How to Parkour : Learning to Flow
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.