So you want to learn how to do parkour? Along with my Assassins Creed Parkour Tutorial videos you can find on my channel RonnieStreetStunts, I will also be writing blogs on each of the videos for those looking to go more in depth. Some people learn best from the visualization of videos, while others like to be able to read the information.
Check out the video on Getting Started before reading this blog.
This tutorial is specifically designed to get people in the mindset for preparing to learn parkour...
Because more important then the specific moves or cool tricks is the preparation and mindfulness you put into your overall parkour training. So I wanted to discuss 3 main points that I feel every beginning parkour and free running enthusiast should know before starting parkour. Those are Location, Conditioning and Mind Over Matter. They are also relevant to the most common asked questions I receive: "Where can I find places to learn? Do I need to be in shape? Or what kind of exercises do I need to learn? And how can I overcome the fear to try new things?" All of these questions will be answered in this tutorial, and may be even more thoroughly answered in future tutorial's to come.
Location - Where to train
You see it in all the best youtube parkour videos, there are usually amazing architectural locations. "How can I learn like those guys with out having any sweet locations like that?" I had the exact same question when I began. Through 7 years of training I have learned that although locations like you see in videos may be awesome, they are not necessary for you to discover what the movement of your body is capable of in your own city or environment.
First off, if you just recently started looking into parkour, there could very well be locations near you. But you probably just have never looked at them through the eyes of a traceur (parkour practitioner). So before complaining about not having anywhere to train you must first explore your surrounding area. Walk down streets or alleys you have never walked down before. Look behind buildings or even alley ways. Be aware of every protrusion: Walls, ledges, hand rails, fences, posts, trees, etc... With out even learning parkour moves, you can try the practice of getting over these obstacles or on top of with just your two hands and feet. Over time as your ability improves you will discover new things that you never before saw as an object you could train on. Always be aware of areas you travel to, even if you are not there to do parkour, you can always make a note in your head and always be scoping for potential training grounds.
Conditioning - Necessary to exceed your limits
For many conditioning can seem like the less exciting part of learning parkour. People don't want to exercise, they want to do big jumps off stuff! Well that will come, but how pointless it would be to do a couple big jumps, and then not do them ever again because you injured yourself. When I first heard about parkour, the first thing I did was go outside to find a big ledge to jump off of to try the land and roll... Bad idea... I attempted a big drop and thought I would roll out of it effortlessly, instead I dug my head into the ground because my body wasn't conditioned for the strength to do that drop, or the quick reaction time required to do the roll. Parkour is more than just doing the cool stuff now, its looking into the future and having a lifetime of fun doing parkour.
There are hundreds of exercises that can be incorporated into conditioning for parkour. There is no one best exercise. In all honesty any kind of exercising will aid the strength of your body for parkour but we want to know what exercises will help improve our ability to do parkour. Although being in shape helps, it is not necessary for you to start learning now how you can move around and over obstacles. You can go out now and learn what you are capable of no matter your shape. Over time the more strength you develop through conditioning the more room your are providing yourself to improve significantly. Although I won't list all the exercises I do in this tutorial, it is pretty simple to go out and start doing your own. The simple act of climbing a fence; that we often do as kids, is a parkour exercise. Learning to walk on all fours increases the coordination of your hands and feet. (you can see an example of some of these exercises in the video)
Finally, never stop exercising! Even if you feel like you are getting really good, you need to always maintain the muscles necessary to support the movements you are doing. So for now go out and do exercises you already know and discover ways to incorporate them with the obstacles you will be learning parkour on.
Mind Over Matter - Fear vs Preservation
Fear can be large barrier for many trying to progress or learn a new move. It is important to learn how to overcome your fears, but it is also important to exercise self preservation. There must be a balance. Our fears are to protect us, but we don't want them to protect us so much that they prevent us from progressing. As you train and progress though, you will find that what moves scared you once before don't seem as scary. This is because you are developing your overall body control and awereness. If I have walked on a hand rail so many times that I never fall, it won't be as scary when I'm balancing on something similar 10 ft in the air.
In my videos you may see me on larger, dangerous looking heights. Doing parkour really high, does not mean you are good at parkour, it means you have guts. I have trained for 7 years and have become very familiar with what I am capable of. I have learned to become comfortable with heights and it is no longer an act of guts, but an act of confidence in my ability. It is detrimentally important that you are aware of what you are capable of before trying to mimic professional free running athletes. And I don't mean that once you learn a frontflip that you can try do it over a rough gap now. What I mean is that you should be so accurate with your front flips that you no longer make mistakes when doing them. You need to be so confident in your front flips that it doesn't feel much more difficult to front flip the rough gap then it would be to just jump it.
So remember not to take big risks, but we do need to take risks. The risk of being embarrassed by people watching, the risk we will get hurt, etc... We still must take certain risks if we want to progress, we just have to do them thoughtfully. I would like to leave you with one last quote before beginning your parkour journey. "When a child is born they know nothing. They are bound by nothing and anything is possible. As they grow they learn to accept laws, rules and restrictions imposed by man and nature." - Unknown
So go out and discover the limitless potential of your body! And have fun doing it!