Mastering the Fundamentals
Mastering the fundamentals will be the most important part of your training. You cannot possibly master the advanced movements until you have first learned the basics. You will find that the fundamental movements will also be the most useful and effective movements when obstacle racing. Bruce Lee once said, “I do not fear the man who has practiced 10,000 different kicks once. I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
Consider the stages of development of a child. First the child learns to roll-over, then to crawl, then to walk, then to run, then to jump, then to climb and finally to swing. Unfortunately, as adults we forget how to do these things. We forget how to crawl under bushes and how to jump over streams and how to climb up ropes. This type of movement is known collectively as natural movement. These movements are fundamental to the human experience but modern society has stripped natural movement away from us. The modern world has made our lives so comfortable that we have lost touch with nature and with our ability move freely. We have become a prisoner of our own bodies and we can no longer run forever and climb trees and jump over puddles.
Parkour gives us the opportunity to relearn what we have lost. The obstacle course is simply the adult playground where we can run, and jump and climb. Obstacle courses and playgrounds were both invented by the same man: Georges Herbert. He realized in the 1800’s that urban dwellers were becoming unhealthy because they no longer moved in a natural environment. He invented the obstacle course and the playground so that city people could have a place to train their bodies using natural movement. These courses were called Parcours du Combatant, which is where we get the name of our modern system of training known as Parkour.
Like a child, we must start with the basics and learn how to roll and crawl and jump again. When you begin your training you must first practice how to fall, and how to crawl, and how to vault. These three movements will become the core of everything else you learn. No matter how long you train, these movements will form the foundation of your training. As you progress you will learn more advanced techniques, but the fundamentals will form base of all of your movements. Think of Parkour as a pyramid. The fundamentals form the base and the higher you wish to go, the wider your base must be.