A lot of people think of parkour as a dangerous activity performed by crazy teenagers. Parkour is only as dangerous as any other physical activity. For instance, parkour is exponentially safer than high school cheerleading. See this story from The Dallas Morning News. I would posit that parkour is safer than the majority of sports because of one thing – progression.
When training parkour, the traceur is very careful to progress one step at a time. You don’t start with a 12 foot wall drop on your first day. You start with a basic move (like a precision jump – a standing jump from one point to another) and use that as a basis for future movements, such as a crane or cat leap.
This progression must also be mental. If a traceur does not think he can perform a movement, he shouldn’t do it. Since starting my parkour training, I have never been more aware of my body’s limits and capabilities. This gives me an increased mental fortitude to try new things, but also the ability to determine what is, and is not possible.
The point of this post is directed to someone who has never done any parkour or freerunning and feels uncomfortable even attempting it. Don’t be afraid of parkour. Think of it as playing basketball for cardiovascular fitness. Parkour is a tool that can be used by anyone to increase their general physical preparedness and functional fitness. Not only that, but it will completely change your mental paradigm and is fun as hell.