According to Wikipedia, Parkour is sometimes abbreviated as PK. This makes no sense. Some words really need to be abbreviated. Mononucleosis needs to be abbreviated. Nobody wants to have to go through life never having a more convenient way to talk about mononucleosis. Because when it comes up in conversation (which happens just ALL THE TIME) you’re stuck with a six-syllable word you have to keep repeating, and it just gets in the way. So some words just need to be abbreviated.
Parkour is not at all one of those words. It’s two syllables. It’s not even a confusing French word. You can take one look at it and guess how it’s pronounced. Abbreviating Parkour is like playing Monopoly and referring to Boardwalk as BW. Nobody does it. It’s impractical, and will get you sent straight to jail.
Parkour is all about finding the quickest path between two places. It’s like Google Maps on speed. People who practice Parkour are called traceurs, which is a fancy way to misspell tracer.
Traceurs say the two major concepts involved here are speed and efficiency. Speed makes sense, but the efficiency is what is confusing. In real life, efficiency is defined as “the ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort” (see Dictionary.com). Parkour uses the term efficiency to mean “using a lot of effort and also kinda maybe running the risk of dying” (see TheGBOAT.net).
Parkour is not a competitive sport, despite MTV’s best efforts to make it so. In fact, Traceurs are very defensive about this, saying that turning it into a competition goes against one of the core philosophies of Parkour: encouraging people to work together, ignoring social or economic differences, leading to one big community of people climbing over all the things that we built. So inconvenient.
If you’re keeping score at home, this means that Parkour is all about speed, efficiency, and bringing people together.Turns out, all of our problems are solved by jumping over stuff.
Being non-competitive, Parkour isn’t as popular in America as it is in Europe. Americans can’t grasp this concept. We turn anything and everything into a competition. There are national Scrabble championships. Literally, Scrabble. So naturally, we want nothing more than to turn jumping and climbing into something we can somehow score points in.
“I bet I can think of better words than you!”
“Yeah, well I bet I can get over things a lot better than you can!”
“Sure, but that’s a non-competitive discipline, so we’re stuck with just spelling things.”
Parkour is considered to be a discipline, much like a martial art. It is studied and taught, with core life lessons to be learned. Being a discipline, there are actual technical names for all of the moves performed. What you and I would call a “jump”, Traceurs have like 20 names for. They’re basically the Eskimos of moving.
Here are some examples:
Saut de chat (Cat Pass)
Passe Muraiile (Wall Pass)
The future of Parkour is bright, or as bright as the future of any trend these days. Popularity is growing, with The Office, the Simpsons, and Paul Blart: Mall Cop featuring Parkour scenes. Which means that it probably is headed in one of two directions:
1. People stop wasting time with all the “climbing” and “moving” aspects of Parkour, and just start falling down a lot:
2. Popularity continues to grow tremendously, until eventually people finally just learn how to fly:
Regardless, one thing is certain: as long as we have people who enjoy pushing their physical limits, as well as people who are just in a hurry, we will have Parkour.
I give it maybe two years. Tops.
Today’s topic was inspired by Brett Clifton. Enjoy this post? Hate it? Have a topic you want to hear about? Leave some feedback!