The discipline called Parkour evolved from military obstacle course training, where competitors have to get from one point on the course to the other in the fastest time possible without using any aids. Conceived in France by David Belle in 1988, Parkour involves a mixture of running, vaulting, climbing, rolling, and swinging in order to negotiate terrain and is typically played in an urban setting, with participants practicing moves that will enable them to traverse natural or man-made obstacles.
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The discipline was heavily promoted in the 1990s and 2000s using advertisements, documentaries and videos and with other practitioners, David Belle created a group that would meet regularly and develop the discipline. As you would expect, this new and innovative style of urban movement captured the imagination of many teenagers, who formed their own groups and practiced in their home towns.
Where to Learn Parkour
If you live in an Australian city, there will be a Ninja Parc near you and they have the resources and the experts to hone your skills and help you gain a deeper understanding of the discipline. They offer beginners Parkour that teaches you the essential skills you need to traverse obstacles, using a wide range of body movements including rolls, jumps, vaults and swings. This develops agility, balance, coordination and strength, while using all of your initiative to do the course in a good time. Of course, as you gain more experience, you will become faster and more competent and there is a competitive element to Parkour, once you have mastered the basics.
The art of Parkour promotes creativity, as the practitioner negotiates obstacles and some of the common moves are:
- Vaulting over obstacles.
- Precision jumping and landing accurately and landing feet first on a horizontal surface.
- Rolling to absorb the impact from a high jump.
- Reaching the top of a wall by running at and up the wall, catching the top with your fingers.
- Hanging and swinging to grab a handhold either side.
Like any sport or pastime, the more you practice Parkour, the better you become and there are Ninja Parcs where you can enrol in a basic Parkour course. If you have been inactive for a while, here are a few tips on regaining a good level of fitness, which is necessary to practice Parkour.
The Ultimate Physical Challenge
Parkour is different to any other discipline for several reasons; it does not require a special course and there are no rules as to how you negotiate obstacles, rather you have to use your own creativity because you don’t really know what is ahead of you, so you have to use your own initiative.
Of course, there is always the risk of physical injury when practicing Parkour and you are advised to wear knee and elbow pads and a good protective helmet. Start with special beginner’s courses that are designed to provide the right level of difficulty and slowly progress to more complex moves.
When you watch a skilled practitioner move through an obstacle course, it is a combination of dancing and moving with fluidity, while it is very taxing physically and requires a lot of upper body strength, which comes over time.