Author Topic: Parkour for Military / LEO  (Read 6953 times)

Offline Mark Toorock

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Parkour for Military / LEO
« on: April 01, 2007, 07:47:10 PM »
Our story "be Strong to be Useful" has sparked some comments that I feel deserve a forum topic. In particular the comments of "redie2drive".-

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Written by redie2drive on 2007-04-01 16:00:27
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I am military, deploied, and I have to say the problem with parkour use in a combat MOS is the weight of the equipment. From personal experience I know it would be very difficult, but I dont see how it could hurt.


redie2drive, you raise a very good point, obviously with a full pack people won't be making videos of graceful looking moves. What we feel, however, is that people trained in Parkour fundamentals, the real ones, about moving effectively and efficiently, will translate no matter what the task, and this is only amplified by the weight and restraints that people face in real-world situations. The movements may not be the same, but knowing (and training) how to move effectively will help in any situation. We'll be working with different people from all walks of military and LEO, from tactical to SWAT to Air Marshalls, hopefully SEALS and Marines to help them to develop practical movements that could save seconds or fractions of seconds that could save lives. There are many military organizations which are now looking to CrossFit and incorporating part or all of the CrossFit methods into their training. We are part of CrossFit, and some Parkour training will become part of the overall CrossFit methodology. We'd appreciate any feedback and real-world info you have! 
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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2007, 07:26:16 AM »
Doesn't this go to the very essence of Parkour?  Was it not developed as part of the physical training regimen of the French military?

Almost every confidence course or obstacle course owes some small part to the original work of Georges Hebert.

I'm deployed with 32nd Mobile Medical Brigade, and I'm 40 years old.   My fitness is a crucial part of being a soldier, even though my MOS is a medical / support role.   And I can run circles around soldiers half my age (maybe I should cross post this in the over 40 forum). ::)

Military fitness is about moving yourself and your gear efficiently.  Extraneous bulk is punished if it is not functional.   And while speed equals safety, the ablity to move accurately and powerfully in a three-dimensional environment is the difference between fitness in the gym, and fitness in the real world.   It's often about unknown distance, unknown conditions, and the mental toughness to carry on.   I've seen amazingly fit soldiers come undone because they didn't have the psychological fitness to keep going.

It's why I'm drawn to Crossfit, and ultimately to the Parkour expression of it.   It is a fitness that makes sense, and I can do the American Parkour workouts with minimal equipment.  Something I can't say for the more traditional Crossfit WOD.  And these brutally hard workouts condition your mind.

Remember, your mind is your weapon, everything else is a tool.

Offline hardcoretraceur

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2007, 08:49:56 AM »
^ the strength to go on is useless without the will to.
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Offline kage

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2007, 06:44:14 PM »
They should make a new breed of soldier. One that is good at Parkour, and carries a light load... Just think of what the damn Iraqis would think of somebody running up a wall while shooting at them... haha, I can c it now
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Offline Sat Santokh

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2007, 09:41:15 PM »
They should make a new breed of soldier. One that is good at Parkour, and carries a light load... Just think of what the damn Iraqis would think of somebody running up a wall while shooting at them... haha, I can c it now

As horribly wrong and ignorant that statement is please leave politics out of this forum.

Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2007, 06:09:56 AM »
I agree, there was no need , nor is this the place for that.
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Offline kage

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2007, 10:50:51 AM »
Sorry for intruding on your "intelligent" convo, i just threw an idea out there with a bit of humor involved... if you dont like it, thats your problem >:(. Maybe i missed the point of what u two were talkin about, i dunno, but i have honestly expirienced the advantages of being a soldier, and knowing parkour. I just enlisted in the army, and my ability to do parkour has helped me loads. I don't know where I really involved politics, but ok.  ??? Anyway i was just tryin to start a convo, so lighten up a bit 8)
Boy : Do not try and bend the spoon...that's impossible...Instead,only try to realize the truth...
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Boy : There is no spoon.
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Offline Tsumaru

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2007, 06:10:02 PM »
I think the issue was "damn Iraqis".
And a general tip: If the staff ask you not to do something, don't say things like "if you dont like it, thats your problem" and "lighten up a bit". It's really quite easy for the staff to boot you off the forum. After all, you said its there problem, and an IP ban is always a fun and easy way to deal with online problems.


Personally I'm looking to join Reserves next year, and depending on how things go with my education this year and my chances for education next year I might end up joining full time in the next few years. One thing that concerned me about trying to make the link between Parkour and military movement was, as has been said already, heavy packs. We have enough issue with damage to joints as it is - can you imagine drops with the additional weight of a soldiers kit? Obviously we're not expecting a soldier to be jumping a whole lot but you just have to keep that in mind when doing a crossover. You also have to keep in mind that he can't perform the standard Parkour roll due to the bulk of the gear, and he's also going to have an assault rifle or machine gun in his hands (or at most hanging in front of him ready to be picked up). So there's a lot to take into consideration.

Someone mentioned the whole Vietnam thing, but you have to realise that the environment of Vietnam was completely different, and so was the kit. What was needed and what would have worked in Vietnam is hardly the same as what is needed and what will work now. Hell, even the differences between a local SWAT unit and marines in Iraq is enough to completely change how the training will have to be run.

However, despite the difficulties, I do agree with M2 that training in Parkour gives an understanding of movement and body mechanics that can, and should, be applied in whatever situation you come across. If you can't apply Parkour when you need to, what good is it? Is it right of us to discriminate and say "well, Parkour is efficient movement only when you've got a nice training area and are in trackies and runners". Hardly. The skills and understanding you gain from training should be able to be applied no matter the situation. That having been said, I don't think that a couple of training sessions will be that valuable for many military personnel. I think it would have to be a regular structured thing to really drill it into them. Many traceurs will, even after many months, not apply their movement skills instinctively if they are forced to run. And this is when they train from their own decision quite regularly. How is a soldier meant to apply it with less training then your average traceur?

So I think there's a lot of potential for development of valuable skills, but it would be a real challenge to actually implement those skills effectively into the soldier.

Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2007, 06:38:53 PM »
Kage, for the sake of friendlyness I'll assume that you don't come across well on the internet, and that you're not really telling me that "it's my problem" .. it is in fact my forum and my discussion, so essentially it would end up being your problem, but I'm sure there was just some misunderstanding of general ettiquite :)

Now, back to the original problem, under some circumstances I may agree with you, there may be some Iraquis who indeed be damned, however to come out with a blanket statement on a forum read by over 100 countries is a bit ignorant and out of place.  It is also a political statement, which we kindly ask you to refrain from.

I think it is understandle that the line can get confusing when we are talking about training military, then saying not to talk about politics. The problem is that politics and religion are two subjects that people can never agree on, no matter how right everyone thinks they are ;) In fact, your sentence involves not only prejudice, but also politics and religion all in one.

Now, back to the discussion at hand ...

Tsumaru, thanks for your well thought out comments as usual!

I agree with most of what you're saying - the one thing I'll point out is this

Quote
can you imagine drops with the additional weight of a soldiers kit?

My point being that they will happen either way, trained and prepared for, or not. If we can lessen the injury rates of soldiers from not only combat, but also general training by teaching them better methods of landing, absorbing, and general conditioning which leads to better technique, then I think it's a good thing.
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Offline kage

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2007, 07:51:20 PM »
I usually come across fine on the internet, it's been a bad day tho, and my fuse is as short as it can be without exploding. i wasn't in any mood to be called ignorant and told what to do by a 16 year old (no offense intended). Once again i apologize if i offended anybody, but we all have our own views on things, and mine just happens to be a bit more harsh against our middle eastern foes b/c one of my best friends was killed by their hands. Now, I hope I've explained myself well enough, and if i have a problem with anybody i'll message them or sumthin in a friendly way... So lets just forget about what was said, and get back to the fun at hand....
Boy : Do not try and bend the spoon...that's impossible...Instead,only try to realize the truth...
Neo : What truth?
Boy : There is no spoon.
Neo : There is no spoon?
Boy : Then you will see, it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

Evocati

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2007, 10:46:59 PM »
Some more thoughts on Military / LEO Parkour...

It's almost two separate categories, based on the following factors:

Environment, Mission/ROE, Duty Load.  Let's think about it.

Law Enforcement:

Environment: Urban, rule of law essentially observed.
Mission: "Serve & Protect"
Duty Load: Ususally a kevlar vest (no ceramic plates), and a duty belt with handgun, perhaps 4 magazines with 21-50 rounds, cuffs, baton, radio.  Maybe 15 lbs.

Military:

Environment: Various, currently urban.  Booby traps, rule of law non-existent.
Mission: Peace Keeping, curfew, anti-terrorism, etc.
Duty Load: Kevlar vest with ceramic plates, at least 210 rounds in 7 magazines, M4 rifle, kevlar helmet, eye protection, first aid kit, radio, side-arm, and "other" items, possibly a pack.  Typical load 50 lbs or more (easily).

The law enforcement role, with the foot chase, the light load, and the urban environment lends itself almost immediately to the use of Parkour to give the LEO the upper hand.  Routine downtime, and the ability of a smaller department to dictate it's own training requirements all argue in favor.

For the military, not quite.  The variable mission requirements, the danger of being "sucked in" by a foot chase, the combat load, and the overall hositility of the environment make this a specialized skill.

However, the general training and physical/mental/psychological skills gained from hard training would still be advantageous for the military.  The ability to adapt to an urban environment, and proceed over through and around obstacles is an effective force multiplier for small units in door-to-door urban environments.

I have made the argument (elsewhere, not this forum), that SWAT tactics would be better applied in the current military environment than the more traditional skills currently taught to the average soldier.  SF trains as needed for the mission, and they are the most likely early adopter, very similar to the adoption of CF in these communities.

Anyway, some more fodder for the thread...


« Last Edit: April 08, 2007, 08:12:10 AM by Evocati »

Offline Tsumaru

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2007, 01:44:45 AM »
Quote
but we all have our own views on things, and mine just happens to be a bit more harsh against our middle eastern foes
I'm sure most of the Allied soldiers deployed overseas don't consider the IDF foes, so "damn Iraqis" is, as M2 said, an offensive blanket statement. Maybe what you meant to say was "damn insurgents who have a tendency to kill innocent people"?

Quote
My point being that they will happen either way, trained and prepared for, or not. If we can lessen the injury rates of soldiers from not only combat, but also general training by teaching them better methods of landing, absorbing, and general conditioning which leads to better technique, then I think it's a good thing.
Fair point. Although, in this case, I guess it really comes down to identifying what needs to be approached as most important for the soldier (or whoever is being trained), and what should be disregarded as somewhat superfluous. Certainly I don't think your average soldier needs to be taught how to reverse vault for example.

Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2007, 05:15:44 AM »
Tsumaru,
I think your first point stating which (insurgents, terrorists) is a great point, you said that much better than I did, thanks!


Now, as for the turn vault ... maybe you picked an example that's easy for me to argue, but I think the turn vault is particularly useful, and in fact I trained it in gear ... think of the turn vault as a slow climb over an edge to hanging drop, as oposed to jumping down from the top of something. Incidentally, a middle stage for this if it is a plain edge (no railing or wall) is a low QM state with arms and legs splayed, with a weight pack :)

(edit: I think Mark reads too  fast...I doubt anybody could argue the efficacy of the turn vault.. DOH!.... -gear-)
(Doh! - for some reason when I read "reverse vault" my mind says "turn vault" - your point is a good one! - M2-  (thanks gear))

Moves I think could be useful with gear on, but have yet to really test and try against reality: (with some comments/ qualifiers)

1. Dropping - fairly obvious, but any variation from perfect form is greratly amplified by the wieght of gear. Combine that with the fact that it will be done under diress and not perfectly anyway, and it becomes more important to train and drill to "perfection" under good circumstances (light load, no outside circumstance) so that when used in action it comes naturally and safely
2. Vaulting - for lower objects, it is fairly easy to vault things without major compromise of safety / advantage. specifically speed vaults, lazy vaults.
3. Wall climbs - tic tacs - not to be done as a singular move, but the training could prove very useful for redirection of movement, or for single or double-step wallclimbs to breach short walls. One "trick" we were shown is a small web ladder with a hook that you can put on the top of a small wall to give you a foothold with hands free over the top of the wall.
4. The turn vault / climb down - as mentioned for #1, but working more with dropping from "reasonable urban heights" such as 1 story rooves, 2nd story windows. I'm not advocating jumping out of a 2nd story window with a 50 pound pack, but it beats being shot if you're first man in or last man out. Increasing the safety of this move by even a small percentage could be hugely advatageous
5. Rolling. - Is it even possible? The standard parachute landing is a horrible thud with both feet together that relies mostly on luck and strength. Perhaps for some units some gear or the placement of the pack could be moved without compromise of it's normal function (carrying a load with proper distribution of weight for normal spinal position and loading). there are also "forward strike" units that carry less gear and see more action, perhaps a shift of some gear (biggyback packs) to rearward units so that forward units are more agile? what about a roll that goes essentially up over the back shoulders, so practically from hip to shoulder to shoulder to hip?

5. Topping out - again, not easy with gear, in fact in the gear I was in I couldn't even do it after an hour workout, where the tactical trainer could with almost no problem - what can I learn from him? Think of doing a puill-up while you're being held 6" away from the bar - very tough. So, does (or can) unladen top-out training help fully loaded personell to breach objects faster? We'll work on it. 

Again, these are points for discussion and things we will be working on, not stuff that I actually "know" anything about at this point.
 
« Last Edit: April 04, 2007, 05:52:53 AM by M2 »
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Offline hardcoretraceur

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2007, 06:45:51 AM »
another skill that might be useful is traversing walls in cat hang.

our group trains teamwork techniques too. 'effective and silent' and 'effective and fast' techniques for getting everyone to a place where not everyone would be able to safely get to normally. teaching effective methods of making a human stepladder, climbing rope, stepping stone/launch pad, bridge, or safety net (im sure there's other things too). an example would be pulling and pushing people up walls that they can not normally climb, or being ready to catch someone from a precision that they may fall backwards on. obviously each soldier should try to be as capable as possible, but as capable as possible might not be enough. i think through parkour and the study of efficiency it's possible to create effective team techniques.
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Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2007, 06:51:40 AM »
Great addition HT! We've discussed that, human pyramids, and the effects of being the guy who has to be pulled up the wall vs. the guy who can get up first and pull others up. It brings extra consideration to these drills when you not only have to get people there, but possibly cover enemy fire.
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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2007, 03:24:55 AM »
Standard training for all soldiers, but especially for medical and Combat Lifesavers, is moving under fire, moving injured soldiers, etc. 

This requires a lot of teamwork to move seriously injured soldiers over rough terrain and under hostile conditions.  This is a core element of practical physical fitness. 

How useful are squats and deadlifts in real life? When you have to grab a 175# soldier in 60# of gear and drag him.  You grab by the vest, and haul back with both legs.  If you are able, you perfect the ability to pick him up in a traditional firemans carry, not easy.  All this core strength is found in the deadlift and the squat.

When you have to move to an injured soldier, and stay low to the ground to avoid being injured yourself, that's a functional use of Quadrapedal Movement.  Try it with a combat load...

When you need to move a wounded soldier over a wall or baricade, or up into a vehicle...

Well I could go on.  You get the idea. 


Offline Mark Toorock

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2007, 07:55:53 AM »
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Well I could go on

... please do
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Offline Redie2drive

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2007, 08:02:36 PM »
I think the real issue here is parkour specific practices.  The military has training for overcoming obsticles (obsticle course ;)

Being a POG myself (person other than grunt) I have not seen one of those, that being an obsticle course, since basic training.  Im not sure how much the combat MOSs paticipate in these but one thing I do remember is the drill sgt went through and told us the best/fastest way to traverse each one. 

Being a person who never leaves the fob I wont try to guess if that training helps in real world when your in the heat.  I might be able to find an Infantryman and ask... Ill get back to ya.

Offline Asa Liebmann

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2007, 09:05:18 PM »
If I may throw in a little question here:

Where is the line between Parkour and "moving practically" or "common sense" with basic movement skills? Is there one?

Offline hardcoretraceur

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Re: Parkour for Military / LEO
« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2007, 10:15:29 PM »
redie to drive- i just want to note that even though the drill sgt told you the "best" or "fastest" method, that's just from his experience, and it's not set in stone. there could be other possibly better methods.

common sense and moving practically are the same ideally, but if people try to move what they percieve as practically without using common sense, which certainly happens, the difference could be life or death (especially when it comes to the whole military thing).
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