Parkour (Don’t Say Hardcore)


Max Nordquist

Max Nordquist

I’ve been doing parkour seriously for around 5 years. During this time I’ve learned a lot not only about parkour but also about myself. Parkour is a very obscure sport that the general public looks at differently than others. I get a lot of different reactions when I tell people I do parkour, but the majority of them are either confused and ask what parkour is or they think I’m joking because their idea of parkour comes from popular culture in which parkour is misrepresented. As a parkour athlete, it is incredibly hard to respond to both of these, because telling someone what parkour “is” is almost impossible. For reference one of the best parkour athletes tried to define parkour and he ended up writing a book. So in the next few paragraphs, I will try to convey the idea of parkour to you.

Parkour is a very community-based sport. Similar to skating and other “action sports” there is a parkour culture. This culture is the basis of what parkour “is”. Parkour culture is about open-mindedness, creativity, progression, community, happiness, etc. Parkour is less about what movement you’re doing but more about the mentality you have while doing it. Parkour isn’t about being the best or beating others. Because there are so many different styles and forms of parkour it’s more about appreciating the movement of others and pushing the progression of the sport as a whole.

Parkour culture is a full culture so there’s a lot that goes into it and it would be nearly impossible to describe every detail. But parkour culture, as broad as I could describe it, is anti-ego and anti-narcissism. The reason for doing parkour shouldn’t be to gain popularity or to impress people. It’s about finding who you are and how you like to convey yourself through movement. While that’s not most people’s intention when they first start, most of us find ourselves hooked to it and it becomes a massive part of our lives. 

Now that’s a very deep message for something that’s just a hobby, but I’d say for most of us it’s a lifestyle. Parkour is how we express ourselves. There are so many different styles of parkour and most of the time the person’s style matches their personality. If you know me as a person my movement looks like how I act. We see parkour as an art. Because our view of parkour is as an art and we hope to preserve that, it makes it harder for the general public to understand what it is. 

This causes a disconnect between us as a community and the rest of the public. The general public doesn’t understand what we’re doing when we’re jumping on walls rather than leaning on them. Many people look at it as childish, dangerous, or even stupid. This leads to us getting kicked off of spots, getting confronted by people, getting “Hardcore Parkour” yelled at us, and other inconveniences. The majority of people don’t get that parkour is a lifestyle. We don’t do it for reactions or to boost our ego. We do it to make friends, be happy, and explore who we are. 

Parkour is a confusing concept. It is very broad and yet so secluded. The community has repeatedly distanced itself from gymnastics and other outside corporations, even though it could boost the popularity of the sport. This is because we don’t want this misrepresentation of parkour to be taken further. With the implementation of corporations, parkour becomes commercialized and that would be the downfall of community and culture because the big business then decides what the image of parkour will be. This is what we hope to avoid. We hope to preserve the community and culture we have. We aren’t gymnasts or Olympians. We are parkour athletes.

(Pictured is our parkour group in Missoula)