Thursday, January 08, 2009

Parkour, Free Running, Guidance, Progression, Safety.

Okay, so this is gonna be a big old post I fear but I feel it needs to be said. Many of you may agree, may disagree, but, if your going to argue your points, please do so in a backed up fashion. I know I do not know all of the ins and out's of the foundations of the discipline, few do, but I feel I have an informed enough knowledge to write the below and voice my opinions on the matter.

(For the recored I use italics and "quotations" to mean, something others may call it, the words for the disciplines of expressions may be interchangable with other words [in your opinion], or for general understanding, i'm using them.)

So here goes....

The Thought

Today I Picked up Sebastien Foucan's "Free Running" Book, Find Your Way. It seems so odd now to be finding books in High Street Stores about the kind of things you do, when originally there was nothing but a few hard to find articles on the internet. The Cover, a rooftop skyline and a man jumping it, once again, in my opinion, doesn't seem an appropriate choice for promoting a safe development of the/his discipline, my mind jumped with assumptions on it's contents..... But.... It shouldn't have.

With a glance of the introduction he states his origins within the movement, his seperation from Parkour, in developing his own 'more expressive' means of movement and living. The words throughout this mostly pictoral book, do in fact, ring true to ideals I personally hold, even though I do not say I 'do freerunning'. His words are similar to what many practicitoners of "our kinds of movement" will say nowadays, who generally will steer clear of the "conflict" and arguements, and just doing what they personally believe they must, which I will agree is an honourble and justified cause.

However, as noble as the philosophy may be, I did not see any guidence within the training, strengthening, etc. Which is both good and bad. Hear me out.

"Free running" as a name, has been I feel, created and enforced more by general public and ignorance rather than by Foucan or it's practitioners, examples being, commonly known as "Parkour" or "that crazy roof jumping". Foucan and individuals came over and brought the movement to the general public with little guidance to those interested and wishing to teach. So A group formed, misinformed for the most part, who led others in that basically understood way. ((YES we have to start somewhere, I understand that and this is the point I'm getting to)).

We have a real opprtunity to be making a difference here, it's time for us to work harder on the understanding, on the communication, on the discussing, and then the DOING. "Wisdom is doing".

It is all very well saying, "whatever you want to call it, it doesn't matter it's the same thing", I do agree, we should do what we need to, But Parkour IS Parkour, [i]Free Running[/i], is [i]Free Running[/i], L'art du deplacement, is what it is. We can continue to go with the flow, let others take control of what it is we do, let our names/ disciplines sink into a big lyrical blur and just do what WE love, but, for how hard it was to start, how misinformed I was, how much I had to learn, how much I insisted I was right, when I first started (and of course still do). Surely, we owe it to what we believe and practice within, to promote, teach and spread the true word of what it is we do, what we spend hours, days, money and friendships on; to teach and preserve what is, so that we can continue "Parkour/movement", safely, so that others can learn safely, so we don't have councils banning something they are sure is right, because it's what they've learned and found out through the mass of misinformation.

The Book, promotes, moving and learning through movement, which is, I agree a VERY large foundation, and should definatly not be discouraged, it is essential for personal growth; nor should we create structured exercises "essential" for practicing Parkour etc. There is no one way, only following your discipline's ideals, through what you need to DO. For example, I say I practice Parkour and movement, I enjoy creating movement and movining in general, however I feel the morals of Parkour, training for usefulness, working safely, effectivly and efficiently, when getting from A to B and back are a "noble" and more effective means to move along. Aren't we all trying to get somewhere in life, not just in our physcial journeys?

Saftey as Participants grow in Numbers

For me to BE safe, and to move effectivly and efficiently in a given situation, I practice movement, falling in lines with the ideals of Parkour; in order to be safe I need to understand and develop body wisdom within unconventional positions and movements, so should they arise within my physcal life, I can act. And most importantly, I feel the morals of Parkour are a good way to live towards my life, practicing that which I need to do on a daily basis, thinking about saftey and usefulness to others.

Without our care or action, we will be stuck in a big and probably spiral of mass miscommunication. We must maintain the foundations of the movement, but also begin and incorperate the ideals of respect through movements, on a much larger scale, Parkour, tricking, Free running, karate, judo, or dancing. "Parkour", and our chosen fields of discipline, need to be nurtured and kept as they are, following the 'guidelines' placed by it's "creators", and nutured by those who have developed the understanding, the passion, respect and observation for safe progression of the discipline.

We are united through movement, through a passion for movement, but I fear that will amount to little should we not make an impact of teaching those who understand less.

So many now, "do" without a why or without an understanding of what they are doing. Again we can argue that's how we all began and look at us now, but they can do so much better with our guidence and inlfuence, helping them to learn and move and understand why. The names and their definitions are the why.

Too many move without understanding for the training required, so many people I see those who are not built correctly for what they do, I stand the same, I know I have LOTS of work to do, and a long way to go, I feel only a few can gain that insight alone and the majority will continue to move withought the understanding, teach without understanding, and give up when they feel they've "made it".

I feel the general message I'm trying to get accross is safety, I highly doubt anyone, wishes to be doing something deemed anti-social, dangerous, and banned from practice within the very places we bring alive through our communities, gatherings and trainings.

Obviously there are groups working towards maintaining this such as PKG and The BPCA, but we need to be doing what we can on a personal level, reaching out and doing what we can to help others see what they are missing, and guiding them onto the paths of our respective movements. Allowing them to progress faster (most importantly on the understanding), and so they can truly become the future of our respective disciplines.

This was oposted on the above link and forum, to read replies, click above.