Knowing how to Parkour involves being fully aware of your body movement such that everything is in sync and your movements are fluid and seamless. This is where the beauty in the art comes from.
An initial trap most beginners to the art fall into is practising and drilling singular moves over and over e.g. vaults, kongs, precisions, cat-leaps etc. While this makes them expert at pulling off that one move when it comes to linking up the moves to form a Parkour run – their flow and movement is jittery or staggered between the moves. This ruins the elegance and beauty.
The secret to obtaining fluidity in the moves and in between the moves is: Foot Placement.
That is, being aware of where to position your feet before, during and after, pulling off each move in order to give you the smoothest movement from one obstacle to another. Training foot placement will increase your confidence in movement when you Parkour. You will be able to move without hesitation or disruption to you speed.
The great thing is it’s simple to train foot placement and it can be done anywhere. Even when you are not specifically out doing Parkour.
1. Adapting to the environment
The first method of training helps to build that creative adaptability in your Parkour skill and its a game often played by kids – walking on the cracks in the pavement. Alternatively skipping over the the puddles after rain has fallen.
This is a great game to play as it develops your ability to think and act quickly and adapt to your changing your environment. Another benefit – you can become expert at avoiding puddles whilst running to find shelter from the rain! If you can find a line of boulders or a rocky beach to practice this on its even better as you can train you balance at the same time.
The idea is to get into a rhythm with your steps when you play this game so that you build a constant and fluid forward movement.
This game can be played any time you are walking or running.
Pick a target minimum 3,5 steps if walking or approximately 10 steps running. The target can be any item on the ground, maybe a crack in the path, a small twig or the curb of a street. Be wary that the chosen target won’t cause you to slip for example a wet leaf.
In this game you want to pick a foot and aim to step on the target with that foot. For increased accuracy you want to be hitting the target with the ball of your foot – which is what you’d need to do for a good take off jump to overcome an obstacle.
The aim is to be able to hit the target accurately without any break or stuttering in your stride.
With this exercise and the previous game for extra points and development you should vary the speed and length of your stride. This will make you better at judging distances and how many steps you need to take to accurately place your foot at all times.
The guys in this video show what’s possible when you master foot placement. Watch for the run on the jungle gym [04:12] and the bollards [08:20]. Insane! There’s a lot of creativity in this video to inspire you.
See below video for a couple more tips on tweaking your flow.
- When you are training Parkour always stick to the rule of 3. Never perform a move by itself. Always do 2 or 3 in a row. This will automatically get you into the habit of putting together moves and being aware of foot placement.
- When approaching a obstacle which you intend to vault or kong – something Sebastien Foucan advised is approaching slowly from a distance and build up speed as you near the obstacle. This gives you adequate time to judge the distance and number of steps required to over come the obstacle and lessens the chance of hesitation. The opposite effect to approaching an obstacle really fast from a distance often causes one to slow down as they near the obstacle while urgently try to figure out how many steps they have left before they need to jump!
Thanks for reading.
When learning how to Parkour it is important to develop your own style as Parkour is an art of self. How you choose to overcome an obstacle in Parkour can be a reflection of how you would overcome other obstacles in your life. If your approach is done in the smoothest, most efficient manner than this is the essence of how to Parkour.
It is all about freedom and self expression. So, how to develop your own style.
1.The basics and Inspiration:
Of course when you first start learning how to parkour it is a good idea to learn the basic moves as show in the Ultimate Parkour Beginners Course and understand how to Parkour from the perspective of the people who originally started the art e.g. David Belle, Sebastian Foucan or the Yamakasi crew. For these elements will give you a good foundation to overcome obstacles in a smooth and efficient manner. It’s natural to gain inspiration in this manner.
2.Creativity and the Self:
It’s also good to note how these moves came about in the first place. They were developed overtime and are continuously being tweaked through practice to improve efficiency. But first the people did, then they analysed after. From this you can see that you also can just do and then after begin to refine how you do.
If you see a wall. Negotiate it in a manner which creatively suits you. See how that feels. See where it wasn’t so fluid and then begin to improve upon it.
3.Mixing the Arts:
If you have seen others in Parkour you will note there is similarities between how they Parkour and perhaps a martial art or a form of dancing e.g. like the recent winner of the World Free Run 09 competition, Livewire, who mixes in his break-dancing background. I personally mixed in my Capoeira training which gave me new insights of how to use my body and flexibility to pass through or under gaps in railings.
Mixing in another art provides you with a fresh mindset for how you can move and use your body to negotiate obstacles.
Sebastien Foucan in Jump London
The First rule of Parkour is LEARN HOW TO PARKOUR ROLL.
The Second rule of Parkour is LEARN HOW TO PARKOUR ROLL.
Actually there are no real rules in how to Parkour as its all about freedom and expression. However the Parkour roll is the number one essential move to learn if you’d enjoy using your legs for the rest of your life.
For those who wonder what the Parkour roll is all about I’d like to point out that concrete is a hard substance and if you wish to navigate the urban landscape you are likely to encounter much of it.
Landing on concrete sends shock waves through the legs creating micro traumas to the knee joint. If landing is not handled correctly – over time these micro traumas will create a failure in your knee activity. Not good for general life usage and of course detrimental to the continuation of your Parkour fun.
Now, the Parkour Roll alone will not wholly prevent damage to the legs. For this you will require good practice in landing techniques to adequately absorb the impact of the concrete shock and also, most crucially, you need to be patient and allow time for your body to adapt and grow to handle your new sport i.e. what is known as conditioning. A deeper explanation on this and powerful exercises to start you off can be found here: http://www.howtoparkour.net/beginnerscourse
What the Parkour roll does offer is to absorb the impact of fast, forward moving jumps and allows you to transfer the energy to smoothly move on from a jump into your next obstacle. It’s all about the flow and continuation of movement.
Now get out there and practice the roll to perfection. Yes perfection! As Sebastian Foucan once told me, the roll needs to be perfect. When you land at high speed you don’t have time to think.
A few tips to get you going:
- Start low and slow. If you value your life and bodily functions I’d strongly advise against doing running jumps off 12ft high walls on your first tries.
- When I first learnt to roll I did it inside on carpeted floor. No great leaping jumps. Just simple hops into the roll. Trust me, even carpeted floor boards will point out weaknesses in your Parkour Roll.
- Once you have smoothed out your jump into roll inside on carpeted flooring i.e. you no longer smash your knee, hip bone or ankle as you come out of the roll – then move outside to concrete and practice low level, no more than the height of a hop and this will refine your roll technique. Concrete is a harsh teacher but you’ll quickly advance.
- Once you have the low level roll down smooth then you can slowly build up the height. Parkour is about self awareness. Slowly building up the difficult allows you time to get to know what your body is capable of and serves to better condition your body over time.
Welcome to How to Parkour,
We will quickly immerse you in the world of Parkour. Covering the best knowledge to get you started.
Discussing everything from techniques on how to Parkour to reviews of Parkour games and Parkour videos and reviews of the best available in Parkour shoes.
How to Parkour, is a great place to find information on suggested training techniques and mindsets to follow when learning how to Parkour. Providing you with a great foundation to practising Parkour in a way that best suits you and allowing you to develop your own style. It’s all about self expression.