A Jump, A Breath, A Thought

Community News James "Scrambles" DiLorenzo writes...

"Parkour has had a pretty significant influence on my life and I feel like I should show you guys this as a little thank you...  I'm a senior in high school, applying to college this year.  I decided to write my essay about parkour.  A lot of the inspiration for this came from APK, and I think this is probably the first piece of writing in my life that I've been truly proud of.  I don't know how good the essay is, I haven't gotten into college yet.  Thanks for the inspiration.

"The wind rocked my body, tugging at my legs in a ceaseless attempt to send me tumbling off my perch.  I was standing atop a wall, staring across the ground at my target: a thin, iron handrail seven feet away. This was not the first time I attempted to cross this obstacle. The drop wouldn’t be far if I missed, only about four feet or so, and I could probably roll to absorb the impact of the fall. But ‘probably’ is uncertain, and my mind still battled with the primitive, life-preserving fear of injury."

Great essay, James, and good luck with college! 

Submit your news to news@americanparkour.com!

I am a traceur, a practitioner in the modern art of parkour.  Parkour is an intense discipline, much like martial arts, in that athletic prowess and technique accompany a mental philosophy in order to prevent the discipline from being misused.  Parkour is by definition the training of the body to overcome obstacles in one's path by adapting his or her movements to the surrounding environment.  When I learned about parkour, my best friend and I were looking to improve our physical condition for a practical purpose.  In other words, 'be fit to be useful'.  This phrase is one of the fundamental pillars of parkour.  In an emergency, a traceur would be able to escape from a dangerous situation or reach someone in need more quickly.

My training has provided a fundamental part of my growth as a traceur and as a person.  My mentors in parkour have imparted upon me one fundamental message: "We fail because we do not commit."  I was insecure about my abilities the last time I attempted this jump, causing me to land short, bruising my hands and thighs in the process. This time was different.  I decided to move while I still had the courage.

I crouched and felt my lungs expand with a fresh breath of the warm summer air.  My arms swung back; my heart beat pounded in anticipation of the jump.  I was committed.  After finding my center of balance, I exploded away from the wall.  My legs shot out, pushing me forward.  My arms extended upwards, providing crucial additional momentum.  My feet left the safety of the ground and suddenly I was airborne.  My eyes were locked on the railing in front of me.  I extended my legs to meet my fast-approaching target, and the rubber of my soles met the iron of the railing with a resounding thump.  After so much preparation, I was finally there.  I stood up and looked around.  The view was the same, but different.  I had been on this rail before; I had surveyed my surroundings in the same fashion.  However, this time I was looking around with a new light.  I landed safely. I had made it.

It always amazes me to see how much improvement can be made with dedication and practice. I truly believe that the human potential for learning is endless.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks again for all the lessons learned.  Keep flying.


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Written by Zachary Cohn   
Sunday, 01 November 2009 03:19
Last Updated on Monday, 13 December 2010 22:19