Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dilution

Dilution:

a) The process of making weaker or less concentrated
b) A dilute or weakened condition.
c) A diluted substance.


I've not posted for a while as my mind has been busy and it's only now that I feel I want to share the outcome of my thoughts. This entry may offend you, it may seem like it's directed at you and maybe it is.

I can live with being disliked for telling the truth, but I can not continue living with this opinion and not sharing it with the people I think it might help. I know I am not the only one who shares the following opinions and I feel it is worthwhile voicing them if it changes just one person's mindset and helps them. This is primarily for a friend of mine who I haven't trained with in a little while. A friend who seems to have become a little down with his training, a little distant, a little worried that he's not as good as other people. This is for him and all of the other people who feel disheartened watching the people around them do things they cannot... and also for the newcomers to Parkour.


Yesterday was my 1300th day of practicing Parkour. I'm not a big believer in anniversaries but it was on this day that the thoughts of two weeks came together and fused to become solid in my head.

I started training 1301 days ago on September 10, 2003, the day after Jump London aired for the first time on Channel 4 and it's amazing to think how much has happened and how much my life has changed since then.

I vividly remember the very first training session I had, 185 weeks and 6 days ago. It was with my good friend at the time, Tom, and we were both so excited from watching Jump London and wanted to jump right in and get started! I remember trying some vaults, small jumps through a gap in a moving swing and I remember the first real experience of fear in Parkour as I jumped off the roof of a local gymnastics club and rolled on the grass. It was terrifying at the time and I think it was around 12ft high. I did this because I thought this is what Parkour was, jumping off high things and living to tell the tale the next day. Oh how far we’ve all come since then... or have we?

Now as most people will tell you, the days after your first session are hellish. Who remembers that unspeakable sensation of pain just walking up a flight of stairs in the days following your first real hardcore session? I remember my quads feeling like they had been assaulted by a gang of angry thugs with baseball bats for 2 weeks.

These days there is a wealth of great information available for people starting out in the discipline that I did not have access to in the beginning of my training. It was mostly trial and error, with a large dose of the latter. But despite the benefits that learning from past experiences of veteran traceurs can bring, I can't help but wonder if there are consequences to this.

I realise how difficult it must have been for David Belle and all of the other original traceurs of Lisses as they plunged forward in darkness over 15 years ago having no idea what they were doing or where it would lead. They slowly carved a path in a new direction and lit it up along the way for people to follow. It took many years for those guys to create the most basic movements and refine them to the extent that almost any obstacle could be overcome using just a handful of varying techniques and it is a truly remarkable accomplishment. An epic journey that a new traceur of today can bypass, almost, as they learn 10 new techniques in 2 months, that would have taken perhaps 5 years worth of training back in Lisses in the early 90's to achieve.

So at the rate we are developing, progressing and learning, surely we will catch up to them carving in the distance and be able to help them light up the path, right?

No, I don't think so.

I think we are travelling so quickly along that same path that we are going to run out of fuel before we reach them. They are looking behind them and see us in the distance and I think they are probably hoping we reach them to help the discipline grow, but I don't think many people of future generations ever will.
To quote Stephane Vigroux, "I think for many people it has to be more personal... everybody's moving... I'm really happy for them... but too quickly, too fast, too easy, too much show... too much."

There are guys who have been training for less than a year that are doing bigger and further things than guys who have been training for four years and I believe this is mainly due to the library of knowledge available now. This may sound good in principle, that as the generations go on, we will have new guys able to sidestep the trial and error process and just stick to what has been proven to work, to get to a good level in Parkour. But I'm worried.

I think that the trial and error approach taught the original traceurs of Lisses a vast amount about themselves and injected them with a creativity and passion and courage that is being forgotten today and is being replaced with 'by the book' training. Not only do I believe that their mental and physical adeptness is far superior to my own, I believe this will be further diluted as the generations go by and the future traceurs begin their training. People now have lists of movements to learn and tick them off as they do them and quickly move on to something new, something bigger, something more impressive.

The best way to get respected in the Parkour community today seems to be doing the biggest and best things with the minimum amount of training to get there. As long as you do it, it doesn't matter how sloppy it was, how slow the climb up was, how precise the landing was or how much damage it did to the person. Everybody spreads the word that "X" did "Y" so they must be better than “Z” since they have only been training for “W” months! This approach can quickly escalate and recently I feel it has been destroying the true nature of Parkour. People are doing things to be recognised by other people and it’s tough for the people working hard and progressing steadily to see this going on around them. They feel pressured in to attempting things beyond their level when they see it happening and that’s not their fault.

To me, Parkour is a long and worthwhile campaign - not one short, epic battle.

I'm not only worried about the mental progression and creativity of new practitioners being sacrificed, I'm equally concerned about the physical costs of such textbook progression.

Like myself, some of you may have memories of a granddad who was the only one in the family that could open the pickle jar at dinner time, despite his advanced years. This 'granddad strength' I speak of was no miracle - it was the product of 60 years of manual labour and a strength produced from many years of repetitive muscle use.

I'm concerned that the shortcuts available to today's practitioners might rob them of the irreplaceable muscular development that the Lisses traceurs have, the deep rooted neurological pathways and the vast amount of muscle memory that no book, article or spoken word can give to them. The granddad strength.

We all know you can condition your body from the beginning of your training and this will help your technical ability but I still feel people are moving too quickly and progressing too fast. I regularly see things being done by newer traceurs that guys with years of experience haven't done and sometimes the more experienced guys feel bad... often they find themselves questioning their training and wondering why they aren't as good, wondering where they got left behind and wondering why everybody seems to be better than them.

People have come to me, literally depressed about their training and looking for advice and asking where they went wrong, wondering what the newer guys have that they don't. The answer I've given to these people is simple. The new practitioners doing the massive jumps, the impressive techniques, the big, the hard, the long, the far etc. have ignited a fuse that will see them burn out years before they might want to, simply because their bodies are not ready for what they are doing. It's not just a question of knees, what about the damage being done to the shoulders of new guys doing big drops from branch to branch? What about their elbows?

What will be the long-term effects of this?

What will be the long-term effects of doing 12ft level arm jumps when the shoulders haven't experienced 10,000 smaller ones?

What will be the long-term effects of dropping 15ft to concrete when the legs haven't experienced 10,000, 5ft drops?

Time will tell.

Look at the best traceurs in the world. Go to Lisses and see them, talk to them, train with them and learn from them. They are not the best because they are genetically gifted or were crazy to try all the new things when they were younger and they are not the best because they progressed quickly. They are the best and the strongest because the progressed steadily. They built layer upon layer of armour on their bodies over years and years, repeating things thousands of times and not rushing the process. They have deep rooted granddad strength and resilience and resistance to injury that comes from gradual progression.

Various interviews with David have all asked about injuries and David has shaken his head and said his knees are fine, his arms are fine, he has no pain. This is after 18 years of training. By contrast, today we have guys with one year of training behind them taking months out with knee problems, shoulder dislocations, tendonitis... surgery to repair the body before 20 years of age. Is this a coincidence? Or is this because we are pushing too hard, too fast, trying to be the best and compare to others?

Parkour is a personal journey and one that is hard work. There are no shortcuts and there are no quick fixes. If you want 'to be and to last' then I suggest you take a long hard look at your training and ask yourself if you are doing this for fun, for a few years until you can settle down and get a job, get married, have kids and retire. If so then do what you want, do the massive jumps, do everything you want to do and don't look back. Just be aware that you are having an effect on the others who are in this for the long haul and working hard to get strong. Try to bear this in mind when you say “I did this, so why don’t you?” to them.

But if you want to truly discipline your body, become strong and last in Parkour then you must not compare yourself to anybody else. It can be too tempting to get talked in to doing something beyond your level when you see less experienced people doing it. Be the bigger man/woman and realise the damage they are doing to themselves and take pride in knowing you didn't succumb to peer pressure. In 10 years when they're walking with a cane, you will be able to do that jump a hundred times without generating a bead of sweat.

I’m not sure how we can help the future generations of traceurs and the future of Parkour. By providing them with our experience we can prepare them but it must not become a substitute for trial and error or we will all become clones of our teachers. There must remain an element of trial and error and an element of exploration. They must also be allowed to progress in their own time without feeling the pressure of people around them. I’m going to make it a personal goal of mine to help the people I see feeling pressured in to doing something they don’t want to, it would be great if some people reading this could take the time to join me.


To summarise the two points in the above article...

1) If you’re new to Parkour, research as much as possible and learn from the people who have walked the path before you, but do not lose your creativity and ability to think for yourself. Try new things, explore different methods and progress at your own pace. What you need to remember is that the people before you have more physical experience that has built what I refer to as ‘granddad strength’ and that cannot be taught or passed on. You can rush the theory but you cannot take shortcuts on the practical stage if you want to last in this discipline.

2) If you are more experienced in Parkour and feel like newer people are better than you, do not feel pressured in to pushing yourself too hard or doing things just because they are. Try to warn them of the dangers of trying things beyond their bodies’ conditioned state - even if they can do something, doesn’t mean they should. They are learning faster than you due to the wealth of information before them, due to your hard work.

If you care for the future of Parkour then it is your duty to help them to progress sensibly and remind them that they should slow down when you think they are going too fast. If we do not do this, Parkour will slowly die as its practitioners become weaker and weaker duplicates of past traceurs due to injury, overtraining and joint destruction.


Are you going to help to dilute Parkour and the new traceurs, Or are you going help to concentrate it and strengthen them?


"Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
" - William Butler Yeats


-Blane

91 comments:

Tim H said...

Hey Man! (Warning! Entering serious mode!)

Thanks for writing this, it's a reflection of my own thoughts - or more accurately, a concrete version of some issues that have been bugging me for a while that I've yet to put into words.

Going slightly of track, I do my Graphic Design work so that I can help to change the world in some slight inconceivable way for the better. I know there is plenty of more skilled people but if I can do anything on that front to help, just shout!

Other than that I'll just keep training and sweating! I'm with you all the way man and I'm sure every other person in Leicester is too. Just remember you only have to ask!

Thanks man and I'll see you at the weekend!

Tim.

Zippo said...

Reading this post has been like someone dipping in and out of my head and waving around what they have found.

I have come from a similar begginning and its nice to hear it was the 1300th day. I started after jump london coming from a background of skating... Soooo the jump of the highest possible object was already in my head before i was even able to adapt it to parkour. Ive spent most of my time since then gaining knowledge. I am not very skilled even with this some 1300 days behind me. Yet, I can look at someones movements and tell them where a different angle on their foot would make them quicker, or where a stronger muscles in the ... region would help them move easier.

I know my limits and unfortunately I learnt an EXTREMELY hard way. I fell 12ft onto steel steps and then proceeded to fall down those steps.

But, luckily for me, I survived with minor injuries. I obviously dont think everyone needs to experience that but that was a fairly large trial with an exceedingly large error. And it taught me. Im cautious. I think things through. Some people have said that im too analytical but I dont think so. They havent experienced what I have.

What you said I relevant to me too in the way that I have, recently, looked at others and thought "why cant I". But, due to you explanation I feel more comfortable with this.

I wanted to post this because I want people to know that whilst it may not be about physical skill, other traceurs think like this. We have the experiences.

Without going into detail: My girlfriend is alive today not because of the skills i have learnt in parkour, but the philosophy. She is eternally thankful for that and so am I as it has brought us together.

You will have heard traceurs in Jump london/britain talk about learning "the sight" in parkour. I think one thing many of these newer ,"faster" traceurs don't have is "the thinking". Another thing that is being diluted.

Didn't mean to rant that long but I wanted to say it despite the numerous spelling and grammar errors.

Yves said...

Hey Blane

wanted to mail you but i guess this will also do fine, cover the mail stuff at the end.
Too bad you weren't in Berlin and didn't have the chance to meet Dirk; really cool guy. He has been training for 2 years well never mind he doesn't do things he might not be able to do perfect. Hope you get the chance to meet him one day.

I have had the same thoughts, doubts etc as you have probably because i had the luck of (NOT) injuring my knee cartilage. Pretty tough for a 15 year old when somebody tells him that his body is already so worn out that he probably won't be able to move again without pain. Well that is what the doctor told me when i asked him why my knee hurt. Well too be honest what he said is wrong. I visited an old friend of ours today who does massages and is phisio etc. I have put too much stress on my patella so it needs to be stretched 7 times :/. In these 2 months of thinking i won't be able to move again, as you may think i thought a lot about why i injured myself. The conclusion i came to was that the only thing i could do, which would make the whole thing better is to stop this from happening to others. So i went on the German Parkour board parkour.de and started posting. (I have only been training for 7 months just something i might add). No one even said anything to what i said. No one even cared or thought about it. I know because i have some of the guys on msn. Maybe they don't because i don't have a video of me doing an 11 foot level cat pass to precision on the net. Well whatever. At some point when i was injured i started thinking f*** all this s*** and started training again. I kept it small, very small. But it hurt and i was pulled down over and over again. While my friends were doing their 8 foot precisions i couldn't do 2 foot without my knee hurting. I talked to the guys because i was never one of these idiots doing the 15 foot roof drops in the beginning i had just trained. Just like they did. I talked to many of them in person, some agreed but still nobody cared. Dirk who i mentioned earlier agreed on this he talked to some too but nobody cared. I don't know if the English Parkour scene is as ignorant as the German one but if it is i don't think you will change anything. Even if DB came to Cologne and told the people you are too big it wouldn't change anything. That’s what i love about Parkour though, you HAVE to be honest or you'll screw up sooner or later. You don't have to be honest to others but to yourself and i know many people aren't. I'm pretty sure Daniel Ilabaca gave his 2 cents to this whole thing in 'Daniel Ilabaca in Profile' but it's too late and i really don't feel in the mood to look it up right now.


As for the conditioning week. I can't do the lower body day because i don't feel my legs are up to it. I replaced it with doing underbars a lot today and trying to run up some trees. Will use tomorrow as a day of pause. As for coming over the flight i intended on taking is now 50€ more expensive than it was when i thought about going to Birmingham so it wouldn't be worth it. When i go to Birmingham I'll definitely let you know in time. Really looking forward to it.

Sorry bout the way too long comment and telling what happened to me but i really felt the desire to. Habe a nice time.

cheers
yves

Blane said...

I'm really happy that a lot of people are appreciating this post and that it's helping put some of their own thoughts in to words.

It took me the best part of 3 hours to compile and structure the thoughts from my head but it seems like it was worth the time and effort, not only for everyone else but for myself. Forcing myself to sit down and think about this stuff has been a really useful exercise.

Thanks Tim, see you at the weekend bro.

Zippo, I'm glad your trial and error experience didn't result in more serious injuries! You were lucky as you say and I'm happy it changed your approach to training.

You raise a good point that I didn't include in my post, about the vision of new traceurs perhaps being compromised. It takes a long time for that to fully develop and if other factors are rushed then it could create some problems with underdeveloped parts of a traceurs overall 'game'.

Thanks for sharing your experiences Yves, the German scene sounds a little uncaring from your words and that's a shame. The UK scene isn't that bad I don't think, there is a general feeling of unity I would say and everybody seems to know each other, or know of each other. This is why I think we could still make a difference in this country at least, perhaps setting some kind of example for other countries to see and hopefully follow.
I feel that if we don't make an effort to address these issues soon then it might be too late.

It's a shame I haven't met Dirk yet as I've heard lots of good things about the guy, I'm sure our paths will cross some day, much like our own Yves. =)

I wish you a full and safe recovery my friend, don't rush the process and make sure you come back with strength and confidence that your body is once again ready to move.

No problem about not getting to the UK this time, just let me know when you plan to visit and I'll do my best to visit you.

*B*

Lorenz said...

hey thank you for this great words. its very well structured, so its pretty clear for everybody. it really cleared some things up in my head. i hope your drop-training is going as well as mine ;-).
btw i am in cambridge at the start of july. maybe we can train together ? i dont know how far its away from leichester. please let me know.

greetings from germany

Max said...

hey again blane; reading this article of yours (like the others, but more so) got me thinking alot about my training-when i was reviewing, i realized that i too was setting goals that while attainable, were probably not the best for my conditioning and overall training.

Thanks for the read; looking forward to more of your thoughts in the future

Joe said...

Thanks B ;)

See you tonight.

Joe

Spence said...

Blane this write-up has helped me alot, thanks man and as the same as the others it feels like you've read my mind and summed everything up that ive been feeling a lot of lately, everything you have wrote makes perfect sence and i havent ever seen these feelings that alot of us feel ever put into literature before, you have changed the way i look upon my training, thanks!

- Spence

XyQ|sTyLe said...

hi blane. im a traceur from singapore and a fairly new one at that and i really liked this latest post. there are alot of insightful thoughts and maybe we could keep in contact to learn more. you can email me at cruxifide@hotmail.com and also add me on msn.

duffman1244 said...

thankyou. just thankyou

Tobi said...

Hey Blane,

i just wanted to express my gratitude. Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts.

The comments were really good to read as well, great reactions, Yves i really liked your comment.

honest regards

Tobi

Malte said...

Hey Blane,

thank you so much for your text! I had tears in my eyes while reading it. There is so much truth in your words, so much hitting the point. Many of these thoughts also circeled in my head in the last months, but they never got so structured and deep and to the point as yours.

It is really like Yves said, here in Germany. I think about 70% of those practising Parkour here have begun their training within the last 9 months or so. This is nice as Parkour spreads quickly, but the result is that at many places beginners exchange thoughts and training only with other beginners.

Sometimes the results may be nice, but as videos are a main inspiration, many people move on much quicker than I think is good for them.

Me personally, I am 30 now and train for about 15 months now. And I feel that my body does not like extreme training any more. My body does not learn as quickly as it would have done ten years before, and is not more so flexible to cope with heavy impacts. So I have to train much slower, less to the extremes - and I am glad about it...

I see parkour often understood as training the basic techniques on the upper limit of what is possible. But for me Parkour is so much more. I want to be able to still move efficiently when I am 50, 70 or 90, not only to do heavy things in my younger years. I want to move freely through the landscape instead of limiting myself to a set of movements written down on some Internet sites.

But getting to this point was really a process; me also, I started training as high as possible, until my knees began to hurt.

After I understood that I had done too much too quickly, I had to see others around me, wo did much "better" things than me with much less months of training. First, that was not easy for my Ego, but it was a good process of learning for me.

Your text really helped me do gain peace with all this ;-)

Me too, I want to help spreading that experience.

%Thank you so much for your words, clearing up many of my thoughts!

Best,


Malte

Kay said...

So much motivation at once... I see now that I sometimes go a way too fast, even when i repeat many things 50 or 100 times. I see I Have to repeat them like 300 or 500 times a day. I will slow down now and do so, not just talking about it, doing it... Thanks so much, really.

@Yves
Ich wusste gar nicht das es so schlimm mit deinem Knie war, hört sich echt heftig an... aber vollen Respekt von mir dass du das wieder in den Griff bekommen hast. Sorry das ich dir nicht helfen konnte aber ich bin kein Arzt und hatte selber ab und zu Probleme mit meinen Knien...

dirk said...

About the tear thing... happening to me right now. You sure know how to use words.

Thanks for writing this up. You're honestly one of my greatest inspirations.

As Yves mentioned I never do something which I am not sure to do perfectly. And so far I feel pretty alone doing this in Cologne. Malte, Yves and Tobi are great training buddies and I'm grateful for every training I get to share with them, because they don't lack "thinking".

In Cologne right now there is a trend of "I don't care". Many people damage obstacles slightly (as having high impacts on railings) and don't care for future generations. Many others can't train alone, because they lack motivation. Out of 30 people 3 can really imagine emergency situations. The rest is just laughing about it... The spirit is slowly fading away.

And I have also been drawn towards that. Because I don't do that runnign 9ft armjump. Because i didn't do the 10ft standing armjump. Simply because my body is smarter. It's telling me to cool down. And through your words I have once again been emphasized that that's the way to go. Progressing... slowly, but steadily. No need to rush things.

Right now I also have some knee pain, but my therapist (?) told me it's due to the ligaments surrounding my knee. So nothing serious.

It was a shame that we couldn't meet in Berlin, because I really would've enjoyed it. But I'm sure you had your reasons.

Keep the head up, we'll meet some day. Maybe, for the irony, in Lisses.

Thank you very much for existing! :)

Cunhofsky said...

I finished reading your post and must thank you for sharing your thaughts and tell you that I share your opinion . I am from Portugal and have seen a lot of those traceurs you refer to .. guys that do 5 meter jumps and the week after tell everyone they know that they did it . Most of them don ' t even roll after doing it and it is sad to think that in a few years they will feel the consequences of their lack of respect towards their body . Keep up the good posts .

Cunhofsky

Soilwork said...

I'd like to tell how deep this post came to me, but my bad english wouldn't let me be clear enough to explain it. you made a really nice point.

keep doing the good work.

Anonymous said...

This post is very well thought out and represents a very good understanding of parkour.

I would recommend cross posting this to any of the parkour forums that you are a member of as I think it is something that NEEDS to be read by a lot of the young people who are involved with parkour today.

Crysiss said...

After re-reading your post a couple of times I have found the peace in me... till now it was something like "You are getting late.. people are doing this and this and you are still "recovering" from your injury? Hah, don't stay there train your ass off to catch them...". This way of thinking ruined couple of weeks of rest and care for my body, because what I have realized today, "If you want to progress you must recover first".

THANK YOU!

P.S. : I'm interested, what were your errors in the process of "trial and error"? Sharing them with us would be useful :) Thank you in advance!

Thumbs up!

Blane said...

I'm really surprised by the international feedback to my post and it's interesting that this situation is the same worldwide and that everybody feels the same way about it.

It's great to know we can perhaps all work together to make an effort to help this.

Thank you for the replies, I feel happy knowing other people have recognised this and are willing to do something about it. Even if they can't change anyone else's opinion, they have a chance to change their own training if they feel it needs some adjustment. If they can manage to help someone else realise their training is damaging them then that would be great too.

By trial and error on my part I'm referring to the first 2 years of my training where I feel I may have pushed a little too hard, too fast. I was doing things then that I don't even do now because I know I'm not really strong enough to deal with all of the negative effects.

Although I've never had a serious injury in Parkour that's put me out of action for some time, I have had some overuse injuries, strains, sprains and bruises that could have been avoided with a bit more care.

I guess I should be thankful that during my 'unwise period', I didn't do more damage than I did. Hopefully it's not too late to begin reversing the damage done, by building a REALLY strong body.

-Blane

Thomas said...

Great post Blane, I see you have some great writing skills. A really good, pleasant and interesting read !

I'll try to add your blog in my links as soon as i understand how it works.

Until i have the pleasure of training with you again, keep up the good work !

Thomas

Anonymous said...

Hi there,
I am Bene from Munich. Today I read this text. I'm glad that you wrote this. I've been training Parkour for exactly 12 months now. No, high drops, no crazy arm jumps... A lot of people here try out "Parkour" for some weeks and do 12 feet arm jumps or drop 3 meteres or more. At first I also felt bad, and I wondered why they could do those things after 2 weeks. But a feeling deep inside me said: It's better not to "train" like this.

Anonymous said...

Rob from Clan Renzhe here...

My thoughts on your piece..

Eff'ing brilliant.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and fear not friend, they are shared by many.

Those who flame you are the same that will end up leaving the sport due to injury, boredom, or some other device that comes their way.

Parkour, much like Martial Arts is a life style in which yes one can learn the basics quickly based on talent.. but it takes years to understand them and perfect them.

Again great post bro. Its going up on our myspace page ( myspace.com/renzheparkour )

Train hard, play safe

Rob of Renzhe

Anonymous said...

Nods. Good to know that there are more people who think the same.

Johnny B

freerunner-101 said...

hey !!
thanks for posting this you really made me hink about my training.

although ive been training for around 3 years i have tryed to train at a steady pace. i sometimes find the feeling as you said that i ahve seen less experienced tracuers doing better things. i find myself looking at how i can improve as i sometimes finds my self thinking am i at beginner level??

thanks for posting it !! really made me think

rob

Daniel Taylor said...

Hello Blane - we're called "Street Dynamix" and we're from tamworth, we have been doing freerunning/ parkour for 3 years now and we go to Hinkley on a tuesday night to the gymnastics club and i'm woundering if you would be up for coming with us or coming out with us after the gym to the town?

My Email:Zesk@hotmail.co.uk

My Phone Number:07852277836

Please get back to me...

Shari said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shari said...

You know how I feel.

KaedoMC said...

Blane hello =]

I've followed your blog for a little while, and with your newest blog I've come to a standstill. At frist glance I filled with glee and reassurance :P But there is one part which has left me confused.

You say that newer people are pushing themselves too far, too soon, and people are pressured into doing things they otherwise wouldn't. Now my friend has come back to Doncaster for 4 days (he moved to scotland in january) and the training was immense, but after a year and a half of him training, he came back to realise Jordan (7 months of training) had far suprpassed what my friend could do. He threw himself into everything Jordan had done, to prove he wasn't falling behind, and at each obstacle, spent around half an hour trying to break the mental barrier and do it, after Jordan did these things in 3 seconds, first try... Gordon (the friend I;m talking about) probably wouldnt' have attempted these larger moves for months and months if Jordan hadn't have "raised the bar".

After reading your blog, Gordon thought "I shouldn't have done it, it was for the wrong reason, and it won't do me any good, I'm not ready" But then read another of your articles which said "the body can push 10% further than the brain lets you think" (or something to that effect). So then he says "well thanks to Jordan, I'm more confident with arm jumps, and have pushed further than I thought I could go".

This is where I'm stuck. Which perception is more accurate? Pushing ourselves further helps us progress, and you said we can push 10% further, and that we should always go the extra inch, hold the extra second. Is it all just a matter of common sense?

I've confused myself writing that, I should have thought more before hitting the keys, but if you can't make sense of it, I'll try clear my own head and make sense of what I'm asking, and then ask again in better words :P

Blane said...

KaedoMC, the body can go around 10% further than the brain lets it believe and it reserves this for emergency use.

In that other article I was talking purely about strength training and conditioning, doing stuff to prepare your body for Parkour. Progressive overload. This was all related to that type of training. This article is to do with the effects of concrete on the joints and the overtraining of doing things before you are ready.

I do recommend training REALLY hard in conditioning and strength training, but only after you achieve a good basic level of fitness to build on.

I do NOT recommend jumps and technical movements that you think are '10% our of your range' - this is extremely dangerous.

Hope that clears it up.

I'll reply to the rest of the comments tomorrow as I'm really tired and need some sleep, just thought I'd address the most important one for now! Thanks for the feefback.

*B*

Pedro said...

Hey Blane,

Even though alot has been said, I couldn't stop myself of giving some feedback from your post. The aproach to Parkour you've been showing throughout your blog has been of a kind of which forces me to, at least, congratulate you. Not only is inspirational, but reavealing of things I knew existing in some way in me but were never externalized.

Congratulations in making Parkour grow even more to be something other than a sport.

All other things needed to be said can't be put to words.

Cheers

John said...

Hi Blane,

As long as you're getting praise and gratitude from all around the world, here's some from Ireland.

Many thanks for your writing, you've made me think about my training. I posted a link to your blog in our local parkour forum, I hope you don't mind.

Could you give us more advice about how to progressively build up to hard training? What is the process of becoming a healthy traceur?

All the best, and I hope to meet you in person some day.

John, Dublin

Joe-ng said...

*insert my facial expression here*

no words can describe how long that post has made me think.

peace

Anonymous said...

Hey, I really liked your article, and I totally agree with you. As someone new to parkour, I will definitely try to build up to the larger things I often see others do.

-stas

Saint said...

Blane,

You don't know me. I am a fairly new traceur (4 months) in Colorado though the essence of Parkour has been on my heart all my life. I enjoyed your article. Moving too fast in what damage a body can take is stupid. Moving faster in ability with techniques will only help all Traceurs to grow in creativity. It's the whole concept of being great from standing on the shoulders of giants.

In all walks of life and groups of people there will be people who try to take the quick and easy path that leads ultimately to distruction. But articles like yours certainly help those seeking the Truth to wake up and change to a right path. I pray people caught what you were saying and are encouraged to really listen to their bodies and choose actions on the conservative side until they really know what they can handle. Those who have it easier in the begining of a journey often run in to their desert later on - after you have gotten out of yours.

Great job and thank you for being willing to speak the truth!

Saint

Ixek said...

wow Blane... really thanks for this text.. i loved it.... i had to read it some times... and i can only tell you have your mouth filled with thruth.

I must tell this only reflects how seriously you take Patrkour as part of your life, despite training with more expereienced guys I've always liked obtaining things by my own... and that expereience of achieveng goals and have mistakes by my own is I think one of the thing that keep me up in this on life in fact.

You have writen down what lots of people think what I personally think... and maybe this will sound kind of strange.. but now I feel like knowing you a bit(despite I don't) and do respect you as a traceur that has lots of experience and things to teach to all of us

Thanks

Greetings from mexico

Krecker said...

Great post Blane!

I have nearly the same opinions. Attempts and mistakes are essentials for learning!

I wish you a good training,
Matteo

Chris Jeffs said...

Fantastic article.
Time to spread the word...
Great place to refer people, thanks for taking the time to read it.

jin said...

you are a blessing to the parkour community, BPCA is so lucky to have you. I really would love to come and train with you at some point for some days or something in the future to get some more insight into the blane mind! I just wish we didnt train with each other so few and far between as we currently do.
Really insightful article, this is the kind of thing that i find most inspirational, the constant searching, questioning and thinking that you do around parkour and training and the results that you come up with from this, amazing.
was good to see you on saturday,
jin.

Gyro said...

While it's still fresh in my mind - thankyou!

I can relate to a lot of the experiences you've described, which makes it a lot more humbling to read.
The "breaking in" leg pain (bringing with it a phobia of stairs!), the trial and error process for every single technique and the lack of resources/larger groups to harvest new tricks from.

However, I didn't even see Jump Britain until I bought it on DVD 6 months into my training!(Couldn't believe I was seeing my home town being used so well!)

I'm a traceur from Derry, Northern Ireland and our parkour scene (both the North and the Republic) is pretty much one community. People from Dublin would head up to Derry every so-often for training sessions and vice-versa as well as Belfast, Waterford etc. (each year is pretty much a giant, parkour road trip!) and our community has remained 100%inclusive (or I like to think it has), with new heads showing up at almost every jam.

Our scene has been steadily growing, almost too quickly.

After reading this, I've started to think I should look up more often to make sure that the new recruits aren't rushing themselves!
And while I'm at it, I should slow down a bit, myself.

"If we do not do this, Parkour will slowly die as its practitioners become weaker and weaker duplicates of past traceurs due to injury, overtraining and joint destruction."
Well said.

I found this post through a thread that was started in our forum, and it seems to have inspired others, beside myself, so once again, thank you for helping not just me, but far more Irish traceurs develop "Grandad strength" in the long term!

-Gyro

PKIreland's thoughts on "Dilution":
http://www.pkire.com/thread.php?id=848

Patrick said...

Bravo.

Kirsch said...

Tu publicación me pareció vastante buena y muy cierta... de alguna forma me sentí mal por ser la clase de nuevos traceurs que aprende cosas rapido, pero me gustaría aprender mas de mi propia creatividad. Me pareció importante que los treceurs que conosco lo supieran entonces lo publiqué en algunos de mis blogs.

sorry I'm really bad writting in english, i hope you can tradece it.

exelent post.

Pascal said...

Well done articel :)

I´m a very young/ new Traceure and your post will help me very much in future...

Greats from germany

Pascal

ExOniTe said...

Blane, this article is a wakeup call for the entire community, around the world.

People need to understand the grace of Parkour, not doing 12ft drops all day, filming it, and then posting it just waiting untill people go "nuts" because they did something like that.

I'm giving this article to everyone I know that does PK, and hopefully they also understand the true meaning.

We must respect our body's, not trash them...

ExOniTe,

Blane said...

Finally I have some time to sit down and reply to all these comments, I'm overwhelmed by the amount of feedback to the article and really didn't expect it to be this widespread.

Thanks to everyone who contact me via email, private message from various forums, MySpace, my blog, in person and by telephone regarding the article and I'm really glad it helped so much.

I'm still getting a lot of requests from people asking if they can put it on their websites and if you would like to then please feel free, it will only help it to reach the maximum number of traceurs.

Now to the individual responses I've not yet replied to:

Gyro - It's great to hear that all of Ireland is united in one community working together to progress. Travelling around and training at your friends' area is always a brilliant experience and I have so many great memories from travelling to other places in the UK to meet with other people and practice at their favourite spots. If I'm in Ireland at some point then I'll definitely get in touch to see if we can arrange to meet up and train.

Pascal - You're welcome, contact me if you have any further questions or want any further advice.

Kirsch - Las gracias por tus comentarios, soy feliz que tuviste gusto de mi artículo y si te ayudó de cierta manera entonces él lo valió. Buena suerte para el futuro y en tu entrenamiento.

Jin - Yeah it's a shame we don't get to train together more, Saturday was great. We should sort out a Lisses trip or something to spend a week training, catching up and learning together.

Chris Jeffs - No problem, thanks for stopping by.

Krecker - Good luck for the future! Thanks for your wishes.

Ixek - Parkour is a huge part of my life and this article was straight from the heart. I'm happy (and surprised!) to hear that it was so well received so far away in Mexico and it just shows the vast power of the Internet to spread information. Well done on remaining an individual whilst taking advice from more experienced traceurs. Finding that balance is important and I wish you all the best in doing so. Keep in touch.

Saint - I Hope your training is going well in Colorado and I'm really pleased to hear that you've adopted such a sensible mindset with only 4 months of training behind you. By realising the destruction caused by poor training at such an early stage, you have no doubt got a great opportunity to prolong your training and stay fit for a LONG time. I wish you all the best with your training and if you need any advice, don't hesitate to contact me.

Joe (ng) - I actually visualised that facial expression, haha. Glad I gave you some food for thought, hopefully see you soon for some hardcore training mate... keep up the intense physical training I've seen on your blog, it's paying off for sure.

John - I don't mind at all my friend, email me and I will go in to detail about the issues you mentioned. (blane [at] teamtraceur.com)

Pedro - Thanks for your kind words, Parkour is so much more than a physical activity to me and I'm glad I could share that with you. Good luck for the future.

Shari - I've emailed you! x

Daniel Taylor - I'll email you, sounds great.

freerunner-101 - Glad I could help, hope your training is going well.

Sticky - All good, hope to train with you again soon.

Rob from Clan Renzhe - Your comparison to Martial Arts is a good one, it takes years and years to understand and perfect Parkour techniques and thanks for sharing my article on your myspace. Keep in touch and keep up the great work. Good luck in your training.

Bene - You're on a great path, long may it continue... stay strong and don't follow the others on their mission to injuries and bad knees.

Thomas - Well done on figuring out the link system! Haha... looking forward to reading your blog updates. Always an inspiration to me, I look forward to training with you soon. Good luck on your adventures my friend.

------------------------------

If I've missed anybody then it's not on purpose, email me if you have any questions or need any advice.

-Blane

Tiji said...

Hello. I am personally from Quebec, in Canada and here Parkour just came in few years ago. I am a begginer and I really felt the peer pressure, as you talked into your "essay". I want to thank you, it made me think about the way I do Parkour and the way I train. It is true that I sure don't have this granddad streght, even if I did years and years of traning in a circus school. It helped me very much for the beggining since I was agile and I can control my body much more than average people. My resistance is also improved a little bit by my training but I think I should stop and think about what I do. Before winter, I dropeed a 14ft high thing, and readding this I realize maybe it was not a good idea. Will trying it the first time I really hurt my own ankle because I rolled bad. Thank you for this text, now I'm going to practice more, to try the be a big flaming log instead of paper and gasoline. I seek the granddad streght !

-Tiji

Víctor Moreno said...

Hello Blane. I'm a traceur from Spain. I started one year ago. I know that's a short time, but i've learned a lot of things. I've started like the most part of traceurs that start today(at least in Spain): learning movements and trying them and doing combinations too, but don't thinking about conditioning training. I've had a realy problematic ankle hurt because I didn't conditionate my body. I thought i could do that jump of 10 feet and I did, it even if i've only do just a few jumps before. Nowadays i've change my training. Before start training I always do a warm up and the 80% of my training is conditionate my body. For example, do 100 short "saut du precision" of 6-7ft(I don't know how to say in english :S) and things like that. When I finish, i do a training more technical to improve my movements.

Since I started training like that i've seen that i'm really become stronger and improving in parkour. It's a pity that I realized of that because my hurts, and your post it's an excelent idea to try to show us(and the next generation of traceurs), how to train and the phylosofy of "Être fort pour être utile".

Thank You

PD: Sorry for my english :S

Victor

Valery said...

this was just amazing to read.i like you blane as a person and as a traceur which in a way i think are the same 2 things.
i always enjoy reading any pieace of yours and watching your videos.you give me great insprition..
if you can leave some cooments on my blog..visit from now and then if you have some free time.ill be more then glad to get your constructive critisiam on my training.thanks alot for all you gave to me personally.
good luck and be safe.

Motorista aka BlixXxeM said...

Hi Blane,
I come from Essen, Germany and have been training Parkour for about four years now (with long interruptions and phases without motivation to continue, so don´t think I´m good in any way).
Your Essay has made me think about that way that I and the people around me train and I decided to start my Parkour training from the beginning again, putting more emphasis on basic skills and the building of strength. I started a blog last night in which i hope i can keep record of my progress, my achivements and my failures ( as some intelligent person said "learn from the mistakes of others because you wont have time to make them all yourself").
http://motorista-firstdayoftherestofmylife.blogspot.com/
thats the link to it, but it´s only in german yet, but i will try to start an English one as well.

Thanks again to you blane, for what you wrote touched me deep inside and made me start from zero again.

greetings, Michael

Del8 said...

I'd like to tell how deep this post came to me, but my bad english wouldn't let me be clear enough to explain it. You made a really nice point.

Keep doing the good work.

Del8 from Poland.

Jariko said...

This is really helping me! By myself I'am one of those who feel like they aren't as good as everyone else. Well, maybe because I haven't in my past any sport activity like my friends had football 10 years. I can agree that they are better than me.

First I did also big jumps and very much stupid thinks which maybe could broke my body. But that didn't hapend. But I had sometimes little pains in diffrent part of my body, but now they are more rarely. And now I'am started do very much little thinks like first of all good warm up and running (to keep up good healt), precision jumps, cat-leaps and getting up to wall from them. Different balance techniques, and everything "Normal".

But now I have been thinking that I really feel that I want to do this forever, keep going and going. But how, I haven't found that way yet, but I really hope that I will found it or someone helps me to find it.

I have lost also my motivation to study for my possible future job. First I was really motivated studying and reading about school thinks. But now, this weekend I just praticed and forgot the whole school. This is saying me more that I really, VERY really, want to be "professional" in Parkour, or somehow earn money that I can live in this cruel world, but also keep praticing more and more. I feel stupid when I'am sitting in school to 8:00am to 3:55pm, so 8 hours! I really don't know what to do! I just want to pratice and be free.

And sorry about my horribly english. And greetings from Finland.

And yeah, I don't know why I write this much even less could be better. Maybe I just want to share my mind to everybody else.

Hope we will see sometimes. Maybe in Lisses! Or just email, but maybe this is enought for us. Keep going and training!

-Jariko

zec said...

Hi Blane,
This was one of the greatest articles I have ever read. Realy nice stuff.

Offtopic: I'm startting out with the conditioning routine you have posted on teamtraceur.com but without the weighted vest and i have a question about that. I can do only 10 pull ups so should I train to the max every set or should I do like 7-8?

Tania said...

Hi! Well thanks for taking some time to answer some of our coments :) I want to know if there's any way to contact you anyway I leave my msn (tachanena@gmail.com)

Peace
Ixek.

www.urbanrunners.net

Anonymous said...

Hey Man, I was just on UFF and read your article that's also here. I also wanted to say thank you. My buddies and I just started parkour about six months ago. We've been training together and separately, but they keep moving to higher, more impressive stunts. I've felt kind of bad about it because we've put in the same amount of time. Your article put a lot of things in perspective, and I plan on showing it to my buddies when I see them tonight. Thank you again. Keep up the good work.

Sebas said...

Thank you Blane....
that article was really hard but necesary to preserve Parkour and the health of traceurs.

Keep Being a Role Model for new traceurs.

Sebastian
Parkour Medellin

Rik Parris said...

Inspirational Blane... Your comments are well-thought, well constructed and noble. You've really made me think about my training, as although i believe that conditioning, preparation, time, and trial and error are the key to becoming a 'true' traceur; i have still found myself becoming disheartened with newbies doing things i'd never even dreamed of attempting!!

Now i feel like i can hold my head up and walk away from those situations feeling good about myself, safe in the knowledge that i'm going to be around (and vaultin'!) for a lot longer than them! There's nothing wrong with inspiring people in parkour, nor with bouncing off people (not literally!). But this competative attitude has to be discouraged, as does the "big jump culture"!!

I'm in this for the long run and i believe you've helped me solidify my position as a serious traceur. Long live grandad strength!!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I just came across your blog after watching some parkour videos and I really liked this post.

I train in a form of martial arts and the approach that you advocate in parkour is conceptually very similar. It should be for your own development, not for others, and at your own pace without trying to look for the "spectacular" when you do not have the basics - the fundamentals and most important aspects.

Enjoy the thousands of repetitions of "simple" movements, have fun, keep the flow, make it look comfortable, effortless, simple, economical. The aim is to flow with the same ease and automated movement that characterised walking. Noone ever got themselves hurt walking.

Like anything that involves a reprogramming of your body movement, it involves a reprogramming of your way of thinking, and it is only through forever exploring and forever being "a beginner" that you can achieve this.

Great post. Beautiful to see people from other areas of life coming to the same conceptual principles through a different approach to studying movement and reprogramming the body's "natural" way of moving.

Good luck with your training and I hope people stop to think about what you have said.

IamI said...

Thanks for these insights. When I saw Parcouring for the first time it was on TV and you quickly get a wrong impression because (if the Traceurs are good) it looks all very easy. Yesterday I watched the Parcouring World Championship in Munich and there it was obvious how difficult and demanding this sport is.
Today (after watching some videos of the community and reading many pages) I was wondering if my approach to Parcouring / Free Running would be accepted. Not that I need this acceptance to start with training but because I wondered if there are Traceurs that may understand my point. Especially after being pointed to your text and reading the comments I now got the feeling that there are at least some that want to go the way the same way as I.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to you from all of tracers from Ukraine. The translation of your article is placed on our sites

Sens from Kiev

Anonymous said...

Hey man
i gotta say big thanks for you writing this first i've seen al ot of your videos and ur one of my favorite treacuers second this post really brought up my confidence and the strenghten my opinion about parkour I always belive in "progression at your OWN rythem" and to know some one like you think so too really made me glad
im one of the 'slow progressors' although i dont think im progressing slow its just my rythem i dont go suicide and stuff
so thanks agian for writing this
FSM From Israel

Anonymous said...

Respect from belarusion tracers, Blane! This`s great words, man...

Alex said...

Blaine,

I am 16 years old 204lbs 92.7 kilos, and just read this entry. I love the Idea of getting started. I plan to go to the gym for the next couple months to get in shape to get started but I would like some more advice. I want to know what sorts of things you used to practice to get started (bike racks, couches, etc.) It would give me great pleasure if you would email me because I don't use my blog. My email address is Pyromaniac176018@gmail.com

Sincerely, Alex
P.S. your post was incredibly moving and inspiring.

DrFish said...

I can't emphasize how right you are. I've only recently started practicing parkour, but I've been envolved with other, somewhat similar, types of training (IE: weight lifting, sprinting, distance running, flatland bike stunting, aggressive skating). But the fundamental elemant of trial and error is 100% true with any kind of physical dicipline that someone wants to learn. There is always the long term muscle development/memory can only happen with starting from the fundamentals and doing every basic movement thousands of times. And it is sad that there are people out there who don't understand this, and are having to undergo corrective knee, shoulder, elbow, etc. types of surgery. But it does prove that humanbeings are extermely impatient creatures, wanting everything now, wanting to learn everything instantly. I guess all we can do is talk to those who will listen and sit back and watch those who won't.

Ranger1981 said...

Word,

I'm completely new to parkour but incredibly enthusiastic about it. I've been diggin' around and doing all of the research I can before taking my first run. I can honestly say I'm grateful for this article, and I have no doubt that you've just spared me an injury or two. It also helped clear up a few misconceptions that I sub-consciously had as well as relieved a few apprehensions. I'm more psyched than ever and will have no future reservations about doing things the "Disciplined" way, by taking my time and seeking my own personal perfection.

Thanks Alot!

Harry Potter said...

I was involved into aggresive skating a couple of years ago, and it always was referred at as an art and a lifestyle. When it became a competition it died a little (the little that matters, you know).

The difference between art and technique is analogous to life and function. That essence has to be always put into action by comprehension ("knowing and doing is one and same thing" i read somewhere) and by the joy that comes from within each individual.

i´m taking parkour now, its philosophy is so pure and daring i just can´t resist it :)

Rust said...

Hi Blane! Your post is great!
Thank you for that."Dilution" is well known in Russia.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Нi dude, i'm 15 but itisn't a reason for me to think that PK is the way to have some fun. I was thinkin' a lot about the aim of PK and now i believe that the main thing in this is self-perfection and understanding of what pK really is. Now most of young men (i mean - from Russia & Ukraine) think that it is some sort of fashion, you know, like new movement, but they're wrong. The bad thing is that there are lots of such guys and they make worse social opinion 'bout PK. But i think that it isn't a very hard obstacle for people who want to become better.The main thing is filosophy , & then comes jumpin'

P.S. Man, could you write your opinion 'bout my comment to N.Bliznov@mail.ru if you'll have some time,OK?pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease

Andrew said...

Blane,
I read your article "dilution" and it got me thinking. It sure would make me sad if I were a older traceur looking at the new ones doing much more. But I guess I'm one of those newer traceurs, trying to get to higher jumps and everything faster instead of training myself more on smaller stuff first.
The article really inspired me to start small first. And thats what I'm gonna do from now on. =) But I have a question. Please don't take this as going against you or being cocky.
Are we supposed to just go and keep jumping 5 feet things? How do I know when I'm ready to move on? If I don't jump the bigger stuff, how exactly do I train?
I guess I'm just asking for advice because I'm new at this and don't know anyone who can teach me so I gotta learn myself and teach myself. I live in guelph, ontario, canada and theres not much around that I can find to practice on. But I still want to learn. Could you email me at andrew-place@hotmail.com with any info regards to this post? Especially the questions I asked please.
Please don't take offense to this post. I really don't mean any bit of offense.

Rhavin said...

hi Blane from good ol' South Africa. Scene's really picking up here and i do think that we will start encountering the same dilution factors.

my thoughts on the subject are that people are too concerned with aesthetics (although part of freedom of expression, so to say). i've also found that that point of amazement at watching a person jump from great heights really does make you want to do that. i've found after training in not only pk but physical theatre (a bit like a combination of contemporary dance, mime, acting, ballet and other movement types) and tai chi that the principles are basically the same although the contexts are different.

one main problem with being motivated by the vids on the net is that they don't mention anything about physical "intelligence" needed in pk. Knowing ones body is probably the biggest advantage you will ever have in pk. thats why i would advocate the trail and error method of training - with regard of listening and researching good advice. why do i advocate trail and error rather than learning straight from posts on the net? for the simple reason that rote learning of the movements teaches you nothing about the limits of your body, but also pushing your body to dangerous extremes when you are not sure of what you are doing is just as useless.

learning physical intelligence for me has been a piece-meal thing. it started from training in phys theatre where they teach you about your body, how it moves and how it doesn't. many people consider this to be pointless by saying 'its my body. so why do i have to learn about it?' and i say 'for the same reason you had to learn to walk.' people don't just instinctively know how to walk. it is a process of trial and error, a process of learning what your legs are, how they work, and how you can use them, then you start walking.

Back here we have some excellent mentors and they always push for simplicity a gradual progression.

"I'm concerned that the shortcuts available to today's practitioners might rob them of the irreplaceable muscular development that the Lisses traceurs have, the deep rooted neurological pathways and the vast amount of muscle memory that no book, article or spoken word can give to them. The granddad strength"

this i believe is a brilliant example of a gradual progression. it's not about how quick you can learn something (especially when regarding the body) our bodies are complex machines and they need a 3000pg hand book that has a life time of volumes that have been written to operate. you can't be expected to know everything in that book by heart after the first reading, which seems to me like what a lot of beginners seem to do today, sometimes they don't even get past the first chapter.

for me i'm still learning the first chapter and will for the rest of my pk life. this i think is the greatest problem for this sport. to understand the path you will one day take you must consider what has been learned along that path and where you are today.

Physical intelligence is what potential traceurs need to learn. this comes through well thought out training routines, practice, recovery and refection. beginners often don't know what exercises to start out with, if only they would be willing to learn about their body and how it works...

i would also like to thank you blane for the influence you've had to my training, all the way on the other side of the world. keep up the good work, keep the passion, keep the flow!

PK FOR LIFE!
Paul

Ps. check out parkour.co.za to check out whats going down on our scene!

Blane said...

Hi Paul,

Thanks for taking the time to type that message, it was great to get an insight in to how you're progressing and training.

You raise some excellent points that greatly contribute to this discussion so thank you.

I'm really pleased if I've influenced you in some way from so far away, hopefully one day we'll train together and share ideas in person.

Until then, keep working hard and well done for being so sensible about your training. ;-)

-Blane

Anonymous said...

Hi Blane
I came across this post and got to say its a very good read.

I am very interested in parkour but can't find anywhere to train
myself and few of my friends do martial arts (Tae Kwon Do,XMA) but were very interested is there anywhere near Hinckley.

Thanks Troy
vonn_perkins@hotmail.com

WlknCntrdiction said...

Great article Blane and I completely agree, even though I've never done Parkour before lol. I'm only just starting out(going to have my first training session this Saturday)and I am a bit worried but I know it's something new and exciting I want to try and I want to be in it for the long haul. Personally I would go so far as to say that your theory is an extension of the whole "gimme gimme now" generation that are currently living today, they're too spoilt, they expect everything to be given to them whilst they only do the minimum of what it is that they need to progress. I agree that you need to condition your body, I've been told that millions of times by my friends who do Parkour, and who am I, a beginner, to question that? This generation think they know everything then they(more times than not)end up failing, like you put it they wear out their body long before it's meant to be worn out because they think just that they can do something doesn't mean they should. I myself am quite muscular but I know that muscles doesn't automatically equal strength or conditioning, I've had my body "talk" to me quite a few times but even so I'm not going to proclaim I jump in the deep end just because I can. I'm going to start from the beginning and work my way up. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, that's a statement not many kids of today seem to get in their heads. Lol, I must sound like a really old man, but I'm only 19 lol. Keep up the good work mate, you're an inspiration to many. I'd be more than happy if you could impart some of your own experience onto me:)

F8Full said...

As a newcomer in parkour, I wanna thank you very much for this reflexion. Doing my homework I grew more and more concerned about the fact I'm 26 already, and kinda lost the fact that I'm in for the long term. Your essay helped me clear my mind.
I respect you so much man, may our paths cross some day.

Greeting from Montreal

Kuza said...

You know, this is the perfect article. I know I'm not all that experienced but I've met a few people who've been training for half the time I've been training and can kong/cat leap/precision farther than me and I always wondered if I was doing something wrong. This article really inspired me and I might show it to some other traceurs. This was really great. Thanks Blane!

Rand Jordan said...

You're work is truly a reflection of my thoughts. People try to progress to fast and don't realize the repercussions they cause. But I'm sure you know this so I would just like to say thank you for getting the thoughts of so many other tracuers on paper.

NTP said...

Thx man, this really made me think. After my first training i already had knee problems and my back is really killing me. I will take it more easily from here on and progress at my own pace. Thanks again for the warning.

NTP said...

Thx man, this really made me think. After my first training i already had knee problems and my back is really killing me. I will take it more easily from here on and progress at my own pace. Thanks again for the warning.

daniil said...

Thank you so much for this, Blane. I have no experience in PK at all and I'm just about to start conditioning my body. I think I'm really lucky that I bumped into this article before attempting to do even the simplest elements of PK. So again - thank you, man! I'm also thinking of combining conditioning with yoga. Somehow it feels it's a powerful combination in the long term and I believe it will help me to build a flexible and resilient body. And of course now that I read this I'm not going to succumb to peer pressure and allow someone's momentary respect to ruin my body.

From Russia with love! :)
Dan

Thehighnotes said...

Great, and wise text.. I am one of the parkour beginners, and very thankful to have read it. Not only does it reflects truth (imo), it reflects something of you as a person. Cheers for that..

David said...

I have a lot of respect for your view and the wisdom you reveal in it. It's amazing how something as simple as this pearl of great worth can make us reflect on how we live our lives on the sides of walls and on the carpets of our homes; in the air and on the ground; our inner and our outer lives.

You have my thanks and my appreciation for sharing this, and I'll back and share this with whomever will hear it.

Peace and traction!

Anonymous said...

Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Blane

Over the past year, I've come back to this article numerous times, and each time it has expanded on my wisdom of the discipline. I've been training for 3 years now, but didn't start with doing big drops or anything; I read up about how it can damage your body before beginning. I'm grateful for that, and like you mentioned, past experiences can be useful.

I'm still working on basic technique. Perfecting the various ways of vaulting an obstacle, rolling, landing etc. I've never gone above head height for a drop, and anywhere close to that height is extremely rare for me; I don't train drops at all, rather the landing from about a foot up and the roll transitioning from ever so slightly higher.

But parkour is so much more than doing big things. I've had infinite joy from simply experimenting with bodyweight work on a bar, like muscle ups, hip thrusts and lever work. At the same time I've been through loads of hellish sessions, where I push myself to the absolute limit.

There are as many parkours as there are traceurs. I train in the way I do because I feel it is the right way of progressing with the physical side of it, and will continue to train in this way, for life. I rarely tain technically; I'm just having so much positive experience from conditioning and getting up to that next strength level. I'm even currently taking a couple of months of break just so that I can strengthen my legs considerably, because I feel they are lagging behind the rest of my body (Maximum squat is a pistol + 20kg for 2 reps, so not that strong atm)

Train hard, follow your true nature and enjoy the discipline that is parkour.

From Bryan G, a fellow traceur...

Justin West said...

Wow.... really.... wow! This was one of the best articles I have read in a really long time. I completely agree with you. We live in an age where technology can get your answers in seconds and we can learn from people across the world in a matter of youtube videos or blog posts. I'm a beginner to parkour (in a way), I mean I have always been the kid that enjoyed rock climbing, climbing trees, climbing...well anything. I have always enjoyed running and overcoming obstacles but now i'm training for a couple reasons. I train to hone my physical abilities and to focus my mind. For me parkour is an escape, it's a way of taking time to forget about some of your life responsibilities and it has helped me through my fall to the bottom, it is my upswing. Traceurs must stop trying to always compete with one another, the beauty about parkour is that your only competition is yourself. In my city its not about outdoing the next person... it's abotu overcoming your mental and physical obstacles at your own pace...enjoying the people you meet and the places you go as you do so. For us it's about growing into a stronger more independent person and respecting that everyone makes their own path. Parkour is the art of movement, control, and awareness. There are an infinate number of paths in this world, you decide what path you will take, you decide how you will take the path, and you decide when you need to slow down, stop, or even turn back.

One thing I wish this post addressed would be the minor split between "Parkour" and "Freerunning". It seems that there are groups of people who believe that Parkour is about running and overcoming obstacles only... and that flowing, flipping, or adding your own style to your adventure is not Parkour. As previously stated... it's about making your own path and deciding how you should travel that path. Things like flowing and acrobatics add individuality to this discipline. I personally cannot do it yet, as stated I am new, but I respect others abilities and creativity. The last thing we need is to split this discipline into opposing views as to minor deviations in a "traditional" definition of Parkour.

"Use your eyes to learn, use your eyes to see your path, but use your heart to visualize and feel your journey, and use your body and confidence to get you there."

- Justin West (Texas, United States)

Melvin Doo said...

Wow, this is some intense wisdom. I'm hoping to get into Parkour soon and this will definitely be of great aid to my starting out mindset :)

Naiice blog :)

Per Elof Nilsson Ricklund said...

I'm very impressed by what you wrote, you touched on a lot of serious points about the human person.
For example one can only live his or her own life. Secondly, the first thing we learn is the first thing we forget.
Being busy living some one elses life will only create an unfocused mind.

I've been praticing parkour for the last 6 years in Sweden. Never an athletic level as goal, it's been my breathing hole, a way to be creative and to move my whole body and feel like one with myself and my surrounding.
And everytime I've been running with some new people whom just begun with parkour I've had just this experience, thinking why can't I do that. And as a result done some stupid decisions. But everytime I get back to it afterwards I realise I don't do this for any one elses sake but for my own and for the challenging path my body and mind are traveling on.

And what you find on youtube today isn't helping, sometimes a some clips can take down your inspirations for a few days, questioning if you're excersising in the right way.

As a sidenote, just to share some of my own experiences. I'm a classicly trained painter and work as a Artistic Anatomy instructor at an artschool in Gothenburg.
And I see the same things in art, people doing cool stuff, but easily forgetting the basics and after a few years they get stuck in a manner, they do the same thing over and over again. Because without a solid foundation, may it be a strong body or a mind which see basics, a easy way to break down any problem no matter how complicated. People get stuck and cannot analyse and critique themselves and back track and find back to the developing path they started on. People want shortcuts, but like you mentioned, it might not carry you as far in personal development as the long way would have done.

So thanks for sharing some very easily appliable thoghts on life. Parkour is young and these thoughts are needed to keep a focused way forward.

So thanks for strenghtening my focus. Keep on formulating your thoughts, I for one look forward to hear them.

Per Elof Nilsson Ricklund said...

I'm very impressed by what you wrote, you touched on a lot of serious points about the human person.
For example one can only live his or her own life. Secondly, the first thing we learn is the first thing we forget.
Being busy living some one elses life will only create an unfocused mind.

I've been praticing parkour for the last 6 years in Sweden. Never an athletic level as goal, it's been my breathing hole, a way to be creative and to move my whole body and feel like one with myself and my surrounding.
And everytime I've been running with some new people whom just begun with parkour I've had just this experience, thinking why can't I do that. And as a result done some stupid decisions. But everytime I get back to it afterwards I realise I don't do this for any one elses sake but for my own and for the challenging path my body and mind are traveling on.

And what you find on youtube today isn't helping, sometimes a some clips can take down your inspirations for a few days, questioning if you're excersising in the right way.

As a sidenote, just to share some of my own experiences. I'm a classicly trained painter and work as a Artistic Anatomy instructor at an artschool in Gothenburg.
And I see the same things in art, people doing cool stuff, but easily forgetting the basics and after a few years they get stuck in a manner, they do the same thing over and over again. Because without a solid foundation, may it be a strong body or a mind which see basics, a easy way to break down any problem no matter how complicated. People get stuck and cannot analyse and critique themselves and back track and find back to the developing path they started on. People want shortcuts, but like you mentioned, it might not carry you as far in personal development as the long way would have done.

So thanks for sharing some very easily appliable thoghts on life. Parkour is young and these thoughts are needed to keep a focused way forward.

So thanks for strenghtening my focus. Keep on formulating your thoughts, I for one look forward to hear them.

Alex Cole said...

Hi Blane,

I just wanted to thank you for this. I'm in a similar situation to the one you described, having been training for many years now but never "big" or "strong" at things. I'm usually happy with my ability, when I'm training alone or with people I know well (Dan, Timmy etc), even though I may not be at their level, but I do also question it sometimes when I see a lot of the new people training (especially the very new people at classes).

This post has helped clarify things in some way. Like other people here I've had my "errors", however one of those specifically slowed me down significantly - I sometimes see this as a bad thing but I'll bear all this in mind in the future, so as I said, thank you.

Marcus said...

Hey, guys.

I am trainig for at least 5 years now and I'm really glad about, 'cause I had the chance to decide to follow the oldschool path.
In the days I started there just existed the pure way of movement which showed its magic in efficiency and surprised with the idea that urban obstacles don't exist anymore. The magic trick to make obstacles disappear is nothing less than to train hard, skillfuly and with responsibility. It is the oldschool way indeed because today the urban playground has become a stage wiht the spotlight aiming at onehit-wonders.

I would lie if I told ya that I didn't recognize where the modern path would lead.

so in the end, it is a gift we got in having started training in the early days, because that time we fell in love with the old magic of parkour. We already had dissagreed to fill the TV shows with crazy action, since we enjoy the movement and not the presence of the audience. We don't care about training in the rain, at night or in the warming sun, since we like to feel our heartbeat guiding us the way. it beats for fear, for exitement and for joy.

Who is there watching us laying exhausted on the sofa remembering the satisfying hours of training? no audience but you!

When you feel frustrated or disappointed, you should asked yourself after the reason why. is it because you did not fullfill your aims? Than train harder and be glad to have found a new drive.
is it because the spot light is directed to your friend, which make bigger drops than you? than you should asked further if parkour is what you really want for your self, or if you even want to encurage your self-confidence in order to feel stronger in front of others.

things evolve, things elapse. so we do, so the onehit-wonders do. maybe we last longer due to our responsible way of training. What ever will happen, my heartbeat beats for the oldschool way of magic. no audience cares about,so no audience will distroy it ever, because it keeps me alive, and I keep lightning the path with my candle.

Lots of candles could make lots of light, don't they? so no reason to worry about. get stronger by enjoing.

grz. Marcus, Germany
P.S.:
now I go and lead a workshop for parkour newbees ( for free of course ) and I'm going to tell them the same things.

Anonymous said...

I agree. And I don't understand why people want to do certain things / moves just in order to be able to say that they did them.
To me, parkours - like any sports - should be about fun, and not about competition. The only one you should -perhaps- compete with is yourself. If you get better than you have been before, then you can be proud of yourself. But don't envy others because they can do things you cannot (yet) or feel superior to others because you can do something they cannot. Every human is different, and has different talents. We can combine our individual talents to achieve much more than we could if we tried it alone. I prefer "together" to "against", cooperation to rivalry.
GGShinobi

Dakota said...

Hey, I am one of those "Newbies" as we are reffered to. anyways reading this article has headed me warning about what I am doing to myself. I have been practicing parkour for a week and I can do a three step wallrun, unfortunately. I have been out for about 4 days because my legs are just done. so After reading this I have decided to do more training rather than just looking up youtube video's on how to do stuff. Thanks for writing this. You may have helped me and other newbies in the future.

Anonymous said...

Blane
Hey man!
Thanks for putting up this article, I've been looking for these kind of posts lately.

I started PK in the early 2010 and been consistent on my training. But I can't land any flips so..yeah

Back to what I was saying, it's good to see this kind of articles.
I've been down lately because of these insane russians. They're so aggressive on the movements that people call them beasts and monsters of parkour even if they have poor form and poor technique.
They will say "this is parkour!" even if it's just a plain back layout from a ledge. I hope your gettin my point..
and sorry for the long comment..

Anonymous said...

Blane
Hey man!
Thanks for putting up this article, I've been looking for these kind of posts lately.

I started PK in the early 2010 and been consistent on my training. But I can't land any flips so..yeah

Back to what I was saying, it's good to see this kind of articles.
I've been down lately because of these insane russians. They're so aggressive on the movements that people call them beasts and monsters of parkour even if they have poor form and poor technique.
They will say "this is parkour!" even if it's just a plain back layout from a ledge. I hope your gettin my point..
and sorry for the long comment..