It feels great to say that you actually learned something new. Yesterday, I got to try parkour for the first time. It’s fun and also a great workout. I was intrigued with parkour ever since I saw Youtube videos of people running up walls and jumping over trash cans. While I’m pretty good at jumping, parkour involves much more than just jumping. So with no background experience in parkour, I assumed my first attempt would look a lot like Michael Scott on The Office.
However, I’m happy to report that I was a lot more graceful than I originally anticipated. It was also comforting to be trying it out in a group setting. The workout started by running around Freedom Plaza (yes, Occupy DC Freedom Plaza) for a warmup. We continued with some dynamic stretching to help limber up and get the blood flowing. Then we began working on proper jumping technique. In parkour, it’s important to land lightly on your toes since you want to be able to pop right back up after you land. We started just practicing on the ground, then moved onto to a two-foot drop, and then began jumping from one ledge to another with about a three foot gap in between. We also learned the basics of parkour vaulting, where you use your hands to help you jump over an object. For a speed vault, you run up to the object without slowing down and place one hand while using your momentum and core muscles to carry your feet over the object on the side opposite your placed hand. Here’s a video showing the speed vault:
Pretty cool, huh? But my favorite move of the day was definitely the kong vault. You start by doing a monkey jump, placing both hands on the object in front of you and jumping onto it so that your feet land in between your hands. Like this:
From that point, you either land on the object (a monkey jump) or pull your legs through and jump over the object (a kong vault):
I was able to get myself over, but now I need to work on actually pushing off with my hands so that I maintain my momentum and can keep running after landing. The convenient thing about parkour is that you can do it pretty much anywhere there’s something to jump over. So as funny as it may look, you might just see me trying out some parkour moves around D.C.