Sunday, October 2, 2011

Safety and Responsibility

Parkour is often depicted as an extreme or dangerous sport. One of the reasons is that we don't use special safety equipment, train in carefully outfitted gyms and expect everything we may do to be safe.

Unlike many sports, Parkour is very minimalist: there is only ourselves and our environment, like in every day life. And like in every day life, our safety is our responsibility. Parkour is about learning precisely what you are capable of, how much you can move safely in an environment that not designed to keep you safe. Training will also help you push the limit of what you can do, but always within this balance against safety. Why? because if you attempt something you are not ready to achieve, in the real world, you're likely to get hurt. And it's all your fault if you do. So maybe Parkour is the safest possible sport, because it teaches you to be safe!

To remain safe and keep others safe, bear in mind these all-important rules:

  1. Check your surfaces. Your environment may not be as solid as it looks, many places are littered with broken glass and may be more slippery or grippy than you expect. If you're training somewhere, always spend the time to get to know your environment first.
  2. Be aware of others. Whether they are fellow traceurs or innocent bystanders, you share the space with other people. Make sure you keep an eye on them and always can avoid running into them. You are responsible for their safety too. For fellow traceurs, it also means helping those who struggle with a move, warning those who dare too much, providing a helping hand or spotting them.
  3. Respect your environment. Even a concrete wall will hurt a little when you jump on it. Shoes often leave marks, repeated wear and tear appear at our favorite training grounds. So you must tread as lightly as you can, as gently as you can. And maybe then the walls will help you jump farther too!

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