Thursday nights are spent at Spokane Gymnastics where my 9-year-old practices his handstands, backbends, cartwheels and has a lot of fun too. Every week, I read, glancing up occasionally to see how he’s progressing. Halfway through our hour each week, I am fascinated by the group of teenagers that meet to practice Parkour.
Wikipedia defines Parkour as a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from obstacle course training.Practitioners aim to quickly and efficiently overcome obstacles in their environment, using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves; furthermore, they try to maintain as much momentum as is possible in a safe manner. Parkour can include running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement and the like, depending on what movement is deemed most suitable for the given situation. Parkour is non-competitive. It may be performed on an obstacle course, but is usually practiced in a creative, and sometimes playful, reinterpretation or subversion of urban spaces. Parkour involves seeing one’s environment in a new way, and imagining the potentialities for movement around it.
That’s the official definition. Parkour, from my eyes, is hardcore ninja moves where this skinny but ripped young men go from a standing position to flipping into the air to land on one foot and balance or on a platform at a different level. Their practice is fascinating to watch.
Where do they use these Parkour skills? If it’s non-competitive, I would guess it’s only beneficial if you’re in a ninja fight or running from the cops. None of these kids look like ninja warriors or hoodlums. Are they training just to burn steam? That’s a lot of effort easy resolved with a couple miles on the treadmill. Parkourians (?) do have street cred in my book just because they have awesome moves.
Do you know anyone that Parkours? I don’t. The guys remind me of my brother when he was a teenager. I think his Parkour type moves were just recovery moves from eating it on his skateboard.
Parkour is hardcore. As much as I am amazed by their abilities and athleticism, I wince in pain when they crash as a result of not pulling off a move. Five feet or higher off the ground, in a flippy twist of some sort to fall SMACK on their side on the ground. That has to hurt which is exactly why Parkour isn’t for me. No thanks. I have enough issues just walking without connecting with concrete, I don’t need to crash just because I fucked up some badass move.
If you have never seen Parkour moves, check it out on You Tube. Incredible feats by amazing athletes, just for to say they can.
Unfortunately my son, though a strong beast, has the coordination of his mother. At least he’s out there trying and I’m thrilled to watch.