Parkour: A Snapshot

Picture a man running across the rooftops, jumping between ladders of fire escapes and pulling himself up ledges. No, this isn’t a police drama or one of those superhero movies. This is the very real sport of Parkour, and to its practitioners jumping between rooftops is as common as your morning jog.

The extreme sport of Parkour focuses on using the environment that you are surrounded with as your own personal gymnasium. Your fire escape becomes a jungle gym and your rooftop an obstacle course. It is the ultimate test of man verses the urban landscape, with the peak of physical fitness as the ultimate prize. Practicing Parkour doesn’t require any kind of fancy equipment other than any available structure that can easily be found in your own neighborhood and some athletic clothing. Check out UltimateParkourGear for some parkour shoe recommendations.

Some would write off Parkour as one of those fad workouts that seem to pop up once a generation, but the reality is that Parkour has been around for a very long time. Variations of it are practiced by everyone from primitive tribes to modern military units. It developed over the course of a century, but only became popular in the last two decades.

Modern Parkour is based on concepts introduced by Sébastien Foucan, the father of free running. He was not only a fitness guru, but also a philosopher who stressed following a journey that was more important than the goal. Foucan believed that one should find a positive environment and respect that environment. This balance was instrumental to success as a free runner, whose lack of balance could be dangerous or even fatal. Foucon’s success is manifold, and his free running skills have earned him roles in Hollywood movies such as his spectacular turn as James Bond Villain Molakka in 2006’s Casino Royale.

Parkour developed as a separate discipline under David Belle in the 1990’s, when his famous series of videos popularized the sport. He credits his father Raymond Belle, a daredevil Parisian fireman, as being the true founder of the sport. Since then, Parkour has grown to be a global phenomenon practiced by thousands worldwide. Belle does not seek out the spotlight as much as Foucan, but he is a respected authority on the discipline that he made a fully functioning sport.

Although it is a physically challenging discipline, it is surprising how much of Parkour is mental. It relies on all the major muscle groups as a form of locomotion, but most important is that its practitioner begin every session by visualizing a specific goal. Reaching this all-but-inaccessible location requires as much brains as it does brawn. The goal must be reached while maintaining as much momentum as is safely possible. The notion of safety is very important, as good judgment and honest appraisal of your own physical abilities is essential to success in Parkour.

The sport does have its critics, as well as those who are simply concerned with the dangers involved. Practitioner often refuse to wear any kind of safety equipment in order to give consequence to their actions. Fear as motivation is an important part of how the sport developed.  The element of danger, however, is inseparable from the sport. What is beyond debate is that it pushes both muscular and cardiovascular fitness to the limit in the quest to attain total body fitness.

Important Tips for Digital Privacy

One of the biggest concerns we have always got to remain vigilant towards is our own personal information. In the olden days there used to be unsolicited phone calls from strangers offering you vast family riches or vacation vouchers for just a bit of your private information. Now though that medium has translated and exploded in the digital age. But it’s not just emails anymore. You need to be vigilant towards every place you enter in private information and you need to  be your own best steward towards digital safety.

Know Your Source: You might think that when you are entering information related back to a query you have done, that your information is going to be secure. But one of the biggest caveats to digital privacy is that we are often our own worst enemy. Just because you have done a search or entered in a URL for what you think you’re looking for, that’s not always correct. You need to be sure that anytime you are submitting information anywhere that you are giving it to the right destination. If you are entering information like your address, mother’s maiden name, or Social Security number you should be positive that the destination for this information are those you’ve intended. Just because you clicked on a link from a trusted website doesn’t mean that the place you are going to is also one which should be trusted.  If there is ever any question in your mind about the place your information is going it is far better planned out that you withhold this information until you can verify and validate the place that it’s headed and the use that’s intended.

Limited Use: Come to think of it another reason that too many people have their information compromised is that they are applying for credit cards, memberships and other spots that ask for too much information too often. It only takes one time but if you are signing up for a magazine subscription or something that’s not really vital for them to know too much information, you might want to just put a cap on what you’re willing to give out on the front end. If you’re not comfortable giving out the information requested it’s a better idea to just hold off and see if you can’t get an explanation as to why they need such private information.

Credit Reports: Another great tool in getting to the bottom of your personal information and keeping it all private is keeping tabs on your credit report. If you get an annual credit report and you see some suspicious activity like accounts you don’t recognize or transactions you didn’t authorize, you can sound the alarm and your profile can be investigated further.

We all need to do our own part to prevent digital information breeches. If you keep after the information about you that’s floating around and limit and monitor who you’re giving what, you are bound to be much better off in the end.