Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Slow Down, Think, and Really Train

I recently read an article by Chris "Blane" Rowat that really changed my thought process. So many times I have used parkour as a way to look cool or expand my skills in movement for fun. But in all this I forgot what was important to me and all who train parkour seriously. Parkour isn't about show or being the best. It's not about who can do this move or that move. It's not about how quickly you can get better. I can't explain exactly what parkour is to me but I can give you and idea.

Many times I have pushed my body to hard and I've gotten hurt. Nothing that would stop my training though. But I forgot about long term effects. The injuries I'll have when I'm 40 or older. Right now David Belle is starting to get to the age where he should start hurting, well, he isn't. You want to know why? Because he trained since he was very young just learning the basics and slowly building. When I first started parkour, I did it for myself. I had a pretty boring life. Now I have something to occupy my time. Not only that but I have my escape. Everyone needs somewhere to go when they are down or just when they need time for themselves. That was my place. I would practice for hours. I wasn't very good at anything and my progression was super slow. But I loved it. It took me months to get moves that I now teach my friends in two minutes. I had to learn by myself. Trial and Error. That's how I got good. Both physically and mentally. Now I have friends that come along and are as good physically as I am in a matter of days.

The problem here is that it isn't real training. It drains your creativity. It's like taking an art class and them teaching you how to paint. They teach you how to do everything, what makes your art different from everyone else if you all paint the same? It is about your own style. If you constantly go on youtube (I do quite a bit) and search and study these guys (which is fine to a point) then you start to do it like them. You learn but you look exactly like them. That's one thing that makes the parkour world interesting, everyone is different. Everyone has something new to put out there. But when websites are giving the lists of moves for parkour and such, where is our creativity. Now everyone wants to learn the basics but it restricts them in their mind when they see that "these are all the parkour moves".

Parkour is about becoming like an animal. Smooth in all their moves. You have to be useful in life. If people are in danger, we step out and use what we know to save them. If I am going to save someone in a fire, I need to know where they are, how I am going to get there quickly, and find an efficient way out. Parkour covers a lot of that. Even something like a cat in a tree. Well I can get up there and get it out quickly so the firefighters don't have to come by and waste their time on something dumb like that. Basically what I am saying is, you have to be useful. Parkour trains people to be useful. David Belle said in an interview, when we look at a panther crossing a river we say "how beautiful" and then it jumps. But the panther isn't trying to be pretty, it's just trying to get across the water efficiently. That's how we should be. We shouldn't be all about show and does this look good to you. Well to be honest I don't care if it looks good to you. It's all about my progress, my journey. Do you think that Panther started out jumping across that river? No, he had to walk first, then run, then jump, then jump smoothly, and finally jump quickly and smoothly. It took awhile for him to get that good. He didn't walk out and do it. Even though we say he had animal instincts, he still had to learn. Humans walk, but we had to learn how to walk.

Have you ever lost a move because you got scared of that move? I have. A lot of times. I think this is a result of moving to quickly. How do we get comfortable with a move? Well to learn a kong vault I didn't just go out and do it. I took a table that was very tiny and jumped over it. Then I jumped over it with my hands, and finally tried a kong vault. As I got more comfortable I turned the table long ways and tried it. Now I am comfortable doing a kong most anywhere. I learned after working up slowly. These guys who go out and just do the moves are not learning the basics. It's like jumping into a freezing pool, you nearly freeze if you jump straight in. If you slowly work your way in then you get used to the water. I learned a wall backflip once and then I practiced it everywhere. Then soon I fell on my head. I haven't been able to do it since. I tried it with two feet because I was so ready to progress and "catch up" to the people that have been practicing for five years, and then I paid for it.

From now on my training will be very slow. I want to become a great traceur. Not just a really athletic teen. I hope this article helps others see the truth in parkour. It really helped me by just writing it. David Belle once said you should do the move, then do it well, then do it fast and well.
May you all spread the truth about parkour and the original art. It took David Belle over 15 years to get where he is, and it is taking us, what, two minutes? Those people who say we are dangerous and we are going to hurt ourselves doing parkour are right for once. If we continue the path we are going, we will get hurt.

God Bless,

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