I decided to start blogging a bit about my personal experiences, because I realize I avoid doing so. This is my first Journal entry. Maybe mistakes I made and things I’ve learned over the years will help others too. We’ll see…
How I started training in Parkour
My first Parkour training began as a conditioning exercise, where I was trying every squat and every cat-balance exercise I had seen on the web. I completely failed at understanding the new mechanics. Many people probably started doing all sorts of movements, tricks or obstacle courses, but not me. I was obsessed about getting my body fit enough to make huge jumps. It was probably because I started at a later age than most. I think that was also an advantage, because I could understand that I need a strong body, before I actually started jumping off rooftops.
On the other hand, I spent a lot of time doing repetitive and dull exercises. That was what I thought Parkour is, and to a certain degree I still do. Because only a powerful body can be efficient and useful. But, if I could do it all over again, I think I’d try to balance them out better. I would want to train both elements equally: strength and technique. Because, now I feel like I have a fit body, but I am still training my technique to make up for the long conditioning hours in the past.
Another thing I would do differently is my attention to stretching and mobility exercises. Because of my savage conditioning routines, I had lost a good part of my mobility, and it is very hard to get back. My lack of limb range influenced my movement style a lot. I cannot reach all the way down a back hand spring and I have to really try to lift my leg up over my center of gravity.
What I DID like about my first training was that I understood the importance of a good warm-up and warm-down. I learned it during my Tae-Kwan Do initiation and it was pretty much the only thing that I could remember from those years. This saved me from a lot of injuries and excruciating muscle soreness.
There are a lot of things I would do differently if I think about it now, but the only thing I wouldn’t change was my commitment to be strong to be useful. I still hear it in the back of my mind, when my body is screaming to stop and my breath is about to give out. It is what made me continue then and it is what still makes me want to go out training, come rain, come shine.
If you are reading this and you are still at the beginning, balance out your training. Do not focus on one or the other (power or technique), thinking that you will get to the second one later. There is no later. Focusing on conditioning will make it harder to get your technique right, and concentrating on technique will make your body give in, due to lack of muscle resistance.
Until next time… train smart.