We are not going to talk about urban Parkour training here. No huge cat-leap fantasies for the frazzled mind or sliding through and under obstacles in the city. (Sorry to disappoint.) Let´s talk about nature for a change. We train in the city so much, that we forget that the Parkour discipline started thousands of years ago, in the woods. And it´s important to remember that.
Forests, like other wild settings, stimulate our senses in more subtle but evolutionarily familiar ways than our typical modern environments. Sounds in nature are quieter but more subtly layered. Our sight is more expansive. Our sense of touch, finer. Our smell, more acute. Surrounded by nature, our perception reorients to its default setting. So as we start going out in nature we go back more and more to our natural state of awareness and perception.
This is where you can practice your body’s natural inclination to move. Out in the outdoor environment where the obstacles are not that well aligned and the order of things is ruled by chaos. This is where Parkour becomes movement and not just sport.
The nature theory
E.O. Wilson and his theory of biophilia, says that humans have an innate, biologically determined need for nature. Wilson’s theory has been around for years, but the concept is getting a lot of attention lately. And I want to highlight this for good reason.
Richard Louv, noted journalist and author of a book called Last Child in the Woods, said an increasing number of child psychologists and education experts note that regular time in nature is vital for children’s cognitive and emotional development in addition to their physical wellness.
I believe that this requirement for nature isn’t very cultivated in modern lifestyle and training methods. But it’s allegedly in our biological blueprints. Nature remains the default setting for our senses, our concentration skills and physical backdrop. So we should try to train it and make it part of our tranings and life.
How to train Parkour in nature?
This is an easy question to ask. It’s not that different than training Parkour in the city, only the environment changes slightly. Here is a perfect example of such a training:
Because the surroundings change you need to adapt faster and you learn to make decisions on the spot. That is why training Parkour in nature is a great way to improve your flow and complement your regular training. If you add the emotional benefits that nature bring into your training it is really a shame not everybody is doing it.
So next time, go wild!