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Beyond Belle

The time has come for the parkour community to admit something.

David Belle is not a god in human form. David Belle is not superhuman. Most importantly, David Belle is no longer the leader of the parkour community.

Why not?

Continue Reading →

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Profiting From Parkour

Name one thing all of these companies have in common:

Urban Freeflow. American Parkour. The WFPF. Take Flight Apparel. Red Bull. 3Run. Team Tempest.

They all make money from parkour.

Name one thing all of these people have in common:

David Belle. Sébastien Foucan. Ryan Doyle. Daniel Ilabaca. Luci Romberg.

They all make money from parkour.

Profiting from parkour is not a bad thing. It is not against the tenets of parkour. It’s possible to make money from parkour without being unfaithful to its philosophy. Continue Reading →

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Parkour Is Not A Sport

The sport of parkour

“Jumping and running across rooftops in the high-flying sport of parkour…”

“The sport of parkour, in which teenagers run and somersault across roofs…”

“The group of fit, athletic students are practitioners of the extreme sport of parkour…”

News stories with phrases like this crop up all the time. Reporters and journalists call parkour a sport because they just don’t know how else to classify it.

Parkour is not a sport.

“But Alan,” you may say, “It doesn’t matter if parkour is called a sport! That’s just nitpicking points of semantics!”

It does matter. Ideas have power. Words give form to ideas. The way an idea is framed and presented is a critical part of how it’s received by those who hear it. The way we reference parkour is no different. Terminology matters.

Take skateboarding and martial arts. Consider how differently the practitioners of each are regarded. Skateboarders are often seen as irresponsible, reckless rebels who need to grow up. Martial artists are respected, and not just because they can beat the tar out of anyone who doesn’t respect them. They are respected and admired because what they practice goes beyond a hobby, beyond a sport.

Parkour has a lot in common with both skateboarding and martial arts. Parkour is creative movement, like skateboarding; fast, efficient movements, like martial arts; (seemingly) crazy stunts like skateboarding; constant training like martial arts. To the inexperienced eye, it seems that parkour could be a sport, as it has so much in common with skateboarding. I disagree. The differences between the two outweigh the similarities. Let’s explore this topic further. Continue Reading →

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Filed in Learn, Philosophy

Parkour Applied

The following is an article written by my good friend and fellow traceur, Mantis. He makes some very interesting points, so be sure to read the whole thing.

Parkour Applied: Overcoming Obstacles in Everyday Life

It’s probably a safe assumption that most of us who are regular practitioners of parkour and freerunning weren’t drawn to the discipline because of any profound philosophy; for most of us, it was the sight and realization of our incarnate daydreams of flying away from our problems, and the knowledge that such abilities were within our own grasp. Simple reasoning, but attractive nonetheless. Continue Reading →

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MINI and Red Bull Present Art of Motion: “Philosophy”

As I travel through the city, I’m not just looking at the shops or the people walking by. I’m looking at the architecture; the curves, the angles… the materials. And in my mind, I’m putting together how I can bounce off, and slide, and swing on all these different surfaces

We have this thing called “parkour vision.” We always see the different possible ways we can move over it… climb on it, move on it.

Parkour vision

So when we come to these abandoned buildings, we don’t just see something useless and forgotten. We see something full of potential. And a place to create something new.

[…]

We only have this one life to live. So what are we to do with that? Should we just allow fear to force us into these routines that we just repeat over and over every day? Or should we still try to expand out and explore the infinite realm of possibilities in life, and in movement?

Through the creative use of space, we’re not limited by our spaces. They’re our canvas, and our movements are like the paint. We live in a world of abstraction, we deal a lot with words and symbols, representations of things, images. But when you do freerunnning, it gets you back to direct contact with reality in the moment.

I find that when it comes time to make a big leap, the best thing is just ot quiet the mind, be fully in touch my senses. And when you’re there the fear just kind of disappears… and this moment is all that is real. The past is just a memory, the future is not here yet. Just this tiny sliver of time.

The only way to find out what you can do is to try it.

-Levi Meeuwenberg

Such an eloquent way to state the philosophy of a traceur.

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Bruce Lee on Plateaus

If you always put limit on everything you do, physical or anything
else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no
limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must
go beyond them.

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Filed in Inspiration, Philosophy