Author Topic: "Être fort pour être utile"?  (Read 2672 times)

Offline Patrick Witbrod

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"Être fort pour être utile"?
« on: September 04, 2011, 05:30:14 PM »
"Être fort pour être utile" we have all herd it and we have all herd about the connections between Georges Hébert and Parkour. More specifically Hébert's "méthode naturelle" and "parcours d'entrainement."

Everyone always claims that doing Parkour makes them more useful. In actuality how many of us have taken the time to judge how useful we really are? What skills besides Parkour do you have? If you lived in New Orleans, Joplin MO or in one of the states flooded by hurricane Irene would you really be that useful? In an emergency situation could you administer basic first aid, could you help someone with a broken foot get out of harms way, could you carry an unconscious person to safety?

Even in everyday life if you were walking down the street could you stop a mugging or a sexual assault? Could you provide accurate descriptions of people to the police, change a tire or administer the Heimlech maneuver. Just because you can get someplace doesn't make you useful. In many cases it makes you another liability to emergency services. A liability that is not worth the risk to anyone unless you are doing some good.

I say all this not to dissuade you from training in Parkour to be useful. In fact I am trying to do just the opposite. We as traceurs and traceuses have the ability to do a lot of good. In an emergency situation we could safely reach areas that many people are not trained to do without help or specialized equipment. (Only in extreme emergencies should this be attempted!) Because of this we should be prepared for such an event. So go sign up for more training. Take a search and rescue class, take basic first aid, sign up for your local CERT. Even learning basic survival skills can be the difference between being an asset and a liability.

How useful are you? Do you know any first aid, are you trained in self defense, do you know how to safely judge if you can move a person, can you provide basic necessities (i.e food, water, shelter and first aid) for yourself or others. Are you a certified lifeguard, do you have a plan for what you are going to do if disaster strikes? Does your family know your plan? To those of you with kids this is especially important.

I'm not saying that you have to be able to do all of these things. In the end you decide what is useful to you. So tell us. How useful are you? They don't have to be listed here it can be as simple as knowing how to change a tire all the way to how to treat a sucking chest wound. Tell us what you can do that would be useful in an emergency and tell us what you could do to make yourself more useful.   

Here are some good links:
Red Cross training locator: http://www.redcross.org/portal/site/en/menuitem.d8aaecf214c576bf971e4cfe43181aa0/?vgnextoid=46de1a53f1c37110VgnVCM1000003481a10aRCRD&vgnextfmt=default

CERT locations and information: http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/

FEMA information: http://www.fema.gov/plan/index.shtm

Here is my skill list: Basic first aid with some advanced skills, ability to carry a person safely and decide if it's necessary to do so, basic woodland survival (i.e. hunting, making fire, building shelter, direction finding), Martial Arts training, proficient with many types of firearms (Rifle, pistol, shotgun), construction knowledge including electrical systems, welding, and basic mechanic skills.

Some of the things i'm doing to make myself more useful are: taking a wilderness survival course through the army ROTC at my college as a refresher, training to become a lifeguard, searching for more first aid classes, trying to get stronger in everything I already do preparing to sign up for CERT.       

Also feel free to discuss how useful Parkour really is or isn't or does or doesn't make you more useful.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2011, 05:42:23 PM by Patrick Witbrod »

Offline Alan

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2011, 06:08:51 PM »
This is one of my favorite parkour quotes. Of all time.
When Hurricane Irene blew through a few days ago, my PK conditioning/training made me so much better equipped to handle clean-up. I had no problem wielding a chainsaw to dismantle trees and then move the resulting heavy pieces out of my and my neighbors' yards. And unlike my experience in Louisiana when Hurricane Katrina (yeah I have crap luck with hurricanes) came on down, I didn't even mind the work of dragging around branches, chopping up wood, rolling around logs, raking, picking up twigs etc. Just saw it all as training.

Oh, and as a bonus I get lots of stumps to practice precisions and websters. :D

Offline Conrad Moser

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2011, 06:14:52 PM »
Isn't there some famous list of some number of things every man should be able to do? I seem to recall it was from some early 20th-century author, but can't come up with it.
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Offline gutbox11

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2011, 06:27:31 PM »
Well, I'm CPR certified which includes using AEDs, I have been trained in basic as well as advanced first-aid,I took an auto-mechanics class, I've had wilderness survival training, emergency preparation class, I can properly use power tools, I've had training in caring for injured animals as well as working with many veterinarians, I've had training with fire-arms (pistol, rifle and shotguns). And I know a few other various things from when I was a boy scout. But what this post really made  think about is how I could use parkour to help in situations along with these.

Offline Alan

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2011, 06:27:47 PM »
Isn't there some famous list of some number of things every man should be able to do? I seem to recall it was from some early 20th-century author, but can't come up with it.

Well, there's this:
http://artofmanliness.com/2009/09/15/every-man-should-be-able-to-save-his-own-life-5-fitness-benchmarks-a-man-must-master/

Offline Skye

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2011, 08:52:39 PM »
I believe I am quite useful, parkour defiantly i think has made me more useful then before i started though. But even before that, i never wanted to be the "victim" personality. If i could have the ability to accomplish something and help someone, i would. From survival skills, living without electricity for a week, lifting, helping treat the wounded ect... (all from hurricanes. I live in south louisiana, the area known as cajun country)

I do think parkour has helped me though, the skills i have learned while practicing I think have really helped me in mental development, and physical development.  But no matter how useful i may be now, I can always improve and grow stronger as a person.

Also, to add, i believe that if you are capable of something, like helping out, or saving someones life, and you choose to look away, and do nothing. You are guilty. I never want that burden. Or to be the burden. That's why i strive to be stronger. I want to be a burden on no one, but be useful. And that is what parkour really is to me. Being useful in a situation.
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Offline Elet ET

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2011, 07:30:13 AM »
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
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Offline Joe Brock

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2011, 09:42:07 AM »
I've been both a firefighter and first-responder.  Allow me to say that parkour in and of itself played no part directly in what made me more useful in either.  It was the little aspects of movement that made parkour a kind of cross-training for firefighting.  I had no qualms about running in full turnouts up the side of a moving truck.  I once manned the hose on a brush-truck whilst fighting a forest fire, and I can assure you that balance came into play, because the police officer who was driving the truck meant to get me in position...close!!!

It does make a difference, but when you're trying to find the quickest way to "be useful," it's the little things that make all of the difference.  I never did need to perform a kong in full turnouts, but I did have to run into a burning house while carrying a hose and ax.  The "flow" mentality is just as present in one as the other.  Fire just makes it much more serious.
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Offline Zachary Cohn

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2011, 10:51:33 AM »
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert Heinlein

This is what Belhade was thinking of.

Robert Heinlein is one of the greatest classical science fiction authors, in that he wasn't writing about spaceships and rayguns (although those may be in a story or two), but he was writing about how humans interact with each other. There's a lot to learn from his writings.

Offline Linda Watters

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2011, 11:51:33 PM »
Great post!

Parkour has definitely reminded me of a few things that I consider useful and are definitely transferable to other daily life situations, such as safety first.

 I have some very limited training in stunt & stage combat. Safety first is the rule. Always check your surfaces for safety before falling/rolling/jumping on them. I am always checking that surfaces are solid or steady enough for me to play on. I am also always  doing visual sweeps of the ground and removing debris before practising rolls. In new places, I'll do a walkabout to check it out before just randomly jumping on things.

 Also, as a newbie (only doing this for 3 months at this point) I assume I'm going to hurt myself so I always bring a mini first aid kit to class and jam sessions. At the last weekly jam session, we swabbed so many scrapes that I had no alcohol wipes left for my eventual scrape. I was reduced to licking my poor little arm. [It was just a scratch, I'm fine, thanks for asking. :)] In  a small way, I'm getting into the habit of being prepared. In this case, this difference made was that a few folks could stay out and play longer rather than wander off looking for a open drug store on a Sunday afternoon or going home.

However, the biggest thing that parkour reminds me of, in regards to being useful, is knowing my limits. I am reminded of what I can and cannot do. There is no room for ego in parkour. My ego may say that, yes, you can make that jump...and maybe I can in a controlled classroom situation...however, out in the woods, on the rocks at the river, an ego moment like that could disable me more than a person I might be trying to help!  Actually had that moment today (non-emergency, just didn't want to get my feet wet) Common sense won the day and sent my ego packing. :)

On a related note, we have very good leaders in our group who are working hard to make sure the group has a good reputation. When approached by city police, they step up immediately to talk to the officers and tell them who we are and what we are about. They lead by example, showing the younger folks in the group how to effectively talk to authority figures and respect what they say. When asked to leave, the leaders move the group along and they do not speak disrespectfully about the police once the officers have left. I think this is huge in regards to parkour training helping people to be useful, absolutely huge!
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Offline Alec Furtado

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2011, 11:58:36 PM »
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Robert Heinlein
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Offline WillPK

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Re: "Être fort pour être utile"?
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2011, 08:44:02 AM »
I'm so useful I'm actually a tool.