Headway PArkour Blog
Parkour can be used to overcome obstacles in almost any environment. That is what makes it idiosyncratic; Anyone can do it, regardless of wealth or location. We all may train the same discipline but it is important to know that your location truly affects your style. For example: A Traceur in the woods will naturally develop a different skill set than a Traceur in the city. Today I will be analyzing how a Traceur’s environment shapes his style. I will also divulge a few tips on how to get the most out of your location as well as ways to train skills that may be difficult to practice in certain environments (example: cat grabs in a mossy forest).
The city is a great place for a Traceur to find himself. Cities are brimming with opportunities to train, you can find a spot for nearly any move you want to learn. There are many different materials present in the city, be sure to train on all of them. Cities are populous places, for this reason they are the quintessential place to find teammates; It is probable that you are not the only Traceur in your city so keep an eye out for people to jam with. Unfortunately cities are not all sunshine and rainbows, the major downside of a city is it's lack of forests and other natural training spots. Thus it is recommended that you train in the woods often, the oddly shaped obstacles will force you to engage a different group of muscles, in turn you will become a better overall Traceur.
Keep an eye out for the following training areas:
Parks can be found in most cities. They usually offer a chance for a little bit of nature training as well as some bar work if you can find a decent bar set. Occasionally you will get yelled at for disturbing the people, but the training time will be worth it. Parks often have large open grassy areas that allow you to train your Tricking & Freerunning.
City streets are lined with businesses and high rises that offer great locations to bust out some nice flows! Often times you will be asked to leave due to liability issues so be wary. These structures are almost always concrete so train safe and try not to hurt yourself. Sometimes you can come across a nice ramp in front of a business; Use these to practice vaults, pre’s, and cats.
Climbing can be an exhilarating experience. But be careful not to fall and die, because dying is bad. And I must insist that you do not try dangerous climbs until you are properly experienced as a Traceur. If you fell and hurt yourself because you decided to climb a building after reading this article, I would feel guilty. Let’s assume that you are skilled enough to climb, now you are on top of the building, what now? Keep it simple and don’t take too many risks, flips can be particularly dangerous at height (R.I.P. Pavel Kashin). Climbing a building is more of a test than a training tool, because of this it should not be done too often.
A Traceur in the city will develop a variety of movements and will usually share the style of other Traceurs from the same city. They often have great flow. Many city slickers start with basic Parkour and evolve their style to include Freerunning and Tricking. Their largest weakness is natural movement, this can be overcome by taking regular trips to the woods for training but it is often neglected.
The suburbs are where I reside. though not the greatest place to be for Parkour, they possess some notable benefits that you should take advantage of if you reside in them too. It goes without saying that a suburb is less industrial than a city, meaning that there are more natural training areas scattered about (Huge benefit).
Parks tend to be the highlight of a small town, they are a popular location for Traceurs and civilians alike. The design of the parks vary from city to city; this is why they are wonderful. You may not realize how unique your park is until you stop training and take a look around. My favorite obstacle in the park is the bench, something so simple that has so much potential. Benches can help you to develop technical skills, especially if you have more than one of them.
Although the businesses found in suburban towns are not as impressive as their city counterparts, they still offer a safer version of highrise training. It is much safer atop a one story building in contrast to a thirty story one. Climbing on small structures will prepare you for higher climbs in the future. Warning: Try not to spend too much time on top of small mum and pop businesses, it’s a recipe for trouble., how would you react if someone was jumping on your roof? This isn't to say that you should never climb on them, just stay vigilant for the owner. Some techniques that you can work on near businesses: buildering, rolling, climbs up, wall run, etc . . .
Playgrounds are dandy training grounds. The opportunities for bar work are great, even if it’s simple balance. Just be sure not to get in the way of the kids trying to have fun, that’s just rude. The ground is usually moderately soft and makes a great surface for mastering your roll. Playgrounds are different depending on where you go, some are made of wood, others are made of plastic. Take advantage of the idiosyncrasies present in the next playground you find yourself at.
A Traceur in the suburbs will need to work twice as hard in order to stay on par with some city Traceurs. Perhaps you live in the suburbs, do not be deterred by the statement just made; If you take advantage of all the locations your suburban town has to offer, you will be just fine. Generally, suburban Traceurs excel at the technical aspect of the movements, even though they may fall short in the sheer size of the movement. All Traceurs should strive to create a balance between size and technicality.
Rolling plains, farms, nature; the country. Out in the country is a great place to be for viewing beautiful natural sights, it is not a great place for training Parkour. Parkour is able to be trained anywhere; However, it is difficult to train a discipline which is meant for overcoming obstacles when you find yourself in an area with a lack of obstacles like the country. You must make use of your creativity if you want to excel as a Traceur in the country. Building vault boxes and other home made obstacles may also benefit your training.
Search for these with a passion:
If you are lucky you might be able to find a woodland near you, forest training is nearly as effective as city training. Forests are extremely chaotic and will be a true test of your skill if you decide to run through on an adaptation flow (just run and overcome any obstacle in your way) especially if the forest is damp. Many of the moves you can perform in a forest will have no name, this is because unique obstacles need unique moves to overcome them. Unleash your inner animal and have fun, but be careful not to get lost.
Believe it or not, a flat open plain is a great place to train! They are perfect for Tricking and bodyweight workouts. A plain is one of those aforementioned places that will strain your creativity. Get in touch with your inner child and use your imagination, pretend you are being chased, imagine a gap to jump, etc.
The vast openness of the country is occasionally interrupted by lone buildings, more often than not these buildings are farms. Farms are like gold nuggets out in the country, they offer so much to do in contrast to the rest of the country. It is difficult to go into detail on what to do at a farm due to the fact that every farm is different; I can however list some nice obstacles that you can find at a farm:
*I say this jokingly. Please do not harm animals, vegans like me would get upset.
A Traceur training in the country will have a difficult time in Parkour, he will go one of two ways: big moves or technical movement. It all depends on the individuals motives. They will most likely be lacking flow unless they throw down forest runs regularly. A rural Traceur will have a very strong imagination and will we able to piece together a run almost anywhere. Another fun fact is that rural Traceurs don’t get injured nearly as much as city Traceurs. Though they may not be able to train many movements, the ones they can train, they master.
Although we are influenced by our location, we are not bound by it. This article was based upon the generic Traceur; someone who doesn't strive to create his own person style. You however, are not the generic Traceur; If you want to, you can grow your style in any way regardless of where you are. I wish you the best in your training and hope to jam with you someday.