Why Is Parkour Named Parkour?
Why is Parkour called Parkour? I have no idea. In a previous article, I briefly explained Parkour as the movements that you do while walking without taking a single step and yet maintaining the same balance. However, there are a number of movements that are Parkour-like but not necessarily performed with the same movements, such as: gliding, skipping, climbing and bounding. All these movements are performed in the same spirit of Parkour, however they are executed differently from one another.
Glide or slip is the movement done by glides, skips and jumps. The idea behind these movements is to maintain the same balance and then change direction by moving fast so that the movement can be repeated. For example, to jump, you would take your whole body, put it on your knee and with your arms held over your head, bounce up.
Skipping is also a common Parkour movement, where you move at a constant speed and then shift your weight onto the back of the legs as you pass by. When you are doing this, your centre of gravity remains the same, hence your balance stays intact. Your feet should be spread apart and this will create a sort of ‘balance beam’. As you continue with the skip, your momentum will shift to your toes and you will use them to shift your weight onto your shin. You will use your arms and legs to keep balance at all times.
Jumping is an explosive type of Parkour that is performed while in a horizontal position. You lift your entire body off the ground as if you are about to jump. In this movement, your center of gravity shifts from the legs towards the arms so that you are now in the position where you are about to punch or chop the other foot. The concept is to shift the weight as much as possible into the thigh area as you are trying to punch or chop the foot. Your balance is not maintained throughout the movement and is mostly dependent on your strength.
While balance is very important in jumping and skipping, power is even more essential. You do not want to be weighed down by your gear, legs and arms and be too slow when you land. Power is acquired through efficient training and the combination of these two movements is what makes up Parkour. There is nothing better than being able to perform two movements together and have complete control of the direction of the jump.
Another common movement that is very similar to jumping is skipping. Skating moves at a constant speed regardless of how the skater lands after the jump. The skater’s center of gravity remains exactly as it was when the skater began the movement, so there is no need to shift it during the jump.
The advantage of this type of movement is the ease with which the skater can transition between landings. The legs are not fatigued when jumping or landing and the skater does not find themselves using extra muscle groups to propel them over their head and onto the ground. They have control over every part of the jump and all that is left is to land smoothly and naturally. This is why Parkour has become known as one of the most graceful sports in the world. The jumps may be difficult but the skater has mastered them and skaters of all levels can use them to create an incredible quality in their skating.
With all that being said, jumping is only one part of the whole Parkour equation. Balance is the other and in turn, Parkour is named as such. If you want to jump higher, land without feeling too much stress and control the direction of your jump, then Parkour might be the ideal sport for you. If you are the kind who likes to land gracefully and with little effort, then Parkour is definitely not for you.