Headway PArkour Blog
Headway PArkour Blog
The future is coming, there’s no doubt about that; The real question is: What will happen to our beloved Parkour when it gets here? I am going to expose what I believe to be the most probable future. Of course the future is only speculation and the past is gone forever. We must live in this moment, for it is all we have. Our everyday experiences are what shape the coming times. We must make use of our 86,400 seconds we are blessed with calling our own each and every day. Before you read on I must inform you that the future is not concrete, we still have the power to change it, don’t lose hope!
Lets get right into it and tackle one of the big issues: The Community. The community is growing rapidly, thats a given. What we really want to know is: can we control it? Over time I have started to see segregation in the Parkour community. Of course this separation is unintentional but it is still relevant to our matter of discussion. I am seeing many distinctive cliques forming in Parkour; Such as the “Adrenaline Junkies”, “Efficiency Freaks”, Or the ever notorious “Just Doing It To Be Cool Kids”. It goes without saying that these cliques are not formally accepted or even recognized for that matter. But it is essential that we study the trends in the community in order to best be able to connect the dots and ensure a prosperous Parkour world. I predict that we will all continue to diverge unless we take some drastic action that is suitable for the task of reworking the framework; Particularly how we portray Parkour to the newer generation. I believe that it is futile to try to alter an experienced Traceur’s opinions on what they do. We must instead act on those who are still in the process of developing their thoughts and opinions about Parkour. The younger generation is quite impressionable so it may be wise to start there; Although most of them believe Parkour to be insane men jumping off rooftops. Hopefully we can amend their conception before its too late. Remember: You are part of the community too so take careful note of yourself before you make an attempt to change others.
This day in age we are granted the freedom of training almost anywhere we want. We are actually rather lucky that people are as tolerant as they are, for they are the ones that ultimately dictate where we can and can not train. For this reason it is essential that we unify the Parkour world and fix the problems presented in the aforementioned Paragraph. If we have many different “Cliques” present in the community, one will ultimately dominate and most likely put Parkour in a bad light. The people doing Parkour only for the big jumps would be most probable to convey Parkour negatively. If the public thinks that Parkour is simply big jumps and dangerous stunts they will surely continue to put up the “No Parkour” signs. Even worse they will try to corral us into the restricting Parkour parks. The solution to this problem is to show that Parkour is safe and not dangerous to the environment. Better yet, pick up trash and be as friendly as possible.
Governing bodies are the bane of Parkour. Parkour is meant to be free and joyous! By setting up a formal infrastructure you unthinkingly put a cap on the personal expression and creativity that is eager to be cultivated by each and every new Traceur. It is essential that we keep the power in the people, we mustn't allow large corporations and other third parties to pollute the minds of our community with their rubbish. God forbid a situation similar to “1984” happening in the world of Parkour; One set of rules for everyone, no choice and no personal expression, sounds harrowing doesn't it? Parkour is like a tiger, by boxing it in and trying to control it you only invoke a spasm of negativity that will ultimately have a ruinous effect on all involved parties.
On a more upbeat note: you will be pleased to know that droves of new and exciting moves will be introduced as the discipline progresses! Think about it, a mere decade ago many of the moves we enjoy today were just fantasy. The possibilities are endless, we will never discover all that our bodies are capable of doing. So go out and try something strange, you might just invent a new move that becomes “All That”.
More good news! The probability of turning Parkour into your career has been greatly increased and will continue to increase as times passes. In days past people did Parkour not knowing if it was worthwhile. They knew that someday they would have to stop and “Grow Up” as society often says. But there was a select few that were determined to continue training until fate smiled upon them. This small group of determined souls are the people who have accomplished the feat of turning Parkour into their career. Now that they have done it, we know it’s possible; you know what that means right? It means that you can do it too! There is no reason to give up Parkour for a “Normal Job” (another all inclusive locution used to deter us from pursuing our dreams). Do what you love and don’t let anyone dishearten you from getting all you desire out of life, no matter how outlandish you may sound.
Tim Shieff has already donated his opinion on how he believes videos will evolve. He foretold that videos showcasing Parkour will move from just exposing the viewer to movements (as they do now) to something much more complex. He (and I for that matter) hope that videos will start to tell exciting stories that have Parkour tied into them for extra flair. This will inevitably shoot up the laboriousness required to produce high quality videos. Which is a good thing if you ask me. Not only will it decrease the amount of low quality videos that get famous (e.g. all moves, no story) but it will also make the video creation process much more enjoyable for creative and expressive people. This is not to say that the current videos showcasing exclusively moves and nothing more are chintzy, they are suitable entertainment in their own right. I just know they could be considerably better.
The modern day Parkour superstars that we think so highly of were born whilst Parkour was in its infancy. These paragons of Parkour are generally 1st and 2nd generation. 2nd generation makes up most of the elite, owing to the fact that many 1st generation Traceurs are training on a lower level of intensity due to that fact that they are getting older. Now that Parkour has matured into its adolescence, it has become altogether more difficult to become an idol. Take a look at the chart below, it shows the number of Traceurs from each generation that currently inhabit our Parkour world. As you can see 3rd generation makes up the largest portion of the Parkour community. 3rd generation includes most anyone who was not directly taught by the creators of Parkour. Since 3rd generation is so populous, there is inevitably much more competition than there was in days past. Of course Parkour is not about competition but we must accept that it will be thoroughly more difficult for 3rd generation Traceurs to stand out from the crowd juxtaposed to how it was for 1st and 2nd generation Traceurs in the past.
Please note that the chart above was created using info with no basis for fact aside from Dameon's consciousness.
It seems nowadays that everyone is affiliated with one team or another, and they are all putting forth full effort to gain a presence in the community. In spite of that fact, how many of these teams will ever actually make it big? Not many. Naturally there are those who are okay with this statement, they train simply for the love of the discipline and the love of their team. There are however many Traceurs who want their team to make it to stardom. Their spur for wanting such a thing varies from Traceur to Traceur; Some want money, some want fame, some desire the power to influence the community. Whatever their incentive is, one fact still remains: It is an arduous task reaching fame with a team and it is bound to become exponentially more taxing as time goes on. This is by no means meant to pressure you into giving up on your team, I am simply stating the facts to better your understanding of the venture that you may or may not be undertaking.
If perchance you still aspire for your team to acquire greatness; then I have a tip for you: Aim for excellence. If there is one thing that separates the great teams from the mediocre ones it is that the great ones strive to do everything excellent. From the video editing to the team website, they bring into play unparalleled effort which results in a stunning product. On the other hand, the vast majority of unsuccessful teams perform one or more tasks in a lackadaisical manner which leads to an unpleasant experience for whomever is viewing that team and its product. To sum up: The popular teams we know today will eventually fade and go down in history as legend. Similar to the Bones Brigade in skate culture. They will be replaced by the up and coming teams (our teams). Be aware that there will be brutal competition and only the best will make it to the top and be given the privilege of basking in the sunlight that is provided by prestige.
The way we go about teaching parkour is sure to evolve as time goes on. Parkour contains a multitude of abstract features and concepts that I fear will be neglected and pushed aside in exchange for the more practical elements that are inherently easier to teach. I pray that the teaching of Parkour will not be reduced to a primitive checklist of moves that you cross off as you train with mastery being defined as being able to perform every move one the list. Sure, it would be easier to teach if all it was all contained in a checklist but we would lose the bare essence of what Parkour is, the features of the art that can’t be taught, the ones that must be learned by the individual through experience. Such as the ability to distribute one's weight in order to not disturb the obstacle, or the reflexes to bail safely. These skills are very much like idiosyncrasies, meaning that they cannot be drilled, they can only be fostered to grow naturally in the individual over time.
I propose that we teach Parkour as a lifestyle instead of just a hobby. This is why I believe that teaching Parkour as a class in school would be a recipe for disaster. School classes never go deep enough to develop true master in the student, they only act as a gateway or introduction to the subject being taught. This is okay for subjects such as foreign languages, for the reason that they pose no threat to the student. Parkour however can be quite dangerous if the values and ideologies are not properly understood by the practitioner. In the future It will be up to us to make sure that the teaching of our art to is on par with how we ourselves were taught.
Equipment And Change
Remember Kalenjis? Once the only Parkour shoe on the market they are now a very sparse and somewhat underground shoe. Our beloved Feiyues, KO’s, and OLLO’s are en route for the same fate. Why? Because new innovative versions and brands are going to spring up. You may perceive this as a negative but in actuality it will be a very beneficial change. Change is scary to us because it is the unknown, the uncertain. We as humans don’t like taking risks, which are surely present wherever there is change. But we must understand that the biggest risk of all is not taking risks. Change brings about new hope and opens up the doors to many new possibilities while simultaneously closing off many of the doors we currently know and travel. That is why we are always reluctant to accept it, but change is necessary if we want Parkour to reach it’s full potential. So do me a favor and accept whatever new novel products spring up on the Parkour market with open arms (as long as the products embody the proper values).
Competitions, are they righteous or are they sinful? This is one of the most vexed issues in all of Parkour. Only surpassed by the petty arguments over semantics (you know what I’m talking about: The childish debate over what qualifies as Parkour and what qualifies as Free Running). Anyhow this is not the time nor the place to discuss semantics. You are here to learn of the future, and so I shall provide. I predict that competitions will continue to grow more and more frequent until they are as periodical as football games. Unfortunately it is out of our dominion to stop competitions altogether. We can however juridic how they are conducted. We should follow Ryan Doyle’s example and try to keep competitions very impartial, instead of having athletes compete against each other, let’s have them each compete against the course.
In a similar fashion to how Free Running sprouted out of Traditional Parkour, I foresee that many more exotic styles will be conceived as a result of our discipline. These new styles will involve perplexing techniques such as performing all movements with your hands and feet bound by rope (an obvious hyperbole). The strange alterations of Parkour will surely catch on like wildfire and become somewhat homogeneous to fads such as Ultimate Frisbee. They will be chiefly enjoyed by Traceurs who have become bored with the original Parkour concept.
If we look back on the development of skate culture we will see that it had to go through a number of trials and tribulations before it become the skateboarding we know today. Presently Parkour is somewhere in between it’s creation and it’s final stage. This mean there will be ever rising tensions that will as a matter of course erupt into tumultuous changes. As Traceurs it is our responsibility to make certain that the changes are for the better. The future is ultimately dictated by fate but that doesn't mean that we can’t influence fate to do our bidding. I wish you the best of luck in your quest to change the world. I want you to know that you are one of the greatest human beings on this planet, you just have to realize your potential.