Parkour can be a way to many places and for me it’s one way to myself. Sounds woo woo, huh? Let me explain.


When I train, it can be like putting a mirror in front of myself. 

I can see my fears, desires, and modalities all in this one moment preparing for a jump. 

Now, by no means am I a professional athlete making death defying gaps but nonetheless my palms begin to sweat and I hesitate with certain challenges. A careless moment can mean months of recovery. I have to be focused and present, there’s no room to think about anything else. And in these seconds, these are some of the moments where I have an opportunity to learn about myself. I see how I process and deal with fear, I see the way I motivate myself, I see how I react to failure and success and, well, you see the point. By watching myself, I can see my reactions, steer them, and take responsibility for them. This applies to more than just my training but also stressful situations in life. The better I know myself, the more prepared I am for the unpredictable beauty and chaos unfolding around me.


We each see the world through our own eyes, our own sense, our own emotional, physical, and mental tendencies. This makes each traceur’s movement unique and the way each individual sees an environment so special. One may navigate the same route in a completely different way than another. A great quote attributed to Plato is “You can discover more about a person in one hour of play than in a year of conversation,” and I think the same goes for discovering more about ourselves as well. 


Knowing these qualities about ourselves is half the battle. There is as much mental growth as physical in the practice of parkour.  A 6ft distance jump on the ground may be the same as the 6ft jump across a roof for the body, but not for the mind. I think most of the time our physical capabilities exceed our mental allowance; which on one hand is a necessary safeguard for our body to preserve itself but if too extreme, can hold us back from our own potential. We all know the little voice in our head which feeds on negative self-talk. It grows the more we give it, the more we feed it. It can really weigh us down if we allow it to, but parkour develops the other voice in our head. The voice that thrives on overcoming challenges, cultivating a growth mindset, and strives for evermore.  


How do you react when you’re presented with a challenge? Are you eager to pursue difficulty or daunted by opposition? What inspires you to move the way you do? 


Parkour has made a huge impact in my life and I hope everyone has, or finds, their motivation to know thyself and grow thyself!


-Nina Sohn

Synergistic Functionalities Ninja