The Danger of "Winging it"
One of the questions I get all the time is, “why are you opening up a parkour SCHOOL and not just a GYM?”
The answer is simple - I love to teach. As do all the instructors who train with me.
But more than that, we are trying to heal the bad reputation that parkour has gotten since its inception - that it’s a dangerous sport, belonging exclusively to the young and the foolishly bold.
Parkour is not an extreme sport. Without question, the skills one learns can be taken to incredible heights. But if a person is able to dive into a swimming pool but is unwilling to dive off of a cliff into the ocean, that doesn’t mean that person isn't a diver.
Parkour training is dynamic and impressive on any level, so it is often thought of as a daredevil activity, meant only for acrobats and stuntpeople.
The reason for this misconception? The internet is a liar.
That’s right, I said it.
The internet only shows you the iceberg above the surface of the water. It gives you terribly inaccurate or irresponsible definitions. It shows you painfully simple photos and videos of the more eye-catching aspects of the thing you’re researching.
It is only by putting your head underwater that you see how much more that iceberg really contains - the truth, that lies beneath.
ABOVE THE SURFACE OF THE ICEBERG
The public appearance of parkour, poorly depicted by the internet does two things:
1. It invites the eager, the dynamic, the foolhardy. None of this is bad, in essence, but it leads to one of the most important reasons that Fusion is a school of parkour, and not a gym, (explained below.)
2. It turns away so many students who never realize that parkour is for anyone, painting the sport as intimidating, difficult, and reckless.
BENEATH THE SURFACE OF THE ICEBERG
From the daredevils, I hear and see the worst training habits, born from being self-taught.
Here are some of the statements one hears from the “just wing it” traceur:
“Lemme try something...”
“I’m gonna give it a shot and see what happens...”
“If I just go hard, I should be all right...”
“I wonder if…”
All of these questions led to a trial-and-error training process. Without a proper teacher, it’s hard to go about your training any other way, but it unfortunately brings with it a much higher fail rate, and the likelihood of both short and long-term injury.
Here are those same statements, addressed by a proper teacher:
STUDENT: “Lemme try something...”
FUSION: “Hold on. Even though you’re strong enough and have the technique, you haven’t considered the stability of this particular obstacle. Let’s check this first and adjust your approach accordingly.”
STUDENT: “I’m gonna give it a shot and see what happens...”
FUSION: “You might make it, but at a cost. Because this appears like an easy obstacle for your skillset, you are focusing on the takeoff and not the physics of the landing. If you connect with the surface the way you’re aiming, you’re going to be off-balance and put too much pressure on one ankle when you land. Even if it doesn’t hurt, you’re doing minor damage to the joint that will compound itself over time.”
STUDENT: “If I just go hard, I should be all right...”
FUSION: “In order to do so, you’re going to have to build up a lot of momentum.”
STUDENT: “Right, so?”
FUSION: “So where is that energy going to go, once you reach the target?”
FUSION: “Exactly. Let’s concentrate on controlling your technique instead of adding force to the impact. Once your technique is solid, we can increase the distance or complexity of the jump.”
STUDENT: “I wonder if...”
FUSION: “Famous last words. Let’s discuss what you’re envisioning before you move. We need to make sure you’ve considered every angle and possible fallout.”
This is why we’re opening up a school and not a gym. Opening a gym would be easier, but I don’t think it’s very responsible. Parkour is a complex and beautiful area of study. It’s 1 part sport, 1 part fitness, and 1 part blend of dance and martial arts.
We can’t wait to open up our doors so that we can teach classes wherein students can develop real skills and learn valuable life lessons about themselves and how they see the world around them.
Those are the things you can’t get from a big, empty playground.
Our patience is tested every day, but the day is coming - the day we are finally ready to open our doors and invite in our new students.
And we assure you, it will be well worth the wait!
Like this article? Here are a few of our other greatest hits!
- why i refuse to diet and work out - parts 1 - 3
- united by fear
- 25 years' worth of 1st days
- is parkour for kids?
- the women of parkour are not "sorry"
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Nathan Fleming - Head Instructor at Fusion Parkour