There are a lot of youtube videos out there that show all the amazing tricks and jumps, but you don’t just dive straight into the big stuff on your first day do you? Of course not; but with a small set of ideas in the back of your mind, you can come into Parkour with safe progression and get moving quicker and more effectively.
Softness is crucial from the outset
The first time I remember training with the legendary Yamakasi in London, my first impressions were those of incredulity. I had seen videos of these guys doing some incredibly precise jumps, but the one thing they did not convey was the incredibly soft landings they were performing. Guys up to 100 kg were landing as softly as cats in front of me, it took a while for it all to sink in but I instinctively knew this way would protect my body for the long parkour journey ahead.
When first landing for softness, aim for small landings from a ledge no higher than your knee. Stretching the body out then almost fully compressing during your landing keeps the impact forces lower and reduces impacts to the joints. Try as a mind game to imagine you are landing on a big plate of glass. Even when climbing upon and descending from obstacles, always aim to keep your movement soft and easy.
Both sides of the coin
With a discipline that focuses on quality of movement it’s essential that you work heavily on getting techniques on both sides of your body. This includes taking off and landing on your non favoured side, it will feel quite strange to begin with but you will being to think of it less as Left and Right. The good news is that if you train your bad side with a stronger bias, your good side automatically becomes better also! How cool is that?
Repetition Works. Repetition Works. Repetition Works.
There is a good ol’ saying in Parkour – ‘Once is never’. The difference between someone that does Parkour and someone who doesn’t is that you both could do the same jump; but the Parkour practitioner will do that same jump hundreds of times, to ‘dial in’ the body’s range and expectations of what happens with bigger jumps. It is through this process that Parkour lets you know your effective range and how to mitigate your energy levels.
-The World Is Your Playground