Yep. I've trained for over a year now. It's a pretty challenging discipline. We always have a pretty rigorous warmup which usually includes quadrupedal movement (movement on your hands and feet), and we always end training with a nice static stretch.
In the middle we work on different things, including:
- balance: standing, walking, turning on handrails
- bounding: taking very long striding steps while navigating usually over low walls or gaps
- jumping: usually precision jumps to a specific spot on the edge of a wall or onto a handrail, always on the balls of your feet
- wall runs: running at a wall and then you put a foot about waist high on the wall and push upward, driving your other knee up and reaching high with your hands to grab the top of a wall. This allows you to get on top of a high wall that you otherwise couldn't just reach from jumping from the ground, and the movement is very fast and fluid.
- vaults: jumping over an obstacle (a short wall or a handrail usually) frequently with the assistance of your hand on the obstacle.
- traversing: going the length of an obstacle in a specific position, like a dead hang, cat hang, cat balance
- techique/movement training: incorporating all of the above into a route, so maybe wall run into the second floor of a parking garage from the ground, turn vault off the other side back down to the ground, some precision jumps on your way to another set of vaults back up into the garage, etc. Run this route like 5 times in a row non-stop. This can be very intense, because running only or 2-3 vaults in a row can wear you out quickly, so multiple that by like 20 and you get the idea. You use your whole body's strength throughout, both upper and lower body, and especially your core.
- mixed with tons of body weight conditioning to build strength in preparation for all of the above: running, pull ups, push ups, squats, lunges, handstand press-ups, etc.
We train near downtown Columbus, which is super awesome for this kind of stuff, tons of uneven terrain with varying height walls and handrails everywhere. We don't train flips or that kind of stuff, though I recently pulled off a 3ft rail handspring on my own.
I train with Parkour Horizons in Columbus, OH - http://www.parkourhorizons.com. I'm actually going to a big event called American Rendezvous 2 this weekend to train with some of the founders of the discipline from France and Europe.
Thanks for asking, and hope the response wasn't too much more than you were asking for. :)
You could call it a sport, a discipline or an art form. I've called it a hobby once, but I regret it now, because a hobby makes me think of collecting miniature trains, not what we do. :)
People do parkour for different reasons, like the challenge, health benefits, emergency preparedness, strength, agility, etc., but no matter how you slice it, it is difficult physically and mentally, and is beneficial to your overall well-being, not what you would typically call a leisurely, merely fun activity. It's a lot more like a martial art than a traditional sport, extreme sport or past-time.
Although, you should know, it's a lot easier to get into than you might think. You could start with some basic running, jumping and conditioning almost anywhere. It's not all about the flashy stuff, but more importantly about the small, simple, basic movements.
Lol, you make is sound like tai-chi. Well I wouldn't say you could do it anywhere I know a friend who does it and he has to go pretty far away to get to a good environment for parkour/free running. It sounds interesting but I'll stick with tai-chi I get the same benefits and I get to flail a steel sword around and look deadly.
I admit, it is most fun when you have lots of varying height obstacles clustered together with railings and concrete. But, there's a lot you can do with trees, bike racks, parking blocks, playgrounds, etc. The majority of time we are not just running routes, but rather working on a specific skill with one obstacle or more commonly just conditioning (you can do QM anymore). But yeah, at least some of the time you're going to want access to uneven urban terrain.
I did taekwondo for about 9 months before, and I think martial arts are great for most of the same reasons. Haven't tried tai chi. For me though, I prefer the open ended, outdoor exploration and freedom of parkour, and the fact that I don't need a dojo, a skateboard, or any other equipment in particular to do it. I suppose you could do martial arts anywhere too, but typically you train with specific clothing under a particular master. People don't usually meet up randomly around the city to train martial arts together. Plus, I didn't dig the competitive, aggressive, hierarchical nature of taekwondo as much. The philosophy in parkour seems much more like everyone is equal regardless of skill (although I'm sure that's not true in all circles, it seems that way to most people who train parkour for efficiency over tricking).
Props for tha mad skills son! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhG4F1ijD1k&feature=related
I'm man enough to admit I would be too scared to get into freerunning. :/
Karate is more of a self defense based on striking and kicking and capitalizing on mistakes of the opponent. Kung-fu is a martial art that has developed into many different forms some that are based on animals and their movements. Taekwondo is really a martial sport focused more on kicks and competitions.
Kung fu is the most diverse and conceptual of them and each person is likely to find a form that fits them the best unlike the linearity of Karate and Taekwondo.
That guy in the video is good but he looks like an Olympic gymnast so it's slightly less amazing then a normal person.
He does look like an gymnast you are right, however, mixing the gymnastics with the freerunning is still amazing. Not all gymnasts could or would have the courage to pull off some of the stuff he does.
I think I need need me an active hobby like this, just a little less dangerous. :/
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