‘Try it, you will love it!’

‘Don’t worry, anyone can do it’

‘It will improve your other sports!’

‘It doesn’t matter if you haven’t done anything like it before’

I’m sure many of us have said these sorts of phrases countless numbers of times in our valiant quests to enlighten people’s lives with Parkour. There’s no doubt that there’s something in it for everyone wether it be an improvement in fitness, a nice weekly session with some new friends, or an attempt to find some new ideas for their existing training. But I’d like to ask you this.

How often do you give something new a go? We all talk about Parkour as being a very thorough discipline in terms of how it works the body and mind but there’s also a million other sports and disciplines that would say the same – while we encourage people to try Parkour, how often do we let ourselves be encouraged to take a class, or try something new? There’s some very obvious cross-overs like acrobatics/gymnastics and climbing but I’d like to think that we can ‘see the Parkour’ in every discipline.

I’ve worked with a few dance companies over the last year or so and been introduced to Ballet, and Contemporary dance. I’m not your average shaped ballerina and my tutu doesn’t fit well, but I took a couple of classes and it was really, really hard. The balance, stability and mobility which I worked on in Ballet class have really made me think about my posture in flight and have definitely bled over into my Parkour. Then there’s contemporary dance. The fluidity and explosiveness of some of the dancers I’ve met, particularly ones who practice Release, is amazing. They have some crazy crazy ways of getting to the floor and moving around on a low plane, which I’ve taken into my training and have really helped me to be creative when moving in tight spaces.

I’ve also done a little bit of physical theatre over the last couple of years and exploring the physical relationships between two people definitely has crossover into the way that we explore an obstacle or a space. As traceurs we have an ever-evolving physical relationship with the spaces and obstacles we encounter and we spend a lot of time exploring that in depth(wether we realise it or not!). This is something that’s at the heart of physical theatre and performance, just in a slightly different way.

In October I ran a marathon. Now I’m definitely not a runner and I think a large number of traceurs would agree that running is not their strong point. I threw myself into to training for this marathon, running about 30 miles a week at the height of it and ran the Loch Ness marathon which can most definitely be described as hilly.(I think the term on the official documentation was  ‘ungulating’.) Now I hear a lot of traceurs saying ‘Oh I wouldn’t do a marathon, its just running, it would be boring’ etc. but why not give it a go? I can assure you, it will be one of the most physically and mentally demanding things you will ever do and its not boring, it’s a battle! I cannot describe how much strain was put on my body during that run, or how emotionally draining it was. It made me realise that every time I’m working on something hard with Parkour, there’s always a bit of juice left in the tank, and you can always push further. I mean I ran up and down hills for 5 HOURS!

I guess what I’m trying to show you with these examples is that we have a wonderful discipline because we can feed into it from anything else and I think it’s important that as traceurs we do keep expanding and exploring. So maybe put those Kalenjis to the side for a day, and go take a class!