Today was a good day.
Not only did I have a good cup of coffee, walking to a nearby Parkour gym to spend some good hours training with friends,
but I also had the pleasure of watching the best one of the 20 TEDx Talks on Parkour, that I’ve seen so far.
Surely because Bartje van der Linden has impressed with his ruthless Parkour style so many times before – I had never imagined an unfeigned Viking could move so gracefully – I had a little bit of a bias when watching his TEDx Talk “The Power of Movement” for the first time.
But it was probably the best unattempted attempt to define Parkour in a talk. You’ll understand what I’m saying in a second.
What made Bart’s talk so different, is that I could feel that Bart is speaking from his soul. It was not some foggy-minded nonsense that Bart tried to piece together. It was just him, telling his story.
So many people try to wrap their own concepts around Parkour – and I’m sure guilty of doing so – but few can still leave the essence of it untouched, when described.
It was not Bart’s goal to define Parkour, which is exactly why he achieved it.
I’m aware that a definition, by definition, is a formal statement, something rather rigid and short.
Now, to define Parkour sounds like something rather difficult. But the best way to really let people know what Parkour is about, we should tell them stories.
Our stories. Stories of kids, of dreams. Of a better world.
I admit it sounds cheesy. But stay with me for a few more lines and read these notes Bart sent me a couple of hours ago when I asked him how he managed to come up with such a refined talk:
“I had no idea what to say at first. But I just started writing down notes in my phone as thoughts came along, while sitting in the bus or train or under the shower haha.
And a week before the talk I started to write things out… Most of the time I just sat down and talked about Parkour with my girlfriend. I would just show her the thoughts, which I had written down and she would ask me questions about it.”
You see? There is nothing conceited about it. No “finally I get the chance to tell everyone my plans about world domination with Parkour.” No impossible concept disproving the worlds most renowned philosophers.
Bart further wrote:
“There is a lot of different ideas going around of what Parkour really is – and it is really popular at the moment.
When I was asked if I was interested in giving a TEDx Talk, I said yes because of a few reasons.
I feel like parkour is misunderstood by the average person.
And I felt like it was a good challenge, because it was something that I have never done before”
Before I blabber on, deconstructing how, or how not to define Parkour,
I’ll let you be inspired by Bartje’s “unattempt”.
In Case You Don’t Have As Much Time,
Read The 8 Main Points of Bart’s Talk:
(but be aware you are missing out on something)
- The average person has a wrong or blurry image of Parkour due to the misguided representation through the media or seeing only the high-class Parkour videos.
- As Bart traveled, he discovered that Parkour is much more about the silly games and having fun together, than about the impressive stuff.
- The passion for movement connects us, no matter the differences. Through Parkour and movement, we communicate, we make friends. We become kids.
- The Parkour community, combining forces and addressing social issues, becomes a strong force in helping those in need.
- Because Parkour carries the values of a strong community, it offers a taste of how a society might be, where we are allowed and not afraid to be ourselves.
- On a personal level, Parkour teaches you that there are no standardised ways to achieve a goal – to achieve happiness. Rather we learn to believe in ourselves more than we believe in fear. That equips us with a valuable tool in todays society.
- We learn to make decisions quickly – and to trust our decision making skills.
- We start recognising that limits and boundaries are made up in our mind – the moment we realise they are made up, we become limitless.
“Time and time again my perception of what is possible gets shattered by my own abilities.” – Bartje van der Linden
How do You define Parkour? What are Your experiences in trying to explain Parkour to others? Would You add something to Bart’s talk?