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
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
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 weve all come since then... or have
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
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:
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...
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
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
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
its 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 thats not
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
Blane on his 2007 trip to Lisses
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
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.
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".
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
What will be the long-term effects of dropping 15ft
to concrete when the legs haven't experienced 10,000,
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
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.
this a coincidence? Or is this because we are pushing
too hard, too fast, trying to be the best and compare
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 dont 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.
Im 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. Im going to make it a personal goal
of mine to help the people I see feeling pressured in
to doing something they dont want to, it would
be great if some people reading this could take the
time to join me.
summarise the two points in the above article...1)
If youre 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, doesnt
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
you going to help to dilute Parkour and the new traceurs,
Or are you going help to concentrate it and strengthen
"Tread softly because you tread on my dreams."
William Butler Yeats
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