Considerations and Strategies
Parkour started as an outdoor practice in urban and natural areas of Paris. The connection between the human body and outdoor environments, i.e. in the city and in nature, is key to a flourishing parkour experience. This is where we learn to truly understand our bodies and how they relate to the world we live in.
When training outdoors, there are several ideas and strategies that practitioners should consider:
Suitable Training Locations
Part of being a capable practitioner and having good training experiences is knowing where to train. Some of the most popular training locations are areas that provide a lot of variety – heights, distances, terrain, textures, materials, etc. but any obstacles that can sustain parkour training may also suitable. However, it is helpful for everyone if you stick to public spaces or areas that you have permission to train in.
Consider the context of your desired training location as some areas may only be suitable during daylight hours, or only suitable outside of work hours.
Prior to any training, test the obstacles to ensure they are robust and can withstand the type of movements you intend. Also check the surfaces to see if your hands, shoes, or feet have enough grip. Avoid training on slippery surfaces if you are unprepared for them.
Physical and Mental Ability
Parkour is, of course, a dynamic physical activity and thus injuries are possible. It is, however, a ‘challenge by choice’ activity, i.e. self-controlled, so you can take sensible measures to reduce the chances of accidents happening.
Prepare your body and mind through adequate warm-ups, physical conditioning, and progressive skill training. Avoid pushing your limits or attempting new skills when you’re fatigued and don’t show off. Eat and stay hydrated during training. Consider also the long-term impact of your training (to be and to last) and general health habits.
The following questions may be helpful:
- Have I warmed up?
- Have I done this before?
- Have I done something similar to this?
- Do I have any doubts about my safety?
- Am I tired? / Should I take a break?
- Is this type of training sustainable?
- Am I getting enough rest/adequate nutrition?
Respect for Others / Environment
The most suitable and available spaces for parkour training have typically been designed with other purposes in mind. Therefore, be respectful of these spaces and of the other users who may occupy them.
Utilise the ‘leave no trace’ ethic. In other words, do not damage property or gardens (if an accident does occur, inform the appropriate people). Choose obstacles that are suitable for parkour. If they are broken, or cannot sustain large forces, do not train on them. Take any rubbish with you, and if possible, leave the location in better condition than you found it.
Refrain from disrupting others when training in spaces that are also close to areas of work or study. You should consider your general presence, activities, and your noise. Do not block pedestrian, cycle, or wheelchair access ways. In general, give other users the right of way.
Parkour training can look spectacular. Sometimes this can draw a crowd, encourage others to copycat (particularly young people) and in other circumstances can frighten or frustrate people. Consider how your training may influence those around you.
Also, ensure you’re being respectful to other practitioners of all experience levels. Take turns, give and receive advice, watch out for each other.
Lastly, many people do not have regular interactions with the parkour community, so your actions will often inform their opinions of parkour. It is, therefore, important to be a good ambassador for the practice.
- Parkour is primarily an outdoor activity, so train outdoors regularly.
- Choose training locations that are safe and appropriate to use.
- Respect the environment you’re training in.
- Respect other people you are training with.
- Respect other people in the area you’re training.
- Consider the impact your training has on others.
- Be a good ambassador for parkour.