Train to be a Superhero

Le Parkour is primarily considered a philosophy and includes the physical practice of traversing elements in both urban and rural settings. The goal is to move from one point to another as quickly and efficiently as possible. This discipline was created in France, in Sarcelles, Lisses and Evry by David Belle, Sébastien Foucan, and the founding members of the Yamakasi. It is inspired by “the natural method of physical education” by Georges Hébert who first saw this form of movement done by Africans in Congo. It was then spread worldwide by films, television reports, and amateur videos on the Internet.

The term freerunning is sometimes used interchangeably with parkour. While parkour aims to enable the practitioner to be able to move quickly and efficiently past obstacles, freerunning has a greater emphasis on self-expression within the environment. Freerunning includes tricking moves such as aerial rotations and spins, while the purist definition of parkour founder David Belle would not consider these part of parkour because the moves are merely showy, not efficient, and do not help the participant to get from place to place.

Parkour is about training the “bodymind” to react to those obstacles appropriately with a technique that is effective. Often that technique cannot and need not be classified and given a name. In many cases effective parkour techniques depend on fast redistribution of body weight and the use of momentum to perform seemingly difficult or impossible body maneuvers at great speed. Absorption and redistribution of energy is also an important factor, such as body rolls when landing which reduce impact forces on the legs and spine, allowing a traceur (Male) to jump from greater heights than those often considered sensible in other forms of acrobatics and gymnastics.

Some Basic Terminology for Freerunning

French: Atterrissage or réception
English: Landing
Description: Bending the knees when toes make contact with ground (never land flat footed; always land on toes and ball of your foot, or whole footed).

French: Franchissement
English: Underbar
Description: Jumping or swinging through a gap between obstacles; literally “to cross” or “to break through.”

French: Passement
English: Vault, Pass
Description: To move over an object with one’s hand(s) on an object to ease the movement.

French: Saut de chat
English: Cat pass/jump, (king) kong vault, monkey vault
Description: The saut de chat involves diving forward over an obstacle so that the body becomes horizontal, pushing off with the hands and tucking the legs, such that the body is brought back to a vertical position, ready to land.

French: Planche
English: Muscle-up or climb-up
Description: To get from a hanging position (wall, rail, branch, arm jump, etc.) into a position where your upper body is above the obstacle, supported by the arms. This then allows for you to climb up onto the obstacle and continue.

French: Saut de rotation
English: Rotary jump (or vault)
Description: Similar to a kong vault, the person dives and then rotates their lower body around the obstacle. Used for shorter to medium obstacles. For people that have trouble with kong vaults, invented by Garrett Sundin.

The American Military have now adopted this style of training for their recruits because of the coordination and strength it involves.

If you would like to take part in an event that incorporates parkour,  try the Men’s Health Urbanathlon.

Take a look at John Morrison of the WWE’s training and how challenging Parkour really can be.