Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

Conditioning & Individuality: Why They Are Important To A Traceur

Taylor made a freaking brilliant post in his blog I felt needed to be shared here. Very worthy read. Here's the original link.

SATURDAY, JULY 12, 2008

"Conditioning & Individuality: Why They Are Important To A Traceur"

It took me a while to realize this. I began Parkour as just a hobby, I jumped around my school here and there, climbing walls etc. Of course, I’m not saying this is a bad way to start, I think it may be the best, assuming you control what you do and you’re smart about it. I was sore most of the time afterwards, so I developed some good strength from that. As I progressed, I got more and more comfortable with my body and the movements. I did almost no conditioning outside of actual movements, jumps, and climbs. I believe I started doing things I was capable of doing, but I wasn’t physically ready for them. After a couple months of becoming sore just from jams and the actual movements, I became used to, and adapted to the movement. I no longer became sore from a Parkour jam. I knew, physically, I was no where near developed enough, so I began trying to find new ways to become sore. In my mind, I figured that if I wasn’t sore, I wasn’t making gains, which isn't true. A couple months passed of experimenting, trying new things, finding what worked for me. I think now, for the past couple months, ever since the Ohio Parkour Expo, I have learned a lot about conditioning, and what is needed to become physically ready for the movements.

Since the meet up with Parkour Generations, my views on Parkour have taken a 180 degree turn, and it was for the better. I stopped thinking about single movements, I stopped worrying about accomplishing big movements, such as huge cats, Kongs to whatever. Non of it matters to me as of right now. I am now focused on what truly matters, which is conditioning the body to be stronger and healthy. Becoming fluid, working on foot placement and control are now my focus. Because of my lack of conditioning and training in the past, I believe I developed some muscle instabilities that I am working on correcting. I am still learning more and more about the body and how to detect what is wrong, and what to do to make things better. It is my hope to learn as much as I can about this, and for the next couple months I want to condition, and work on balancing my muscles out so I do not wear down cartilage, or damage joints. This is why I have stopped worrying, and have stopped doing “big” things as of late. I don’t think many people realize that what they are doing can, and is causing damage to them that may come back later in life and cause pain. I will post up later to report my progress on stabilizing my muscles and how it’s going.

Too many people these days see the movements in videos, and they figure, that’s what they need to be doing. This is completely wrong. People don’t see the preparation behind doing a huge cat leap. They don’t see the training and the conditioning that individual did before attempting it. It’s not just drops that should be avoided in the beginning. There are many factors that can lead to problems, big, heavy impacts, muscle instabilities, etc. We want to do Parkour forever right? Then why must everyone rush into things? Could it be because we want recognition from others as being “good”? If your mentality is good, and you’re doing Parkour for the right reasons, you should know that it’s an individual thing for self improvement. You should want to condition, you SHOULD condition. If you don’t, then you’re just asking for it later on. Everyone needs to move at their own pace, and train what they want. They shouldn't copy others (however it's a good way to learn) however, the best way to improve yourself in my opinion is following your own path and following your own motivations.

Something else I think people should avoid is peer pressure. I believe it’s almost everywhere, as people believe others need motivation in order to do a move they are scared of. If someone is afraid of a move, they shouldn’t be pushed to do it to meet the expectations of others. If they don’t want to do it, then they shouldn’t do it. If you have doubts and fears, don’t do it. There is no reason to take unnecessary risks when you can come back another time when you are better prepared to attempt whatever it is you want to attempt. Yes, some risks must be taken to progress in Parkour, but those risks should be handled properly. Personally, I hate when others push someone to do a movement, sure they can probably successfully do it, but if they have fears and doubts, they can easily injure themselves if they don’t commit 100 %. I also believe the best motivation is yourself. If you can find motivation inside of yourself to do something, then that is far greater then any outside motivation. It shows you have passion and love for what you are doing, and you truly want to improve.

Basically, just learn to understand your body, learn its abilities, its function etc. Learn to listen to yourself, and what you want to get out of Parkour. Why are you training? Personally, I don’t think anyone should worry about particular special movements for at least a year when they first start out. They should move around their environment using their body to develop physical strength, but also to gain knowledge of their body and to become natural.
Posted by Taylor Runkle at 10:54 PM

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...very well and passionately written!
Refreshing...
agreed! but man, i still await the day i can quote Taylor and say "I no longer became sore from a Parkour jam." i was beginning to wonder if that was even possible!
...some people would say that, if you are no longer sore, you "didn't push yourself enough.

Taylor himself had to figure that it "wasn't true" "that if he wasn’t sore, he wasn’t making gains".

I think that the most valuable insight of the article is when he explains that he "stopped worrying"...
;)
Very nice. I don't have an issue with people being a little misguided at first though. People are almost never on the right path to begin with. As long as people learn from what they are doing (as Taylor obviously has) I am happy.
That's very true.
I really like to consider the question, "why are you training?" The answer is really going to have the biggest influence on how one trains and how much/what kind of extra conditioning is necessary or beneficial.
...today, somebody wrote me:
...I agree, however I don't understand what he meant by: "I don’t think anyone should worry about particular special movements for at least a year when they first start out."
What are special movements?>>

I answered:
...he meant exactly what he wrote after: "They should [only] move around their environment using their body to develop physical strength, but also to gain knowledge of their body and to become natural..."
Whatever... I'm content with "I don’t think anyone should worry..." too much.
Parkour, at its best, is a discipline, but it can also be a sport, or a hobby.>>

The last three being all possible answers to Seng's question...

As Chris said in other words: I too am worried about sticking too many ideas in newcomers right-of-the-bat... everybody is entitled to make their own discoveries...

Parkour has the natural tendency of growing "well" on to people, provided the existence of a safe, healthy environment; I personally prefer to avoid serving all big pk Truths on a silver plate.
People are smarter than we believe sometime... not all, but most.
=)
Yeah, the environment always comes before the movements is what she meant I think.
Thanks! That was good insight.
Yeah, I started working out 45 minutes in the morning on my own after 2 months of starting parkour and was no longer sore after jams. It helps a great deal, and it's the foundation to not only parkour, but any physically demanding activity. It's a good thing you posted this because people need be aware of themselves. So just wondering, what is your conditioning routine? Routines? Anyone actually ^^

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