Friday, April 6, 2007

A word about Parkour

I will not describe here what Parkour is about, you may find information on wikipedia or if you don't already know about it. I will just briefly explain what my interpretation of Parkour is, as i am often questioned about it.

I believe that Parkour, however wide it may be, is not a discipline in itself, but a piece of a bigger thing. If you follow the idea of Parkour (at least as it was when i got into it) to the extreme (being able to save your skin from any dangerous situation), then you should not only train to jump, run, climb, etc... You should also be learning about survival techniques, escape techniques, fighting, and things like this.
How useful are you to yourself if you can do a nice and cool jump in a confortable urban environnement but you can't walk 20km in a mosquito infested jungle ? Unfortuantely, that's the case of most Traceurs (aka Parkour practitioners). Most people train in extremely confortable situations, they have water, food, weather-adapted clothes and they can go back home at any time if they get tired, bored or injured. In the winter they train in gyms because they don't like when it's cold. At no time are they forced to face a difficulty, it always remains a matter of personnal choice.
I am not saying that this is a bad thing if they feel fine with it (everyone is free to train as he/she pleases and i encourage that), but it just doesn't correspond to my vision of Parkour. If you want to be really useful to yourself, you must be prepared to face undesired situations. For this you should be strong physically, and psychologically, and have a good amount of general knowledge.

I started realising this some time ago, and that's how i got interested in all types of adventurers or people with rather adventurous lives : Mike Horn, Walter Bonatti, Miyamoto Musashi to name a few. They have faced huge physical and, most of all, psychological difficulties and survived to talk about it. I know i am millions of miles away from their respective levels, but they are some sort of guidelines to me, they show me all that has yet to be done.

One thing links them all : strength.

Strength comes in a variety of types : it is being strong to train to do 10 one-armed chin-ups in a row, as much as it is to walk 2 years non-stop in subzero arctic temperatures, as much as it is to wake up at 5 o'clock nearly every morning of your life to go to an exhausting work because you have a family to feed, as much as it is to stay true to your principles when someone's offering you a big stack of money, as much as it is to... etc.)
However, i believe that those men are/were truely strong men, as they have given proof of having many of those types of strengths.

That's why instead of limiting myself to Parkour (which i train very often nonetheless), i now try to learn about other disciplines, to face other types of difficulties, as my goal has always been to search for my limits and to become a stronger man.



Blane said...

Thomas my friend! I'm happy to see you have started a blog so that we can all see what you are doing and where you are in the world.

Hopefully I'll meet with you again soon to talk, train and catch up in general.

I'll add this link to my page over at for more people to see your blog, I think many people will find it very useful and exciting.

Take care.


Yves said...

Great post. It reminds me of the games i played with my friends when i was even smaller. 6+ people were the catchers and 1-3 person had to hide in the forrest i remember playing this game more than 24h in one go hahaha. I still think it is a very good idea to do this so i'm out.

looking forward to your next post,


Callum 'Toffeefox' said...

Hey Thomas. I hope all is well. I came to Lisses with Blane and other guys from Leicester in the UK in February. Thanks a lot for spending so much time with us.

I find that your personal view on Parkour is quite close to mine (although I am still very early in my Parkour training). I think it's great that somebody else feels it is so important to be strong and useful in a variety of ways.

It would be great to talk to you again some time soon. Good luck with your training and other adventures.


Lorenz said...

Really good. you really understand the princip that men should be able to deal with any situation. i hope that you post a lot of good posts here. btw drop training is very well. thank you for all your informations.


The Saiyans said...

Hey Thomas

It's great to see you've got yourself a blog.

I love the idea behind being able to survive in any conditions. It would be so tough to wake up in a humid jungle and try hunt some breakfast, then go and do parkour! So inspiring

Anyway speak to ya soon dude


Krecker said...

Hi Thomas,

Great ideas, great lenguage, great "ease"... in two words: GREAT BLOG!

I hope that all the new traceurs will read your blog and will think about it!

A Bientot,

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, and I think one should also be able to use doing all the vaults and stuff if you're not able to cross a body of water.

Rafe said...

I really enjoyed that post it agrees very much with my ideals too. Training parkour has reawakened my desire to train martial arts, and made me think about wilderness survival skills, learning basic medicine, and just being a generally fit capable and usefull person. Really looking forward to the chance to train with you.

TjDubs said...

Hello. I completely agree with you, and take heart by my awareness while I train that it is about functionality, in any given situation including survival or escape, fun, or anything.

I moved recently to southern california's hot desert climate from new england, and I love the new level of awareness it's giving me...using the desert and it's mountains to further my bodies ability to function.

Again, your word on Parkour really hit the nail on the head.


Gato said...

Hi thomas, we met in bologna, florence and again in prato. Hope soon we will meet again in lisses (in november).
Your words oabout parkour makes me really happy, i have quite similar thought. I love to climb in Orobian Alps (alps of bergamo, where i live) and to camp in strange situatios. I spent 15 days this summer in south italy sleeping with other friend in the wood.. wahaa it was great. I love to climb high rocks on the sea and then jump down.
Yes, i think this is the real naturelle method. Hope to talk to you about this very soon, bye.
PS: sorry for my english errors:)