"Know Thyself" - Parkour and The Matrix

APK News By Adam McC
Lehigh Valley Parkour
Urban Current


"The Matrix is a very popular movie, in fact it's hard to find a youth who hasn't seen it. But who knew that so much meaning lies behind those corny punchlines and extravagant action scenes? Who knew that the movie embodied the entire philosophy and purpose of Parkour? Who knew?"

Read More for the rest of Adam's article..

      One scene in particular sticks out to traceurs. The roof-jumping scene. Sound familiar? Morpheus takes Neo into a training program and challenges him to jump hundreds of feet across to another roof. Neo pumps himself up and goes for the jump… but falls. Why?

     If Neo is "the One," which we find out later in the film for a fact, why could he not make the jump? It's simple. He did not have the knowledge that he could.

     This reflects our Parkour philosophy perfectly. How is it that we free our minds and unlock our mental barriers? We cannot just hope that we will land on that rail. We must know we will. Knowledge comes from experience. It must be gained personally through progressional steps. The experience is what teaches us, and makes us sure.

     Take this as an example. If I ask you to jump off a 3 foot ledge, do you know with reasonable certainty what is going to happen? Almost everyone can agree that they know what will happen. Their knees will bend about 20 degrees, and they will absorb the shock fairly well and land upright. Now what if I ask you to jump from 25 feet onto grass. Do you know what will happen? Very few do know what will happen. Maybe our knees will snap, maybe our ankles will break, or maybe we'll roll out of it and be okay. Our experience has not given us knowledge on what will happen. For that reason, it's not a smart idea, unless you want to end up looking like Neo, sprawled out on the cement.

     In the scene with the Oracle, Neo is shown a sign above the door that says "Know thyself." That simple statement is what it all comes down to. We must know ourselves. We must know our capabilities. We must know what we can and cannot do. It is that knowledge that will allow us to advance our skills and capabilities. It is only through self-knowledge that we can find our true selves. The kind of self that is capable of everything we dream of.

     In the Matrix, it is knowledge that unlocks Neo's ability. As soon as he knows the full truth about the Matrix, and is no longer a doubting Thomas (Mr. Thomas Anderson), Neo finds himself capable of anything. This power is not outside our reach. To advance our skills, we must gain knowledge of those skills.

     So what am I saying. That when you have knowledge, you can dodge bullets? No. I'm saying that when we know bullets are coming… you won't have to.

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Written by Zachary Cohn   
Tuesday, 22 September 2009 10:47
Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 22:01