got this from SFPK, apparently a young man who tried parkour for a bit in sacromental with SACPK, somehow fell off of a 8-stories building, exact circumstances are unknown, but investigators blame parkour and "reckless behavior.
here is the link to the full report, even a video:
I don't think this is caused by competition or the recent commercialization of parkour. It's the showy nature of the parkour samplers and compilations on Youtube that cause people to want to try for bigger and riskier stunts; it's been this way since the start. There have always been people who have been doing something they call "parkour" but involves just jumping off higher and higher objects in more and more dangerous locations. This might've been one of those instances, or might've been an honest mistake.....in either case, you don't train risky moves on 8 story roofs!
Please be precise, this is very sensitive material: neither the article nor the video report said the minor did "train risky moves on 8 story roofs".
The article spelled out "the 15-year-old fell from an eight-story parking structure", but the on site reporter showed a 2nd or 3rd floor outside staircase, which -OF COURSE!- could be lethal enough in case somebody would fall from it, i.e., on his head or his back...
I'd like to offer my condolences to the family and regret their loss. I can't imagine the pain they must be going through. I don't even want to try.
However, it may be pointed out that his actions were, by their extremely dangerous nature, not parkour. It may sound callous of me to say this, but death is the apex of inefficiency.
Recently in MTV's "parkour competition", 4 out of the 8 contestants were seriously harmed. Why? Because of the competitive nature of the show. Parkour may be risky by itself, but trying to impress people with it, as our MTV contestants (and now Mr. Kenneth) have shown, is simply masochism if not suicide.
My take on this? Stop doing stupid things to show off. Parkour is and has always been about efficiency, not competition - competition by nature makes it inefficient. MTV has sadly flaunted just the technique and pushed the philosophy to the side - this will not work. The thought behind the movement is far more important than a couple of jumps and an underbar. It's the defining feature of the practice. And unless new members of the community aren't properly exposed to it, they'll end up like Kenneth here, cold on the asphalt.
It involves concrete and metal rails!
Practicing at ground level -with 5 to 6 feet obstacles to overcome- will make it as dangerous as a quick run through a downtown crowd , but how many people have died falling in their houses and hitting their head against the fireplace, so I guess hitting your forehead on a granite slab edge won't be that funny, right?
Competing on "big moves" on higher ground is irresponsible, sets an awful example, and is a disaster waiting to happen.
People have been doing it in other disciplines for ages, but flying trapezes have a net, and climbers have ropes... or not and in which case they die from time to time...
Please be responsible for your actions, or have your parents take responsibility!
We thrive to practice safely, but does it mean we make it safe?
No, it means that we try to control the danger (and the damage), but shit does happen...
Is it possible to train parkour completely safely? Probably yes.
Is it likely that a practitioner will never take a risk? Probably not.
I agree with this except the possibility of training parkour completely safely. Parkour is inherently dangerous and as a training method uses risk as a path to strength. To train without risk is not parkour, but training without regard for risk is also not parkour. As tracers, ones who take responsibility as both students and teachers, we must properly assess all aspects of risk, both being able to control it and being able to recover from it when we fail in our ability to manage it (both physically and mentally).
Regarding this boy's death specifically, it sounds very unfortunate regardless of whether it was parkour related or not and my condolences go out to his family. Unfortunately, if he was indeed practicing parkour, it is ultimately his responsibility, his own ability to understand the risks he was taking, which may have led to his death. The "blame parkour" mantra which is repeated on these sensationalist broadcasts is a cop out, a way to demonize an unknown because the idea of a fifteen year old being responsible for his own death raises the questions of 1. when does a child become a responsible person (ie a person for whom a society which values rugged individualism and personal independence can shirk responsibility) ; 2. if the child is not a responsible person, where were his parents/guardians not just in this specific moment but also in the time leading up to it; 3. regardless of views on independent responsibility, to what extent is a community responsible for keeping its members safe from any known dangers, including ones that emerge from the individuals themselves? Parkour, an emerging and undefined danger in the context of this news broadcast, is easily demonized, especially when left a vague, faceless entity.
A few suggestions I have aside from the already stated anti-competition, anti-showoff sentiments:
- Stop thinking individuals are the best teachers for themselves. Just because parkour tends not to ascribe to formal schools of practice doesn't mean individuals learn better without outside instruction. Movement may be instinctual, but we are far removed from instinctual life and cannot reasonably consider parkour movements to be something that requires only inward vision to unlock.
- Don't train alone when anywhere near the edge of your abilities. Of course what is implied there is, have an honest assessment of your abilities. Personally, I don't like to go surfing alone because I don't feel I'm a very strong swimmer and I want someone to account for me when as shark is sighter and everyone sprints to shore; similarly, I would rather have a training buddy when I'd like a spotter or should I seriously injure myself, if only so someone can call for help immediately instead of hours later when I'm found incapacitated.
- Regarding media portrayals, we need to become more visible in a responsible way. That doesn't just mean charity events or publicity stunts, it means we have to put real human faces on the everyday practice of this discipline instead of perpetuating the myths of ninjas and superheros. It means building lasting connections with groups outside parkour and quite possibly within the system, whatever system that may be.
We are a community because supporting one another means not only praising each other when we achieve our goals or beyond, but also checking one another when necessary for safety and longevity of individuals and the group. None of us practices alone, especially since we all feel the effects of public opinion on our emerging discipline.
Let's also note that this isn't the first death that has happened to someone who was involved in the parkour community. I remember reading of at least two other incidents, though I can't cite them right now.
Do we need to make the presumption that this had anything to do with parkour at all? Injuries from high falls are hardly exclusive to parkour.
I don't think there's any way to say whether there is any specific reason that things turned out the way they did. All I know is that the best way to prevent severe injuries is to promote first and foremost group training. Having at least one or two people at your side is going to at least provide you a check to some bad judgement. And for beginners particularly, having a training buddy who has been in parkour long enough to see and prevent risks can be very helpful. Larger groups generally can stop certain activity in a way that an individual may feel he doesn't need to take responsibility for (while the group may feel more responsible in maintaining the training environment, etc).
I'm in agreement with most of what Seng has said. Parkour is as safe as you want it to be, but that does mean that you have responsibility for setting that bar.
Very good point made...
Individuals have to respect their own life and act smart upon their risk taking at ANY level, and the community has the responsibility of promoting safe training and practicing, which is being done across the PK world.
"Involvement" is also fundamental: our training group (and, obligatory if one is a minor, one's family!) has to be part of our progressive growth into the discipline; only with that comfort we won't self-pressure ourselves in pointless, and potentially dangerous, pride-rides.
That doesn't mean one cannot step aside for a while, focus and train on his/her own, but always with the comfort of being part of a supporting community/enlarged family, and avoiding practices that wouldn't be approved/promoted by the larger group...
Nevertheless freak-accidents happens in all indoor or outdoor activities and misjudgments are eventually going to occur... the point is making them as harmless as possible.
[only one last thing: I believe Benny's thread title refers to the "first parkour related death (possibly)", were "related" is the key word in the sense that the media didn't make any other hypothesis and just went for the parkour-scapegoat-theory; and "(possibly)" refers to "related" -w/ a bit of a lack in logic continuity-, meaning that it's not surely related as, instead, the media imply. I may be over-interpreting this, please Benny set me straight if I did...]