What does getting chased and philosophy have in common?

Picture 19

(Photo obtained 6th October, 2014 from http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-26/brisbane-parkcour-crew-push-local-limits/)


For teenagers who are into Parkour, everything! Wikipeadea describes Parkour as “a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training”. The past time is becoming so popular in Brisbane, that the City Council has recently dedicated a section of a Spring Hill park for these young dare devil athletes to practice their human body propulsions including running, vaulting, jumping and rolling. The Parkour ‘playground’ was funded by Energex. The Brisbane City Council is hoping it will give a place for youngsters to practice, instead of trespassing onto private property which is unsafe and illegal.

The aim of Parkour is to get from point A to point B in the most efficient way possible. Practitioners say that Parkour is much more than a method of physical training. It develops one’s abilities to overcome physical and mental obstacles. It is used if one needs to help others in an emergency or if one needs to quickly escape an immediate danger – being chased by an aggressive dog or dangerous human. Underpinning all of this is a philosophy of altruism, useful strength, longevity, self-improvement and self-understanding (Parkourpedia.com, 2012)

The founder of Parkour is Frenchman David Belle, who in 1988- aged fifteen- started teaching his friends how to jump, climb and clear obstacles. Belle attributes many of the movement’s used to the ones his father – a child soldier in Vietnam- taught him and the principles of Herbertism taught to him by his grandfather. George Herbit developed a holistic training method developed to emphasise the integration of the human mind and body to overcome obstacles. His work lead to development of the French military obstacle course (Lawrence, 2011).

The ABC recently showed a segment on Parkour: “Brisbane teens turn city into Parkour playground”. It is definitely worth a watch if you are interested in understanding what motivates these teenagers to follow this high energy passion. (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-26/brisbane-teens-turn-city-into-parkour-playground/5773186)

After viewing the clip, I wondered what other physical activities do teenagers pursue that also have a strong philosophy that is integral to the practice? Here is a short list that I came up with. If you can think of any others please let me know via a comment.

Yoga – various influences depending on the school: Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism

Kung Fu- Discipline, respect and correct interaction with others

Tai Chi- Taoism, living in harmony.

Capoeira- Understand the futility of fighting with force instead uses creativity to get around the established rules of a system.

Ballet – discipline to give you control over your body and a way of conquering it’s limitations.








5 thoughts on “What does getting chased and philosophy have in common?

  1. Hi Tony, thanks for a fascinating dip into the philosophy of Parkour! I have known about the practice for quite a few years now; one of my friends from undergrad years ago was really into it (and had the bruises and broken bones to prove it!) It’s great that it’s starting to be recognised as a more ‘legitimate’ pursuit. Have you heard of urban exploration or urbex? Similar to parkour in the sense that it does involve trespassing per se, but more concerned with looking at the forgotten histories in society (and often involves some parkour to access I would imagine!) Its starting to develop a huge following and fan base in SE Qld. Check out the page ‘Abandoned Brisbane’ on Facebook if you are interested. Cheers, Robyn.


    • Hi Robyn,
      No I have never heard of “Urbex”. I think there are many forms to this type of activity. Each with there own subtle differences – but heaps fun for all participants. I hope your friends bones have all healed.
      Thanks for your comment.



  2. Thanks Tony, this blog is great! I’d never heard of Parkour but it sounds and looks really awesome. The mind and body strength that the participants have is incredible. It seems that one of the big drawcards for the participants is the risk and the challenge to push themselves. These days we are so concerned with students’ safety (and legal recourse) that we remove much risk from students’ lives. I remember as a child at school, the playground had a greater variety of equipment to test yourself on (some wonderful and some I’m glad has changed). One of my favourites was leapfrogging the row of tractor tyres. Looking at them now I don’t know how I did it! I strongly believe that such opportunities to challenge ourselves when children, both mentally and physically, are very important in our development.
    As Parkour is more well-known, I can see it spreading rapidly and more specific parks being installed for it. After showing the video to my Jujitsu trained, 15 year old nephew, he has already booked me to take him to the Spring Hill park during the Christmas holidays, and I have to admit, I’m just as keen to check it out as he is!


  3. Tony, this is an interesting blog. You know, the physical aspects of popular culture seems to have slipped past me, though I suspect this is one of those ‘boy’ things? I recently went to a training day for female teachers about how to teach boys. It was hilarious and very sobering. Some of best practices the presenter divulged included that boys need to stand up and move around at least every 15 minutes, and that they think about sex, sport, sex, food, sex, and so on. As well he talked about how they have a zone-out box when they literally think of nothing, and that they are particularly physical – always moving. He gave the example of how the actor, Josh Thomas, is constantly in motion and jumping around on the tv show ‘Talking about my generation’. This he says, is what boys really want to do. I can see the attraction of parkous. I’m sorry I don’t have any philosophically based activities to add to your list.


    • Hi Alex,
      Hope you enjoyed the boys stuff – though I did see some girls also love Parkour.
      In our house we have two girls and two boys. We notice a big difference in how differently they spend their leisure time. The boys are the big internet gamers and the girls show more interest in social media.
      At my boxing club I actually train more females to males. If anyone says “you hit like a girl” we take it as a huge compliment.
      Kind regards,


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