Parkour for the sane

By » Fri, April 20 2012
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He's yelling "parkour!" but you can't hear it. (img by Beth Jusino)

If you go Youtubing for parkour, you’re going to see some incredible things: muscular shirtless young guys climbing buildings, jumping from rooftop to rooftop, and doing triple flips off 20′ drops. You’ll see lots of fail videos, lots of parodies, and lots of Red Bull commercials.

I’ve got some great news for you: parkour does not have a roof-gap, side flip, or “parkour!” yelling requirement. Parkour is fast efficient movement from one place to another using just your body and the environment. The best part is that “the environment” is what you make it. If you’re at the local playground, the ground may morph into lava when you’re not looking, forcing you to climb around on top of stuff. Or there might be blacktop-swimming crocodiles on the road, forcing you to balance on the curb.

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Sometimes crocodiles look like cherry blossoms. (img by Beth Jusino)

What you may have missed is that parkour is just like any other activity: there are lots of different levels of practice. You wouldn’t forsake pickup football games after watching an NFL game or decide to stay far away from bicycles, snowboards, or skis after watching the X Games.

Parkour is like buildering: you can practice it at low-risk levels that are well within your reach, no matter what your age or physical condition, gradually improve over years, and maybe when you’re 70 you’ll be immune to Danny Glover syndrome and be able to get to your keys if you need them.

I want to show you who else does parkour, and to do so, I invoke the power of Youtube…

Kids do it:

Women and girls do it:

People over 35 do it:

People age 45 do it:

You can do it even if all you have is a railing:

And here’s some higher-level stuff, something to strive for down the road:

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