Headway PArkour Blog
Each Traceur is an individual, there is no exception to this inherent Parkour rule; But why? Many of us would like to believe that we as Traceurs have the ability to shape our style through sheer Parkour training, this is partly true but for the most part our past experiences are what result in our current style. This information may be discouraging to some of you who have a less than Ideal past, I for example come from a gaming background; Very few skills acquired through gaming can be used as a Traceur; But it is important for you to remember that the same is true moving forwards: the activities you choose today will determine your style tomorrow.
Today we will be examining a few aspects of Parkour that are often altered by past experience. Please note that the following is not a complete list, any experience can be drawn on to manipulate your style, these are just the ones that stood out as significant to me.
Flow can be defined as the way a Traceur connects his moves. The style of said connection will vary from Traceur to Traceur; Sometimes the connection is smooth and beautiful due to past training in aesthetic based activities such as dancing or figure skating. Other times the movement connections are violent and exaggerated, a style like this can stem from a vast array of activities such as Breakdancing or Krump. On rare occasions we see a flow that is powerful as well as smooth, this feat is achieved through a background in other movement disciplines like Capoeira or Martial arts. Of course each of these past experiences can also be broken down into styles. For example: Not all B-boys have an aggressive style, some are actually smooth and beautiful.
I mentioned earlier that a gaming background is nearly useless for a Traceur. This is true most of the time but if we look closely into the skills gained from gaming we can spot a few outliers to this rule. Through gaming I have gained the ability to see things in a creative and fun way, the virtual world is limitless and so is the human imagination. This is why gamers have an advantage when it comes to mapping out flows. Another serious boost to creativity is an artist’s eye developed through hobbies like painting and drawing. Finally we have those who have practiced climbing sports. People like this will excel at Parkour as they have the ability to see the environment in a new and exciting way. The same goes for Architects but that’s a career, not a pastime.
Not all Traceurs are created equal. There are many x factors that are accounted for when calculating your progression speed as a Traceur. One of these factors happens to be your physical condition when starting Parkour. If you begin Parkour with a healthy body you will progress at a much faster rate than an unhealthy person due to the fact that you are able to spend most of your time learning the movements themselves in contrast to wasting countless hours building the strength needed to even attempt them. Another important factor in your progression speed is your style of training. If you are disciplined and train long hours on a regimented schedule you may very well progress faster than a lackadaisical Traceur who only trains when the mood strikes him. The lackadaisical Traceur will obviously have more fun but you will reach world class level much quicker. How you were treated as a Child will also affect how you train. If you are stubborn as a result of your childhood you will pick up moves quickly because of your “Never Give Up” attitude. You will also get injured at a much quicker rate due to the persistent attempts (and failures) at new moves. It’s always a struggle balancing conditioning with training new techniques. Even if you’re in good shape you must find time to workout simply to increase the size of your moves.
The final concept I would like to delve into is the unique move lists given to those with specific backgrounds. what do I mean? Well if you look at a Traceur who was once a B-boy you will see his breakdancing moves intertwined with his Parkour moves, this is always a joy to watch as it adds great variety to the Flow. Another example of a movement based discipline that provides skills which mesh with Parkour is gymnastics. Many of the greatest Traceurs were once gymnasts; As children they trained in the gym and gained total body control, this is why they are comfortable doing the things they do. Anyone with a martial arts background will use their awe inspiring kicks and twist to add panache atop their flow, this is apparent in tricking and other flair based disciplines.
Well there you have it. My cohesive guide on how your background affects your style today. At first I was contemplating another list type blog post similar to the one about Traceur careers but I figured this format would help you much more thanks to the the fact that it has given me a chance to elaborate on each aspect of Parkour. There is much more that has been cut out of this blog post in order to keep it short and concise. Besides, It would take an entire book to describe some of the topics involved with background and success. Lucky for you I know just the book! “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell is a great resource for anyone interested in attaining success. But that's a topic for another day. Anyways, be careful not to get trapped in your style; Just because you are known for your clean and quick movement doesn't mean you can't get into power moves. You have the power to craft your own personal style. Think of your personal style as an art piece that is ever changing and growing with no limitation or boundary. Aim high and strive for that ever elusive perfection. I’ll leave you with a quote that suites this occasion well:
“Good artists copy; great artists steal.”