Whats a Jam?

This text will briefly outline the difference between what we (The APA committee) see as effective training for Parkour and social “jamming”.

When Parkour first spread out of France via the internet, the BBC advert Rush Hour, the Nike ads etc, there was a distinct lack of information about the true disciplinary nature of Parkour and the rigorous training required to progress and truly be strong and useful. Enthusiasts would get together at jams and practice the movements they had seen in videos, creating a great sense of community and really having fun, which is one of the best attributes of the today’s Parkour scene.
However what you don’t see in those older videos was the years of training and conditioning behind the big jumps performed by the French, to achieve the level they had, which allowed them to perform those movements safely and consistently. So Parkour jams became common around the world and quickly the concepts of overall strength and usefullness resulting from training were replaced with the execution of single techniques and tricks to a high level. While technique is a huge part of Parkour, it is not enough to ensure injury-free continuity.

As Parkour in Australia grew, practitioners became more independent and serious about their own development. After training solo a few times with the overriding aim of progression, and no one to impress, it became apparent that social jams were not the most efficient way to progress and the idea of solo and group training was pushed.

Training for Parkour consists of much more than one would find at an average jam. Physical conditioning of joints, muscles, and muscle memory are key; repetition of basic skills like drops / landings, jumping, running, climbing, balancing and quadrupedal movement, build stabilisers and awareness which form the basis for over all body control. Strong joints and overall physique greatly reduce the the chance of any injury, and traceurs could push themselves much further and harder with much more control, allowing rapid progression.

After some serious physical training and refining of technique, the basic movements and skills become second nature. The truly improvised, uninterrupted and spontaneous (while controlled) movement that Parkour is about shines through. Also the self progression through hard work becomes clear and a strong motivating factor.

This is why the APA encourages and organises training sessions with a structured approach, to ensure safe and maximal progression in the physical ability and the mindset of the traceur.While the social aspect of today’s Parkour is great fun, quite unique and irreplacable, we believe it comes second to individual progression, and efficient training methods.

We hope to see you at a training session soon !