Traceur Respect

traceur respect

    I have always been primarily focused on the discipline aspect of Parkour. In my opinion it's the most important part because it trains your mind. It can shape your attitude, your thoughts, and your life in a significantly positive way. I'd like to share with you all my thoughts on what I consider one of the keys to great discipline. It's a simple little thing, something that takes little effort but can produce a great individual. It is knowing the fact that every person and every thing has value. Simply stated, it's Respect.

Every traceur should show respect for their training, respect for others, and respect for themselves. In this generation people feel that respect is something that must be earned. But I like to change that to respect is something that must be Learned! As I stated earlier, respect is simply placing value on something whether it be an object or a life. Every life and object has had some work put into it so there is inherent value in all. Once you learn respect you'll find that everything changes – you'll be able to train harder and progress to higher levels, you'll be able to communicate well with others and help them with their troubles - you'll be in control of your life instead of letting others command it! With this article I'm hoping to show you a few ways to learn respect for your training, others, and you're self.


Let's start with your training. Why do you value your training? Because every time you train you make strides, leaps, and bounds to a stronger, faster, more fluid person. Training allows you to overcome physical boundaries. It also teaches your mind that you are capable of surpassing roadblocks and obstacles to your goals. With training you get freedom and confidence from your skill! But perhaps the greatest reason to train is so that you become stronger to be more useful. Helping others is somewhat of an ultimate goal :)

So why would you want to waste that, why would you not dedicate a little bit of time to it on a regular basis? The biggest thing we do to disrespect our training is not doing it. We're too tired, too busy, injured, not motivated, etc. This is a bunch of baloney. Every one of you can take a few more minutes our of your day to train a little bit – in fact a bunch of our community members have compiled a list of "101 Ways to Train Anytime" and a "…Part 2" . These are all small things that can assist you in training but it's also good to plan and schedule an hour here or there to dedicated training. The next pitfall is how we train.  Most people "train" by hanging out with a group of traceurs and messing around near hotspots. Remember, this is time you put aside to train your body and mind! Sure, it's fine to train with a bunch of friends and have fun while doing it, but please try to keep it serious:

  • Plan a workout while you're there, get some conditioning done.
  • Help other traceurs by sharing advice and knowledge, especially the newer traceurs.
  • Set up a small run and travel through it a hundred times until you feel you can do it blindfolded.
  • Repetition! Don't just do one monkey vault over that rail, do 50! See a nice precision jump that you would consider midrange? Do it 100 times! A novice trains until he gets it right, a master until he cannot get it wrong.
  • If you tire, take a quick break to get water and breath.

Those are just some ideas to help you keep your sessions serious. You'll find that once you start respecting your training, you're going to enjoy the hard workouts and conditioning that goes along with strengthening your body. You will see that by pushing yourself to your physical limit, you have trained your mind to go past your boundaries! You are now in better condition to help someone else in case of emergency. You will have learned respect for your training.


Next lets tackle a more important subject – respect for others. This here is a great lesson of respect to learn because with it you are guaranteed to be successful in life!  Why do we value other people? Because they are like you. They share your structure, your world, and even share in your life. Every single person we come across in our lives is a contribution – they all have their knowledge and experiences that we can learn from. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions as well. With this in mind, we can learn to respect them and their thoughts because we have our own thoughts that we value as they have their thoughts that they value.

I find that the biggest step towards respecting others is to listen to them. By listening to their ideas we learn those thoughts that they value. When they are finished we can share our valued ideas. Although there may be some disagreement in the ideas, we should respect that each person has an idea and that they are entitled to that idea just as much as we are entitled to our own ideas.

Next time you're talking to someone about your favorite shoes to wear while training, don't bash them because they simply adore their "insert shoe name here" shoes. They have their reasons and if you feel that a good reason exists why they should change their opinion, let them know in a way that shows that you care about their opinion! For example with the shoes, I could say that "I believe these other shoes are more suitable because they are lighter and I feel that lightweight shoes play an important role in keeping your foot safe. " This way I have shared my opinion and why I hold the opinion, without disrespecting the other person's opinion. If the other person feels your point is valid they may change their mind. There does exist a small conflict here – what if you are concerned for the other's safety? Say I am training with a friend and he wishes to attempt a huge roof gap. This would not be the time to "respect his thoughts" and let him go with it. Now would be a good time to "respect his body" and ask that he refrain from doing the gap because it's too dangerous and not worth it!

Learning to respect others is a complicated thing and there are tons of books out there that show different ways but the basic idea is this: Remember that everyone else is just like you – they have their own body and mind, they have their own ideas just as you do, and you should treat them with kindness and respect. Here's a short list of common occasions that traceurs encounter where they could show some respect to others:

  • When a security officer asks what you're doing, kindly explain to him what Parkour is and why you are training. If he asks you to leave, please obey him and get out immediately, thanking him for the warning.
  • When discussing ideas on the forums or in person with others, try not to bash others for their opinions. If a newbie starts by asking questions like "how many feets can you guyz jump!?" don't respond by saying "PARKOUR ISN'T FEET", instead explain how we don't measure our distances and instead we go by our own measurements.
  • When someone posts a video of their movement, avoid negative comments such as "that video totally sucked nuts", instead tell them how they could improve, specific areas and times, and provide helpful links to answer their problems!

While we are discussing respect for others I think it is necessary to bring up respect for other's property. Since we train in a variety of environments I feel that it is extremely important that we take care of these environments. If you break something, you should hold yourself responsible for it and try to contact the owner. Accidents happen and they'll understand as long as you're willing to take the blame and help fix it. I'd also like to point out our "Leave No trace initiative". The idea behind Leave No Trace is one of high respect for your training area. You care for it by cleaning up, even if it's not your trash.


Lastly, let's discuss respect for one's self. I could write a thick book about this subject so I'll stick to the basics. You should value your body because it's the only one you have. You should strive to keep it in good condition all the time. Avoid things that could harm your body -  namely smoking, drugs, or alcohol. If you're addicted, use your training as a tool to help push yourself away from the bad habit. There are numerous stories from traceurs who have used Parkour as a focusing point to expend their energies and release their bad habits!

In order to take proper care of your body, you need to understand how it works. I recommend taking a quick look around the web for information on how your body works – specifically how you metabolize and store energy, how your brain controls your body's muscular functions, and how proper exercise and training can strengthen your body. Also check out nutritional sites and learn what foods you should eat and what to avoid – try and eat healthy as often as possible! Drink LOTS of water, avoid that soda, eat whole grain instead of white, etc. There are so many little helpful hints to get you moving in a positive nutritional step. If you take it one small step at a time, you'll find yourself in great condition very soon.

After some basic learning about your body, you should take the time to learn proper technique and form for your exercises. Check out our huge collection of exercise descriptions, complete with step by step instruction and pictures! Another useful tool is utilizing proper breathing exercises.

Once you have a proper grasp of how to respect your body, you'll need to learn to respect your mind. This might seem like the typical "Do good, not evil" speech, but it's true. Try to avoid negative connotations and fill your mind with positives. Instead of saying "I'll never make that jump" try thinking "One day after training hard enough, I'll make that jump, but not yet!"  Think you can, because you really can. I truly believe that if you set your mind on something and focus on it with your heart, you can achieve it! I find that the best way in the world to do good is to help others! 

Another useful tool for keeping your mind in check is meditation. It helps you clear your mind and be focused on the present. Check out our article on "Mindfulness"  to guide you through the basics of meditation. Once you gain control of your mind you'll find that you can do things you previously couldn't. An example would be fear of completing a certain jump – if you clear your mind and listen to your instincts you'll be able to conquer your fear!

To be strong, to be useful is our motto. By disciplining ourselves we can become stronger and do things that we've only dreamed of. If you learn to respect your training, others, and your body, you'll be one step further on your journey. Please take the time to apply what you've read! Thank you all for reading, I appreciate it :)    -leon

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Written by Paul Mederos   
Sunday, 13 July 2008 17:13
Last Updated on Monday, 27 May 2013 19:03