It was another day of class. As the students practiced their vaults across rails, a mother and her child walked past. “What are they doing, mum?”, the child asked. “They are putting themselves in danger and it is something I will never want you to do”, the mother replied.
As I watched them go, a bit of me winced within with disbelief and painful acceptance. What has happened to the natural love of movement in humans, and what will happen to the future generations amidst the ever rising dominance of technology and convenience in our daily lives?
We recently had a ‘Parkour for Everyone’ workshop at Bishan. I remember very vividly when Fagan was briefing the group of 20 at the beginning of the workshop, a young child of a family of 5 participants ran up to a tall pillar and started to climb it till a high height with a 2-metre drop on his side. Of course, Fagan called him back due to safety concerns. But deep down, I knew a lot of us were smiling within. Such inborn guts are enviable and in my opinion, a necessity for achieving success in life. To what extent though, should the passion and courage of individuals be managed for the best results?
Ann, the 64 year old woman in the video, has a similar kind of courage within her. Thing is, she had no idea what parkour is when she began her training. All she wanted to know was, “Can it help to curb my fear of falling?”. I replied, “Absolutely”.
A taboo floats around the word ‘Parkour’. Even I hesitate when I tell others I am a parkour coach. Their faces either freeze up in awe, mild fear or in obvious disapproval. I get tired of explaining its transformational benefits, because they always seem so hard to grasp. Parkour is one of those things you either hate or love, get it or you don’t.
Parkour is starting to get popular, but many do not understand that apart from jumping around like a monkey, there is actually a deeper meaning behind why practitioners do what they do. There is a huge surge of physical and emotional freedom that comes along with its practice, though public alarm is easily triggered when practitioners do something unusual.
But times are changing; If the ones who are supposed to be the most averse to this art are positively transformed by it, there is no more doubt in the potential that parkour can bring to humanity. My hope is that the day will come when it is common for parents to put aside electronic devices and spend time moving and playing with their children in the open field. Adults will no longer be bored with exercising, for the world is their playground. Children will flourish in imagination and confidence from being highly intune with their bodies. And the elderly will never grow old at heart from the spirit of play.
Founder’s values for Art du Déplacement/Parkour
- We start together, we finish together
- Be strong to be useful
- To be and to last
Originally posted here