It’s no secret that the popular TV show, American Ninja Warrior, has been a huge source of attention for both the obstacle course runner and Parkour communities in all. The high intensity, emotionally charged attempts to navigate the ANW course by people from all around the United States (and other countries' versions of the same) definitely makes for some good TV, and traceurs (Parkour athletes) usually crush the course - but there’s just one thing:
It isn't really Parkour.
Fact vs. Fiction - Terminology, Technique and More
For starters: If you’ve spent any time inside a Parkour, climbing, or even a gymnastics gym, there are a few terms you’re bound to know: kong-pres, tic-tacs, wall runs, so on and so forth. You know, Parkour terms! Because ANW includes athletes from so many different sports, hosts Matt and Akbar are notorious for inventing completely random lingo for movements instead of using well-established terms within these relevant communities.
What so many people tend to forget is that Parkour is a "sand-box game" (yes we stole that from video games). There is no "starting gate" and no "finish line" for the most part. What traceurs share with obstacle course runners and climbers, and other sports who's athletes do well at ANW, are the obstacles. You just don't typically shove a traceur into such a confined box.
American Ninja Warrior is a reality TV show at the end of the day - while physical fitness & movement aptitude are critical to a potential candidate selection, typical casting calls for the show are almost purely focused on feeling-based questions, like “what was the toughest experience you’ve had emotionally?”. Having contestants with stories that pull on viewers’ heart strings during the short, soap opera introduction bios is American Ninja Warrior’s bread and butter.
Again, nothing wrong with this, but we have to acknowledge that ANW and Parkour are different, because American Ninja Warrior has become so popular that many peoples' first exposure to Parkour is now through the show!
Now, you might be thinking this could be really bad for the sport - not entirely.
While the show’s emphasis doesn’t necessarily portray traceurs and Parkour in as true a light as it could, it certainly generates a lot of new attention for the sport. And we're definitely not saying that there are no transferable skills that aspiring traceurs could use in this TV competition. However, this comes with some caveats.
What This Means For Aspiring Traceurs
For example, you’re likely not going to see people in a Parkour gym training on a salmon ladder; however, muscle-ups and dynos will all help budding traceurs develop the skills to use a salmon ladder, just like on TV (without the unnecessary risk of practicing on a salmon ladder). A warped wall isn’t a challenge for a climber approaching the obstacle with good form and technique. A lot of what you’d likely consider TV magic from American Ninja Warrior is just that - TV magic. Hours of filming and slow breaks, cut to produce a high-intensity experience for viewers at home.
Parkour teaches individuals how to navigate obstacles in efficient, unique, and creative ways they wouldn’t have thought possible otherwise. While shows like this aren’t an optimal introduction to the world of our sport, it might mean the potential to expose the sport to countless new enthusiasts.
If you're someone who wants to crush an American Ninja Warrior style obstacle course, Parkour is your best bet. Not only will you learn the techniques needed to complete the course, while building the right muscles, but many other skills to navigate obstacles of all types.
To learn more about Breathe Parkour's Intro Training Packages or sign up, click on this link!
It’s hard to define a sport such as Parkour. Some argue it is not at all a sport. Some say it’s meant to be an experience, not discussed or categorized.Regardless, to expose Parkour to others and teach others we must use terminology. Here is the glossary of Parkour movements and terms.
The brain is a wonderful thing, and no matter what occupation or challenge you have, the adage of try and try until you succeed comes to mind.
If you are going to the gym for the first time or are trying out something new, you will find it hard. It is tough trying to pick up weights for the first time or starting a jogging program. But over time those same exercises get easier. That is because of your body’s natural ability to remember movements or actions and turn them into reflexes.
How good are you at running? Do you know good running technique when you see it? If you can’t answer either of those questions, you are not getting the most out of your movement – and it’s hurting your Parkour skills.
A while ago, we brought you the highlights of a Reddit AMA with Rilla Hops. Today, we are continuing that article series with another AMA, this time with with Rafe Kelley done around the same time. Keep in mind these are not direct quotes and are edited for readability.
Parkour is a sport that uses every part of the body, but especially the hands. You use your hands to grab objects, support your body, and break your falls. If you are like most people, it isn't going to take long for you to develop calluses.
There are a lot of people who start out Parkour without any foundation in other sports. Starting without a solid foundation works fine, but it leads to a longer “break-in” period. But, what if you're coming from a base such as gymnastics?
One of the most common questions when starting Parkour is: what shoes should I buy? This is especially common from parents enrolling their children in a Parkour program.
Shoes are thought to protect our feet from the outside world. With a sport that relies so heavily on the feet, shoes seem like an essential tool. But are they?
Breathe Parkour is Canada's leading parkour company with 3 locations spanning all of Southern Alberta.