Headway PArkour Blog
We all want to know what makes a great Traceur. I am not talking about physical ability, I am talking about traits. What mental characteristics allow them to excel at what they do? I have done some research and I am happy to share the results with you, enjoy.
A good Traceur is hungry; Hungry for progress. Always improving, never settling. They don’t need to be prodded to train, they are self disciplined and train for themselves, no one else. Rain or shine, they will train in order to elevate their skills to the next level.
A positive outlook is a very important trait for a Traceur to have. Unfortunately, mental attitude is often shrugged off as “not important”. But in reality, the mental aspect of Parkour often outweighs the physical side of it, ergo it is a requisite that you have a positive mindset if you plan to take the leap from good Traceur to great Traceur.
All great Traceurs are respectful (aside from Storror) and have a large capacity for empathy. They listen when people talk and are genuinely interested in what others have to say. This is an invaluable characteristic that makes them very likable. It also decreases their chances of being asked to leave by the owner of a business they are training near.
Prominent Traceurs have a bona fide interest in the Parkour community and how it is coming along. They wish to pioneer the Parkour world and lead it to glory. They wish to dispel evil corporations who are only interested in money, not the art. Take it upon yourself to be one of a Traceurs who adds to the Parkour community, not one who negates from it. We are the ones who have the power to mold the future.
It is not enough just to care about the future of the Parkour world, we must also take action. A great Traceur is willing to do whatever it takes to spread the good word about Parkour. He is willing to set up jams, teach classes, and even negotiate with city council in order to give the public a better understanding of what we do.
Be helpful! You can’t succeed without a little bit of help and all the greats know that, hopefully you do to. We should all help each other out whenever possible; even if you aren't striving to be one of the greats, assist those who are. the love you send out is always reciprocated.
Our minds are similar to cups. If the cup is full to the brim it can not accept any more . We reach a point in our lives where we become sedentary in our thinking. We fill our brains to the brim with certain ideas that we favor, and we reject everything else. This is not a healthy way to think. Be sure to empty your cup and live with and empty mind, accepting of new knowledge and unbiased. This is a great trait for a Traceur to have, it allows the Traceur to learn from everyone. Even if they have different styles.
Humility is the hallmark of a divine Traceur. The ability to accept failure graciously, training without showboating, learning from those less experienced. These are all signs of a humble Traceur. All too often I see young Traceurs showing off and acting as if they are royalty, this usually results in failure and injury. A large dose of humility would benefit these cocky Traceurs. The best of the best have humility; You should yearn to develop this useful trait, it will benefit you personally as well as professional.
Responsibility is about more than just doing what you're told. It’s making smart decisions, knowing when to jump and knowing when to swallow your ego and back down. It’s also about accepting the blame for something you may have broken while training. Every time you refuse to fess up for something you did, you chip away at your integrity. Perhaps the most important thing to take responsibility for is your body. Don’t cause it unnecessary harm, love it and keep it in pristine condition.
This is a physical trait that is admired by the Parkour community. Flow is the ability to connect different Parkour movements smoothly and efficiently to create a “Run”. This trait is only developed through years of hard practice. Someone who has mastered flow can keep up a Run for many hours.
Being able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances will help you out in a variety of situations, such as when you are bailing mid movement and your brain is struggling to comprehend what went wrong. Being able to adapt can also be defined as working with the cards you have been given, regardless of how bleak they may seem. For example: your shoes wear through and are no longer safe to train in; A normal Traceur will say: “Bummer, guess I’ll have to stop training until I can get a new pair.” On the other hand, a Traceur who can adapt will say: “This is a great opportunity for some barefoot training!” Adapt and overcome.
A true Traceur does not rely on his gear to improve his skill, he relies on himself and his technique. For this reason it is a good investment to get shoes with less than ideal grip, they will force you to improve your technique. Then when you eventually go back to normal grip shoes you will be able to perform at a much higher level.
Although it is important to rest when injured, you must also know when to continue your training. Don’t let a little bashed shin from a failed precision deter you from trekking onward. There is also a level of responsibility present when we talk about deciding whether to continue or head back. You must assess the injury for yourself, your body is your best doctor; Listen to it. If your injury does turn out to be bad, you don’t necessarily need to stop training all together. Use the trait mentioned before and adapt. Here is a story about how I adapted:
It was earlier this year and my training was going well, I was making progress and having fun. They disaster struck! I bailed on a kong and messed up my leg pretty bad. Obviously I couldn't keep training anything that put excess force on my leg. So I adapted and focused on bar work while my leg healed. You see, I adapted to my circumstances.
Many of the traits mentioned above go hand and hand. Resilience is closely related to determination; You have to have a fair bit of determination to continue training even when injured. You also have to have determination when learning a new move. If you fail, try again. If you fail once more, try once more. If you fail for a third time, assess why you failed and make serious adjustments to your technique. You're not a failure until you quit!
To sum it all up: The quintessential Traceur possesses traits that allow him to continue his training for most of his lifetime. He is smart, savvy, and has a love for the art that is rivaled by a dog’s love for its owner. He is as stubborn as a mule and will never run from his fears. Most of all, he is humble. This is by no means a complete list of ideal traits, it is simply what I believe to be the essentials. I hope this has helped you in one way or another and I wish you a great life!
 Credit to Robin Sharma for metaphor.