You will fall into one of these three categories – a Parkour athlete, someone who has a vague idea of what Parkour is, or someone who is asking ‘what on earth is parkour? And why should I avoid saying certain things to them?’
If you are a Parkour athlete, you’ll have heard these all before, in which case it might entertain you to know your frustrations are shared by everyone else who partakes in your sport of choice. If you have no idea what parkour is, or only know very generally, then this article is for you!
Parkour is the sport of moving across a complex environment, usually urban, without equipment to help and in the fastest, most efficient way possible. It developed from military obstacle courses, to be taken on by athletes around the world who wanted to challenge themselves with a sport that is notoriously difficult and at times, dangerous.
The thing is – there are a few phrases that are used around parkour athletes that are all too common and super annoying to hear. Saying things like ‘can you do a backflip?’ just demeans the athlete, the sport, and makes you sound like that old auntie at the dinner table who’s completely out of touch with the times.
So, read on for things not to say to parkour athletes, and why!
- Can you do a backflip?
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard this… Let’s just say I’d be closer to millionaire status than I am now!
The thing is, as parkour practitioners, we’re aware that parkour is viewed by most (if they even know what it is) as that sport where you run up walls and backflip off of buildings.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Firstly, parkour is really more about learning about what your body can achieve and working with your body, and less about pushing it to extremes by backflipping off every surface available.
The worst part is that after being asked this question, there is also an expectation that I am going to drop everything I’m doing to perform the aforementioned backflip.
Takeaway point: parkour athletes are not performing monkeys.
“This is part of a wider human response to learning about an individual’s talent – to immediately ask them to perform them,” says Cherie Nichols, an athlete blogger at 1day2write and Britstudent.
“For those of us who teach, train, or do parkour performances as a career, what on earth makes you think we’d want to just parkour for free for you?
You wouldn’t stop someone in chef overalls in the street and ask them to make you a meal, would you? No.
Parkour is not a street act… Unless you see a hat on the ground with some coins in it. In which case, throw in some bucks and ask away!”
- Isn’t that dangerous?
To a certain extent, yes, parkour is dangerous, like all extreme sports. But parkour athletes are subject to this question a lot more than say, climbers are, or police officers, or firefighters, or… You get the picture.
As athletes, we know that if we mess up, we could get hurt. That’s why we go to great lengths to practice in safe environments and keep our bodies healthy and in shape.
If you see someone in the street practicing parkour, the worst thing you could do in that scenario is to scream ‘oh my god you’re gonna get hurt!!’. That’s a sure-fire way to distract us and yes, make us fall!
All adults take calculated risks in our lives and parkour athletes are no different. If you smoke, drink, or simply drive a car, you are taking risks with your life. Our sport is no different, and it’s certainly a lot healthier than smoking or drinking!
Take it from me – parkour practitioners tend to know their bodies and limits a lot better than passers-by in the street. So, leave off from yelling at us about how many ways our practice could go wrong!
- This is private property/a liability issue!
Athletes come from many varied backgrounds and we don’t all have access to sporting grounds, gyms, and parks. Discouraging athletes from training in certain areas because they are ‘private’ or for liability issues is cutting off a whole section of society from practicing their sport!
“Naturally, America has a massive sue culture and the very idea of a liability issue strikes fear into the heart of security guards, police officers, and even park officials. Many a time they will voice concerns and athletes must stop what they’re doing and move on.
If it’s really an issue, just ask us politely and most parkour athletes will go! There’s no need to bring liability and private property concerns into it. It’s not cool!” Notes William Benton, a writer at Writemyx and Nextcoursework.
Mildred Delgado is a young and responsible marketing strategist at Academic Brits and PhD Kingdom. She works closely with organizations to develop fully functioning websites while keeping the organization’s brand image in mind. She has created many marketing proposals, many of which can be found at Academic Paper Help.