incorrect about what I said. I'm not gonna bother to find the link, but I argue that people can learn whatever they want whenever they want. The fact that it took you 9 months to learn a flip lends absolutely no credence to the idea that beginners can't learn them early. Your experience with parkour and free running is your own and you can't use it to impose regulations on others. People learn flips all the time just for fun, without any knowledge of what parkour is. You have no right to tell those people they should actually be training vaults and precisions because it's the "correct" way to do it. Not everybody wants to train as a purist and that's completely ok as long as they don't go around calling it parkour. If all somebody wants to do is flip and twist and impress their friends who are you to judge? Correct them if they call it by the wrong name but aside from that you have no business telling other people what to learn when. Everybody has their own journey and it doesn't have to be the same as yours.

Yea, I'm talking about the disagreements we have man, and it's not a weak straw argument. Just a short, concise to the point opinion instead of a wall of text.

By no means, I am a purist or an elitist, training with me is actually quite helpful and a humble experience. I respect the flips as much as the beautiful basics. I'm an hybrid of the sport of Parkour. However, I felt like you're bashing me for not learning flips earlier and to be honest, I didn't know about an open gym until almost my first full year of solely training parkour . May I ask this, whenever you flip or perform a vault, are your landings quiet or loud? I'm not the bossy type to go around advocating anything you think I do. I'm quite the opposite. I'm still a student of movement and learn from others and improve my own way. I've seen where the flips can be useful, especially in gaining distances, but I'm saying acrobatics should not be the end goal or main reason for training parkour.

The point of this question is exactly what the article is referring about. The new generation of parkour athletes coming up. Yes, I agree with flips are useful in their own way but it's not the way to advocate beginners to our sport. I've seen what this article is referencing from personal experience. Parkour is viable in all situations; however, if you're just doing it to learn flips just in the confines of a padded room, then why learn them and call it "parkour?" We have some guys that come to open gym with us and last week, our gym class was moved to outside and a few of the guys actually did some things they learned in the gym in the areas we trained at. The others just hesitated themselves and did little to no training. The opinion I'm saying is that flips are good, but how good are they truly if people do not use them other than in a gymnastics gym?

It's not about regulating or forcing people to follow my way; I think you missed the overall point of the article. The article is referring to the lack of structure and elements of physical training as a group traceurs should be doing to get better at baisc parkour skills like precisions and traversing. The article refers to the fact that most parkour athletes today lack understanding and form in thier movements that make them look more sloppy and untrained.  Not doubting your opinions, but to call flips the root of parkour is not entirely accurate. The roots of parkour come from George Herbert's Method Naturalle which does not inculde tumbling in the ten sports he chose. I'm just saying that training sessions and parkour classes need to have a traditional mindset in teaching the sport instead of going from landings > Rolls > Basic Vaults > Flips.

Well it's not an argument since everyone will eventually learn a trick or two, depending on style, but to start off a beginner on flips still bothers me. I, for one, haven't mastered anything I've done, I'm just improving on what I can do and learn. Anyone can improve on flips, rolls, etc. no matter the skill level. If you read any parkour books, they usually don't include flips at all or if they do, the most basic flips are listed in the end as extra moves or acrobatics. I believe that if you practiced something in the gym but can't apply it outside, then why are you claiming you know a skill when you bail each time outside or only got it once and say you mastered it? Point is, Arcobatics should not be the main focus of parkour training.

To be fair, I'm not saying the sport is dying, but weakened core habits outside a certification test or coaching scene. The average parkour athlete wants to learn a gainer rather than perfect a kong to work on a double kong. Everyone has their own learning curve, but understanding the basics will help out a lot more than setting the bar high with flips that scare away potential newcomers. I agree with you on the point of people are getting defensive about values, but what about the everyman that didn't come from a gymnastics or martial artist background like me? To me, both sides are elitist in their own way by shunning the other side for opinions. I see the sport gaining more and more people everyday; however, I wish everyone would just get a long and train.

Didn't mean to call you out; it just seems like you love attacking my opinions often XD. To be honest, I'll would love to train with you someday and discuss some of our opinions face to face since text skews attitudes.
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Offline Tim "Cabra" Cutts

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2014, 12:01:35 PM »
This is my progression for classes in my parkour and free running program.
  Parkour 1 then Parkour 2 then Either Parkour 3 or Free Running 1 Finally Free Running 2.   I give the students an option on what they want to work on.  Once I am sure they can control their bodies in a nice and mature way they are then allowed to learn flips.   They must past our tests for each class to move on to the next.

My first week of class I tell the students that if they think they will learn what they see on YouTube then they are in the wrong gym.  Yea a beast of a jump or a flip is awesome to watch but what makes it super special if they can do it while cause no damage to themselves or their environment.   I deal mostly with 10 and 14 year old kids and at first I thought they would be really upset that they can try THE BIGGEST GAP EVER, but they took to the values of parkour very well.  They do ask when flipping comes into play with parkour.  Parkour skills have infinite uses and combinations in infinite situations so its a really hard question to answer.  I generally respond with flipping does have a place and time in the "application" of parkour but when in "play" have at it.  Nothing wrong with flipping as long as they remember the toll it will take on your body if you land wrong or do something you are not ready for. 

Progression is vital in most sports and the way people learn about progression is through dedicated teachers or coaches.  We have this beautiful amazing movement where everyone wants to try at least once.  Here is the problem though, SEX SELLS!  The mass majority of people do not want to be the ones jumping that 3 feet gap over and over and OVER again.  They like the big boom, the massive flip.  It looks sexy so there for I must have it.  I get this all the time not only in pakour classes but in tumbling classes as well.   People will come to a back tuck clinic and refuse to try a backwards roll, THE BASIS OF A BACK TUCK, because it looks 'silly' or 'stupid'.  My favorite is when they say, "why should I have to do drills, you are gonna spot me anyway."  Yea cause that's why I teach tumbling classes, so I can toss your lazy ass in the air and catch you so you can feel like you did something cool.  They want the result but not the work it involves. 

As practitioners we have responsibility to help people that want to learn.  We need to point them in the right direction. Not everyone we try to help will take it but at least we can say we tried.  It's our job to help parkour flourish by teaching the values and helping people mature into responsible traceurs.  Yes, Dick Stapleton, everybody does have their own journey.  But if you had a compass they could take wouldn't you offer it to them?

We all love this art, let's love it and each other.

*edited cause I was at work and ran out of time to finish*
« Last Edit: July 16, 2014, 09:50:02 PM by TCutts Blues »
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Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A Call To Arms
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2014, 09:08:46 PM »
I'm running on very little sleep so I'm gonna have to break this up into small chunks or you're just gonna get a rambling, incoherent response to nothing in particular.

Yea, I'm talking about the disagreements we have man, and it's not a weak straw argument. Just a short, concise to the point opinion instead of a wall of text.

You originally said that I say flips are part of parkour and that beginners should be taught flips as if those are ridiculous ideas (which to some extent they are) but that's not actually what I said. It's a straw man because both of those things are similar to what I said but with critical differences. I said there are times where flips can be used as parkour and discussed examples of those times and asked for opinions. I never said flips are parkour and generally make a point of stressing the difference between the two even though I used to not care. I also never said beginners should or shouldn't be taught anything, I said they can do what they want as long as they call it the right thing and don't hurt themselves or others. That's why what you said is a concise, to the point straw man argument.


By no means, I am a purist or an elitist, training with me is actually quite helpful and a humble experience. I respect the flips as much as the beautiful basics. I'm an hybrid of the sport of Parkour. However, I felt like you're bashing me for not learning flips earlier and to be honest, I didn't know about an open gym until almost my first full year of solely training parkour . May I ask this, whenever you flip or perform a vault, are your landings quiet or loud? I'm not the bossy type to go around advocating anything you think I do. I'm quite the opposite. I'm still a student of movement and learn from others and improve my own way. I've seen where the flips can be useful, especially in gaining distances, but I'm saying acrobatics should not be the end goal or main reason for training parkour.



I just reread what I said and I see how it could be interpreted that way. I didn't realize when I typed it out because the last thing on my mind was attacking your training style and I apologize that it came off as such. I was trying to illustrate that we all have our own experiences and would have said the same thing if it took you a day or 10 years to learn a flip. It's irrelevant because your experience doesn't dictate what others should or shouldn't do. Just like the guy who gets a flip on the first try shouldn't say "everyone should just go for it right now", the guy who takes longer to learn things shouldn't say "everybody should only learn the things I learned at first to be safe". Everyone is different and that's all I was trying to say. I again apologize I really wasn't trying to attack you at all. I didn't so much as try a flip until I had known about and loosely participated in parkour for years. I was way too scared. I love them now but it's still a huge mental block for me.

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The point of this question is exactly what the article is referring about. The new generation of parkour athletes coming up. Yes, I agree with flips are useful in their own way but it's not the way to advocate beginners to our sport. I've seen what this article is referencing from personal experience. Parkour is viable in all situations; however, if you're just doing it to learn flips just in the confines of a padded room, then why learn them and call it "parkour?" We have some guys that come to open gym with us and last week, our gym class was moved to outside and a few of the guys actually did some things they learned in the gym in the areas we trained at. The others just hesitated themselves and did little to no training. The opinion I'm saying is that flips are good, but how good are they truly if people do not use them other than in a gymnastics gym?

This is actually a problem with everything-getting people to apply their training in real situations. Happens in every physical discipline pretty much. Give them a few more training sessions and they'll start throwing things outside. I take a middle ground approach to most things. You should definitely be training outside, but indoor training is awesome too. All indoor training isn't something I'd advocate for traceurs but something I'm trying to stress is that not all the people we're dealing with are traceurs and then it becomes an issue of educating those people about what they're doing instead of trying to get them to do what we're doing. I don't think the real issue is people doing flips and tricks, I think the issue is people ignorantly calling that parkour.

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It's not about regulating or forcing people to follow my way; I think you missed the overall point of the article. The article is referring to the lack of structure and elements of physical training as a group traceurs should be doing to get better at baisc parkour skills like precisions and traversing. The article refers to the fact that most parkour athletes today lack understanding and form in thier movements that make them look more sloppy and untrained.  Not doubting your opinions, but to call flips the root of parkour is not entirely accurate. The roots of parkour come from George Herbert's Method Naturalle which does not inculde tumbling in the ten sports he chose. I'm just saying that training sessions and parkour classes need to have a traditional mindset in teaching the sport instead of going from landings > Rolls > Basic Vaults > Flips.

I didn't say flips are the roots of parkour as that would be legitimately blasphemous. I said flips can be trained with the same mentality of overcoming challenge that parkour inspires. I honestly was just responding to you more than the article, but I disagree with the complaint that traceurs aren't training the basics because I see excellent fundamentals in videos and people I train with all the time. And whenever someone has poor basics it's immediately brought up by someone knowledgeable. That's another thing: whenever crappy technique or attitudes or anything pop up I infallibly see them get demolished by somebody who knows better. I see that as inspiring and for that reason I have trouble stomaching all of the complaints like this one.

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Well it's not an argument since everyone will eventually learn a trick or two, depending on style, but to start off a beginner on flips still bothers me. I, for one, haven't mastered anything I've done, I'm just improving on what I can do and learn. Anyone can improve on flips, rolls, etc. no matter the skill level. If you read any parkour books, they usually don't include flips at all or if they do, the most basic flips are listed in the end as extra moves or acrobatics. I believe that if you practiced something in the gym but can't apply it outside, then why are you claiming you know a skill when you bail each time outside or only got it once and say you mastered it? Point is, Arcobatics should not be the main focus of parkour training.

I agree with most of what you said but I feel like part of it was in response to something I wasn't actually saying. I want to make it clear that I'm still not advocating the teaching of flips to beginning traceurs. I'm saying if a person wants to learn flips teach them, just do it safely and let them know that it's different from parkour both physically and fundamentally. If that beginner who wants to learn flips also wants to be a traceur they'll learn the difference and learn the basics. And if not then it doesn't matter that they aren't learning vaults because they're doing something different. And if they aren't calling that something parkour then it shouldn't matter.

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To be fair, I'm not saying the sport is dying, but weakened core habits outside a certification test or coaching scene. The average parkour athlete wants to learn a gainer rather than perfect a kong to work on a double kong. Everyone has their own learning curve, but understanding the basics will help out a lot more than setting the bar high with flips that scare away potential newcomers. I agree with you on the point of people are getting defensive about values, but what about the everyman that didn't come from a gymnastics or martial artist background like me? To me, both sides are elitist in their own way by shunning the other side for opinions. I see the sport gaining more and more people everyday; however, I wish everyone would just get a long and train.

I don't think it's fair to make a claim about what the average traceur wants to learn because you don't deal with a large enough sample size to represent the entire population of free runners. That's another one of my big complaints with these types of things. They're usually about a few specific people or groups but generalized to encompass all free runners when I don't think that's the case. Most of the guys I train with care much less about flips than soft landings and good vaults. That's my experience and I can't use it to say that all free runners are on the right path anymore than other people can say the small group of people they train with loving flips is representative of all parkour athletes. Also, I'm repeating myself but again I didn't say to set the bar high with flips for newcomers. I say teach them what they want to learn without any personal bias. Unless that bias saves them from injuring or making an ass out of themselves. Also I hate elitists so much. That's another reason I always call people out when they post these articles. This one doesn't, but a lot of them seem so haughty that I can barely get through them.

Again I'm the same as you. I didn't come from gymnastics or martial arts. I'm just some guy who thought climbing stuff was fun. Also I know it seems like I attack your opinions a lot but it's nothing personal. Usually it's just because I disagree slightly and want to discuss it or because arguing an issue and listening to the other side (as long as you know, actually listen...most people miss this part) is the best way to get more educated about something. Refuting, defending, and debating your position teaches you so much more than keeping your mouth shut or agreeing. Also, I tend to only form opinions about things when I have very strong reasons and as a result have either strong opinions or no opinion on most topics..so I don't say much about the things that don't interest me but I always discuss the things I have an opinion on. So I'm sorry for being a dick occasionally, I know it's not always called for and that's my bad when it happens. And you're right, it's so hard to tell and things can be misread too easily. Maybe we'll end up at a jam sometime.

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May I ask this, whenever you flip or perform a vault, are your landings quiet or loud?

Saved this for last. It depends on the particular vault or flip, Side flips tend to be quiet..except inside because on springboard everything I do sounds like a cannon. Fronts are hard because I have trouble finding the ground still. Twists can be on the hard side depending. Vaults I'm not cannon loud but not silent either. I don't have great impact absorption and it doesn't help that I weigh 195 pounds and don't drill landings much. If we're being honest I have trouble drilling the very simple things like landings and rolls (even though rolls are actually complex) because I feel like I suck if I can't just do them well without practice. I know that's nonsense and doesn't make sense but that's how it is in my head. I'm the same way with school. I don't study or do work because I feel that if I don't excel without doing it then I'm not actually smart. It's all in my head but I can't really change how I think..Which is a long winded way of saying my landings are much worse than they should be.