Author Topic: Parkour Essay for School  (Read 1123 times)

Offline P.R. Stuart

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Parkour Essay for School
« on: January 13, 2010, 10:12:22 AM »
I decided I wanted to come back to share this with you guys after I wrote it.  I want to submit it to the school paper, so I want a bit of peer review first.  What do you guys think? :

One may describe their favorite activity as a part of their life. Maybe it’s a sport or game that they train for. Maybe it’s a hobby that they’ve put time into--maybe it’s sitting on their butt playing video games. I am proud to say that my favorite activity is what I breathe, what I eat and drink, what I live and hopefully die for—Parkour. The “Movement Art” of parkour is basically the equivalent of a martial art, but for moving oneself rather than fighting. A practitioner of parkour is known as a traceur (male) or traceuse (female). Parkour focuses on three areas covered by many other physical disciplines: Body, Mind, and Soul.
Training the body for Parkour is a long, challenging process. The first requirement is a basic physical fitness. One must be able to take some punishment without breaking down. After a person can do around 10 pull-ups, 30 push-ups, and 40 sit-ups in one sitting and run a 22-minute 5k , they may start training specific to Parkour. These numbers will vary, but most fitness professionals can help assess readiness—these attributes will improve over time. After that, vaulting and landing are the two biggest concerns. An experienced traceur can take huge falls with little physical damage due to training. Basically, one must land on the balls off the feet with legs outstretched (but not locked) and spine bent, and compress with muscle resistance, like a spring. If additional forward or excessive downward force is present, a traceur would probably perform a roll, in which he lands and moves onto one shoulder, diagonally across his back, and onto the opposite-side hip, completing in the same position he started in; in this he safely disperses his momentum all across his body. Vaulting is basically one of many variants of using one’s hands in combination with a jump to go smoothly over an obstacle, using less energy, time, and more safety than simply climbing or jumping over it. After (maybe during) the mastery of these movements, one may learn other techniques such as running up or across walls, jumping on precise spots like rails, or even some stunts like flips used in combination with “pure” parkour, known together as “freerunning” (exact distinctions are hotly debated).
It is nigh impossible to undergo this journey without a serious change of mindset. The basic mentality of many newbies looking for the title of “traceur” (this include[d/s] myself) is to watch a movie of a professional doing a movement and then trying it out. This is close to how one starts his or her training; however, we know that:
1) They must be very fit before they can truly start parkour.
2) One needs to understand a movement to do it, not merely see it.
One studies a movement if possible (the internet is a wonderful tool), and then must have the courage and patience to test his knowledge. A smart beginning traceur scales down his tasks and takes test runs, and has an exact idea of what to do before it is done. He or she then uses the small scale and works his way to larger obstacles—by the time he’s vaulting a five-foot wall for the first time, he feels like he’s done it a million times already. By the time a traceur or traceuse has “mastered” several different moves, new ones will come much easier, as they are strengthening their body and their understanding of its physics.
Parkour has as much or more of a spiritual/ethical aspect as nearly all martial arts or disciplines. The most important is likely respect of authority. Parkour has so far had a similar introduction as skateboarding—the uncertainty of the intentions of the practitioners, the urban scene, the stupid kids getting hurt, etc. Skateboarders largely owe any unpopularity to the actions of some disrespectful peers who clashed with property owners and police over what they did. The parkour community in general has made a point of listening to any authority figures and respecting private property to maintain a positive, non-confrontational relationship with the community at large. At some meetings of traceurs (called “jams”), they organize clean-ups for the community they were hosted by. Many traceurs creatively use their talents to clean trash off of roofs—I myself have had the opportunity to retrieve many a toy accidentally thrown on top of a house, to the astonishment and exultation of onlookers. As parkour is mostly about movement, movement is frequently viewed as possibly “escape”—a traceur may search for a non-violent method of dealing with confrontation, resorting to parkour if necessary. Parkour is defined by the safety and efficiency of its movements as well as its practitioners.
In closing, I would encourage you to be aware of parkour in your community. It is not harmful, it isn’t killing our youth—they’re killing themselves, by doing what they’re not ready for yet. Don’t let traceurs get away with disrespecting you, themselves, or anybody else, as they have committed their life to a higher road. Heck, if you’re interested, go check out websites like http://www.americanparkour.com/ or look up some videos at http://www.youtube.com/index?gl=US&hl=en to get more info and link up with other traceurs. It’s an unforgettable experience that will change your life.


« Last Edit: January 18, 2010, 01:02:25 PM by P.R. Stuart »
I decided not to put something deep here.  I'm in this for the physical aspect, the mental and spiritual are my own.

Offline Ryan

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Re: Parkour Essay for School
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2010, 12:15:12 PM »
Even when I'm logged in, it brings me to the homepage, so you might as well copy and paste.

Offline Killaughted

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Re: Parkour Essay for School
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2019, 11:32:12 AM »
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