American Parkour Forum

Parkour and Freerunning => Parkour And Freerunning => Topic started by: shadow1234 on June 27, 2008, 02:55:56 PM

Title: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: shadow1234 on June 27, 2008, 02:55:56 PM
Alright, so I know I'm going to get a lot of negative ones for this but here goes. Its starting to really irk me how so many people on here think they are amateur philosophers already because of some profound enlightenment they have found in parkour. Usually I say let others do what they want, but this is just too annoying.

The definition of philosophy

the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.

Parkour "philosophy" does not answer any questions or investigate any of the above to any true extent. Sure, there is a little bit of self discovery, but that is not the study of being. Ontology is.


This does not mean that parkour has no "essence". However, what people call are calling parkour philosophy is parkour psychology.

A definition of psychology

The sum or characteristics of the mental states and processes of a person or class of persons, or of the mental states and processes involved in a field of activity: the psychology of a soldier; the psychology of politics.


Therefore, I propose that people start referring to it as parkour psychology. It may seem trivial, but I think calling it a philosophy when one doesn't understand what a philosophy is tends to make themselves feel more important about themselves and makes them feel as if they are more enlightened than others. Of course that is an over generalization, but you should understand what I mean.

This has just been my reaction to the type of talk I have been hearing around hear lately that seems to get more pretentious every day.

Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Alec Furtado on June 27, 2008, 04:03:12 PM
While you may be technically correct, the obvious fact is that words are insistently misused every day, and I can't help but feel somewhat pretentious when correcting people on their speech.

For one thing, psychology doesn't sound nearly as good as philosophy. Two, a lot of people give parkour a different definition than others. For some, it may be purely a sport while for others it can be an all-encompassing way of life.

In conclusion, as many of these type of discussions have turned out, I think we will again arrive at the same answer: take it as your own to be what you want.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on June 27, 2008, 04:38:27 PM
Actually, there certainly is a philosophy to Parkour.  Your definition of philosophy refers to CLASSICAL philosophy, but not CONTINENTAL philosophy (these are European terms... in the US, classical philosophy is called "philosophy" and continental philosophy is divided into "Marxism, feminism, cultural studies, critical theory, etc."  To say that Jacques Lacan was not a philosopher would be... quite daring.

Like it or not, psychoanalysis is critical theory, and critical theory is continental philosophy.  I do agree that these little kids need to stop playing their little mind games, because they tend to not be very good at it, but you're completely dismissing the fact that the spiritism of Parkour rests in theoretical approaches to movement, to lifestyle, to thought and forethought, and to action.  Not only this, but the cultural movements of Parkour are wrought with philosophical underpinnings.  Where else do you see a movement go from folk culture to counter-culture to mass culture to popular culture in the timespan of 20 years?  How do you explain it?  What are the implications for modern society as a whole?  What about the feminist issue?  The activities of Parkour culture can be analyzed to DEATH under a feminist lens.  My seven page paper on the very subject was only an INTRODUCTION to gender studies as applied to Parkour.  And don't you dare tell me that feminism isn't real philosophy, either, because... well, that's just asking for trouble.

My point is that you seem to only be focusing on classical schools of philosophy for your definition..  Empiricism, dualism, mentalism, materialism, etc.  What about existentialism? Is that not a philosophy?  Nihilism?  Those two bridge the gap between the classical and the continental schools..

But I do think you need to widen your view of what "philosophy" means... because, right now, you're just being a dull American who has completely discounted a massive philosophical movement because he's been brainwashed to disrespect and neglect it.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Tom Coppola on June 27, 2008, 05:29:40 PM
Now, while I have a limited knowledge of philosophy, I do have experience with psychology and I can tell that you are really missing the point.  You state that this parkour "philosophy" needs to provide answers to questions in order for it to be a philosophy.  You couldn't be further from reality.  Philosophy never provides answers to questions.  Instead, philosophy presents questions and ideas, while psychology provides (or attempts to provide) answers to some of these questions through scientific research.  Hence the reason why psychology is a science and philosophy is not.

You are just trying to spark a ridiculous argument with a thread like this.  Using very basic and very vague dictionary definitions to prove a point isn't a very good way to go about things.  Maybe if you attempted to do some research and provided some actual support for your claims, then I might have a little more respect for this post.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: KC Parsons on June 27, 2008, 08:25:17 PM
Actually, there certainly is a philosophy to Parkour.  Your definition of philosophy refers to CLASSICAL philosophy, but not CONTINENTAL philosophy (these are European terms... in the US, classical philosophy is called "philosophy" and continental philosophy is divided into "Marxism, feminism, cultural studies, critical theory, etc."  To say that Jacques Lacan was not a philosopher would be... quite daring.

Like it or not, psychoanalysis is critical theory, and critical theory is continental philosophy.  I do agree that these little kids need to stop playing their little mind games, because they tend to not be very good at it, but you're completely dismissing the fact that the spiritism of Parkour rests in theoretical approaches to movement, to lifestyle, to thought and forethought, and to action.  Not only this, but the cultural movements of Parkour are wrought with philosophical underpinnings.  Where else do you see a movement go from folk culture to counter-culture to mass culture to popular culture in the timespan of 20 years?  How do you explain it?  What are the implications for modern society as a whole?  What about the feminist issue?  The activities of Parkour culture can be analyzed to DEATH under a feminist lens.  My seven page paper on the very subject was only an INTRODUCTION to gender studies as applied to Parkour.  And don't you dare tell me that feminism isn't real philosophy, either, because... well, that's just asking for trouble.

My point is that you seem to only be focusing on classical schools of philosophy for your definition..  Empiricism, dualism, mentalism, materialism, etc.  What about existentialism? Is that not a philosophy?  Nihilism?  Those two bridge the gap between the classical and the continental schools..

But I do think you need to widen your view of what "philosophy" means... because, right now, you're just being a dull American who has completely discounted a massive philosophical movement because he's been brainwashed to disrespect and neglect it.

QFT and awesomeness.

Although, just bear in mind words have denotative and connotative meanings. So while you can flip through your dictionary, under the ph's, and find what you've found, you still miss the fact that the definition of words is quite simply determined by those who use it.
And philosophy can be a mentality or approach.
It's both psychology and philosophy.


But don't worry, I understand why you get frustrated with everybody posting about it.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Nom on June 27, 2008, 08:26:26 PM
This topic has been beaten into a pulp. Why are we doing it again?
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Muhammad on June 27, 2008, 08:39:12 PM
As long as new people keep coming, topics will be redundantly beaten to pulp.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Mike Sechler on June 27, 2008, 10:11:56 PM
It doesn't matter what people call Parkour. You think of it however you like. If you dont want to hear it, stop listening. Philosophy or Psychology? Forget about it and go run!

Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: KC Parsons on June 29, 2008, 05:26:34 PM
It doesn't matter what people call Parkour. You think of it however you like. If you dont want to hear it, stop listening. Philosophy or Psychology? Forget about it and go run!



I semi-agree.....
I agree that you should get out there and train, regardless, however...
I don't agree that you should just disregard what your fellow traceurs think and feel about parkour itself. As much as Parkour is an extremely personal thing, it's also important to be tied to the community.  I stay decently updated on what's going on here, and listen to tthose with more experience in the art than I do. Learning from your elders (and those with less experience, as well) can be the source of some of the greatest progression you'll ever experience.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Donovan Lynch on December 02, 2011, 12:11:59 AM
i actually do consider it a philosophy. philosophy comes from the greek words "philo sophie," which is love of wisdom or knowledge. so a philosophy could be any structure or system of thought which pursues knowledge and wisdom. i think parkour is a great tool for self-discovery and the fact that it places so much emphasis on creativity and problem-solving makes it an ideal practice for pursuing wisdom.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Ryan Sannar on December 02, 2011, 09:25:42 AM
If sophie is cute I would maybe love her.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Ryan Nicolai on December 04, 2011, 09:57:11 AM
... I can appreciate Donovan's necro. He gives his opinion and makes a clear point. Please don't start making jokes without substance elsewhere in the post...
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: steve dahlin on December 05, 2011, 02:35:10 PM
psychologically, parkour boosts up your confidence level, and doing parkour in large groups increases your ability to communicate to strangers if that counts for anything
just some hidden benefits of parkour.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Jarrett on December 13, 2011, 04:28:57 PM
"Parkour is not what you make of it, it is not an art form like painting, it's nott expression. It's not even amindset or some stupid-ass training system for self improvement... Parkour is a discipline, it is real and it is a purpose, it is the desire to escape, reach, help, or defend, put into physical practice.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: steve dahlin on December 13, 2011, 09:51:26 PM
"Parkour is not what you make of it, it is not an art form like painting, it's nott expression. It's not even amindset or some stupid-ass training system for self improvement... Parkour is a discipline, it is real and it is a purpose, it is the desire to escape, reach, help, or defend, put into physical practice.

Parkour transformed into something different since it was created.
I don't know ANYONE who practices parkour because of it's practicality.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Conrad Moser on December 14, 2011, 08:27:51 AM
"Parkour is not what you make of it, it is not an art form like painting, it's nott expression. It's not even amindset or some stupid-ass training system for self improvement... Parkour is a discipline, it is real and it is a purpose, it is the desire to escape, reach, help, or defend, put into physical practice.
Then  please, by all means, provide us with the rules and regulations.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Jarrett on December 14, 2011, 02:38:40 PM
Parkour transformed into something different since it was created.
I don't know ANYONE who practices parkour because of it's practicality.

That was a quote from a book if you didn't know
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: steve dahlin on December 14, 2011, 07:19:14 PM
That was a quote from a book if you didn't know
Well if you return that book, place it in the fiction section.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Jarrett on December 14, 2011, 07:45:43 PM
Well if you return that book, place it in the fiction section.

It only readable online, sorry  ;D
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Conrad Moser on December 14, 2011, 08:40:35 PM
It only readable online, sorry  ;D
Sounds like it's not even worth the paper it's printed on.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Jarrett on December 15, 2011, 03:36:09 PM
Sounds like it's not even worth the paper it's printed on.

 the whole book isn't from this point of view, it basically includes every mindset I've ever seen in a traceur
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Ryan Sannar on December 16, 2011, 08:02:10 AM
Who wrote it?
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Jarrett on December 16, 2011, 12:55:15 PM
Who wrote it?

Gabriel Arnold
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Kyle on December 20, 2011, 03:46:44 PM
I was adamantly against the idea that parkour was a philosophy or spiritual for a while. Mainly because, in all truth, it was mostly kids getting emotional rather than anything actually insightful going on.

Things are what a person makes of it. As someone pointed out earlier, I've never met anyone that actually trains parkour for practicality. Most of whom who claim such is usually bsing me.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Jason C. Astor on December 28, 2011, 01:45:11 PM
Parkour itself is not a philosophy simply because "it's a Philosophy" as many people claim it to be. However, the very goal of Parkour is to overcome challenges, both physical and mental, through study of movement and ones self. Parkour, just like martial arts, isn't if-so facto a philosophy. It becomes a philosophy as you allow your self to delve deeper into your self and your very core beliefs of what this crazy world is all about. Anyone can write or type or speak pretty words but that doesn't make you a philosopher; the same is true for traceurs.

In conclusion, yes, Parkour is a discipline or part of philosophy or at least it can be if you have the mental aptitude to allow it to be

"Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through the forging fire, it becomes steel and is transformed into a razorsharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion" Morihei Ueshiba
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: DaveS on December 29, 2011, 08:45:12 PM
I don't know ANYONE who practices parkour because of it's practicality.
As someone pointed out earlier, I've never met anyone that actually trains parkour for practicality.
Hi :)

In fact, 'practicality' is broad enough to encompass everyone's reasons for practising Parkour. Everyone who practises Parkour does so because it gives them something they need or want. If it didn't, they wouldn't practise it. If something benefits you then for you it is practical.

Parkour hasn't changed. What has changed is that some people have started using it for different things than those who created it used it for.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Daniel Mendes on January 31, 2012, 05:55:48 PM
Hi, i'm not really that much experienced in philosophy or psychology but at least what i understand when someone says "parkour philosophy" is "things that we come to realise about our own life and how we handle situations in it based on parkour as a way of thinking and figuring how to overcome obstacles" or something...
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Ian Want on January 31, 2012, 06:35:28 PM
Again, the phrase "finding your own path" comes to mind.

IF you don't agree with how people see it, then stray from their path and continue merrily down your own.

Some DO see it as that all-encompassing way of life, some see it as a way to get in shape. I don't really care what people want to call it because all that matters is what it means to me. If it matters that much to you, then by all means, continue to try and correct the world... I'll be worrying about my training and my way of life.

<3
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Sinbadx11 on February 01, 2012, 06:59:26 PM
You're right. I did miss the point. :)

Going today, routes on the way are niceeee. +1

[edit] for effect.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Spencer Young on February 03, 2012, 07:46:42 AM
Sinbad, Like others have said, you are missing the point of the meaning. Two questions I ask you:

How long have you been doing PK?

What are Your Beliefs in the PK realm or as a traceur?

I'm in my 9th month of training, and I try to train at least 5 days a week and balance school and work; however, I need to understand everything about PK culture and theory. I'm still enjoying Julie Angel's book Cine Parkour which is applying theory to PK, and its orgins. I love this aspect of this culture. PK is like a language, ethier you understand it or you don't, but overtime we will all admire the words we draft through our movement and practice.

My personal Philosophy about PK is to learn to trust myself more and create a better me, and help my fellow traceurs. Though I'm no David Belle or Ryan Doyle, I learn to correct myself without needing to worry about my product. I'll rather do 50 turn valuts on the same bar which I only stick 34/50 rather than try to Dive kong a 55ft space with a 10 ft drop at my current level. That's why my Team's motto is "No more Tears", which is bascially Joe Brock's Shut up N' Train mentality with my own philosophy about drilling and showing up. As my Sensei tells us, "You're going to show in reality, what you do in your practice." which it shows. I may not can do fancy corks or flips, yet, but to bash someone because it's more technical than flash is just a plain morality killer. I'm not here to show off these skills that I learn from this great community, but to accept feedback from people that have been PKing longer than me and ask questions.

In closing, Just to each is his or her own. Technical jargon helps, but showing your own actions in a community is key. regardless of anyone elses own personal philosophy about the sport, WE ca all Learn from each other, no matter what skill level.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Jason C. Astor on February 03, 2012, 08:50:50 AM
I just remembered something. Danilee Bolleli's (Probably misspelled) Book. "The Warrior Within" could actually be a perfect explanation as to how Parkour is and is not a philosophy. Now, this book is more focused on the practice of martial arts, but the thesis is that through physical action, confidence and training one paves their own philosophy of life or their own "Tao" (way). Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do was infact a system of punches and kicks and motions to train. However, beyond just the movements was a path to discover your own path.

So really to say that Parkour is not A philosophy is lacking any knowledge of Anything but Greeko Aristotle/Plato/Heraclitus Philosophies of Dichotomies between mind/body/soul.

Western Philosophy implies that the "Self" is not the Body but some grounded entity that is just housed in this form.

Eastern/Some African/Native American Philosophies say that The self is a culmination of mind, body and soul. They imply that an Enlightened or Open or Good man is one who has these parts of himself in balance.

Many beliefs say that only through extensive physical action and meditation can the 3 parts of you become synced. (Tai Chi, Gong Fu, Shaolin Kung Fu, Amazonian Shamans)


In conclusion, Go buy "The Warrior Within"
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Travis S on February 04, 2012, 06:09:20 PM
Parkour psychology is nonexistent at this point; though, themes from areas such as developmental, exercise, behavioral, and other psychological subfields could no doubt be borrowed from to begin to piece together the wide set of mental processes used in our practices. This would be parkour psychology, as the field is science based. Certainly personal reflection, interview and other similar means are a good window into the minds of practitioners, such data is nearly impossible to navigate statistically. Psychology is generally based in experimentation and the use of hypothesis.

If one wants to discuss the effects of parkour practice on decision making, mood states, confidence, mental rotation skills, implicit memory, mediation of negative ADHD symptoms, etc. then you're talking psychology.

Also, in response to your first point of parkour not being a philosophy, I think this is more of a definitional issue. If parkour functions for you as "people climbing on walls and running places", then parkour is no philosophy. Parkour is many things to many people, its an art, its a discipline, its a sport, its exercise, its play, its a business, its a way of life, etc.

Perhaps parkour fits into a part of personal philosophy, and perhaps for some it is that philosophy. 

If parkour was my philosophy of life I might say: Life as one movement flows. Life as many movements, slows.
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Colter Mendez on February 17, 2012, 10:23:13 AM
ok lets think big picture for a sec...first get "parkour" out of your head.  Words really dont mean anything until someone or a group of someones give it meaning, when you give something meaning, it is based off of an opinion...if you keep going you start beginning to "see" instead of "think" and realize that your opinion shapes the world around you as you "see" fit or choose to believe.  and with so many different opinions and thoughts between people, lines cross and boundaries overlap.  wars are started over difference of opinion, progression is born from tolerance, and the ability to adapt...despite laws of physics(which still need unification btw), absolutes do not exist, until you give them meaning.  notice a pattern?  everything is based off of opinion, and the imagination to make the connections.  Its our way of finding balance in somewhat of a freefall so to speak...I dont really "know" its just my opinion that you are your own hero or villian.  I hope it makes sense, i know its not about the given subject, per say, but in essence i see the world as an enormous playground with limitless possibilities, so why choose to limit myself to the meaning of a word...
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Colter Mendez on February 17, 2012, 11:00:26 AM
more on topic, i believe you are right and wrong at the same time...it all depends, for some it may carry that capacity, for others it could possibly signify simply a chapter of someones "epic poem" (odyssey reference).  In an argument with no final answer, and only more questions, either agree to disgree, or attempt to percieve what is essentially the same "box", for lack of a better word, from someone elses angle. for example: no two people see the same rainbow, same principle...
Title: Re: PARKOUR IS NOT A PHILOSOPHY
Post by: Crosion_5 on March 20, 2012, 04:29:21 PM
While it is true that Parkour is not a philosophy, there are still philosophical aspects connected with parkour.  There is a philosophy behind parkour, but parkour is not just a philosphy.  Does that make sense?

In accordance with the original "classical" definition of philosophy given in the first post, parkour does investigate the truth and principles behind knowledge, conduct, and being.

Knowledge about ones body and mind.  Knowledge of your environment.  Knowledge of survival.

The conduct of ones actions in specific situations.

The being or state of ones mind when in specific situations.

And besides, only one definition was used.  Here is what dictionary.com has:

phi·los·o·phy

 [fi-los-uh-fee]
noun, plural -phies.

1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles of being, knowledge, or conduct.
2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy,  and metaphysical philosophy, that are accepted as composing this study.
3. a system of philosophical  doctrine
4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a particular branch of knowledge, especially with a view to improving or reconstituting them
5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.

Parkour could fit into any of these definitions, if you really think about it.  Most things could.  Really this is an argument dealling with semantics.  People just try their best to use words to explain things, but words are almost always going to fall short.