We do parkour because it is an act of exploration that is derived from human instinct. It is a gradual, lifelong process that starts from the ground up. It helps develop both physical and internal traits like strength and discipline, while remaining personal and accessible to any and all with the willingness to try.
As children, our curious nature as humans leads us to explore the world around us physically, be it running and jumping, or challenging ourselves to climb on the playground without falling off, as if the floor was lava. Once success is attained, it fills us with a euphoria that is difficult to describe. But as we grow older, at some point that curiosity is suppressed and that particular form of euphoria is lost. Daily work and societal expectations make such exploration difficult or even taboo.
The parkour training process requires us to explore our surroundings, think critically, and creatively solve problems, while playing and interacting with the environment with the eyes of a child. It allows us to break through fears by understanding our own abilities and gaining confidence from repetition. All of this develops a parkour “body language” that can cross any barrier. Not only is it a language that communicates with physical obstacles, but it can bridge barriers of language, culture, or age.
Practicing parkour brings with it many benefits. As we explore the world around us, our knowledge and understanding of our environment will grow. We will develop greater body control, balance, agility, strength and endurance.
However, the scope of parkour expands beyond the reach of merely the physical realm. Just a few of the internal benefits of practicing parkour are:
Problem Solving: As one progresses they will make solving problems and overcoming obstacles a common practice, and as such the practitioner will develop an improved ability to overcome difficulties in all aspects of life. At the same time parkour has a unique emphasis on overcoming fear, maintaining a calm and patient attitude in the face of adversity, and adjusting to frustrating circumstances. All of this allows the practitioner to become adaptable to new environments. When you make it a habit to overcome obstacles with your body, you make it a habit for your mind as well.
Build Confidence: Practicing parkour helps to overcome one’s limits. What seemed difficult or even impossible at first, becomes easy. Gradual progress and taking it step by step is the name of the game. No one is expected to succeed first try.
Develop Discipline: Discipline is not something we are born with, it is a skill. Like any skill it can be practiced and improved, then eventually mastered. AOMHK training is a ground-up process that will guide students in developing discipline, without feeling overwhelmed.
Addressing some misconceptions about parkour:
Danger: “We must not ask for the moon.” In order to stay safe, it’s important to recognize our own abilities and limitations. Sometimes that’s hard to do, so we always start from the ground up. That means start with beginner skills, and literally from the ground first, before gradually adding height and larger distances. Parkour is a lifelong discipline, so there’s no need to be in a hurry to do that cool jump or trick we saw on youtube.
Strength: It is common for people to think that they cannot or should not start parkour because they are not strong enough, or tall enough, or thin enough, or flexible enough, or young enough, etc. As explained above, parkour is a gradual, lifelong process that starts from the ground up. It’s also all about adaptation. So no matter what your starting point is, our goal is simply to grow beyond that point, not to be like the 16 year old prodigy in a video with a million likes. So don’t be afraid to start NOW!
Strength (the other side of the coin): Where we start might not be important, but where we are going is. Physical conditioning is an important aspect of parkour training. In order to be more capable and keep our bodies safe from injury (whether in parkour or in life) it is important to develop a certain level of strength, flexibility, and mobility. This will come to some degree simply by doing parkour, but it is important to stay ahead of the curve by adding conditioning to our training.