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Published by: pablitolebre on Apr 05, 2011
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® CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit , Inc.© 2006 All rights reserved.Subscription info at http://store.crossfit.comFeedback tofeedback@crossfit.com
CrossFit Journal Article Reprint. First Published inCrossFit Journal Issue 43 - March 2006
Jesse Woody
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Parkour is quite simply the artof navigating any environmentquickly, confidently, andeffectively with only thecapabilities of your body to aidyou. It’s easy to see that how wellit matches the CrossFit tenets of function, intensity, and variance,but it may seem surprising thatit can also be universally scalableand beneficial. The conceptsof environmental awarenessand adaptation are of infiniteusefulness to every person.Whether you are a senior tryingto recover from a random fall ora soldier escaping an ambush inan urban environment, Parkourtechniques can be applied to a variety of situations. Byenhancing an awareness of your surroundings and buildingyour confidence to overcome the obstacles throughout,you are given the key to a freedom that the untrainedindividual might never realize. To top it off, it’s just plainfun! It requires nothing more than a good pair of shoesand an awareness of a safe and steady progression, soyou will rarely be limited by lack of equipment. Instead,you will be able to apply the state of elite fitness we allstrive for to any path of your choosing.The term Parkour is a spin on the French phrase “parcoursdu combatants,” which is the military obstacle-coursetraining that has been in place since the turn into thetwentieth century. While traveling around the worldwith the French navy, Georges Hébert (1875–1957)was inspired by the fitness and vitality of the indigenouspeoples he encountered. Bythe time his tour of duty wascomplete, he returned to Francewith the concept of a méthodenaturelle, or natural method, of exercise. Within this method,practitioners would run, jump,climb, swim, move quadrupedally(on all fours), fight, defend, andpick up and carry heavy objects.All of these individual aspectswould be practiced randomly,either within a parcours courseor in the natural environment.By moving the body in manyvaried and functional ways, herealized, an individual couldbecome a true specimen of health and vitality. Hébertalso realized that the moral and mental faculties wouldneed to be strengthened as well, and that any methodthat improved the body at the expense of the mindwas doomed to failure. His personal motto “Be strongto be useful” (Etre fort pour être utile) illustrates thiscompletely. Between the two world wars Hébert’sconcepts of the natural method were established asstandard physical training for the French military. Hisconcepts became the means for improving both thephysical prowess and mental and emotional characterof the soldiers in training.Years later David Belle was taught these ideas of functional movement, useful physical skill, and theimprovement of character by his father Raymond Belle,a firefighter and officer in the French military. Afterbeing involved with various sports in his young life,

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