If you were to count all the different hobbies I’ve tried out in my life, it would amount to an almost-laughable number. Very few people have the audacity to abandon one thing for a completely different experience, obviously because that wouldn’t be too practical. I’ve jumped from drawing to photography to writing to football, and so on. It’s embarrassing to admit, yet I am quite sure there have been a few people who have noticed and questioned my fickleness when it comes to dreams and aspirations…especially now that I have gotten myself into a new ‘thing’.
You ready to find out what Raffy has been up to recently??
Yes, the fine art of movement, to put it simply. Of course there’s this whole debate regarding parkour and freerunning, but it’s safe to say I do both now. What brought me to do join up? Friends. My ‘hobby’ before this was of course football, ever since a combined enthusiasm bomb that affected my life forever, consisting of the 2010 South Africa World Cup and the famous Vietnam triumphs of the Azkals. I have dedicated parts of my time into learning how to play football. The trouble was I had no friends nearby to train with, neither were there any fields to play in. I did have a few acquaintances that I played with, but most of them played far from home. There was even a time when I was so desperate to play, I attended a futsal training session at the Ateneo covered courts. I live in Parañaque. It just wouldn’t work out.
With parkour, however, I have friends, close friends who train regularly a bike ride away from home. I cannot stress enough how huge a help this is. Not only can I give my all in every training without worrying about how the hell I was going home that night, I also am with people that I have known since grade school. That added sense of camaraderie and brotherhood makes training even more of a pleasure.
After saying all that about the geographic and social advantages of practicing parkour, however, it has to be said that the main reason I am so in love with this sport comes down to the values that you learn just by learning all the moves. It requires an immense amount of courage to do parkour because it requires you to subject your body in situations and positions it is not used to being in. Each new move is terrifying to learn, and yet it is that fear that makes it such a pleasure to overcome. Every training session, and I mean each and every one of them, will consist of you conquering new fears; otherwise you aren’t doing it right. That practice of conquering fear in any shape or form, with the right mindset, can be translated into the real world. The discipline, the courage, the perseverance–all of those things you can learn in parkour.
And who can even ignore the raging popularity of parkour/freerunning now in the world of video games. The thirst for spatial expansion within virtual worlds calls for vertical navigation, and of course, freerunning is the answer to this. From Assassin’s Creed to Mirror’s Edge to Watch_Dog, parkour is everywhere, and so learning how to do it in real life is a kind of dream come true. The whole point of video games is to bring you to places you can’t go to in the real world, but parkour enables you to emulate some of your favorite heroes’ with the way they explore the world. Just imagine how much different the world looks like from the top of a tree, a water tank, a skycraper, or even the top of a huge bridge. Seeking that perspective is the final thing I’d like to share about the beauty of this hobby.
As humans, we have this nomad complex that urges us to leave our homes even just for a while to seek new destinations. Anthropologically speaking, this was a natural reaction to humans exhausting food sources. But being the rational, sentimental beings that we are, we have romanticized the act of travelling. We have invented the concept of adventure, to spice up what is otherwise a mundane and arduous activity. Parkour enables you to reinvent home in countless other ways, depending on your creativity. Any place is your playground, and every training session is a micro-adventure of its own. We traceurs relish the sight of ledges and bars and poles and trees, because each present a new obstacle to overcome, a new colossus to conquer. It’s that unusual, child-like view of the world that tells me I need parkour in my life.