Author Topic: A thought about flips and parkour  (Read 7494 times)

Offline Dick Stapleton

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A thought about flips and parkour
« on: December 09, 2013, 12:07:01 PM »
First of all I want to make it clear that I'm not shitposting, I'd actually like to have a discussion about this. I'm also not talking about how things like air awareness from flips help with parkour, that's another topic. I'm talking about specifically using flips to get over certain obstacles and in certain situations.

So we're all well aware of the fact that flips are generally not considered to be related to parkour. In normal situations I agree with this as doing a front flip out of a rail precision isn't very fast or helping anyone, but there's actually a huge logical hole in the idea that flips can never be efficient, especially in an emergency situation. I've been seeing more and more examples of situations where flips are very useful and have thought of a few of my own.

http://youtu.be/R7qn5VhsHKs?t=2m4s is an example of a flip being used for the best distance. Bad landing aside 16 feet is a big deal.

One good example is a simple high bush or hedge. We'll define "high" as big enough that you can't simply jump over it. There isn't space to go under it, and you definitely can't go through it. There's no way a vault will work because the bush will collapse, so what are your options for clearing it? Probably the two fastest and safest ways of getting over that bush are the superman front and side flips, with side likely being the best option. Because of the rotation of your body you can get much more height with a flip than a basic jump (see high jumping-it's essentially a gainer where they don't follow through). For me personally this is especially true of side flips. The next best option for clearing the bush would probably be a dive roll but that's significantly more dangerous than landing on your feet especially if you don't know what's on the other side. If you bail on the side flip you maybe get a few scrapes, get stuck upright in the bush, or brush it with your hip/back on the way out. Nothing serious. If you don't make it over with a dive roll you go headfirst into the bush, maybe hit the ground, and likely scratch up your face and possibly eyes. That sounds a lot less safe to me.

In an emergency situation I'd argue that there's even more potential for flips to be useful. Imagine the same situation but instead of a bush there's something on fire. A vault definitely won't work, and a dive roll would mean putting your face, hands, and feet close to the flames. A side flip, on the other hand, puts all of those things away from the heat while exposing only your back. That gets you over the object and increases the chances of your eyes not melting. It's a win-win. The same concept works with basically anything that can't be touched safely and that you can't get under, through, or around.

Although these seem like pretty specific examples there's also a huge potential for flips to be useful in other emergencies. For some reason people seem to assume that despite it being an emergency they'll have full use of every part of their body. But what about if your hands get burned in a fire, cut on glass, broken by a fall, tied up, etc. etc. etc.? The average "purist" (someone who only trains parkour, no flips) would be in serious trouble without his or her hands. Being able to flip wouldn't solve every problem associated with this, but it would absolutely make it possible to get over obstacles that would otherwise be extremely difficult to traverse. It's not the only way, but it's definitely a plausible option, especially for speed. Depending on the person this could also apply if only one hand was injured. Personally I can side flip way farther than I can comfortably speed vault but I'm also not particularly proficient at speed vaults.

What do you think? Do you disagree with any of my thoughts, have anything to add, or want to discuss?

Offline 7Erik7

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2013, 12:57:43 PM »
Well, I agree with you. Every movement can fit a particular situation.

I do have something to add. It's the idea of a ''purist''. This often bogs me because I think it depends on what one look at. I mean the ''pure'' parkour..well that is by definition David's method.
I think about 10 people in the world have followed his method. Are these the only ''purists''? And generally, back in the days, tvery little was focused on usefull movements. As a matter of fact movement (jumps, vaults) was something that came later. It was about challanges. That could be everything from lifting heavy objects, throwing, swimming, long distancerunning, running upp hill, doing extremely high amount of repetitions, or even training with lack of water. It was not usefull for displacement, but it was usefull because it offered mental and physical challanges. What you said: ''What if...''. What if you're tired and have to do a particular jump, or fatigued, or hungry, or thirsty. Then you have to adapt. Very similar to Bruce Lee's thoughts on fighting, and like he said: ''All fixed set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.''

Offline Nick Holmes

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2013, 02:41:05 PM »
Side flip example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRQrh8Sf6wk
Not only was it easier it seemed faster and he had a better exit.
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Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2013, 02:59:12 PM »
Can't watch it since I'm in class but thanks for posting an example.

Offline Russell Wilkie

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2013, 03:11:35 PM »
I think we can all agree Parkour has evolved to a level that is very different than what David Belle idealized. Both the Parkour and Freerunning community has grown tremendously over the years, and as such we have people who experiment with different ways we move. Many of these new traucers break down Parkour to a science. Because of this, we are introduced with movements that are much more efficient and safe to learn with scientific evidence to back up why they should be learned.

Flips are no doubt one of these. In Parkour Ukemi, flips are talked about and why they are necessary for their safety. If you are falling with a large amount of momentum, landing on your feet then performing a Parkour roll is not going to be the safest way out. You'll need to have that rotational momentum that performing a Parkour roll gives by getting that rotational momentum going before you land. This can be done by a flip. Ryan Doyle has demonstrated this well in a fight science video:

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBNaiNnNRfU" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBNaiNnNRfU</a>

It ends up causing a lot of the momentum you're about to absorbed to be dispersed throughout the fall.

Dispersing momentum is not the only thing the flip can help save you. If you are falling face first towards the ground, knowing how to flip can save you. Most people remember this infamous video where the guy lands hard on his face. If you take a close look at it, this guy did everything right to try to safe himself from the bail. He knew he was going to land face first onto the building's side so he tried to flip out of it to land on his feet. He was, unfortunately, still too far and unable to land his feet onto the roof. It's a tragic video, but the guy by no means didn't handled his recovery unprofessionally.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 03:16:56 PM by Russell Wilkie »

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2013, 03:35:57 PM »
Oh yeah I wasn't even talking about the usefulness of flips for safety just because I feel like that point is much more widely accepted.

But I have to slightly disagree with you about flipping into a roll. They completely botched the science on that one and he took way more impact than they claimed. I can't link it because I'm still in class but have you seen Levi's reverse blocking tutorial? That's pretty much the perfect way to get the necessary forward momentum without accidentally flipping too far or not far enough.

Offline Braden Grindle

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2013, 07:10:00 PM »
Man, I was going to post the fight science video..  But I completely agree with you.  Flips can equal efficiency, and saying "no flip is ever parkour" is irrational.
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Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2013, 10:56:29 PM »
You have to take everything fight science ever did with a grain of salt. A lot of their results are contrived at best.

Haha I also posted this on reddit and unsurprisingly I got 2 people who basically restated my points and tried to give me a lesson about "what parkour is". It's amazing how dogmatic people get about this stuff, especially considering parkour is all about positivity and self-improvement.

Offline CodenameX

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2013, 08:10:52 AM »
Yeah, I've seen the parkour section of Reddit. There seems to be a massive divide in the users. Some don't mind flips. Others, well, others seem to hate everything about them. At least, they hate watching people do flips if it's not 100% absolutely necessary. It's kind of weird to rule out a movement as unnecessary. Especially when people talk about using parkour to be ready for anything. 

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2013, 09:35:54 AM »
My personal opinion is that a huge part of the reason a lot of people are against flips is fear. That's not to say that everybody who says flips aren't parkour or that they prefer efficiency is scared, but the only people I know who haven't been willing to at least try flips have a problem with fear and vehemently oppose it. There are of course people who think they're just a waste of time and although I disagree I respect their opinion if they respect mine. I'm not just speaking from observation, either. I was literally one of those people just I wouldn't get angry about it. I was terrified of flips so I justified not doing them to myself and others by saying I liked practical things better. My perspective changed, though, and I started to see that fear as a weakness so I started going to open gym and learned to flip. Conquering that fear has actually done more for my confidence than training parkour moves seemed to and I actually got way better at parkour because I'm less scared and I can do a much better job of bailing.

Another thing that's annoying is that several people include in their definition of parkour the mentality aspect..the problem is that's not part of any definition of parkour I've ever heard. I think we can all agree that it's defined as training to overcome obstacles although some people prefer to say getting from A to B that's not the actual definition and I personally dislike it. But every time the topic comes up on reddit people say "it's your mentality that defines whether or not you're doing parkour". I think that's ridiculous, elitist, and divisive. Honestly it makes me really angry.


Offline iFly

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2014, 05:20:54 PM »
I know I'm resurrecting a dead thread but I'm someone that trained parkour without any gymnastics background and I'm proud of that. Personally I think a lot of dudes that did gymnastics growing up moved into things like break dancing and parkour to be 'cool' and I'm not a fan of people who did that but at the same time I realize that mentality also divides...

With That said I absolutely agree with the idea that flips do belong in parkour for all the reasons mentioned above. However I think only the front flip and side flip are worth learning for safety and efficiency as well as air awareness which would be apart of safety... back flips really are pointless and unnecessary...

Also I really really hate when people do gymnastics floor routines on the grass and call it parkour... its soooo aggravating...
« Last Edit: January 07, 2014, 05:24:34 PM by iFly »

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #11 on: January 07, 2014, 06:58:14 PM »
I wouldn't group gymnasts who moved to parkour into so broad a category. A lot of them do it for freedom that gymnastics doesn't provide and a ton of other reasons. Honestly I respect gymnasts more than most other athletes and they can excel at just about anything.

For usefulness the only thing you need is front and side. For safety, though, every flip is great to know. I've saved myself from landing on my neck by knowing how to back flip. Same with side and front. Twisting is arguably even more helpful for the air awareness and because a lot of bails can be made a lot less serious by knowing how to twist to get yourself positioned for a roll. Also, it's fun as hell and a really good mental barrier to break. Don't forget that just because something isn't a direct parkour skill in no way makes it pointless or unnecessary.

I can't stand that, though! I used to not care what people called it and thought free running and parkour should be used interchangeably but my mind has completely changed. I rarely do actual parkour lately but I still get mad when people mislabel acrobatics as parkour.


Offline Matthew

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2014, 07:58:17 PM »
I know I'm resurrecting a dead thread but...
I'm really glad you did. I didn't see it the first time and I've pondered the question of parkour and flips as much as the next traceur and I'm glad to see some discussion going on here about it  ;D

Offline Nick Holmes

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2014, 08:09:05 PM »
Thread resurrecting is fine with me as long as we stay reasonable, no five month old thread post to contribute little or nothing. Honestly, the activity won't hurt the forums.
Real supermen don't leap over buildings in a single bound, they take determined steps consistently over time

Offline iFly

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2014, 08:22:57 PM »
My personal opinion is that a huge part of the reason a lot of people are against flips is fear. That's not to say that everybody who says flips aren't parkour or that they prefer efficiency is scared, but the only people I know who haven't been willing to at least try flips have a problem with fear and vehemently oppose it. There are of course people who think they're just a waste of time and although I disagree I respect their opinion if they respect mine. I'm not just speaking from observation, either. I was literally one of those people just I wouldn't get angry about it. I was terrified of flips so I justified not doing them to myself and others by saying I liked practical things better. My perspective changed, though, and I started to see that fear as a weakness so I started going to open gym and learned to flip. Conquering that fear has actually done more for my confidence than training parkour moves seemed to and I actually got way better at parkour because I'm less scared and I can do a much better job of bailing.

Another thing that's annoying is that several people include in their definition of parkour the mentality aspect..the problem is that's not part of any definition of parkour I've ever heard. I think we can all agree that it's defined as training to overcome obstacles although some people prefer to say getting from A to B that's not the actual definition and I personally dislike it. But every time the topic comes up on reddit people say "it's your mentality that defines whether or not you're doing parkour". I think that's ridiculous, elitist, and divisive. Honestly it makes me really angry.

I agree with every word in this post... I think most people that say flips have no part in parkour have a fear of flipping so they do not learn how to flip and justify it by saying 'flips are not useful and have no part in parkour'. And anyone that can actually throw a front and side flip will say flips definitely have a role in parkour... but flips can definitely increase your chance for injury...

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2014, 06:42:30 AM »
I think reviving threads should be fine as long as you actually have something to say that wasn't already covered. Also this isn't even a month old so no worries.

Another thing that always bothered me is when people determine the worth of something only by its direct application to parkour. "Break dancing? That's not efficient so there's no reason for anyone to learn it and won't benefit you in any way." I don't get how such a shallow mentality comes about.

Flips can make it more likely to get hurt but honestly only if you aren't careful. If you learn a flip into a foam pit and then assume you have it down and go jumping off shit outside you're gonna get hurt, but if you learn it into the pit or on a trampoline, then on flat ground, then work slowly on height, it's not very likely that you'll get injured especially if you already know how to land and roll from parkour.

Offline Kyle Rudolph

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 10:51:20 AM »
tl;dr tricking > everything
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Offline Jordan Bates

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2014, 12:29:35 PM »
I've always had similar thoughts OP. Although there may be very few situations where it applies, flips can really be helpful jumping over certain things. Also my friends always think it's weird how I'll often flip/twist out of a bail and land perfectly. I practice flips purely out of enjoyment however I certainly see the benefit in parkour as well.

However I think only the front flip and side flip are worth learning for safety and efficiency as well as air awareness which would be apart of safety... back flips really are pointless and unnecessary...

Eh, I can think of situations where a backward flipping motion could be useful. Feet slip out, falling backward off something, etc. Besides, any flipping movement is going to be helpful to your in air awareness and will help with other movements as well. It's unlikely if trying to save yourself that you are going to do EXACTLY a certain type of flip. You are just going to need to twist your body in some way to land safely and knowing how to twist and move your body in all kinds of different ways will be the most beneficial.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 12:35:17 PM by Jordan Bates »

Offline Dick Stapleton

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2014, 12:36:20 PM »
Agreed! I train them for fun and because I was and still am scared of them, but they definitely also have some uses. And yeah they help so much with being able to bail. If you can flip and roll you can bail out of most situations.

Offline asaparkour

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Re: A thought about flips and parkour
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2014, 04:27:20 PM »
A front flip coulb be used for getting over barbed wire or regular fence. Because you cant really vault or jump over it without getting  your hands cut. And a dive roll would be efficient for stuff you can dive over like rails or bushes. but not with stuff that would put to much vertical force on you because then the roll would be useless. Better learn a front flip then!