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Oni

Fight or Flight: Parkour

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I dunno if many of you would be willing to try this or not, but I figured I'd put it here just in case.

Martial Arts are the fight aspect of self defence. Parkour is the flight. Being able to run away from a dangerous situation or getting somewhere in a hurry is just as important as being able to defend yourself. It could be used to escape muggers, angry dogs, etc. Or could be used to get you somewhere(Like if you're late for work).

 

Reach and Escape.

 

(Parkour practitioners do discourage anyone to use these skills to run away from authorities.)

 

 

 

 

Here is a good definition of Parkour created by the parkour community:

 

Parkour is the physical discipline of training to overcome any obstacle within one's path by adapting one's movements to the environment.

 

Parkour requires... consistent, disciplined training with an emphasis on functional strength, physical conditioning, balance, creativity, fluidity, control, precision, spatial awareness, and looking beyond the traditional use of objects.

 

Parkour movements typically include... running, jumping, vaulting, climbing, balancing, and quadrupedal movement. Movements from other physical disciplines are often incorporated, but acrobatics or tricking alone do not constitute parkour.

 

Parkour training focuses on... safety, longevity, personal responsibility, and self-improvement. It discourages reckless behavior, showing off, and dangerous stunts.

 

Parkour practitioners value... community, humility, positive collaboration, sharing of knowledge, and the importance of play in human life, while demonstrating respect for all people, places, and spaces.

 

 

To create this definition, American Parkour asked the entire national community for their personal definition of parkour. It was edited into this final version by a committee of American Parkour employees and people outside of American Parkour to ensure that it was truly a community effort.

 

 

 

There are hundreds of sites that could help you with information and articles that I wouldn't be able to fit into a single post.

Some of my favorite sites are:

 

www.AmericanParkour.com

http://www.americanparkour.com/content/category/6/98/417/              (FAQ's Section)

www.ParkourGenerations.com

www.ParkourVisions.org

www.Movnat.com

 

To be able to see Parkour videos check out the sites above, or, go to Youtube.

Youtube videos aren't always pure parkour. Sometimes there with be a little bit of freerunning in there as well. Freerunning is not Parkour. Parkour is all about efficiency. Freerunning is about freedom of movement. So, instead of jumping over a wall with a ten foot drop then rolling, a freerunner might get to the wall, stop, do a backflip off of it, then roll. Freerunning is amazing and takes a lot of skill.. just not the best thing for an emergency situation. Try searching for Tyson Cecka or David Belle, they have some good videos.

 

Here are some parkour movements. To get a visual idea, search for these names on Youtube.

 

Common English Parkour Terms

 

NOTE: Some traceurs feel that the invention of many terms to describe different vaults and other movements creates a false image of Parkour - one where it is simply a list of moves you try to attain. The fundamental idea of Parkour is to overcome obstacles, not to achieve perfection in a specific set of defined movements. The terminology on this page is used for illustrative purposes to help convey a sense of some of the common techniques in Parkour.

 

Traceur: A practitioner of parkour.

 

Parkour Roll: Similar to the roll used in grappling martial arts. The body is rolled across the ground shoulder first, ending at the opposite hip. Arm placements differ person to person and school to school.

 

Vault: Any jump that incorporates the use of the arms to overcome the obstacle.

 

Cat Pass/Monkey/Kong Vault: A vault were the body passes over the obstacles with the legs in between the arms. This is called a squat over vault in gymnastics. One of the most versatile vaults; excellent for clearing long and high objects and getting extra distance.

 

Two-Handed Vault: Two hands are placed on the obstacle and the legs come over to the side. Known as a flank vault in gymnastics. This is a very simple fault and is often used to introduce beginners to some of the more advanced vaults.

 

Single-Hand Vault: Same as above, but only one hand is placed on the obstacle. Also called a flank vault in gymnastics.

 

Speed Vault: A variation of the single-hand vault, but as the name implies the key to the speed vault is speed. The form is similar to a hurdle over an obstacle, but with the body leaning sideways and the hand tapping the obstacle as you go over.

 

Arm Jump/Cat Jump: A jump were the traceur lands with his hands on the top of an obstacle and his feet on the obstacle.

 

Precision Jump: A jump where a traceur lands on a precise surface like a rail, or wall ledge. Genereally refers to a standard standing broad jump technique. Both legs jump together and the arms swing forward to help initiate forward momentum.

 

Gap jump: Any jump that clears a gap between two objects.

 

Wall Pass: Technique involving running toward a wall and then converting the forward momentum into a jump. A wall pass involves taking one or more running steps up a vertical surface and catching on the top with your hands in order to pull yourself up and onto or over the obstacle.

 

Wall Run: A run along the top of wall.

 

Tic Tac: A technique were the traceur pushes of of one object with her foot to gain height and reverse momentum in order to overcome another obstacle.

 

Lazy Vault: A type of vault were the obstacle is approached obliquely and the legs pass over the obstacle first; one or two hands can be used, and are placed on the obstacle as the body passes over it.

 

Reverse Vault: A vault were the body turns over behind the hands completing a 360 over the obstacle.

 

Dash vault: A vault were the traceur jumps over the obstacle and puts his hands down as his legs pass the obstacle to help push him off.

 

Kash Vault: A vault which begins like a cat/kong but finishes like a dash. A squat through vault in gymnastics terminology.

 

Pop Vault: A vault were a foot is placed on the obstacle first to pop the traceur up and give her height to perform another vault, typically a kong or two-handed vault.

 

Underbar: A move were the traceur jumps feet first through an opening and grabs a bar at the top to aid him through.

 

Reverse Underbar: Same as above except the body goes through hands first, then turns so the feet can land first.

 

 

 

 

 

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Good advice to run from danger to survive. How ever what does a 65 year old man with a mechanical knee do?

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I have spent time with the guys and girls of Parkour Generations and Majestic Force. I know what goes into their training. The moves you talk about can be taught in an afternoon but to master them takes time, dedication and a gymnastics training facility with foam pits.

 

Parkour has been around for years before it was given a name, every child has done parkour or free running. It has just been taken to the next level. The standard of some of the best people at parkour could take medals for gymnastics at the Olympics. That sort of skill does not come over night it takes years of dedication and training.

 

Parkour is in the mainstream now; it is used in advertising media, TV and Hollywood films and gaming. It is always depicted in the case or the escape. But, is it a means of escape. Possibly for someone that does it and they find themselves in a situation but on the whole no it is not.

 

Where parkour will works is by giving kids the confidence that stops them being a target. There fitness and strength is higher than average, they carry themselves in a confident purposeful manor. They are not victims.

 

In London Parkour Generations are teaching inner-city kids a sense of belonging and ownership of their inner-city estates. These high rise estates have been unintentionally designed to make generations of criminals and druggies. It’s not a kid friendly world and they grow up fast. 8 year olds carrying knives, drug dealing, shop lifting, breaking into houses, stealing cars and joy riding, many arguments are settled with knives. It’s the same across the whole of Europe on every inner city estate. Parkour is being used to give these kids a sense of purpose and place. To break the cycle of crime and violence, that is a good thing.

 

This attitude to parkour has come about because the police and local authorities have realised that something has to change. Putting ‘no ball games’ and ‘no skating’ signs up created a child unfriendly society. Kids were left with nothing to do but hang around in gangs on street corners, carving out territories and generally terrorising the local population. The authorities had the foresight to see that parkour could benefit these estates and make them better places to live. They hit a lot of opposition from residents, saying that parkour generations was teaching kids how to break into places and be better criminals. But the fact is that if you give children pride and confidence in themselves and their communities they learn to respect and are less likely to enter the gangs and turn to crime and drugs.   

 

Parkour does not have all the answers and it will not sort out the youth of today but at least in the UK it has been recognised as being a positive and hopefully will influence those in power to think differently about the social problems of the inner cities. Thankfully the media had the balls to promote parkour with TV programs like Jump London and Jump Britain.

 

To answer your question to use parkour as a means of escape, yeah sure if you can do it but I would ask why have you got yourself into the situation in the first place?  Be more aware of your surroundings and you wont get into areas of confrontation.

 

Whilst you are doing parkour you should be moving fast enough that you don’t give anyone the time to react and become confrontational. But remember if you are doing damage to property, trespassing or putting other people it risk then you are going to attract confrontation.

 

Run safe!

 

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Good advice to run from danger to survive. How ever what does a 65 year old man with a mechanical knee do?

 

Swede, I think you need to try Parkyour......like just Parkyour butt in the La-Z-boy and call it a day.

 

Oni- Great write up. We have a member from Europe that is a big parkour fan. When I remember his name I'll post it up. Unfortunately, my father realized I couldn't run worth a damn so he taught me to fight....defensively of course.

 

However, I do appreciate that this activity is helping the youth stay positive, and active. I wonder if the motto will be similar to the anarchistic days of my psuedo-punk youth where we chanted "SKATING IS NOT A CRIME!"

 

Now you can say....

 

RUNNING IS NOT A CRIME!

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Adi, thank you for writing that. I just wanted to make a brief article to kind of get people interested and maybe post some stuff later. I knew though that people like Dan Edwards, Belle, and Vigroux could explain it to people much better than I so that's why I kept it kind of brief with a lot of links.

 

I know there are *many* views on Parkour, but this one I thought would help in the Urban Survival Section:

 

Parkour was "created" or refined by David Belle and his father. It was created to help people with emergency situations. Such as in the Army... or a firefighter trying to rescue someone.

 

There is a big article on the "creation" of parkour and the guy that started Movement Naturalle. But, like I said they can say it better than I can.

 

And it's definitely not all about the 'reach or escape'. That was the easiest way for me to explain it to survival people. Parkour is a physical language, and it's hard to speak it to someone that doesn't do it. It's hard for me to describe why the cat leap (or arm jump) is my favorite movement to someone that has no idea what I'm talking about.

 

Anyway, I do believe that these kinds of movements are created when we're kids and then somewhere we're told it's not okay to climb on things or run through town. Yes, you do need to train for many years for your body to handle the stress of some of the movements. But, that doesn't mean you can start out slow and work your way up. I've been training for... almost three years, and I still have to condition all the time and keep things low to the ground. (Where it should be anyway, being on rooftops is dangerous and stupid)

 

Yes, Parkour has become very mainstream... and I hate it! I wouldn't mind so much if the media would put out the right message of parkour so you wouldn't have kids trespassing and destroying property. Because one day I think it will come down to "No Parkour" signs. They already have a couple here in the states. :(

 

 

Annnyway.. If anyone is interested in training, great. Those are amazing sites that will give you all the information you need. They have hundreds of articles about physical and mental training, conditioning, health, safety, techniques, history, etc. It is recommended that you find an instructor to show you the ropes. This will be a littler harder in the states however.. Most of us learned from watching videos.. and that's definitely not the best way to go about it.

 

Good luck and be safe!

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Swede, I still think you could do some of the movements to improve your health and balance.

 

I know a few people 55+ that do parkour. Their movements are a little slower, but that's fine. The point is that they're out there conditioning and moving. Keeping ;em in shape and healthy.

 

But if you started doing parkour, stretching, light exercising, and balancing you'd probably feel pretty good.

 

You could even build your own equipment, like a balance beam that's only a few inches off the ground so you don't have to worry about falling.

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Not a problem Oni, I am very pro urban sports for want of a better word. I have been doing unban exploration, alley cat racing, urban cylocross and down hill racing, free stylie bmx and mountain bike and to some extent parkour for nearly 30 years now. I am mainly involved with alley catting these days as my passion lies in cycling.

 

The city landscape is a giant playground and is the only real reason this country boy goes to the city. And the no ball games signs have always been a red flag to a bull for me i grab my nuts and say up yours to the repression of youth by the so called politicly correct do gooders. 

 

 

 

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Urban Exploration is amazing.

 

I love going out to Portland and Seattle for parkour, but I also live next to a great area with rivers, lakes and tons of forest so every once in awhile I'll host a jam out here because it's hard for me to make it out into town all the time. But.. yeah, I agree, that that's the only reason I go into the city. =P

 

What is Alley Cat racing?

 

 

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In grade school there was only one guy I couldnt out run. (John Fox) When I was 14 through 18 there was no one who could catch me any where especially in the woods. We used to harass a local youth camp by stirring them up in the night and watch a hundred kids look for us in the woods every kid with a flashlight. If you use a flash light at night you will only see where the light shines and every one will see you coming a mile away.

 

Than in high school I got slower and bigger from bailing hay all summer and played left guard for our foot ball team but I was still the fastest line man on the team.

 

Now  :'(    Im beat down broken and busted. Take my word for it all that excessive exercise will catch up to ya eventually.Extra muscles will cramp up as you get older and lose circulation to hardening artery's. The knees go, tendinitis,no endurance from bad circulation  :cry: 

 

Now Im depressed.  gen140.gif    :dead:      :P

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I dunno, Jackie Chan is still pretty amazing! =]

 

There are however martial art masters in their 80's that can move better then some twenty year olds.

I think it depends on the activity you do, and the stresses it causes on the body. With proper training and condtitioning it may take away some of those stresses?

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Check alley cat racing out on youtube

 

 

Its basically courier racing on fixed wheeled or fixed gear bikes through city streets. I have raced in many UK cities and New York. It's a good laugh but a little dangerous, especially when you are cycling through traffic at up to 30 mph when it is only doing less than 10 mph and you have no control where cars are going to go and people have an in built skill to step into the road in front of you.     

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Swede is right my calf muscles are screwed from all the cycling i have done, they are well over developed and i have partmentalised syndrome in them. Which means they are so developed that they are restricted by the muscle housing which can’t stretch anymore. It’s not a problem for cycling but is a problem for walking so I can’t fully train nowadays so they have room to expand when walking hard.

 

My legs are small now compared to when I pro cycled.

 

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Sounds pretty dangerous to me. I think I'll pass. :P

 

I've wanted to do something similar to that, but with parkour. (Courier racing) We play Capture the falg alot, and tag... but we never really race. I think it'd be really fun.

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lol r, i cycled semi pro for 8 years from the age of 17, i just missed out on a pro cycling deal with one of the big teams.  My cycling is like your parkour, it looks dangerous from the outside but with over 20 years experience its about experience, skill, judgement and calculated risk. I have not driven a car in over 10 years my life is in the saddle, cranking the peddles.

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  My cycling is like your parkour, it looks dangerous from the outside but with over 20 years experience its about experience, skill, judgement and calculated risk. I have not driven a car in over 10 years my life is in the saddle, cranking the peddles.

 

Good point.

 

I haven't driven in... three month..? Somethin' like that. But mostly because I need new plates. =P

I would love to be able to run to places instead of drive.

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