Jump stuff
October 14, 2008 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Parkour, it’s easier than you think to get started and you can keep your workout lively. Ryan Ford has a training center in Colorado , and there’s probably one right near you . Or DIY.

Parkour has been on metafilter previously
posted by Smedleyman (47 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm uh, thinking this is not the sport to start in your late thirties. The third entry on the 'get started' link is 'Injury Recovery'
posted by lumpenprole at 2:49 PM on October 14, 2008


Thanks for this, Smedleyman. I became interested in parkour after seeing it in recent movies (most recently Babylon A.D., but also notably in Casino Royale, District B13 and to a lesser extent The Incredible Hulk). I particularly enjoyed reading about the philosophy behind the art... but finding a parkour class in Calgary might be asking too much. (We don't even have Krav Maga classes here.... sigh).
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:50 PM on October 14, 2008


Wow, it certainly didn't take long before Parkour got the crap commercialized out of it. I've even seen shoes especially for Parkour, what the fnord is that all about.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:51 PM on October 14, 2008


The NY Times did an article with cute vid last week on women in parkour. Also, since we're talking about jumping stuff, a cool video of something a bit more badass: Czech Tower Jumping.
posted by grounded at 2:51 PM on October 14, 2008


OW MY KNEES!
posted by tkchrist at 2:51 PM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


There are a lot of good Parkour videos on YouTube, unsurprisingly.
posted by mek at 3:00 PM on October 14, 2008


Or, as my friends and I liked to call it before we knew it had a name, "French Hopping."

My favorite is still the French Nike ad with the angry chicken.
posted by OolooKitty at 3:02 PM on October 14, 2008


Yup, I'm excited about Mirror's Edge too.
posted by jbickers at 3:03 PM on October 14, 2008


BHG, first you need an urban environment to run through. Once we get that sorted in Calgary we might get somewhere. I agree, though. At 33 I try to avoid obstacles rather than find them.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:03 PM on October 14, 2008


Presenting... cat parkour!
posted by grounded at 3:05 PM on October 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


I enjoy crossfit which is sort of how I’ve become aquatinted. And it’s been so nice out lately... I will say Parkour is a lot of fun - er, for the big guys, not so much with the speed and fluidity as the gymnast types. Still, the body movement is a blast and it’s so useful to just practice even if you totally suck (like myself).

(Did some paintball with some cops a bit back in the woods out here. It’s amazing how little training there is body movement. I’m twice the size of some of those guys and I’m moving like a gazelle in comparison (ok, well, a big stompy gazelle, but still) Some of those guys all they do is jog or lift weights)
posted by Smedleyman at 3:11 PM on October 14, 2008


I started when I was in my early-forties, after semi-pro x-sports all while I was in college. (That's 15 years of getting paid for skating, snowboarding, surfing, wave-runners, freediving, bouldering, etc.) I have to say it was by far the best landsport I had done. Being in Vancouver and just owning building and urban structures—both exterior and interior—when you are in your forties is like the best feeling in the world. Well, after surfing....

....anyhow, injuries are loads tougher than they were on my contemporaries, all in their twenties though a few in their thirties. One wrong-landed fall from, say, fifteen feet took six months just to move past hobbling.

Nonetheless, parkour has my heart. Whatmore, I'd recommend it to any kid going through grueling troubles with school, peers, parents, or "adjusting" [sic] In terms of sheer adrenalin, and long-lasting sense of self-confidence and accomplishment (as well as communicating the value of rolling with the punches, flexibility, and making do with what life brings), parkour is #1.
posted by humannaire at 3:16 PM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Many of my kickboxing training partners do Parkour now. Mostly as an antidote to the tediousness of roadwork and running. And it seems to produce results. These cats are pretty spry.

Whilst I bypass the entire notion of mere aerobic fitness all together and work on simply building my mass. My theory is I won't need to chase anybody down. Gravity and their orbital velocity will eventually bring them back to me.
posted by tkchrist at 3:21 PM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


I hope this makes those 30-ish skateboarders (excuse me, "Sk8 dudes") feel old.
posted by longsleeves at 3:24 PM on October 14, 2008


OW MY KNEES!

I have an unguent for that you might be interested in. It contains aloe, jojoba and...some kind of acid, I don't know.

But yeah, I'm sort of at a point in my life where if I want to fall ten stories, I'd rather do it while leaning over a balcony and spitting on passersby, martini in hand.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:37 PM on October 14, 2008


Plus, we need a pool of spry people to recruit new ninjas from.
posted by Balisong at 3:50 PM on October 14, 2008


For some, this looks like it's a blast. For the rest of us, it looks like just another way for Madison Ave. to pelt us with sneaker adverts and make us lament our aging frames. I hate when that happens.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:07 PM on October 14, 2008


Or you can just sit on your ass in front of your xbox and play Mirror's Edge
posted by empath at 4:27 PM on October 14, 2008


When Bora Horza Gobuchul can't find a Krav Maga class, you know the world is going to the dogs.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 4:41 PM on October 14, 2008


I really love watching these morons break their bones and suffer concussions. Didn't they learn anything in kindergarten? Like, there's a time and a place for everything?

Fucking around and doing stupid gymnastic stunts -- the place would be a gym, or on grass at the very least. The only reason to do it on concrete is because it has higher risk, which could lead to more "coolness" or adrenaline. If you purposefully expose yourself to risk of serious injury, especially when the activity in question could be quite safe if performed elsewhere (i.e., there really isn't a safe alternative to skydiving or bungee jumping), I have absolutely no sympathy when it occurs.

So please, continue to land spread eagle on guard rails for my amusement.
posted by zekinskia at 5:26 PM on October 14, 2008


Sorry for the coming French jokes.

Once when me and my friends were talking about the French, I made the comment that they did make one cool thing: Parkour. And then one of my friends pointed out that it's still trying to get from one point to another in the quickest way possible and it's basically running away!

I've always thought Parkour was really cool, I don't think I'm in the shape though to start it. Might work on that though...
posted by Deflagro at 5:30 PM on October 14, 2008


When I was younger and more flexible, we didn't have fancy Frenchie words like parkour for this.

We just called it "running around, climbing stuff and jumping off shit."
posted by rokusan at 5:30 PM on October 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm in awe of parkour in the same way a person from a hundred years ago would be wondering what the hell joggers are running from... oh okay it's fitness, they aren't running from anything.

Why are those careless ninja's jumping around in broad daylight? Ohh they aren't ninja's, they are extreme fitness innovators.
posted by pwally at 5:32 PM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I really love watching these morons break their bones and suffer concussions. Didn't they learn anything in kindergarten? Like, there's a time and a place for everything?

Holy crap. Name anything - anything - and the Internet will find you someone who can get angry about it.
posted by regicide is good for you at 5:37 PM on October 14, 2008


So please, continue to land spread eagle on guard rails for my amusement.

You mean like this guy?
posted by Xere at 5:39 PM on October 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Name anything - anything"

How dare you italicize the word anything! Ridiculous!
posted by pwally at 5:45 PM on October 14, 2008


Keep fitness fresh, mix up your workout with a fractured skull!
posted by nanojath at 5:45 PM on October 14, 2008


As a means of fulfilling that desperate male need for tribal heroism, Parkour seems a far more constructive means of dealing with the repression of civilization than, say, something like the fight clubs that sprang up in imitation of the movie.
posted by Ryvar at 6:06 PM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


Couldn't you just do the pushups, pullups, situps, and squats, and then jump rope instead of fooling around on the stairs when people are trying to go to school?
posted by mrgrimm at 6:09 PM on October 14, 2008


This is probably an appropriate place to claim the international copyright on Parkoueira (c) UbuRoivas 2008 which is basically the same thing, but set to Brazilian rhythms, and incorporating an opponent who you trade kicks with as you run & jump all over the place.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:55 PM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


zekinskia: Never having done it, I wouldn't know, but wouldn't part of the appeal of parkour on "wild" urban surfaces be the unique challenges posed by so many diverse places?

It's kinda like how we don't always mountain-climb or ski on that one same purpose-built mountain.
posted by tss at 6:58 PM on October 14, 2008


Well shit, then I'm claiming krumpoeira.
posted by mkb at 7:03 PM on October 14, 2008


parkrumpoeira (c) UbuRoivas 2008
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:09 PM on October 14, 2008


As a means of fulfilling that desperate male need for tribal heroism

Give me a break.
posted by regicide is good for you at 7:14 PM on October 14, 2008


I thought parkour was kinda cool - until a new Spider-Man villain debuted whose schtick was that she uses it to run around town and be all edgy and hip. Then I cringed.
posted by bettafish at 7:48 PM on October 14, 2008


Parkour is lots of fun, and I only wish I were in better shape so I could practice more. That being said, that NY times article was very strange with its emphasis on 'Girls worry how they'll look if they do boy sports!' ... Seriously?!
posted by Space Kitty at 8:33 PM on October 14, 2008


The idea of going to classes where they teach you how to "Parkour" properly sounds pretty lame to me. It also looks silly in the video. Wasn't it created so you could just "go" wherever you were and however you wanted to?

Probably it's inevitable and all sports hit this point sometime, but at least there are no official Calvinball teams.
posted by Horatius at 8:47 PM on October 14, 2008


It is told that at the dawn of the age of Parkour, men did hunt raccoons with sporks and cook them over burning trash cans and paint their faces with the blood of their prey. And their days were filled with food and drink and jousting upon bicycles, and life was good. But one day, Marduuk of the Huffy tribe was full in his cups and said, "There are buildings here that can be climbed and jumped off of, if there are any MEN who dare to do it." But Fenrik, whose temper was high after losing his joust said, "You are a fool, a fool who will break his skull". Marduuk stood and angrily shouted, "I could run up the side of any building! I could hop up the side of any building on one foot! You are a coward." And Fenrik was ashamed. Then Fenrik's brother Brock stood to shout, and his anger boiled and his face was red, but he did not speak since he knew only twenty and seven words. So there was nothing for them to do but to strip down and wrestle. And they wrestled in a mighty wrestling match. They wrestled for hours with crushing grips, neither gaining any advantage nor giving in, and no ordinary men could have fought for so long, but they were heroes, and wroth. After their battle subsided, neither was the victor, but those who witnessed it jeered, "dude, that was kind of gay", and Brock, in his shame, ran up the side of a building to escape the jeers. But he fell and broke his skull. And that was how Parkour was invented.
posted by Humanzee at 8:57 PM on October 14, 2008 [5 favorites]


at least there are no official Calvinball teams.

but you're standing in an Opposites Zone, so now there are!
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:01 PM on October 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


The idea of going to classes where they teach you how to "Parkour" properly sounds pretty lame to me.

That's been my observation, for sure.

It'd be OK if they trained you up in techniques like running up a wall & doing a backflip off it, but there's a mob I've seen a few times around the Sydney Harbour foreshores teaching students how to hop over a 2-foot stone wall: "you plant your hand on one side, and then hop your knees over on the opposite side to your planted hand..." - they take money for such useless instruction, and the students queue up like idiots to do what comes naturally to any schoolkid.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:11 PM on October 14, 2008


I live in the "Olympiades" the parisian Chinatown often cited as the birthplace of Parkour and every saturday you can see groups of young people in tracksuits practicing all around the concrete elements with older "traceurs". And they don't pay a dime for it.
posted by Jaloux Saboteur at 4:56 AM on October 15, 2008


I saw what I suspect was a Parkour practice group in central park a few weeks ago, maybe twenty people from teens to mid twenties just flinging themselves around the playground. I was jealous. Top Gear had some Parkour guys on a few years ago, which was cool.
posted by Skorgu at 5:05 AM on October 15, 2008


When I was a wee lad, I was faced with a monumental decision. I was given the choice of either going outside to play on the monkey bars, or staying inside to play Mega Man on Nintendo. A decision that could not be reneged upon or changed, I knew my choice would alter the course of events in my life forever.

I chose wisely.








I mean, I played Mega Man. Kicked Wiley's ass, too.
posted by aftermarketradio at 6:17 AM on October 15, 2008


UbuRoivas, you're actually posting from the 'No-Gotcha' region, so you have to sing the 'I'm Sorry' Song.

got your flag bitches
posted by sixswitch at 7:03 AM on October 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


It would be wrong to say that I dream of flying, a better characterization would be that I dream of skimming; it's kind of like skating, but I'm usually several feet off the ground and able to just effortless glide from object to object.

I've been having these dreams for the better part of thirty years, and they are always there when I close my eyes, that feeling that I could just launch myself and move across the room like friction was something that happened to other people.

So, the first time I saw people engaged in Parkour, moving so fluidly across uneven surfaces, and making jumps that just seemed absurd, I first assumed that it was all camera trickery, and then after some research, I quickly realized that I was witnessing people actually doing the very thing that I've dreamed of since I was a kid.

I'd love to learn this.
posted by quin at 9:41 AM on October 15, 2008



It'd be OK if they trained you up in techniques like running up a wall & doing a backflip off it, but there's a mob I've seen a few times around the Sydney Harbour foreshores teaching students how to hop over a 2-foot stone wall: "you plant your hand on one side, and then hop your knees over on the opposite side to your planted hand..." - they take money for such useless instruction, and the students queue up like idiots to do what comes naturally to any schoolkid.

It is very counter intuitive, actually. not much all that natural about doing right so you can keep doing for hours over twenty years.

People say same the same silly shit about fighting. "Kick 'em in the nutz and gouge their eyes, right?" Yeah. Okay. Go ahead give it your best shot. I'll just "stand" here.

There ways to maximize efficiency and minimize risk with ALL physical endeavor. Even fucking. It's called technique and it's worth knowing for anything you want to do well.
posted by tkchrist at 10:35 AM on October 15, 2008


“Couldn't you just do the pushups, pullups, situps, and squats, and then jump rope instead of fooling around on the stairs when people are trying to go to school?”

You certainly could. Of course, when it comes time to quickly move down those stairs you’ll fall ass over entrails because you haven’t been training coordination or the muscles that support that kind of body movement.

As I say, some guys just lift the weights. I’m a large man and yet I’m far more fluid simply because I train in a variety of ways. I don’t get tired - for example - swinging an axe. Not because I spend all day in the gym pumping iron or jumping rope, but because I train by chopping wood. And that translates into other physical coordination skills. My stick technique has gotten better for example. I’m a better hitter when I play ball.

I’m not arguing that isolation training is bad. Sometimes it’s good to push a muscle group to total failure (depending on what your goals are). But going from place to place is the most common activity people do with their bodies (actively speaking, I mean, folks spend almost a 1/3 of their lives sleeping).

So training in coordination, agility and refining gross body movement will come in very handy should you, say, slip in the shower or near an edge or if the pusher robot tries to save you from the terrible secret of space near the stairs. The obvious fight training benefits aside - on the broader level - it has excellent evasion benefits as well.

You guys never ran (from the cops say) through neighborhoods skipping fences, dodging cars and hopping stairs? Beats the hell out of video games.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:18 AM on October 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


« Older I am Jack's raging bile duct, but I'm not CutoutDi...  |  Beneath the Antarctica lies a ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments