I honestly didn’t have any idea what parkour was or why my 12 year old son decided to start jumping, climbing, dangling, vaulting, rolling, tumbling throughout the course of the day. He saw obstacles in everything, and wanted to maneuver his body over them, under them, down them, along them, up them and through them like a military obstacle course.
At first I thought it was kind of silly. Why in the world would anyone want to jump around in public? However, after a few weeks he was jumping off very high objects and it kept him focused throughout the week; we wasn’t tired, he was burning off that extra energy that seems to get in his way at school and he looked forward to his time walking around Budapest with us in search of things to challenge his new sport.
And everywhere we went he saw things differently, as things to conquer, and he imaged how he could do it long before ever giving it a try. He was solving problems in his head that preoccupied his head space long enough that he didn’t need to plug him in one of his devices. He was calm during these activities and it was stimulating enough and advanced enough that he could escape into it.
Parkour developed in France as a cross between military training and non-combative martial arts. You need good balance, and core strength to be good at this, and it can be done alone or in groups in any urban area.
Most parkour participants uphold a high level of mental and physical training. If in a collective the members encourage each other to try and execute new moves. They pursue basic survival skills developed from pushing their limits, both with diet and maintaining their physical training, but what comes with this is a level of community and modesty. No one is left behind.
They use their environment and all the obstacles in it as a means of training. No equipment required other than a good pair of shoes.