Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of Parkour. Also known as “freerunning,” Parkour is a training technique that’s gotten a TON of attention recently. If you’re not sure what it is or why you’d want to potentially take it up . . . you’re not alone! Notwithstanding the hype, there’s still an aura of mystery that swirls around the sport.
So what is Parkour exactly? First off, it’s an excellent athletic activity for those who like challenges and get bored with run-of-the-mill gym training. It goes a little something like this:
Okay, okay, not really. All joking aside, Parkour is a discipline founded two decades ago in France by David Belle. The term comes from the French word “parcours,” which means quite literally “the way through” or “the path.” Belle, the son of a French Special Forces warrior, and his crew, known as the Yamakazi, started the now worldwide movement as a method of training that simultaneously encourages creative expression.
Described by Belle as a “weapon in disguise,” Parkour seeks to develop and strengthen its practitioners’ ability to overcome obstacles in their way. At its most basic, the sport focuses on moving from point A to point B using the obstacles in one’s path to increase efficiency. Sounds like fun, right?
From running and jumping to vaulting and climbing, there are many different techniques associated with Parkour. It’s an incredibly dynamic and artistic style of training that can increase self-confidence; improve agility, concentration, and focus; and boost endurance. Not to mention, if you’re a daredevil looking for something new to try, Parkour is everything you’ve been waiting for and more.
Most people who take up Parkour start by watching some videos on YouTube to get a sense of the basic technique. It’s definitely not something you pick up overnight, but rather requires patience, practice, and an insane amount of discipline. One huge benefit is the ability to train from anywhere, whether you live in a rural area, in the city, or anywhere in between. All that’s required is your body . . . and a healthy dose of caution.
Overall, I give this training technique two thumbs way, way up. You won’t get shredded, lose much weight, or develop serious musculature from Parkour. Nonetheless, it’s an excellent way to stay physically active while developing self-control, conquering your fears, and learning to use rather than shy away from challenges in your path.