Author Topic: The reality about parkour about Media, Competition, Parkour vs Freerunning, etc.  (Read 18110 times)

ruskiman

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Honestly, ive seen too much at this point.

There are so many articles all over the internet about what Parkour really is, how it is different from Freerunning, why or why not should competition be brought into Parkour, why does the media put a negative spin on this parkour thing, etc...

What do I think about all of this?

One thing. Parkour is about one thing and one thing only. FREEDOM.

Why does it matter what other people think of parkour? I do parkour, and I love doing it. When I refer to parkour, im not basing it on any definition thats out there what so ever. To me its freedom. Freedom to move any way I chose, think any way I want to think. You may say that this is more like freerunning. And....?  So what if you call it freerunning, parkour, freestyle running, or whatever. All of the traceurs out there that practice parkour do it for different reasons. No one can say which is the right reason and what is the wrong reason. If you want to stick to perfecting efficient movement, thats your right. If you would rather do flips and tricks, go right ahead. So for the rest of the post, when I say parkour, take it in whatever definition you want.

Chase Armitage has mentioned in the 3run video Evolution, that the video was meant to show what a human body is capable off, the next step in evolution. People keep arguing back and forth about what the hell parkour really is, when after all, all the traceurs out there are basically striving to break the limits of what is possible for us humans to do.

Then again parkour is about freedom, in every sense of the word. "Its only impossible because you've been told it is" - Chase Armitage from the Xbox commercial. We traceurs are freeing ourselves of the expectations placed on us by society to move like everybody else. We free ourselves from the fear that restricts our movement. We strive to achieve the perfect harmony of mind and body that allows us to move through out environment however we choose, whether its with speed or grace, or both. Thats what we should be focusing on. And not which one of those means what or which one is better.

As for the media, it is a natural tendency of people to put down something as stupid when they are scared of it themselves. I do not expect people to understand why I choose to jump the rail when i could go around it, nor am I going to waste time trying to get them to understand when they don't want to. Lets face it, not everyone can let go of their fears and open their minds, and those are the ones who will never understand parkour. I actually understand why there are so many negative views on parkour. There are  idiots out there that think parkour is extreme and about jumping buildings, so they go and do it, and fall to their death. Needless to say, they have no idea what parkour is about, or how much work goes into perfecting ones movement to the point where they can jump between buildings. So instead of actively trying to explain to the media of what we do, we should simply say of our intentions, and let them put whatever they want. Because I honestly believe, parkour chooses the traceur, not the other way around. Most of the traceurs that I know, have had parkour mentality all their lives, even before they knew what parkour is.

And why not put competition in parkour. Are the traceurs really that insecure of their community that they are afraid that competition will tear it apart? Well, in that case, the problem lies not in the competition. I personally think it would be interesting to put some form of parkour in Xgames or olymipcs, just to see what comes out of it. Its not going to tear the parkour community apart, it will only make it more diverse. Freedom of movement can be put into so many forms, such as speed over an obstacle course, climbing various structures, problem-solving movement, style, distance, etc... Why cant we traceurs lead our lifestyle of parkour, and occasionally compete against ourselves, without forming rivalries? For me, it seems like a lot of people want to keep competition out of parkour because they are afraid that competition will produce athletes who are more athletically fit, thus are able to move faster and more precise then they are themselves. Well I for one am not afraid, because if I see someone who can kong further then me, it just makes me work harder on perfecting my movements.


So to sum this all up, don't think that your parkour is better then anybody else. Its DIFFERENT, UNIQUE, which is the way it should be. Try and move through a path over unknown terrain with the same ease as you do over your normal practice grounds. Its not as easy as it seems. But that is exactly my goal, and Im sure many others share the same goal. To be able to instantly conquer any environment that I come across, and to not be constrained by it, to be free to move however I may choose across it by not letting any obstacle stop my movement. That is the true, absolute essence of what we traceurs are all trying to achieve.


Offline Andy Animus Tran

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Nick, I disagree almost entirely.  But I respect your opinion.

Your last paragraph, I think, sums up exactly what Parkour is about.
Andy Tran, C.S.C.S.
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Parkour Virginia

Offline Mark Toorock

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Actually, it sounds to me like you are thinking of "Freerunning" ... parkour is rigid and controlled by a bunch of freaks :)
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Offline Paul Leon Mederos

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Thank you for explaining your views. This is exactly what freerunning is. Don't worry about parkour, it's a different mindset. Actually Parkour is a big mess at the moment, it needs more time to be developed and defined. Untill then just stick with freerunning =D
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Offline Sat Santokh

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Honestly that is one of the best pieces on free running that I have read as of yet. 

Offline Donotfeedthemax

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...see, man? Your views stick out, so everybody labels you as freerunning, while you're over these saying you don't care about the label 'cause it doesn't matter... which is what's getting you labeled in the first place. Ironic. Free your minds, squares! Man, I wish I was a hippie.
But anyway, I agree with you wholehartedly, even if it was a bit of a long post to read. But I'm already in the habit of calling what I do Parkour. Since I agree with you that the label doesn't matter, that's what I'm gonna go with.

One thing, though. Line eight? The wrong reason would be learning parkour/freerunning so as to be able to rob banks and get away from the cops.

Steez

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i think (and i've seen others post this), that your mindset largely determines what activity you're doing.  if you're training and moving in order to find and traverse the most effective route through your environment, then you're practicing parkour.  if your aims and views are more abstract/aesthetic/free, then what you're doing probably falls under the umbrella of freerunning.

if you take this to be true (that your intention defines what you're doing), then from your post i would say that you are definitely a freerunner.  and there's nothing wrong with that.  i find myself hopping back and forth across the line between parkour and freerunning session to session...some days i just feel like i want to be completely useful and effective: waste no movements.  sometimes i have much more fun just playing.  similar movements, different mindset.

Offline Andy Animus Tran

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i think (and i've seen others post this), that your mindset largely determines what activity you're doing.  if you're training and moving in order to find and traverse the most effective route through your environment, then you're practicing parkour.  if your aims and views are more abstract/aesthetic/free, then what you're doing probably falls under the umbrella of freerunning.

if you take this to be true (that your intention defines what you're doing), then from your post i would say that you are definitely a freerunner.  and there's nothing wrong with that.  i find myself hopping back and forth across the line between parkour and freerunning session to session...some days i just feel like i want to be completely useful and effective: waste no movements.  sometimes i have much more fun just playing.  similar movements, different mindset.

If you read his last paragraph, that is DEFINITELY Parkour.  I think he's a traceur, definitely.  But I think he's just sick of the labels, sick of definitions, and thinks that it's all stupid, hence the reason for the post.
Andy Tran, C.S.C.S.
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Urban Evolution
Parkour Virginia

Offline Logan Lay

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This really is a great article! I love all the unique follow-up comments everyone has here! I believe there is certainly a difference between Parkour and Freerunning and that labeling helps to focus our energies and focus our training into 2 seperate aspects of the same art. Parkour and Freerunning are 2 branches off of the same tree.

I agree with what many of the other traceurs have posted here in response to your article, Ruskiman - Freerunning is about freedom. So if Freerunning is Freedom then Parkour is Freedom Fighting. One is the expression of the desired attribute and the other is the pursuit of it.

Also one without the other I believe to be pointless; I make it a point to practice both. Have you watched Martial Artists practice with weapons? You see many Martial Artist spining and flipping their weapons around and it looks pretty. Now if you see those same Martial Artists in Combat, you will not see them spinning and flipping them about but instead you'll see them moving and attacking with directed and focused purpose. So what is the point of all the spining and flipping and flourishy stuff? To learn control. To know how to catch your weapon if you are disarmed or control it if it gets knocked out of control. To have full connection and understanding of your weapon.

Freerunning and Parkour are much like this example in Martial Arts. When it comes time to save some one from a burning building or escape from some thugs or some how use you Parkour / Freerunning skills practically you are gonna want the Parkour focus of fastest / most practical / best way to move until something goes wrong - you jump off a ledge that was higher then you expected it to be - you had to dive out of a window and can use front flip technique to make sure you land on your feet. When something unexpected comes, you'll wish you had practiced more Freerunning stuff. These 2 arts are vital to work together and I think both should be practiced. The label just helps to direct your focus in training.

I thought the Article was great and I hope this perspective helps  ;)
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ruskiman

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Thanks all for the comments. Yeah, i am ( buy your guys definition) a freerunner, but that is just a vague term for what I and most all of us here are trying to achieve. I believe we should learn to look past the definitions, and focus on the further evolution of parkour/freerunning, and never stop pushing the limits of human ability.

Offline FreeStyleFox

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Actually, it sounds to me like you are thinking of "Freerunning" ... parkour is rigid and controlled by a bunch of freaks :)

I agree with M2.  And thank you for expressing so clearly.  I once felt the same way as you.  What I do don't have a name only meaning.  I have tried to label it but that always fails.  But free running is a lot more about freedom.  The only Deff. to free running is the way.  Make of that as you will.
"If you cannot be a poet, be the poem."  David Carradine
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Offline Sat Santokh

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Wow Saint 7 that was a ridiculously good piece of writing.

Offline Jim "Monkey" Parker

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Actually, it sounds to me like you are thinking of "Freerunning" ... parkour is rigid and controlled by a bunch of freaks :)

That was hilarious!  ;D
Thanks for the laugh Mark!
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Offline Donotfeedthemax

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I believe there is certainly a difference between Parkour and Freerunning and that labeling helps to focus our energies and focus our training into 2 seperate aspects of the same art.

So if Freerunning is Freedom then Parkour is Freedom Fighting. One is the expression of the desired attribute and the other is the pursuit of it.

How does labeling help focus energies? I don't understand how you apparently CAN't focus without the label, then? I mean, I was practicing freerunning AND Parkout before I knew the difference between them... so how is labeling them either halp focus you?
Example, stupid example, but example: You're in hawaii and you pick a fruit off a tree. You think it is the tropical Makka-banji fruit, so you start eating it. A local walks up and says you are eating the tropical jabu-kwanji fruit. Do you start focusing more on what you're eating? No, you say, oh that's nice, but it still tastes the same whatever I call it. Same with Parkour/Freerunning, I think.

And Parkour as freedom fighting just flew RIGHT over my head. It's a bird! It's a plane! It's an abstract metaphor that I don't understand! You're obviously smarter then me here, Saint 7, could somebody explain this to me?

Offline bigninjapimp

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you know they could be both the same.  :o

Offline Mark Toorock

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... or at least people who practice both could share 99% of their philosophies and desires :)
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Offline Alissa J. Bratz

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Okay, I'm a n00b, so I'm going to use a ballet analogy because that's what I understand. :)

To me, I see a difference between parkour and freerunning, but it's so academic and specific that deliberating and delineating those differences is something only nerds do, really. Now before you get all nuts, I am one such nerd. I love studying movement and movement theory, of any kind: dance, martial arts, yoga, parkour, whatever. And I am perfectly content to sit down with fellow nerds and debate whether, for instance,  a Youtube video I just watched is parkour or freerunning. I mean, they both use kongs and tic-tacs, but there is clearly a difference, and from a navel-contemplation standpoint, it's fun to discuss that. However in terms of the art forms themselves, it doesn't make a lick of difference.

In my view, the difference between parkour and freerunning is like the difference between Vaganova ballet and Balanchine ballet.

To give you some background: I was Vaganova-trained for most of my life. However I now dance with a Balanchine company. In between, I also took class with RAD, Cecchetti, and Bournonville teachers. When I was in those classes, I was still able to take class and do most, if not all, of the movements. They had the same names (with a few small exceptions), and to the untrained eye, there was no difference between how I, a Vaganova-trained dancer, and the rest of the class, trained in whatever style class I was in, did a movement.

The reality is, most major companies take their dancers from all different types and styles. All can do 99% of the same movements, and the 1% difference really boils down to stylistic elements (e.g. use of the arms and head may differ between styles even on the same movement), and training methodologies/pedagogy/curriculum. However, those differences don't matter in performance, and really, a proficient dancer can walk into a class or company in any style and can at least keep up if not eventually excel.

To illustrate, I have chosen two video clips, one is classically Vaganova, one is Balanchine. They are from two different ballets, so the costumes and choreography and number/genders of dancers will be different (although I tried to choose similar costuming so you could concentrate on the actual dancing). Can YOU figure out the differences? :P

Vaganova: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzXxT2_uX4I&mode=related&search=

Balanchine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TtEY2RHlmKM

For me, ultimately, I consider myself a ballet dancer. Period. When a fellow dancer asks me to elucidate, I share that most of my training is Vaganova and Balanchine, and that I dance with a Balanchine company. But this ultimately makes very little difference, as we both can dance. The differences are merely of academic interest.

In terms of parkour and freerunning, I'm guessing that when a bunch of traceurs/freerunners get together for a jam, it's more or less the same. It's not like the traceurs go, "Oh, I can't do that; it's a freerunning move" (Gosh I would hope not!), and that really the differences only come out later in conversation at the BBQ: "Oh, I consider myself more of a freerunner. I like the thrill that comes from doing a flip."  "Really? You did a nice one today. I consider myself more of a traceur, because I really enjoy seeing how efficiently I can move."  "Yeah, man we both worked our butts off today though, didn't we?" *clink (diet root) beer bottles*

I think it is far better to focus on what we have in common, because the differences between parkour and freerunning are really just things that nerds like to worry about. ;)


********
As a totally off-topic thing, while I was searching for these videos I found a clip of Natalia Makarova, basically giving a demonstration/lecture. This is utterly priceless as she is one of the greatest ballerinas of our time. She is currently in her 60s; the person who posted the video says she is 40 in this video. Honestly I'm not sure of her age in the video, but the video is amazing nonetheless. Sadly, many of the people commenting on the video have no idea what they're looking at. *sigh* Kids these days. ;)

Anyone who thinks ballet is a "wimpy" or easy thing, I challenge you to try any of the movements in this video. She's doing a lot of the most difficult movements in the entire art form. Particularly from about 0:15-0:30, and 2:42-3:00. The developpe to grand rond de jambe at 3:57 is pretty much eight kinds of torture. Try it! Enjoy. :)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXC2B8tUrLg

Okay sorry... I'll let you get back on topic now. :)

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Offline Andy Keller

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the differences between parkour and freerunning are really just things that nerds like to worry about. ;)


Are you calling us nerds?!?!?! >:(

Jkjk. Nice reply Muse...as always  ;)
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Offline Nik "Nik" Horvat

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Example, stupid example, but example: You're in hawaii and you pick a fruit off a tree. You think it is the tropical Makka-banji fruit, so you start eating it. A local walks up and says you are eating the tropical jabu-kwanji fruit. Do you start focusing more on what you're eating? No, you say, oh that's nice, but it still tastes the same whatever I call it. Same with Parkour/Freerunning, I think.

Labels are important for discussion.  Thats why we have names.  So we can refer to each other directly and indirectly in conversation and writing.  Famous quote from shakespear

What's in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;

not

If you call a turd a rose
      it won't stink to high heaven;

You can call something whatever you want, but it doesn't change what it actually is.  Most people would agree that Parkour is very rigid and focused on efficiency and that Freerunning is focused towards flow and aesthetics.  You calling Parkour Freerunning doesn't change what parkour is or what you are doing into parkour or vice versa. Mislabeling what you do as something else can be interpreted as disrespect and malice depending on how much of a purist a person is.   Personally I don't really care, but I like to play devil's advocate to every arguement :)
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Offline Donotfeedthemax

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Oi Nik, actually you're agreeing with me... I think. If I had remembered that quote from Shakespeare I woulda used it. Instead I basically said:

What's in a name? that which we call a tropical jabu-kwanji fruit
      By any other name would taste as sweet;

Except I'm not as elloquent as Shakespeare. Obviously. But I agree that you need names/labels to refer to things, but you can't argue that I call it a Grocery Store and you call it a Super Market. Are they the same thing? Pretty much. Is there a slight difference. Maybe, but it shouldn't enough to bother someone. Call it whatever, I'm saying.
And I don't quite understand that a purist would interpret it as disrespect and malice. I guess it's possible, but this person apparently isn't very polite and I wouldn't really want to talk to them in the first place.