Parkour PURE vs Parkour FUN

By parkour91 • Uncategorized • 14 Jul 2013

Have you ever heard anyone say this?

I’m going to go train.

If you’re a Traceur you probably have. It’s the standard announcement which signifies “I’m leaving to go do Parkour/Freerunning.” It makes sense to say it. If nothing else, it sounds cooler than the tongue twisting, “I’m going to do Parkour.”

The exception I take to this statement (“I’m going to go train”) is that 99.9% of Traceurs don’t actually go train. They go have fun and jump around with friends, and laugh, and work on “techniques.” But none of it is actual Parkour training in the Pure Parkour sense. That’s why I’ve titled this blog Parkour PURE vs Parkour FUN. I’m going to explain to you what Parkour PURE is, and you’ll see the difference.

Before I move forward I want to take a few steps back to provide a foundation for what I am about to say:

#1. The definition of Parkour is NOT “getting from Point A to Point B…” Parkour by definition is a training method.
#2. More specifically, as David says, “Parkour is a training method for warriors.”

Sit on that for a few moments before reading further.

Moving ahead, but before I explain what Parkour PURE is, I want to share a couple insights from conversations I’ve had with two particularly noteworthy Traceurs.

The first Traceur is Anthony Denis (AKA Anthow). Anthow is French and he’s the leader of Parkour Miramas. He’s an amazing Traceur (click here to see a video of him), and although he has never trained with David he understands the difference between Parkour, the original method, and the Parkour we see circling the world today.

Anthow delineates two methods: Parkour PURE and Parkour FUN. It was a recent conversation he and I had regarding this that pushed me over the edge to write this blog, and it is from Anthow’s delineation that I draw my title and my focus.

  • Parkour PURE, he says, is the true, original method. The training method for warriors.
  • Parkour FUN, he says, is what most Traceurs do. It’s jumping around and practicing techniques in the name of Parkour and having a great time.

They are both Parkour according to Anthow, but one is the pure form, and the other is…. well, fun. I agree 100%.

The other Traceur I want to reference is Sisco. If you don’t know Sisco you can see him here in the Madagascar video. He was in the second generation, and he trained with David back in the day when “David had the spirit,” as Sisco says (meaning David was in warrior mode training all the time). Led by David, they’d wake up and train from 5am to 10am. Then they’d go home, to eat and rest after which they’d get back together and train from 5pm to 8pm. Eight hours of training every day. And the true Parkour training mind you. Sisco is one of maybe 10 people in the world that has learned Parkour from David directly and has stayed loyal to David’s teachings.

Earlier this year Sisco and I came across each other in Lisses on a chance Sunday afternoon. In the conversation that followed (one of many we’ve had), Sisco said to me, “You have to like pain to do what we do, to do Parkour.” Nothing could be truer, and Sisco knows this from personal experience which is why he phrased it the way he did. The true discipline, le vrai Parkour, the original method, is the hardest thing you’ve ever done. And unless for some strange reason you like self-inflicted physical and mental pain, Parkour is not something you’d ever want to do.

So what exactly is Parkour PURE, the true method? I’ll tell you. My explanation won’t give you a full picture of the discipline, but it will show you the difference between Parkour PURE and Parkour FUN. Here it is:

Parkour PURE is overcoming obstacle after obstacle in a successive nature without stopping, and continuing your course even when you don’t know what the next obstacle is or what the next movement is going to be.

Parkour PURE is doing 50 precision jumps in 10 minutes. Focused, zoned in, not talking to anyone but yourself. When you finish you follow your instincts and continue your training with the same determination and focus.

Parkour PURE is searching for strength by hitting your forearms against trees until they swell up and doing knuckle pushups on concrete until your fists bleed.

Parkour PURE is doing 100 successive rolls on concrete because the real world doesn’t have crash mats.

Parkour PURE is repeating a jump 1,000 times in one day because it takes 8 hours, and because no on in their right mind would ever do such a thing except a warrior who was pursuing true strength.

Parkour PURE is a training method that makes you scream and yell out of your passion and resilience. It doesn’t make you smile or laugh out of accomplishment. There is no accomplishment in Parkour PURE. There is only ‘still not strong enough.’

Parkour PURE is the method where you discover the warrior inside of you that advances with such purpose and determination that you feel as if nothing can stop you. And through the training you learn that only one thing can: death.

Parkour PURE is powerful. It’s inspiring and poetic. It’s also violent and painful. It wells up inside you and compels you to go further than you ever thought possible for reasons you don’t understand. But it’s there and it pushes you forward. Always advancing.

Parkour PURE is the hidden method, known by few and taught be even fewer. And the reason for this is because Parkour {PURE} comes only from David, and it’s so hard that very few are willing to accept it, and even fewer and willing to learn it or practice it.

I’m not here to persuade you which path to choose. Parkour FUN vs Parkour PURE? Both paths are good! I’m simply here to show to you the two different versions of Parkour that are in the world today, and remind you that true Parkour is not like anything you’ve ever seen or done. You don’t see true Parkour in photos or videos, it’s not being taught by any organizations outside of France, and you certainly don’t experience it at Traceur gatherings or national and international jams. This is fine with me, and it’s fine with David. But making sure that people understand the difference is why people like Anthow and Sisco find the issue worth discussing. And that’s also why I keep taking the time to write about it and point it out.

David Belle’s slogan ‘Go Train’? It’s not what you think it means.

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