Headway PArkour Blog
Headway PArkour Blog
A while back I wrote a post contemplating the creation of a parkour country, this country would consist of like minded traceurs from all around the world meeting up to live in a blissful utopia, unfortunately this type of reality is not probable. Instead we must cope with cynical townspeople who are constantly calling the police and belittling our wonderful roof missions. I recently was tasked with writing an informational essay on any subject in the world that interests me, obviously I picked the one nearest to me: Parkour. The topic of the essay is rooftop training and it’s justification. This essay was meant to be unbiased so I try not to choose sides, although if given the choice I would definitely support the legalization of rooftop training! Anyhow, here it is:
Traceurs are known for their unconventional and slightly radical ways, they enjoy living on the edge and pushing the limit on what’s acceptable. This is why you will often find Traceurs in places they are not supposed to be, like on the rooftop of a skyscraper. They are up there to test their craft; They are yearning to affirm their skills, if they can perform at a height, they can perform anywhere. Unfortunately many people do not agree with this attitude and often get very upset when they find young men clamoring around on their rooftop. Today I would like to present you with the facts of the matter and allow you to come up with your own opinion.
The vast majority of people who support rooftop training are FreeRunners themselves. They claim that there is a cult of sorts forming; Roof Culture. “It all stemmed from the growing subculture that we like to think we've been at the forefront of over the last few years - that of exploring and climbing gritty, urban, environments often at night and scouting for beefy roof gaps to do during the day.” (Storror, 1). As you can see, they are climbing in order to fuel their discipline, not to cause harm. This may be why the young Traceurs are undeterred by attempts to stop their rooftop training, they don’t see what they’re doing wrong.
Lucky for us most Freerunners are kindhearted people who have no intention of causing trouble. However, as a result of their roof climbing antics, they are sometimes mistaken for troublemakers. This is clear to see in the case of Max Cave and Luke Harty who were shot by 49 year old Eric Kingston whilst climbing the Ryman stationers in Horsham. Eric claims that he was "genuinely fearful the group of men in leisurewear would overpower me.” (The Telegraph, 2). Max and luke were resting after a long climb when they were ambushed and attacked. This goes to show how the best of intentions sometimes fails to shine through when placed in light of negative circumstances.
On the other side of the argument we have the Parkour community who has offered up a message to us all: “If you are looking into Parkour for a quick adrenaline fix, you might as well look else where. Traceurs are generally serine during training and have a cat like calmness emanating from them in order to complete every jump with grace and precision.” (Dameon, 2). This calmness is especially heightened when training on buildings, they need to stay calm and focused if they are to avoid injury. Traceurs often bring up this point when arguing for the legalization of Parkour. They claim that they are too busy training to concern themselves with petty crimes like robbery.
Some people disregard the last point and get into Parkour simply for the adrenaline rush; This is a dreadful decision that can lead to catastrophic results. Take the infamous 26 year old “FreeRunning Girl” for example who attempted a very large gap jump during her first lesson, she failed to make the jump and fell 17 stories to her death. “Authorities have raised concerns about the risk in jumping across high buildings and argue that practitioners are needlessly risking damage to both themselves and rooftops.” (Daily Mail, 1)
It is understandable why the public may be opposed to roof missions continuing especially since they often take place at night time, when most people are trying to sleep. As time goes on, signs that prohibit Parkour area are popping up nearly everywhere,. even on ground level! Lucky for Traceurs the rules which are set down by these signs are not strictly enforced but that may change with time.
Another point that is often brought up against FreeRunners is the damages caused by them; Their shoes not only leave scuff marks on everything but they occasionally bail quite badly and damage the environment in the process. Hence Forth many cities have begun to paint buildings with “Climb Proof Paint”. This does little to stop the young athletes who always seem to find a way. In the future regulations may be more strict but for now Traceurs can bypass the system pretty easily.
Police officers are not an uncommon sight to Traceurs. The reason for this is the vast number of people who call the authorities as soon as they spot a Traceur training in places they shouldn’t be. It’s almost like a paradigm in society that is limiting the views of people all over the world. This current view is ultimately closing their minds to the possibility that Traceurs may simply be up there to progress their art in contrast to committing the vile acts of treachery which they are often accused of.
People often bring up the dangers of freerunning when arguing against it. This is easily seen with the case of Pavel Kashin, a young Russian Freerunner who fell to his death whilst training Parkour.. He fell 16 stories after losing his balance while attempting a backflip atop a building. It is because of incidents like this that people urge Freerunning to be more strictly monitored by authorities, especially on rooftops. The Freerunning community urge us to remember that: “Pavel was an amazing Freerunner and, as this tragedy shows, mistakes happen to the very best of us.”(Farang, 2).
Now that you have all the facts it’s up to you to decide your opinion, should freerunners be allowed to train on rooftops? After all Freerunning is based around freedom, and how can you be free when restrictions are put into place? This is undoubtedly a muddy topic that is very difficult to form an opinion about. As the old saying goes “It takes one to know one” It is for this reason precisely why there is such a big divergence in opinion between these two parties. Never underestimate the power of small acts over time. Simple actions can cause a shift in the mindset of the masses, this is what is happening in the Parkour community as we speak. Every time a Traceur defends his right to explore his environment he is influencing the conscious unconsciousness which dictates how society reacts to things like rooftop missions. A fact of life is that all truth goes through three stages. Step one involves ridicule. Step two entails violent oppositions. And finally step three is summed up by acceptance as self evident. Parkour is an overall great thing that makes the lives of many youth much better than it would otherwise be, there is no viable reason why we should stop these young men and women from expressing themselves in the only way they know how. Many Traceurs would be out on the streets causing real trouble if it wasn’t for Parkour.
Farang, PK. "Pavel Kashin Falls To Death." www.Farang-Mag.com. Redbull, 7 July 2013. Web.
The Telegraph, Agencies. "Builder Shot Free Runners on Rooftop." The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 7 Nov. 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
Storror. "Roof Culture." Storror. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.
Headway Parkour, Dameon I. "Introduction Into The World Of Parkour." Headway Parkour. Ollo, 9 Feb. 2014. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.
Reilly, Jill. "Russian 'parkour' Girl, 24, Falls 17 Storeys to Her Death after Building Jump Goes Horribly Wrong." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 04 June 2012. Web. 14 Mar. 2014.