People Still Don’t Understand Parkour
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Something that really got on my nerves as a teenager was being kicked out of various places that were awesome for skateboarding.  As I got older, I came to understand that grinding on the railings and crash-landing into flower-beds caused a small amount of damage, and worried the older folks. I still think it’s silly that we were on several occasions forcefully evicted from various spots just for playing around, but I’ve come to terms with the fact that old people just don’t get it.

Fast forward to last weekend when a few of my friends and I were practising parkour this weekend. We had been training for half an hour or so, practising precision jumps and short, flow-driven traces in the courtyard outside the library when the staff inside decided that we were having too much fun. A security guard wandered over and politely asked us to leave. Of course I tried to clarify that this is tax-payer property and as such, I have just as much right to be there exercising as anyone else, but he simply threatened to call the police, so we left.

Image courtesy of johnpoon.org

Image courtesy of johnpoon.org

We migrated across the street to the empty grounds of the high-school, and proceeded to train in front of the school until the police drove by and gave us crap from the warmth of their car over the loud speaker. Frustrated, we proceeded to the back of the school from there and trained out of sight for awhile before moving down Main St to an elementary school to finish the day with some upper-body bar training.

I guess the problem I have with people getting up in arms over a few people doing a little parkour is that unlike skateboarding, parkour does NO damage to the obstacles we are training on. We train hard so that we don’t get hurt, and when people freak out about us training in a specific spot, it’s a lot like someone going to a football or hockey game and instead of cheering the teams on, shouting things like “don’t do that, you might get hurt!” or “are you fucking stupid?” at all the players. If someone did that, they’d be thrown out of the venue, wouldn’t they?

For the non-athletes, who don’t understand why I want to jump from railing to railing, or jump from a perfectly good balcony, this probably sounds a little crazy. I understand that you don’t understand, and I don’t really care if you can’t wrap your head around it. I just want you to do this one little thing for me and my parkour brethren, stop telling us to be careful.

Stop pretending that you have our best interests at heart. Stop pretending that asking us to move is so that we don’t hurt ourselves. If you want to watch, feel free, but shut up and just watch. I’m not interested in your opinion of how dangerous what I am doing is, and you can’t stop me from walking, running, jumping and balancing on things. How I choose to exercise has nothing to do with you. Stop trying to pretend that it does.

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