August 01, 2006
Parkour is inherently vertical. For most of the rest of the population, the only vertical movement involves elevators or stairs, but for the traceur, every vertical surface is an opportunity to choose a different path. There are numerous techniques for scaling the vertical objects that lie throughout the urban environment (and innumerable techniques for surmounting those found in nature). Learning the basics of the tic-tac and wall run will give you a good understanding of the transference of momentum from the horizontal plane up and over the various vertical obstacles you may encounter.
The tic-tac is the foundation of these vertical movements, being a quick and efficient method for applying the momentum from your run along the ground to any number of objects that may aid in your ascent. In its most basic form, a tic-tac is nothing more than making your last step before take-off a boost off an object that gives you extra height and/or distance to make your next move faster or more efficient. You can use anything from small walls to benches or stumps. You should attempt to create a seamless transition between your approach run, your first step onto the object, and your final leap from it. Practicing this basic idea on a small retaining wall is a great way to learn the movement pattern of the tic-tac, as you can dial in running speed and coordination by creating a cadence that you follow for each successive step, ending in a powerful boost from the top of the wall into the air. From there it’s a matter of focusing on your landing and retreat as you continue on your way.