Many people misunderstand the meaning of flow as it pertains to the activity of Parkour.
The generally accepted understanding is: moving in such a manner as to seem to be fluid. having movement that links together seamlessly and seemingly without effort.
Misconceptions of it’s purpose include:
1. It is a purpose or overt goal of Parkour.
2. Something that is trained specifically.
The ability to make your movement look effortless is a byproduct of good training, it is not the purpose of Parkour.
“Don’t do the movement to do it beautifully, the movement will be beautiful with your experience and the hard work you’ve put in it. Like a monkey or a puma going over a river, we say “it’s beautiful”, but him when he jumps, he doesn’t think about being beautiful, he wants to do the right movement, the perfect movement to go over it. It’s with the years of training that the beautiful aspect of it appears but at the beginning you have to train to be useful.” – David Belle
Where did this misconception come from?
People not understanding Parkour in the early days. All they had to go off were a few videos of some of the French guys doing it. Just watching videos and extrapolating the meaning from the movements they saw without actually knowing what was going on. They decided that part of the point of Parkour was to make it look effortless. What they thought they knew was not really correct but it has found its way into the common consciousness anyway and has become accepted as fact even when it has been explained that it is not the purpose of Parkour.
Even though flow is not the purpose of Parkour it does not mean that you shouldn’t/cannot train for it. If that is what you want to achieve from your training, then by all means train for it. Just understand where it stands in the scheme of things. The best way to make your movemnt flow is to train your basic movement patterns until they are second nature. It is through repetition, and via that repetition, complete control of your body that one achieves the ability to make their movement appear effortless.
Lastly, Flow is not something that is exclusive to Parkour, it is something that can be experienced in many activities. Another name for it is Peak Performance. This slightly differs from what many people understand Flow to be with regards to Parkour, but is it very relevant and worth looking into. More information can be found here