Be Free & Find Your Way
Central to parkour are among other the motto ‘Etre et Durer’ (To be and to last) and improving functionality in all areas of life. Because of the non-competitive nature, there are no external risks, such as colliding with another practitioner. Without a competition, there is no pressure to perform either, allowing you to improve at your own pace. There is no good reason to do something without knowing you can do it safely. Therefore, jumps etc. are the result of hundredth of hours of training and preparation. To be in control of every aspect (thoughts, actions, situation, risks, dangers, etc.) means that each injury is a sign of one’s own failure, failure of evaluating the situation properly.
As a result, parkour is a lot less dangerous than most other physical activities and - unlike many other activities - the accident rate decreases significantly as practitioners progress. Of cause minor injures such as cuts and bruises are fairly common. In case of over-training or sudden increase in exercise, injures such as shin splints can occur. To avoid this, enough (active) rest and gradual build up are essential. The strength training, conditioning, increased body awareness, and experience in fall breaking have the benefit of avoiding accidents in everyday life. In the event of an accident, this will prevent injuries.
Key to avoiding short and long term injuries is preparation. For one, you have to prepare your body physically. Your body has to be strong enough to do what you ask from it safely such as pull ups, drops, cat leaps, and so forth. A increased range of motion avoids injures caused by accidental stretching and warm ups make the muscles supple. Therefore, strength training, conditioning, and flexibility have to be a big part of training and each session starts with a proper warm-up.
Next to physical preparation, techniques have to be trained. It should be needles to say that for example a precision has to be perfect every time before taken to any height. The same applies for transitions and combinations of moves.
Furthermore, preparation means making a plan B and having the skill to execute it. If for instance a precision does not go as planed, you want to be able to do a crane landing and a cat leap reliable. In case of a fall, you want to be strong enough to absorb the impact and know fall breaking techniques such as the parkour roll, push ups, and so forth.
Another aspect of preparation is evaluating the situation and learning to do so. Ideally, you want to check the surface, sturdiness etc. of the obstacle beforehand. This allows evaluating the risks and adjusting the move accordingly. If you are not able to check the obstacle beforehand, you want to be able to make a good estimate. Is is equally important to know what you are capable of at that moment. This may differ between days and even during a day. In order to do so, you have to learn to listen to your body, get to know your limits, and develop a strong and focused mind.
Before making a move, make sure to assess the risk and ask yourself questions such as is it worth the risk and why do you want to do it. Furthermore, it is important to always pay attention. Even if you have done a move thousands of times on the same obstacle, you have to remain focused. Next to that, you have to focus, commit fully, and go for it. There is no room for doubt. Always remember that you should never force your body to do something you can't do. Each goal can be broken down into smaller steps, weather it is a technique, strength, or anything else. Parkour is not about achievement, it is about progression. Progression should always be gradually and at once own speed. Too fast and injuries will occur. This means taking enough rest to recover from training, too. Active recovery workouts are ideal for this. Last but not least, you should reduce drop heights as much as possible and spread it about as much horizontal distance as possible.