Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

Something came up at the Sunday Beginners' Training today that I think needs to be addressed: the use of spotters in parkour.

I will be giving you all my full and honest opinion about this issue, and if you decide to post, I expect that you will give me yours.

I believe that spotters have no place in parkour besides when dealing with movements that cannot be easily worked up to. I have been taught to never try anything that I am not sure I am capable of doing safely, and I think that the use of spotters causes people to try things that they are not capable of. Obviously, it is better to take the time to get comfortable with a movement and only try it when you are ready for it than to try something that you are not ready for, even if there is a spotter, and risk injuring yourself. Remember, the first motto of parkour was "to be and to last." I also think that using a spotter interferes with learning proper technique. If you are convinced that you are not going to get hurt, what is the point of learning proper technique? Of course spotters can be useful when dealing with movements like catleaps and backflips, but they are definitely no substitute for progression and the ability to build real confidence.

Anyway, I have given you my opinion. Please give me yours.

If you believe that it is pointless to address this issue, tell me.

I just think that it is important to talk about things like this so we can all see how others are thinking, and get an overall better understanding of parkour.

Thank you, Alex

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Comment by hillexallen on December 27, 2008 at 11:05pm
Yeah, I've seen some people ask for a spot and the guy just goes and stands 3 feet away from the obstacle with no idea what he's supposed to do, so why use a spotter if you are taking more risk than you should, and the spotter won't actually be protecting you at all?
Comment by Seraph on December 27, 2008 at 8:44pm
Another thing, and I don't want to offend anybody with this, but many people don't actually know how to spot. If you've been in gymnastics you probably know, but really, would you want a person there to "catch" you if they don't know what they are doing? When I was bouldering at the gym at school, there were some guys that thought they would be nice and try to "spot" me, when in reality, if I fell, not only would I get hurt, but they would hurt themselves by trying to help. And as a spotter, if you don't know what you are doing, would you really want another body falling toward you?
Comment by Philosofist on December 1, 2008 at 10:13am
Spotters in my opinion are just a safety, I mean I can do things in the gym that I can't do outside. I understand the philosophy on progression. But spotters act as a catalyst for my progression, despite it not helping at all at times. Good post by the way.
Comment by SafeNSure on November 17, 2008 at 11:23pm! That's a bit what we are doing, aren't we?
Only a lot less cool and sometimes more painful...
Comment by Anthony on November 17, 2008 at 7:23pm
I think there is also commitment involved in progressing to new movements. When trying something new either with or without a spotter sometimes injury is a result of not completely committing to doing it. However this brings us back to gaining self confidence and knowing one's own limits which ultimately leads to a sort of balance between commitment and mental/physical ability. In the case of spotters, I think when in use of a spotter, there should be equal, if not more focus and concentration on the do-er's part because there is also a possibility of the spotter getting injured from the result of a mistake or lack of seriousness.

haha giorgio... if only there was such a program, or better yet, get into the Matrix and just learn everything through a program
Comment by hillexallen on November 17, 2008 at 7:21pm
Comment by Fyrel on November 17, 2008 at 7:19pm
Of course, BApk-Buddy(tm) is still in public beta mode, and is gathering momentum for an open source release in the future.
Comment by SafeNSure on November 17, 2008 at 6:52pm
BApk-buddy.1 (all rights reserved)
Comment by SafeNSure on November 17, 2008 at 6:51pm
...please consider also the use of spotter in the more narrow sense of "spotting what I'm doing (wrong)".
I often require/provide help in that sense, because between the technique, the commitment, the obstacle- and surroundings-check, I may have not a complete perception of "what am I doing".
Thus, a spotter not only can provide eventually a physical/mental help, but often supplies a different visual perspective AND processing abilities...

A bit like having a digital camera filming your movement and then a powerful parkour software telling you how to improve it...
I'd call it PK-buddy.1
Comment by hillexallen on November 17, 2008 at 6:16pm
Exactly. It is sooooo useful to use a spotter on catleaps with big drops, because there's really no possible way to work up to them, you just have to be confident.

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