April 01, 2006
In my first installment on parkour, in last month's journal, I recounted a bit of the sport's background, from some of the original concepts of functional fitness that underlie it to the sport/art that was developed by teens in the suburbs outside of Paris and has recently exploded onto the world scene. That being said, any activity is only as good as its actual practice.
Talking about parkour is in no way correlative to actually doing it. The same applies to CrossFit in general; rarely will someone garner an accurate view of the program purely through conversation or contemplation rather than action. So let's get right to the nitty-gritty.
Parkour, first and foremost, is dependent on two things: the environment, which dictates the possibilities for effective movement, and your current level of ability or comfort within that environment. In much the same way that CrossFit scales and modifies techniques from gymnastics and Olympic lifting for new trainees, parkour can be scaled and modified to benefit most any willing population. And the result of an untrained individual getting in over their head in parkour is similar to that of putting a newbie upside-down on a set of rings or in a full overhead squat under a bodyweight load on a bar. (Let's just say that natural selection can be a beautiful thing.)