I stand in lit pixels here now as a traceur, and I'm taking a moment to educate you on what makes me such. Anyone can call themselves a traceur, but it takes something special to actually be one. With modern day media picking up on the parkour and free-running scene, it is mandatory to understand the differences and draw out the definitions in order to better define who we are.

"Parkour or l'art du d├ęplacement is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment—from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls—and can be practised in both rural and urban areas. Parkour practitioners are referred to as traceurs, or traceuses for females."

By that definition parkour is simply to get from one place to another in the quickest most efficient way possible, which often means over coming objects and obstacles. The idea is that in a chase you can outrun a pursuer or catch up to someone, or in an instance where you’re late for an event you can get there as quick as possible. However anyone who has actively taken part in the art of parkour knows that it is more than that.

No knowledgeable person can expect to adequately define parkour in a simple arrangement of words; it's like trying to define love: it's a little different for everyone, and can only be experienced. Often a younger person who wants to try be a traceur, expects that they can sit in front of their computer and search “parkour” up on Google or YouTube, and learn to be a traceur by studying how other people get past this obstacle or accomplish that move. But that isn't any way to learn parkour and the person who does that is not a true traceur by any means. Parkour is not just a sport that can be picked up, judged, or watched online, it is a way of living, a lifestyle that has to be lived and experienced to be understood. It's a means to return to what we once were, to reconnect with ourselves and our environments. Parkour is an individual mindset, an opportunity for an individual to better themselves; a big part of parkour is learning about who you are and redefining it in the most positive way possible. When someone is standing alone looking at the eight foot precision in front of them, and the ten foot drop in between, it takes a lot of mental effort on their behalf in order to leap up and out of that comfort zone, and push their limits mentally and physically.

Another problem that arises when one tries to understand parkour through internet videos and media, the problem of distinguishing what is parkour and what is not. The terms ‘parkour’ and ‘free-running’ are used interchangeably so much in the common day, that it has become difficult sometimes to distinguish between the two. While parkour and free-running are both respectable arts and require some of the same mind, neither is the other. Free-running is more based on the execution of style and flair, not flow and efficiency. While free-runners use their environment well and use it artistically, it's quite different from parkour, more of an urban gymnastics. In a real life scenario like a chase where you are running from a pursuer, it isn't efficient to do a back-flip off of a drop, or do a wall spin while running full out while being chased. Free-runners may also have some of the same spirit and mentality that traceurs do, and it is not up to me to say that one is better than the other, but all I intend to do is outline the differences between the two and try and reverse the assimilation that has taken place.

Another thing about the art of parkour is that it's about freedom. Unlike a gymnastics routine, or a 100 metre sprint, there aren't rules and guidelines and set moves, it's always up to you. An argument could be that there are named moves and it is these that are executed over and over again, but what isn’t recognized is that they are intended more to be used as references. It's the unique combinations and variations of these named moves as well as the ones that a traceur invents on their own that makes them who they are in parkour. New traceurs tend to try and learn to do parkour by copying a move over and over and over. While it is essential to practice the important moves such as landings and rolls for safety’s sake, new traceurs should refrain from limiting themselves to copying moves. Parkour is being destroyed as the uniqueness is being taken away; everyone seems to be doing the same things the same ways to accomplish the same goal. To avoid this assimilation it’s essential that new traceurs work on their own in their preliminary stages, to find the most comfortable way for them to vault that rail or scale that wall.

Parkour is a wonderful way of life, always speaking to you if you'll listen, bringing us ever closer back to the roots of our nature. You learn: to respect yourself and your environment. You learn: to find your limits and push them. You learn: who you are. I've searched just as hard as any man for a sense of something I could call freedom, I never thought I'd find it.

Opinionated definitions aside, this blog is about helping you. Questions and problems will arise no matter how or what you are training, and my intent is to answer those questions and solve those problems. This blog is for you. If you have a question about something, leave a comment or request my e-mail address. I will take into consideration all legitimate questions and problems, and answer them from a variety of angles in order to help you pick out a solution that best matches your situation.

Until site traffic builds, I will browse some parkour forums online and find the most common questions, and try to answer them for you. As the site progresses, there will also be a method of organization and search functions in order to help you find what you’re looking for.

The question now arises before any of this begins “What right do you the author have to tell us what is right or wrong?” and I answer quite simply that I have no rights, but nor does anyone else. Only our founder has the right to tell us what is right from wrong, but I am here to help you because I too am a traceur and I have been where you have, done what you have done. I have asked the same questions as you and have been through the experiences that allow me to answer a question properly. In the event that I can not answer a question myself, I will do research until I have your response. This blog is for you, not for me. There wouldn’t be any benefit for me if I told you to try something and it didn’t work, meanwhile if it works, more people will come here and become educated and we can build up a database of parkour questions, answers and facts in order to better the entire parkour community.

Welcome to Parkour Helper.

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