Parkour: A Mom's View
Community_News.jpgLynn O'Hara is not your average mom- she was a gymnast, and has great views on life and fitness. She has two boys, Conor (13) and Finn (11) who are both starting to do parkour. APK's Mark Toorock was lucky enough to spend a weekend with the family, including father Ed who is an accomplished athlete in lacrosse and other sports - in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica. The boys also went to a gym session in Long Island lead by Max Henry at 5 Star Gymnastics. Read more for the interview with Lynn and some photos. Or click here to read in Chinese thanks to Lance Hsue!

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M2: I was recently very fortunate to spend a weekend in the Osa Peninsula with the O'Haras; Ed, Lynn, Conor and Finn. Ed is working with Motion, Inc. on a parkour project and the parkour spread through their family like wildfire! During the weekend, we watched countless troupes of Howler and Spider Monkeys, played on the beach, climbed rocks and trees, and did some basic parkour lessons. Ed even joined me for some MN training one day when we each carried heavy rocks up a steep and rocky 300M incline on their family's "Finca". It's great to see the next generation of traceurs learning about parkour in a responsible way and learning habits that will have them training safely (and sensibly) for years to come. Lynn is a fascinating woman with great views on fitness and life, and it is great to see how supportive she is of the boys, so we wanted to get her thoughts.

Community_News.jpgAPK: How did you first hear about parkour?
LO: Well, I believe my husband came home saying “you have to see this video, these guys are amazing”. I was not aware of this sport and was very impressed. When my husband showed it to our boys they said that they had seen it and they thought it was “Mad-cool”.

APK: Why do you let your boys do parkour?

LO: Because it is a positive way for them to use the incredible amounts of energy that they have while instilling in them a strong, self guided sense of discipline.

APK: Do they get in trouble or have problems?

LO: Yes. They don’t realize where the boundaries are. Sometimes, when they are doing it in town they will jump on or over a store bench, or swing from someone’s lamp post and passer-bys or the store owner will see that as a sign of disrespect. I believe that once the awareness of the sport rises, we will be able to petition our town legislators to build outdoor arenas specifically designed for this type of activity. Then our children will have a destination where they can expend their energy in a setting that is safe and gain positive feedback instead of hanging around street corners.....waiting to get in trouble.
[I]t is a positive way for them to use the incredible amounts of energy that they have while instilling in them a strong, self guided sense of discipline."

APK: What is your favorite thing about it?
LO: I think that Parkour is a great form of exercise because it’s always evolving and never boring. It also teaches us the essential skills and conditions our bodies to enable us to get from one point to another, no matter the obstacle. In some ways, I see it as a survival skill. In this society, we are not conditioned to move the way are bodies are designed to. Parkour teaches us to use our bodies at their full potential.

APK: What do you feel about the difference between the gym and being outside?

LO: I believe that the gym is a good place for a beginner because they can learn certain skills in a controlled, safe environment. With that said, I believe that the nature of a gym’s manufactured environment is not the ideal place to ultimately practice Parkour. If only practiced in a gym setting, one will become reliant on the false sense of security and ultimately make poor decisions and fail in a natural environment.


APK: How do you view health and fitness and do you see a connection between Parkour and your own fitness?
LO: In this fast paced, processed and packaged society it is very difficult to live a whole existence. We are so reliant on devices and services that we are out of touch with ourselves and the world around us. My goal is to, one day, be completely self reliant. With that said, I think Parkour will be very useful to me. Although, I believe that I will have to condition my body by means of yoga, for a while, so that I don’t end up injured. After-all, I’m not in my twenties.

I do see similarities between the practice of Parkour and Yoga and I am sure the more I learn about Parkour, the more I will see. Both of them are practices with the goal of connecting mind, body and spirit which helps to facilitate our abilities to navigate our environment.

APK: Thanks so much, it was great to spend time with you, Ed, and the boys! I can't wait to see how their Parkour training develops over the years!

My goal is to, one day, be completely self reliant. With that said, I think Parkour will be very useful to me."
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Written by Mark Toorock   
Wednesday, 24 February 2010 19:00
Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 22:07