It's 2013 and I'm increasingly thinking about what we pass on in our training.

Thinking back to how I was introduced to Parkour- there were only a few videos online and all learning was a painstaking process of trial and error with one's self. This was many years before the birth of Youtube. Importantly, I never felt discouraged when watching these videos... quite the opposite actually. So where exactly am I going with this you may ask!

Well, I regularly invite friends, acquaintances and friends of friends, who express a genuine interest in Parkour, out to train. Prior to agreeing to the session, the regular response is something along the lines of, "...there is no way I could ever do something like that. I was watching videos of it on Youtube and..." STOP! I see what's happening here! Like it or not, beginners of any age, (and I'm personally talking about mid 20's to early 30's in my most recent experience), are discovering 'Youtube Parkour' first and foremost, without any context. While there is an abundance of excellent Parkour resource out there, but there is also a hell of a lot which can serve to confuse and even discourage the inquisitive beginner. Additionally, while the enormity of quality content out there may serve to inspire those of us who train and continue to progress, I've come to understand that some people, who have only these videos as a reference point, can be completely discouraged as all they see is a finished product, with no understanding of how to get there or the ethos of the discipline.

After a bit of conversation I can usually arrange a meet-up and this ends up as effectively a one to one coaching session bringing them through everything from warm-up to warm down, prefaced with an open conversation about what Parkour actually is- the goals and the practice. We discuss the structure around training and the equally important free play. We talk about personal expression in movement and how everyone moves differently and during this I can see a rapid change in the individual. Given correct context and guidance, these initial feelings of trepidation can be dispelled and a whole world of simple, accessible movement can be opened. Each person leaves having personally achieved something they never thought they could do. In some cases, having completed something that, at the beginning of the session, they thought impossible.

So what are you passing on in your training in 2013? At the moment, I'm really enjoying opportunities to make Parkour accessible to those who know little about it other than the videos they view on Youtube- to those who may miss out on something they wish to try, because they feel they can't....and we know that ain't true :)


Happy New Year to you all- may your jumps grow higher, your precisions longer and your landings lighter!