Parkour is quickly becoming a popular activity around the world. What started as being frowned upon as dangerous and a public nuisance, is now being understood by many people. As it gains popularity, more spaces are being designed for people to partake in the activity, such as these 12 best parkour parks in the world.
Often seen as a risky activity that disrupts public spaces, the more people understand what parkour is really about, the more they will realize the benefits. Including how parkour will help people improve their fitness and mental state.
People have often wondered whether parkour is dangerous or whether parkour is illegal, often because they don’t understand what the fundamentals and purpose behind parkour are.
Parkour can be defined by many terms due to its versatile nature and many benefits. Some people view parkour as a sport, and often as an extreme sport. While others view it as a fitness activity that also improves mental strength and clarity. Parkour is also seen as a self-defense mechanism to help people escape from attackers in tricky situations.
Have a look at the various tricks you can learn with parkour in the video below.
Ultimately, parkour is a method of moving from point A to point B in the quickest way possible. This is done by using man-made and natural objects that are in the way, as a tool to get to point B. Getting to the destination as efficiently as possible requires extreme physicality and sometimes risky movements.
Originally, parkour was a tactic used by the French Special Forces to evade enemies. It was then called “parcours du combattant”, which can be translated to “The Path of the Warrior”. One of the parcours warriors had a son named David Belle, who then adapted this for everyday people to begin participating.
It was David Belle, who changed the name to parkour with the “k”. Along with a group of friends who called themselves Yamakazi, he began the worldwide movement that is now commonly found around the world.
A few members of the group broke away to start a new discipline known as freerunning or free parkour running. While parkour and freerunning are very similar, freerunning is a less structured form of the activity. One of the freerunning founders, Sébastien Foucan became famous for his role in the movie, Casino Royale.
Parkour practitioners, who are known as “traceurs,” use the stricter method of movement that focuses on the efficiency of the movement. Freerunning includes more extravagant moves such as flips and turns that look impressive but are not as practical in escaping or fighting situations. It has become a sort of art form and method of expressing oneself.
The two disciplines are sometimes practiced separately, but the definitive lines may be blurred, especially among practitioners who are not aware of the distinct differences.
The recently competitive sport of parkour involves several movements that include running, climbing, jumping, and combination movements. These are all utilized to move over and around obstacles in the fastest time possible. The discipline is meant to be done by using only the body and its abilities without additional equipment.
To achieve these highly physical and difficult moves, you need to learn the fundamentals of the discipline. Parkour utilizes several skills that can be practiced and improved such as fitness, functional strength, agility, balance, coordination, control, and creativity among others.
Another important factor of parkour is strengthening your mind and your mental limits. This is necessary to keep the body functioning optimally while thinking quickly and finding solutions if an obstacle turns out to be more difficult than initially perceived.
Parkour is not merely about having fun, it also offers several developmental benefits for traceurs, such as self-discipline, confidence, determination, physical strength, and responsibility. It also offers a new method of making friends and meeting like-minded people.
To learn more about how you can begin training and learning parkour at home, purchase the book titled, Essential Parkour Training. You can learn a few basic parkour moves, such as how to parkour roll, parkour cat leap and pass, along with many others.
Parkour may be seen as a dangerous activity that could lead to severe injury. However, due to the increased structure of the sport such as training facilities, trainers, and specialized parks developed for the discipline, it can be viewed as any other extreme sport.
If you are considering learning parkour beginner and basic moves, you could be wondering about the risks of the sport. While noting the risks is important before you decide to be a parkour ninja, you should also balance these with the benefits.
Parkour and martial art disciplines are often viewed as quite similar, with a stronger focus on movement in parkour rather than combat. Due to its similarities with the combat disciplines, it offers several benefits that are comparable to those of various martial art disciplines.
Parkour and calisthenics are closely linked as parkour is a full body workout. Since the moves are physically demanding, you will be getting a diverse workout that strengthens muscles throughout your entire body. If you are looking for a fun new workout, then parkour is a good option to try.
Similarly, engaging in freerunning parkour will give you an extensive cardiovascular workout too. The extensive movements, running, and jumping will increase your heart rate and improve your fitness levels.
Your mental strength will be improved with parkour, as you will learn how to think quickly to avoid hurting yourself. This will provide overall mental training to equip you with sharper reflexes.
Parkour will increase your confidence and creativity as you learn to complete new moves and improve your skills. You will become more confident as you are more aware of your abilities. Parkour also improves creativity as the moves become forms of art and you are able to completely express yourself through the movements.
As with any physical activity, there are risks of participating in parkour. The level of risk is determined by your skill level, the amount you practice, and the types of moves you attempt. The risks involved include:
- physical injury from falls or landing incorrectly, especially as a beginner;
- legal action if you trespass on property illegally;
- fines if you break public property;
- risk of fatally injuring yourself if you are not sensible; and
- temptation to attempt dangerous moves for social media platforms.
If you want to be good at anything in life, you will need to take risks and push yourself past your limits. Since parkour involves dangerous terrain and movements, you should take extra care when practicing.
Always stay in a group so you can easily get help if you fall and hurt yourself. Start with easy parkour moves and don’t try anything you are not confident with just to impress people. Know your ultimate limits and always listen to your body, just as you would with any other sport or physical activity.
As parkour grows in popularity, more spaces are being found that provide enough space and obstacles to practice the sport. In some cases, parks have been designed specifically for parkour with obstacles scattered around, while others are pre-existing parks that are naturally well-suited for parkour.
Some gyms are created for training and if you are asking yourself, “is there a parkour park or gym near me?” you will likely find that there is, especially if you are near Central Park in New York or Spot Real in Lisbon.
In no particular order, here are some of the best places to practice and hone your parkour skills.
One of the most famous parks in the world, Central Park, is becoming a popular parkour spot due to all the natural and man-made obstacles that are found there. The immense size of the park means that you can always find a new challenge and space to practice.
The park is popular for this sport, so you will likely come across other groups practicing parkour at some point. The Movement Creative is an organization that sets up meets and training in the park.
Central Park is often busy, so you may need to find the best time to train when it is a bit quieter or find less popular spots within the park. There are various outdoor gym set ups around the park to offer more challenges and training opportunities.
Check out some of the challenging places you can practice in Central Park in the video below.
If you are new to parkour, you may believe that you need a concrete jungle in the city to practice parkour effectively. This is not the case and many areas with natural obstacles are popular for traceurs.
In Honolulu, parkour is encouraged and welcomes traceurs in safe public spaces, like Ala Moana Beach Park. There are competitions throughout the year, offering new and skilled traceurs an accepting environment to practice in.
Ala Moana Beach Park is scattered with natural obstacles and plenty of high areas to jump off. The added benefit is the grass and sand surfaces, which are great to practice on, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned traceur trying out new moves.
Freeway Park in Seattle looks as though it was designed specifically for parkour with its maze-like structure and several obstacles to challenge you. The platforms and various stone staircases make for an exciting adventure.
You will likely run into some fellow traceurs to learn from and practice with. Which makes this a must-visit parkour park.
Any parkour enthusiast living in Seattle will be able to tell you about Gas Works Park, an old coal gasification station that is no longer operational. The original structures are still in place, providing ample obstacles to challenge people.
The area has designated training sections that have been adapted to be even more parkour-friendly. There are also plenty of open spaces within the park to train in.
The University of Colorado has a mix of various structures that offer an exciting parkour training ground. The area contains concrete obstacles such as stairs, walls, and natural structures such as rocks.
Another big hurdle is to avoid the students walking to classes. However, this makes for an added challenge as long as you are careful not to hurt anyone.
Century Gardens offers a challenging terrain that will help improve your parkour skills with many boulders, cement blocks, and natural obstacles to use as platforms to land on or jump over.
The park contains several concrete structures that blend in with the natural environment, giving you a fun challenge. Along with plenty of grassy spots with soft landing spaces to practice without getting too hurt.
As the birthplace of parkour, Paris is a must-visit destination for hardcore parkour enthusiasts. There are several spots all around the city to practice and try out extreme moves. One of the main parks to visit is Parc de Bercy, which offers concrete structures surrounding a large river.
This terrain adds an extra challenge of water, along with the concrete structures and natural obstacles scattered around.
Expert traceurs will be delighted with the discovery of the Catacombs in Paris. The old maze-like tunnels provide a unique and highly challenging playground for parkour enthusiasts.
The old structures found in the underground tunnels are dangerous, in addition to the low lighting conditions. You should not attempt this area if you are a beginner or haven’t gained enough confidence yet.
In an attempt to formalize the sport of parkour and offer safe places for people to learn the discipline, Centr’Halles Park has designated parkour areas. As an initiative to help people get more active and enjoy this sport in a more controlled setting, the park contains high-level structures and obstacles at varying levels.
A perfect spot for beginners, intermediates, and experts, the park operates on time slots with various training groups along with supervisors. This formalized park will help you train safely with the chance of learning some new tricks from seasoned experts.
Lisbon is a parkour-friendly city, offering fanatics a safe and enjoyable space to practice, learn more skills, and meet other traceurs. Spot Real is an academy and gym space for parkour and freerunning with open doors to everyone who wants to learn or share their skills with others.
If improving your skills is your main goal, or if you are an expert who wants to help others improve, then Spot Real is a great place for you to visit. Equipped with obstacles designed by true traceurs, you will have the challenge you need.
Ueno Park in Tokyo is a popular spot for those looking for a beautiful park to enjoy, especially during the blooming season. As of late, it has become a top spot for parkour with its expansive areas and wide-open spaces.
The park is large enough to explore with an interesting history you can learn while you are there. There are several staircases, large rocks, and trees to help you practice.
Regent’s Park is a great place to stay active and fit with cycling and running routes, and plenty of open spaces. It is also a top spot to practice some parkour with the concrete structures and the wooden log area.
The creative structure is made of several wooden logs, providing a challenging obstacle for beginner traceurs. Just be careful when it rains as the logs become too slippery for practice.
Parkour Parks FAQs
Parkour is all about discipline and effort, which means the more you practice and train, the better you will become. If you want to become efficient, you need to start by getting fit and reading books such as Essential Parkour Training.
Learning the basics of parkour by yourself is relatively safe. You can watch videos online and read up on the basics. However, if you want to take it seriously and try more challenging moves, then getting help from a trainer is best.
Jumps, landing, and balancing are three main parkour skills to learn. You can practice these at home or in any parks around where you live to improve.
Parkour is a relatively new discipline and is continuously gaining popularity around the world. With a structured association and competitions, the discipline will continue growing every year.
Discover the most useful parkour techniques to get you out of danger, because this is a training manual like no other!
Parkour is an excellent discipline to learn and practice as it offers all-around workouts, mental clarity, and conditioning, and it is a great way to meet new people.
As the discipline grows and becomes more accepted around the world, you can be a part of the movement to advertise the benefits and educate people on these positive aspects.
If you are traveling near any of the parks and spots above, then you should visit these parks and possibly make new lifelong friends in the process.
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