Emanating from the combative obstacle course training carried out by the French Military, Parkour at the most elementary level is about learning to move from point A to B in the most effective way which includes overcoming obstacles in your path by jumping, climbing and passement (passing through).
Over the years as the discipline has evolved, it has embraced a more artistic flavour, providing the practitioner more freedom to express themselves through incorporating flips and other creative devices, making parkour not just physical discipline, but an individual expression of human movement.
For a definitive answer including the benefits of parkour – please see our Why Move Page here.
In terms of physical fitness, parkour is awesome because
- It is a form of true functional fitness – i.e. learning to use your body as one integrated whole and using movements that can be utilised in day to day life.
- Can be done anywhere
- Requires no special equipment or gear to practice
Many traceurs will express the ideas of “Be Strong to Be Useful” and “We Start Together, We Finish Together”. These are values passed on about being functional, useful with what we do, and having teamwork and togetherness. There is also emphasis placed on the idea of “finding your own way”. Here is a summary of the key philosophies of Parkour Below:
The first three – Leave No Trace, Have An Open Mind and We Start Together, We Finish Together – are shared ideals among practitioners of the discipline but also core values of Superfly Monkey Dragons. They can mean different things to different people, but as a general idea:
Leave No Trace – is about respect for your environment and your community. We believe in respecting training spots by leaving them as we found them, and maybe even better and cleaner than when we started. The mark of a good traceur is to leave none.
Have An Open Mind – So much of parkour training is mental. We choose to live in possibility and embrace the belief that we can do it. And then we will. We will not be set in our ways!
We Start Together, We Finish Together – Parkour is about teamwork. We will not finish an exercise until the last has finished with the first. In this way we are strong together, and hence stronger.
The last, Be Strong To Be Useful, or Être fort pour être utile, is the personal mantra of Georges Hébert (1875 – 1957), the founding father of the French military physical training that parkour takes its roots from. It is not a core value for us, but perhaps an overarching goal of why we do what we do.
To be strong to be useful is to not be strong for ourselves, but something more. To not be selfish, but to work to do good. To be useful when needed, to stand up to be counted! Otherwise, our effort is useless, our striving to show off.
Être fort pour être utile – that is parkour.
To check out the values that we hold at Superfly Monkey Dragons as a family and a school, check out our About Us page!
Parkour is for everybody. We all did ‘parkour’ as children when we first started to learn to move, walk, climb, jump and explore our surroundings. Parkour is simply a systematized way of moving, much like martial arts is for fighting. There are many different levels of parkour, and you don’t have to be doing some of the amazing movements you see in videos to do parkour. Like martial arts there is the hard elements of street fighting as well as the softer and slower element of Tai-Chi. So depending on your interest, passion and goals, we can help you develop the strength and power to do the big stuff, as well as the grace and fluidity of creating ‘flows’.
We have taught students from age 3 to over 50. All ages, from kids to elderly, are welcome. Generally we’ll say 5 and above, but we don’t like to put limits on people, so if you or your child is really keen, the best way to see if they are ready is to take a trial class, and we’ll be able to assess if you or your child is ready and able to train with us!
Definitely can!– Parkour is for everybody, no matter your gender, age or level of fitness. Women actually have advantages over men generally in the areas of flexibility and balance.
One of the most common things we hear from people considering parkour is “Wait till i get fitter, give me some time to go to the gym and train up”. The truth is, you are ready now. If you really want to train parkour, start now. There is no level of fitness required. You can start training from whatever level of fitness you are at, whether you have not exercised for 10 years or are an active marathon runner. Of course the fitter, stronger and more coordinated you are, the easier it will be to pick up but you can start at any level, and the best way to get in shape for parkour is to start training parkour!
This is one of the most common comments or questions we get. We have conducted over 1000 classes and no one has broken any bones in class. Occasionally bruises and scratches perhaps. Parkour actually is safer than most team sports, as you are only responsible for yourself. There is no chance of someone accidently hitting, smashing or colliding into you. There is no element of pressure or needing to do something within a timeframe, so everthing that you do in parkour, can be done at your own pace and time, when you are ready.
No one likes to get injured and just like any physical exercise, we cannot guarantee you will not get injured – however there are 3 considerations that one can keep in mind, which we reinforce in our classes to minimise injury based on the most common causes of injury.
- Do not attempt movements that are beyond your current ability. This is all about getting to know yourself. Probably one of the most common ways to get injured is being overenthusiastic, or wanting to impress. Be patient and be humble. Listen to your instructor – and don’t try and jump ahead too quickly especially when you are starting out.
- Do not train / attempt to do movements where there is a risk of injury due to physical or mental tiredness. You should only attempt breaking new ground when you are 100% there mentally and physically. (eg jumping or any movement where there is a chance of falling and hurting yourself). Once again, know your limits and when you need to rest.
- Always check surfaces and objects you are planning to do movements on – to ensure they are stable and clear of any sharp or protruding objects that could cause injury.
If you follow these basic guidelines, your chances of injury are very small, and you can enjoy uninterrupted training!
If you’ve been watching all the incredible parkour videos on Youtube, it would seem to be that way. However, there are 3 important points to consider:
- Parkour training actually focuses on minimising impact, and training your body to be light and learning how to absorb impact in the most efficient way – which is why rolls are often used for big jumps. This is direct contrast with say martial arts, which focuses on creating maximal impact.
- A lot of training is also focused on developing your body armour and strengthening not only your muscles but your connective tissue – tendons, ligaments and joints, so they are able to withstand the larger impact movements – This is why conditioning is an essential and important part of parkour training and helps you be tougher and better able to handle the higher impact of the bigger movements.
Parkour for the most part is about you, your body and learning how to move. there is no one else involved and therefore you have total control. There is no risk of someone else striking you as in martial arts, or suffering a bad tackle or colliding with others competitors in team sports. Safety is always a number one priority – Part of the training is learning about your limits, your abilities and being confident in what you can do, and not attempting anything when you are not ready.
Historically there was a line drawn in the sand on the differences in parkour and freerunning. (See below for basic breakdown) However here at Superfly we like to consider them as one. At the end of the day, its just a name. what is more important is that you MOVE and enjoy every single bit of it!
Parkour explores the idea of efficiency, speed, power and functionality, from Point A to B. There is also an emphasis on usefulness and readiness in its philosophy!
Freerunning evolved after a lot of the fundamentals of parkour were established, providing space for more play, self-expression and creativity. Along those lines, flips have historically been understood to be an expression of freerunning but not parkour. (Although David Belle, considered the father of pakrour also did flips)
These days, many of the new practioners consider them one and the same, although there are still some diehard old schoolers who like to stick to their guns. We just love to move. So its all good
We believe that besides the physical, parkour also encourages significant character growth. We would be happy to share with your parent or teacher how creativity, resilience, open-mindedness, teamwork and self-awareness are among many of the values that students engage over the course of their training – values that you then carry through your daily life. Drop us a message at the red tab to the left if you would like us to share with your mentor, parent, guardian what parkour and freerunning is, and also how safe training is approached. We would love to help you out!
Never say never! Youtube videos are a great source of learning parkour history, being inspired and filling some gaps in your technique knowledge. Always however bear in mind that nothing substitutes learning from an experienced mentor in front of you – videos are never the entire story. Also always remember to learn from each other, as well as yourself. For some great videos check out Runfree.asia
SUPERFLY PARKOUR CLASSES
All our parkour classes are conducted outdoors in public locations. These are commonly used spots by local practitioners that offer a wide range of movement for both the beginner and the more advanced students. Our Learn 2 Flip courses are held with our partner – Raffles Gymnastics Academy which is one of the best indoor gymnastic facilities in Singapore.
Rain is just another obstacle that we must train to overcome! Adapting to your environment is the name of the game. Classes are on rain or shine – though if the weather is extremely unsuitable to train in (torrential rain) or the haze is unhealthy, we will move to a nearby sheltered location or may cancel the class. That’s why its important to always book into class, so we know to expect you and can also alert you should there be any changes.
It is entirely up to you – but we generally feel that parkour is approachable without any special padding or joint guards. These can impede you feeling your environment effectively or limit your mobility – and are not very practical for your everyday use! We encourage parkour as a discipline that can be used as part of your regular lifestyle, if need be.
Anything that you are comfortable in, that doesn’t limit your mobility! Many of our students opt over time to wear sweats pants – they offer mobility and simple protection against minor scrapes and grazes – but it certainly isn’t a hard and fast rule. Shorts or leggings are alright as long as you’re comfortable. Plus a pair of good fitting sports shoes. While some practitioners like to train barefoot, its generally not recommended for beginners
The Best time to start training is Now!
‘Joining Superfly Monkey Dragons is the best decision I have made in years. I am feeling so good. I had a great time attending the flip course and met some awesome people.’
“You’ll never gonna know if you don’t try. I don’t want to regret anything for not trying, so I’m very happy I did, and I’m very happy I enjoyed, and actually I learned so many different things.”
“Picking yourself out of the comfort zone, that is really what this is all about. And I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to what you can achieve”