(here is a link to the article with pictures and all)
Randal Setzler sheds light on Parkour and how it relates to CrossFit training and everyday life.
"When in a Parkour run you may find yourself quickly approaching a 6ft. wall, a gap to jump, or a series of railings to get over, around, or under. Making Quick decisions and confidence become crucial. Mastery of Parkour technique prepares the practitioner to handle any and every situation that stands before them in any given environment." Randal Setzler, Parkour practioner and CrossFit Central coach.
"Parkour is quite simply the art of navigating any environment quickly, confidently, and effectively with only the capabilities of your body to aid you. It's easy to see that how well it matches the CrossFit tenets of function, intensity, and variance, but it may seem surprising that it can also be universally scalable and beneficial. The concepts of environmental awareness and adaptation are of infinite usefulness to every person. By enhancing an awareness of your surroundings and building your confidence to overcome the obstacles throughout, you are given the key to a freedom that the untrained individual might never realize. To top it off, it's just plain fun! Both the dedicated traceur and the recreational enthusiast will find innumerable benefits from incorporating Parkour techniques into their training.
Increased confidence, agility, balance, coordination, endurance, stamina, power, speed, and strength are just a few of the more obvious rewards. As these improve, more subtle changes also take place, and before too long the athlete will be viewing his entire environment from a different perspective. Mastery of both the body and the obstacles that might otherwise hinder its movement is a profound state. By moving purposefully through the basics in a safe environment, you gain the ability to approach every situation with the skills and confidence to find the most effective way over, around, and through anything that might stand in your way. It requires nothing more than a good pair of shoes and an awareness of a safe and steady progression, so you will rarely be limited by lack of equipment. Instead, you will be able to apply the state of elite fitness we all strive for to any path of your choosing." (CrossFit journal #43 March 2006)
I have been a practitioner of Parkour for over 3 years and have worked to help form one of the largest groups in the Southern United States (texasparkour.com.) What intrigued me the most was how this discipline encouraged, if not demanded, freedom of expression during its methods of movement yet while giving a understanding to practical application of fundamental CrossFit techniques such as the jump squat, muscle up, and more. I quickly saw a parallel of goals such as the 1st set of CrossFit's fitness standards pertaining to the proficiency in the ten recognized general physical skills. "They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. CrossFit's 2nd fitness standard is the view that fitness is about performing well at any and every task imaginable. Picture a hopper loaded with an infinite number of physical challenges where no selective mechanism is operative, and being asked to perform feats randomly drawn from the hopper." (CrossFit journal October 2002)
Parkour is a perfect example of the hopper situation. When in a Parkour run you may find yourself quickly approaching a 6tf. wall, a gap to jump, or a series of railings to get over, around, or under. Making Quick decisions and confidence become crucial. Mastery of Parkour technique prepares the practitioner to handle any and every situation that stands before them in any given environment. CrossFit proficiency provides a level of quality and consistency inside that performance.
Seen not only as a sport but as an art and a discipline, Parkour finely tunes a person’s skills in their perspective environment. It is through Parkour that possibilities once hidden become seen and everyday obstacles become easily climbable. Watch Randal's Parkour Video
Interview with Nicole Holstrom:
There are a few major criticisms and misconceptions of Parkour: One misconception is that Parkour is a group of kids jumping off some buildings and being reckless, what is take on this public opinion?
This is a case where the internet is both a blessing and a curse. Through the internet Parkour was quickly introduced to the world. Practitioners from around the world are able to upload their latest Parkour video and show their abilities. By that same token. Untrained reckless people also upload videos of people performing very reckless and dangerous acts, like jumping wide gaps between buildings. A true practitioner will discredit and dismiss this . That is not Parkour.
How does this apply to the average person? Say for example, a middle aged - moderatley fit women?
Parkour is applicable to everyone's life. Parkour can help a middle aged woman get out of a bad situation. Let's say she's in a dark parking lot late at night, someone approaches her, and she immediately has the fight or flight reaction throughout her body. Parkour is going to be the flight side of this situation. It will help her quickly and efficiently get out of this situation. If there are obstacles in her path, she will be able to move over them, through them, and around them in the quickest manner possible.
What about injuries? Does this discipline have a higher injury rate than other?
In my Parkour experience I haven't had any serious injuries. Parkour is scalable, which makes it applicable to everyone. We really stress that everyone operates within their own skill level.
Randal Setzler is a CrossFit Central coach and personal trainer. He has helped host and been one of the head coaches at several Parkour and free running workshops in central Texas. For more information contact Randal Setzler firstname.lastname@example.org
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