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What is Parkour…and Where Do I Sign Up? An Interview with a Parkour Practitioner

by Team Sony 03/18/2012

I recently came across a YouTube™ video of this guy doing these awesome moves and I had absolutely no idea what it was, but was completely intrigued. It was like karate, mixed with running, mixed with gymnastics, mixed with….pure craziness! I found out that it’s called Parkour and it’s pretty amazing.

Sometimes called free running, Parkour is all about moving around and about obstacles with ninja precision and it’s principles have been around since the early 1900’s. Whether you know it or not, you’ve probably seen Parkour-esque moves in one form or another; both the villains and the good guys in action flicks often use Parkour techniques. Scaling up sides of skyscrapers, jumping from building to building, balancing on a ledge atop a 30 story building… and Spiderman – yep, Peter Parker is pretty Parkour-esque too.

I reached out to Binh Nguyen, the Parkour practitioner in the video, to learn more about it and found out that true Parkour is not all about escaping bad guys or impressing people with your moves; it’s about overcoming both physical and emotional obstacles. Check out my interview with him as he shares his experiences and advice on becoming a Parkour master.

How did you get into Parkour?

Since I was a little boy, I would watch a lot of Jackie Chan movies and the Monkey King series, and would always be left in awe by the way that these people moved. At first I would try to copy these movements, I would always try to climb high things, and jumped off high things just so I can feel what those guys are feeling.

In my freshman year of high-school I found an article about Parkour and a lot of very persuasive pictures. Immediately my attention was caught. The first thing on my mind was to look it up on Google and YouTube. And after watching a bunch of videos and two and a half years of training later, here I am today.

How do you do all these tricks without injuring yourself?

There is a very famous quote in Parkour that says “you have to learn how to fall first before you learn how to fly “. There are a lot of other Parkour practitioners that have merely skimmed this quote and never thought about it. My friends and I however took this quote and made it an essential part of our training.

A common misunderstanding about Parkour practitioners is that we are huge adrenaline junkies and that we only live for the moment or forget the consequence of our movement. That, however, cannot be farther from the truth, every time that I train I strive to feel happy and fulfilled, not afraid and anxious.

Also, I only do things that I am completely 100% sure that I can do. The only thing that is going through a freerunner’s mind is that if we can do the same 10 foot jump on the ground, then we can do the same 10 foot jump 10 feet above the ground. This mentality is the reason why I can stay calm and confident to do my jumps and “tricks”.

What advice would you give to someone who is trying to start Parkour?

Parkour is not a sport and there is no competition between anyone. The only competition is between you and the obstacles. It’s very tempting to just go outside after watching a crazy Parkour video and decide that you will try all of those things you see. That, however, is the fastest way to hurt yourself.

What you don’t see is how long they have been training to do what they can do now. Parkour is a long journey that you take to find out what your body is capable of, not to see what the highest thing you can jump off of and still survive to brag to all of your friends about is.

Most importantly, don’t break any laws while attempting Parkour!

Anything else we should know about Parkour?

 Parkour is the best thing that has ever happened to my life, because of it I have met so many inspirational people and made some of the best friends in my life. I cannot even imagine myself without Parkour nor would I even want to. With my new found love for videography and film making, I will be making many more videos of myself and my friends. So please subscribe to my YouTube channel so you can see them!

Want to see Binh in action? Check him out performing some Parkour moves, all filmed with his Sony Bloggie® camera.

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  1. Anonymous wrote: March 19, 2012 10:12am

    Great article!! Every Parkour Practitioner finds themselves “anew” when PK vision reshapes the mind and body.
    -PKbyHP

    Reply
  2. Devo wrote: December 29, 2012 2:31pm

    You dont sign up its a hobby just to let you know im a pro at it I do fares and all.Do it in public and you will get noticed and people will ask you to preform. Watch videos do workouts go to gym practice practice practice and in about 6 or 7 weeks of doing about 3 or 4 hours of it a day will not only make you a pro but will put u into shape I guarentee ive took off parkour for now and went to skating you find most free runners do that:D but for now since ur abeginner start small and work ur way up

    Reply
  3. tony wrote: March 21, 2013 5:35pm

    i can’t just stay training in my back yard i have nothing to train with they should make a program where we can go to train i am 12 years old and i love parkour and be an assassin also to make videos like Ronnie Shalvis but i can not do anything wher i live

    Reply
  4. mont wrote: August 17, 2013 12:25pm

    i like it

    Reply
    1. Kathleen wrote: August 19, 2013 4:37pm

      Glad to hear it!

      Reply
  5. brendon wrote: August 26, 2013 4:00pm

    Im 13 and I go to urban evoulution were really good nice article

    Reply

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