Howdy, and welcome to what I hope will be the first of many blog posts by yours truly, Salil. I'm the owner of Urban Evolution
I want to address what Parkour is, what it isn't, and why parents should and should not be worried about it.
First, let's talk about what Parkour is NOT. It's not doing backflips off your deck, or using your sofa as a trampoline. Contrary to the opinion of the average teenage boy, Parkour is not about doing stunts to impress your friends and then posting the resulting videos on YouTube. Done properly and with adequate instruction and supervision, it should not be dangerous or any more risky than rock climbing, tae kwon do, skateboarding, or a thousand other widely-accepted activities that are considered healthy, safe, and fun by parents and children alike.
Parkour IS a physical discipline, akin to a martial art in many ways. It involves physical conditioning (something frequently overlooked by kids), self-refinement, and constant physical and mental challenges. It's a great way to get in shape and stay in shape; it will help you build your mind and your body together. It's not something just for teenaged boys; we have plenty of adults, young girls, and moms into their mid-50's who practice Parkour. It is scaleable and approachable, as well--you don't need to be in any particular shape to get started, but you do need to provide the motivation to keep at it.
Parents call me frequently with some very understandable concerns. "My son is jumping all over the place, and I'm afraid he's going to get hurt!" is a pretty common statement I hear. And that's what we're here for; we want to help your kids and you learn more about your body, how to do remarkable things with it, and how to keep it working well into old age. Done improperly, parkour can have an adverse affect on joint health, muscles, your mind, and your loved ones' sanity. Sometimes the best way to learn something risky is in a controlled environment, and sometimes the best people to learn it form are the ones who've already learned lessons the hard way. Inherited wisdom is the best kind!
To that end, we encourage people to train with us at the gym whenever possible, and then after establishing a baseline level of competency, take the skills they've learned out into the real world. But they should take on bigger challenges only once they've learned the very basics: how to jump and land properly, how to roll safely, how to vault well.
Practiced well, Parkour and its sister art Freerunning are exciting and challenging ways to get your entire family moving together. It'll change how you look at the world around you!
I expect (and hope) that this post will generate some discussion and questions! Please post them below, and I'll be happy to answer them!