Life Challenge Episode #1 – Learning Parkour.

by Jason

For my first endeavor, I decided to practice parkour everyday for 30 days. If you have no idea what parkour is, here’s a quick BBC interview:

The BBC also published an interesting piece called “The Art of Le Parkour” that you can check out.

I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun, gotten in better shape, and met a lot of interesting people. For those following along, I decided to write a quick guide to how you too can start practicing parkour.

Apart from finding out about the fundamental principles of parkour, before you start practicing the techniques you need to understand your limits. You must realize that as a beginner to the sport you are not going to be able to do difficult moves. For this reason, it is not recommended that any drops are attempted from higher than chest-height at least for the first 12 weeks. After learning how to do the parkour roll it is the right time to think about going for higher drops. Here are some basic notes for you to consider when starting parkour for the first time that I discovered in my research and practice.

Be confident

Confidence is essential so do not be embarrassed about trying out a move and not being able to do it. Even experts will fail at some things but will keep trying until they succeed.

Just go for it

Parkour will always have new challenges no matter what level you have obtained. At the start focus on movements at low levels so that you develop  a good technique  that will truly begin to kick-in when you are doing more difficult training at a later stage in your development. Height is a major issue when you first start out, In the beginning stay low and keep safe.

Comfort zone

Parkour will eventually enable you to push both your limits and your fear, but start slowly and in the beginning stay well within your own comfort zone.

Your body’s message

Because of the nature of parkour there will initially be a lot of movement that will be totally new to your body. Impact on tendons and ligaments can be painful, so listen to what your body is telling you and if something starts to hurt stop. Remember, there is always tomorrow, and parkour is more of a marathon than a sprint. If you need a couple of days, to repair an injury, then do not let the initial ‘rush’ of starting the sport make you practice when you are not at 100% fitness.

Some useful exercises

You cannot expect that your body will be strong enough initially to some of the hardest parkour moves that is why when you start out as a traceur doing lots of push-ups, pull –up and sit-ups will condition the muscles in your body for the tasks you are going to ask them to perform.

Footwear

You need the right kind of footwear for parkour, and shoes must be fairly light, have a good grip and able to absorb shock to a decent level. Styles of parkour vary from person to person so while advice off other traceurs should not be ignored, shop around until you find the perfect footwear for your particular needs.

What to wear

Ideal clothing is a t-shirt that is loose fitting, and jogging pants that are not too tight and will allow you room for some exaggerated movements. You can use parkour gloves if your concerned about your hands coming into contact with some rough surfaces. However, your hands have sensors that play a vital part in your training and should, therefore, not be dulled by being covered up. In time, they will harden up, and the problem of sensitivity will be resolved.

Above all get into good habits right from day one and enjoy it in a safe manner.