Friday, April 6, 2007
A word about Parkour
I will not describe here what Parkour is about, you may find information on wikipedia or parkour.net 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.