Fear is one of those things that you either run from or you run towards. It is either a motivator or a deterrent. Most people nowadays choose to run away from fear and “play it safe” or to be very “comfortable” in their everyday lives. What I mean by “comfortable” are the people who choose to be very risk-averse and run away at the first sign of a situation that makes them feel uneasy or awkward. However, what they should be doing is running towards that fear, running towards that uncomfortable sensation, and trying to systematically break down their fears in order to achieve the great things they want to achieve. If you are someone who is going to be a peak performer in any career in life then you should go towards fear.
One way of approaching fear from a more systematic perspective is by using incremental progressions to break down the cause that is bringing up that fear. From a parkour perspective, if the jump you are trying to achieve is 10ft off the ground and 8ft apart, you would take that same 8ft jump and bring it as low as possible to the ground and try and complete it as perfectly as you can. Once you can see consistency in your technique and power, you would then raise the jump up one foot off the ground, and then two feet off the ground, and then three feet, etc. This is the the way some parkour athletes break down their challenges. This is only one approach to being able to break down and overcome your fears.
Another approach is being able to try and identify what the worst case scenarios might be and coming up with ways of safely failing and recovering from those scenarios. Parkour Ukemi (The Art of Falling) plays a really important role in someone feeling safer while reacting to a tricky falling scenario. If the practitioner can isolate where the fear is coming from then the appropriate fail or bail out can be practiced to reassure safety of the practitioner, or use pads/spotting in a way that they are sure to remove the fears. However, this in no way guarantees safety of the practitioner but it does minimize all of the individual variables of how, in this case a jump, can go wrong.
A very different approach of how to overcome fear is knowing that you can do something and zeroing down to the base facts of what you can do and not letting the outside factors manipulate you into being fearful. It’s important to fully know what you are capable of and committing to that 100% while it’s also important to choose your challenges carefully. This is an in depth and very complex concept that may be extremely helpful to some. This concept is something that can be pretty intricate, it is the main way that some high level parkour athletes, such as Brandon Douglass, train so best to get it from the horse's mouth. This method is not for the beginner, we would say.
Committing to anything that is new and intimidating can be a challenge for sure. Becoming complacent in what we have already achieved can be an inescapable and easy trap to fall into if you let it. So let’s try to look at fear as not something to run from but something to analyze and conquer. By utilizing the approaches to overcoming fear like incremental progressions, analyzing your worst case scenarios, and trusting in your capabilities you actively take a stronger stance on furthering your skills as a practitioner or just in life in general. Let’s all strive to control our fear, not let the fear control us.
PPK Philly Team