Kong Vaults? Cat Leaps? What Exactly is Parkour?

by | May 27, 2021

Parkour is so much more than jumping over picnic tables and bouncing off objects. The goal in Parkour is to get from one point to another in a complex environment over objects and obstacles, without assisting equipment, in the fastest, most efficient way possible. The sport’s name is derived from Parcours du combattant, which means obstacle course.

It’s a good fit for active kids that enjoy tumbling, martial arts, and/or obstacle courses who enjoy a less traditional approach to fitness. Playful as it may be, don’t be fooled: Parkour requires extreme strength, endurance, flexibility, and skill to master the moves. Although Parkour is not considered an Olympic sport yet, it is quickly growing in popularity with a fundamental understanding that players should encourage and respect each other.

Popular moves such as a Kong (moving over an object without your feet touching it), Speed (similar to jumping a hurdle with a one-leg lead), Lazy (moving over an object from side to side, like getting from one side of a short wall to the other while running), and Reverse vaults (moving over an object backward), Cat Leaps (getting over an object or wall that can’t be done in one move, grabbing the top with your hands and absorbing the impact with your feet), and Parkour Rolls (“falling” safely through impact distribution and forward momentum), will soon be part of your new lingo.

Parkour has created its own category of fitness and competition with organizations like the World Freerunning and Parkour Federation working with MTV to produce a competition television series. “The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) added Parkour as one of their disciplines in 2017 and launched the FIG Parkour World Cup in 2018. Parkour will also make its World Games debut at the 2022 World Games.” (Ref: Wikipedia)Parkour, while not defined by a set of rules or guidelines, has officially entered the professional fitness space, which has been particularly attractive to young people and kids are loving it!

Coach Jacob taught my son that Parkour has to be practiced safely and to do so, would involve a lot of crawling exercises to increase strength and agility: bear crawling forward and backward, forward rolls, sprints, over and over, to ensure that the traceur (the athlete doing parkour), has the flexibility and agility to safely attempt more advanced moves.

Parkour as a type of movement was founded in 1988 by David Belle in France and one of my favorite takeaways from his book, Parkour, is this:

“When a young person asks me: ‘Can you show me how to do this?’ I simply answer: “No, I am going to show you how I do it. Then, you’ll have to learn with your own technique, your own way of moving, your style, your abilities, and your limitations. You are going to learn to be yourself, not someone else along the way.”

If you have active kiddos with a big imagination that love having fun, schedule a free 30-minute assessment with Coach Jacob to see if Parkour might be right for them. It may just be the physically engaging activity that you’ve been looking for like it was for our family.

Casey Chapman Ross

Casey Chapman Ross

Three beautiful babies call me momma, and my husband, Will, and I live in South Austin. We love house hunting, playing Scrabble and blackjack with the kids, hosting family potluck dinners, and camper renovating!