I don't have a lot of time to update today, classes and such, but I just want to point everyone towards what I think is a very important post by Eliot, an Australian tracuer. The link is here, and the text of the article is copied below:
Parkour: To be helpful, to be capable, to be useful.
We as traceurs train ourselves to be useful, we train ourselves for reach and escape situations so that we can help others when they are in need. Whether it be helping people out of a burning building, or escaping from a pack of guys that would rather see you dead. But should our training go further? Should we limit ourselves to using physical applications of our training?
Most traceurs would already acknowledge that through parkour one develops a new mind set that can, perhaps, make us more inclined to help people in trouble, or to be confident. But I’m talking about taking it a step further, actually going out of our way, in to the community to help people, not just waiting for someone in trouble to present themselves.
Here in Australia we have people from many walks of life, many from wealthy backgrounds, many from poor backgrounds, we have European, Asian, African, American, Latin, Indigenous etc. etc. With such a wide array of backgrounds we are bound to have a wide array of problems, and we do. We face racial problems, moral problems, health issues, physical disabilities, financial difficulties, and many others, for many of our citizens. These people all need help, and guidance. We, as traceurs have the ability to provide this help.
We train hard to become strong, to become fast, fit and fluid, but there are not many that actually train to help those who are disadvantaged. Not many that go out of their way to improve others lives. This should be a key part in our training, this should be as big a part as training physically. This philosophy of helping others and being a valuable member of the community is what sets us apart from other street sports and ‘fads’.
Many youths today face terrible problems such as homelessness, depression, and domestic violence, however there are organisations, such as Youth off the Streets who try and help these people. Our discipline has the ability to appeal to the youth of today and give them a step up, and I believe that we have the moral obligation to further our training to help these people, help them have a new start, help them to become strong individuals mentally, and get back on their feet.
To follow the true parkour ethos, groups should be involved in community activities such as donating blood, raising money for charity, helping troubled youths etc.
I encourage all traceurs to participate in blood donation, events like the Red Shield Door Knock appeal, the 40 hour famine.
Talk to your local youth center and organise a class for disadvantaged people. Find out what programs are being run in your area and offer assistance, you can incorporate your physical training with these philosophies.
Send out information to your local members of government and let them know we’re here, and ready and willing to provide help. Talk to your parents, they know more than you could imagine, and they have connections :)
Get involved in as many things as you can and get the positive image for Parkour Australia (and world) wide out there!
We’re not just another street fad, we are not just a variation of skating, we’re here to help, and we’re here to benefit our community.
“To be Strong, to be useful” - Georges Hebert.
Do you think he merely meant physically?
I think this is something every Traceur should seriously think about. Go out, organize some community service project. Repair and rebuild something at the park where you train, repaint fences, pick up trash, something. It's more important than just community service - it shows the world that Parkour isn't just about jumping off of stuff and being reckless, it shows that we're serious about what we're doing. That we actually do care.