Yoga, and the Importance of Mobility.

Whether you are a peak performing parkour athlete or a beginner with aches and pains in all the wrong places, picking up a yoga practice could be the solution to fixing many of your problems. Parkour is a sport that when practiced, incorporates a fair amount of impact on your muscles and joints. Overtime, like with most sports, this will develop into tight muscles in your legs and hips and lead to various aches and pains. As we age our bodies become less resilient and we need to incorporate a little bit of maintenance into our routine and yoga is the perfect solution for that. Yoga will help improve flexibility, joint stability and help create a more mindful athlete.

    Yoga can greatly help increase flexibility in your hips, hamstrings, and ankles through various different yoga poses. Poses such as Big toe and Downward Facing Dog really help stretch and lengthen the hamstrings and hips. Increased hamstring flexibility will help you reach and be more comfortable going for much bigger challenges. Holding these different yoga poses also helps strengthen joint stability in the ankles and in the knees, which should then make all of your landings feel much stronger and confident. Whether it be a season practitioner or beginner, increased joint stability will make any challenge or skill much more comfortable to attempt. The lower back is also a key area to strengthen because it tends to take a lot of shock from training and tends to be a common problem area for most athletes.

    Yoga introduces the concept of mindfulness which if applied to parkour can help increase the athlete's ability to stay calm when faced with a scary challenge. It does this by trying to deliberately place the person’s attention on their breath as they are going through different yoga poses. If you aren’t familiar with the difficulty of trying to hold a downward dog pose, most people are breathing heavy only a few minutes into the pose. A key element of any athlete is to be able to complete a mentally difficult challenge with the ability to stay calm during that challenge. There are many ways to try and stay calm in any given situation, however, one actionable way to try and calm yourself down is to slow down and deepen your breathing. In an article written by Martin P. Paulus, MD titled The Breathing Conundrum-Interoceptive Sensitivity, he writes how “Altered breathing may be useful as a physiological marker of anxiety as well as a treatment target using interoceptive interventions.” He continues to write that, “ Manipulating breathing opens the possibility for both assessing the significance of specific physiological pathways in anxiety and as a technique to intervene in order to lower anxiety levels.” Which means that you can use your breathing to assess how anxious or nervous you are about a given situation, in this case, a jump or challenge, and use that awareness to slow your breathing to actively try and reduce your anxiety. However, you can not use a technique such as this if you are not simply aware of your breathing at all, which is where yoga can bring that into awareness.


No matter what level athlete you are it is important to be a well-rounded one. To become a well-rounded athlete you need to be both flexible and strong in your movements and in your mental game. Yoga can help you become physically strong while training your mind to deal with scary and uncomfortable situations. Whether you are lacking flexibility in your movements, concentration, or the ability to slow your breathing and control your fear; practicing yoga will help push you to become a better more rounded athlete.

PPK Philly Team


Routes Competition run-down

As many of you know, here at PPK Philly we value safety, fun, and good technique, above just about everything else.

By Elias Sell

By Elias Sell

Since parkour is a relatively new sport/discipline the competition formats are at best ‘raw’, a couple different main ones permeate the scene, specifically ‘speed’, ‘style’, and ‘skills’. All three of these comps work to reach different main goals of parkour, but we feel like they all miss certain key aspects of the sport. Our solution to this? Create a new style of competition, Routes. We took a lot of inspiration from rock climbing while developing this format, we wanted something that could challenge practitioners of all skill levels, sizes, ages, and genders and ideally could pit them against the course more than against each other.

One key problem we wanted to address was a value of natural skill and being able to jump far/high, against trained precision and technique, a hallmark complaint against speed comps, making it nearly impossible for less genetically powerful people to compete at the top levels. The second issue was the wait times that you typically encounter at competitions, waiting for hours to perform a minute long speed, or style run simply is not fun and doesn't lend to the way we actually train. The third main issue we wanted to address was the aspect of competing against each other instead of the environment. Some practitioners see competitions against other athletes as against the spirit of parkour and therefore think competitions are not healthy for the growth of the sport.

By Elias Sell

By Elias Sell

Routes are generally 1-4 moves linked together ending in some sort of precise landing. The competition lasted for 3 hours, from 7 PM - 10 PM. We had 63 routes set up in the gym. The rules are simple: Attempt as many routes as possible. When you are ready to be judged signal by one of 7 judges that are freely walking around the space to come and judge your attempt at a route. If it takes you one try to complete the route, you earn 5 points. If it takes two tries you earn 3 points. More than 2 attempts will only land you 1 point. You’re welcome to try any route as few or as many times as you like before calling over a judge. Routes are marked with boxes made of tape with clear indicators whether they are for (Left foot, right foot, left hand, right hand). If either of those four appendages lands outside of the designated box the attempt is a fail. If at any point any knee or elbow is placed down or is used to hold weight, that attempt is a fail. Certain routes had specific instructions (have to start from standing, may start from running, must not place butt down during route, etc…). Whoever ends the 3 hours with the most points wins.


Challenges range from 6’ standing pres 3’ off the ground, to 12’ running pres to a rail at height, to 15’ foot lache pres. We specifically labeled each challenge as ‘Kids’, ‘Adults’, or ‘Advanced’ yet these labels were kept hidden from competitors. To qualify for the kids' podium, you had to have completed 1 or fewer adults challenges (and be under 16). To qualify for the adults' podium you had to have completed 1 or less advanced challenges, and any more advanced challenges then that landed you in the advanced podium. Women and men had separate prize pools, yet competed at the same time and in all the same challenges for the same prizes.


Some of the key takeaways we had from the routes comp were the fact that all ages and abilities could compete side by side, pro-level athletes right next to 10-year-old kids, and parkour moms. People who would have otherwise been to shy to compete in a parkour competition, competed because of how you could try a challenge as many times as you want before anyone had to watch or judge you. People who did not like the competitive side of parkour could still train with their friends and have a ton of fun completing challenges without having to compare themselves, yet more competitive athletes could push each other and constantly be one-upping the others on tech-heavy challenges. There was no down time, across the whole three hours you could train and compete as much as you want, or take frequent breaks if you so chose. There was significantly less bravado, and therefore 0 injuries across the entire comp due to not being pressed for time.

We had a ton of fun at our routes comp and will be hosting more soon. Be on the lookout!

The podiums were as follows:

Advanced Men: Elias Sell 1st (167), Sal Gaetano 2nd (157), Ernest Luboja 3rd (151).

Adults Men: Evan Langalis 1st (83), Taylor Jones 2nd (69), Kenney 3rd (63).

Adults Women: Tara O’Brien 1st (75), Kara Parker 2nd (35), Chelsea Marlowe 3rd (11).

Kids: Noah Pizzio 1st (66), Julian Thompson 2nd (54), Jonas Sell 3rd (41).


PPK Philadelphia Team

Mobility and Parkour

As a young athlete, when injuries occur they can usually set you back a few weeks in terms of progress. Whether it is a new move you were starting to understand or a line that you nearly have close to perfection, it can be frustrating having to stop progress because of an injury that may or may not has been your own doing. During these times of injury, the simple solution is usually always rest, compression, and maybe even a little stretching and elevation.

Sprained Wrist.jpg

One of the most common injuries experienced in parkour is the rolled ankle. A rolled ankle is otherwise known as a sprain, which occurs when you overstrain the ligaments in your foot to the point where they are stretched or even torn. Practitioners are likely to come across this type of injury during precisions or landing that normally place heavy pressure on the ankle. When it comes to injury prevention, one essential thing that is often overlooked is simply stretching, and properly warming up before you train. It’s always important to understand proper landing techniques in regards to how to absorb impact and land properly beforehand, lest things get improvisational midair, and more than likely sufficiently more painful. However, in the case, this information arrives too late, worry not, for there are a wide variety of conventional treatments that can get you “back on your feet” in no time. As stated before, fresh, vulnerable injuries need rest to heal, and hopping on them too early can extend the healing time or even make the injury worse. Wrapping the injury can help reinforce the ankle for temporary mobility. Once the pain subsides enough, toe raises and heel-and-toe walking can help rehabilitate the injury back into working order faster.

There are three common ligaments often involved in a ‘sprained’ ankle: the Posterior Talofibular Ligament, the Anterior Talofibular Ligament, and the Calcaneofibular Ligament. Specifically, when one of these ligaments is pulled too far, or even pulled to the point where they have tearing, or just straight up snap, this is the cause of a sprained ankle. A ‘jumpers knee’ is caused by an inflamed Patellar tendon, the front tendon connecting your Patella and Tibia bones, this can be caused by hard landings, takeoffs, and changes in directions frequently, and is common in many sports. When it comes to wrists, the Palmar carpal ligament is most often the culprit, often caused by too much stress from shocking impact, or if twisted at an abnormal angle while any force is applied.

jumpers kne.jpg

Jumper’s Knee (also known as patella tendonitis)  is an overuse injury that you may come in contact with if too much work is focused on the knee. As you’d probably be able to tell, jumping and running are often the reported causes of this injury. The pain, in this case, is caused by the overuse of the tendon that connects the kneecap to the shin bone, resulting in tearing. While overuse is mainly known as a perpetrator of this injury, improper technique is also known to be just as reliable a cause. Knowing your limits is a healthy mindset to keep in order to avoid Jumper’s Knee altogether. Pressing yourself too hard too often will wear out more than your knees after a certain point. As far as treatment goes, rest is still the way to go, and keeping the injury elevated doesn’t hurt either. Quadricep stretches should help with rehabilitation and keep stress off of the healing tendon.

Sprained Wrist.jpg

Finally, the last heavy hitter we have is general wrist strain. As useful as the hands are, they’re based upon the weak and feeble wrists. The wrists are similar to the ankles in the way of functionality, but when it comes to how much pressure they can take, they fall significantly short. Strengthening the surrounding forearm muscles and ensuring proper technique when in use is a good way to keep the wrists themselves from taking too much strain when in action. However, tread very lightly if an injury does happen to occur, as the wrist is relatively fragile even in a healthy state, and the deeper an injury is worked, the more catastrophic and long lasting the results may become. Treatment, as always involves a proper combination of downtime and rehabilitation exercise; this time with wrist rotations, fist clenches and finger extensions. Lastly, always keep in mind a doctor may be in the cards if you’re feeling uncertain.

Overall, injury's are a common feature when it comes to any physical activity, but this does not mean that its occurrence should be overlooked, or its results neglected. It’s best to keep an eye on yourself and maintain proper conditioning and preventive measure to keep yourself well in the first place. However, mistakes do happen, and when they do, it’s just as important to stay cool and know what happened, what to do, and what comes next.


PPK Philly Team

What makes a good 'Parkour Shoe'?

One of the things that makes parkour very different from most sports is the amount of equipment needed to actually start training. With soccer, you need shoes and a ball. With swimming, you need goggles and swimming trunks, maybe a swim cap, but with parkour, all that’s needed is your body (and for most people a good reliable pair of shoes.) There are multitudes of shoe types and price ranges and = it can leave someone wondering if there is such thing as the “best parkour shoe”. Having a shoe that is light and durable, has mostly a solid rubber sole, and within your budget is going to be worth the investment; versus a shoe that breaks down within a month. Parkour requires the athlete to be on their feet, constantly jumping, landing, and running up concrete walls; which calls for a durable shoe, or a shoe you don’t mind getting scuffed up.

One solid shoe choice for anyone starting off with is a martial arts style shoe called, “Feiyue”. This shoe is a great first choice for anyone old or new to Parkour. It may not be the most durable of shoes, but at its low price of $20, you can’t beat the price point. It might last you a few months with moderate usage, maybe less if used more frequently. One of the benefits of the shoe is its thin sole that will give you immediate feedback if you are landing incorrectly, which is very useful when first learning new movements. The grip for the shoe is pretty average compared to most parkour shoes, giving you decent traction on most walls and rails. However, the thinness of it can also be seen as a drawback, because of the lack of protection for the arch and heel. New students shouldn’t have this issue as long as they practice within their physical abilities avoiding careless high impact jumps or high-risk maneuvers. Overall if you are looking for an inexpensive shoe option, the “Feiyue” is a good option.

Adidas Adistar Racers

Adidas Adistar Racers

Feiyue Martial Arts Shoe

Feiyue Martial Arts Shoe

If you are looking for a shoe with a bit more durability while still keeping a lightweight profile, a solid choice among traceurs are the “Onitsuka Tigers, Ultimate 81 fashion shoes”. The Ultimate 81 makes up for the increased price with a boost in durability. With the increase in durability comes an increase in padding though, which can leave a new student less aware if they are landing correctly or not. The price for the Ultimate 81's starts at around $75 on Amazon and you might be able to find a better price on other retail websites. For an athlete with a bit of experience under his or her belt, this is a good shoe to have if they are moving into more precise movements or higher impact landings. The grip on the shoe itself is pretty standard, having traction on most surfaces, however, the rubber sole needs to be worn in a bit before the grip can be most effective.

A highly sought after shoe by many traceurs are the Adistar Racer (Or their Puma counterparts The Puma Cabana Racers). With top-notch durability, grip and build quality, the Racer is looked at by many athletes as one of the best shoes to use. One of the drawbacks of the shoe itself is how inflexible the shoe is out of the box. Because of the shoes high durability, it requires a bit of time to wear them in and for them to be comfortable for training. Normally the cost of the shoes runs in the $90-110 range can be hard to find in adult sizes. In contrast, a shoe that is easily found and at a much lower price is the “Saucony Bullet Classic Sneaker”. With its convenient price at around $50 and even cheaper on other websites, the Saucony Bullet is a happy medium between the Feiyue martial arts shoe and the Ultimate 81. The grip is great right out of the box, durable, and provides enough padding for beginners while also providing enough support for any intermediate athletes.

Puma Cabana Racers

Puma Cabana Racers

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81

Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81

If you want to go out and find your own shoes, here are a couple things to keep an eye out for, in your hunt for the perfect shoe:

Good things:

A one piece, all rubber bottom.

As close to the width of your foot that you can find, too wide will be deceptive and make foot placement hard.

Thin enough to be able to easily feel the ground, and should be able to easily fold in half.

Bad things:

Foam bottoms

Hard plastic arches

If the sole of the shoe is not flat across the whole bottom of the shoe

Overly wide shoes

Heavy shoes, or shoes with a lot of weight.

Very solid shoes without flexibility

Soles so thick that you can't feel the ground

No laces or velcro

Another important thing to keep in mind is that kids shoes often are very solid and ‘brick-like’ you want to avoid this as much as possible.

New shoes are always coming out, and athletes are always making discoveries about what the next great parkour shoe is. Just now, highly regarded Parkour fashion/apparel companies are creating and improving shoes designed specifically for Parkour. Historically companies that make shoes specifically for Parkour, have created low-quality shoes. When it comes down to it, choosing a shoe is always personal preference. Whether you go for a cheaper shoe, a more durable shoe, or the most expensive shoe in the world, do your research before picking what works best for you. Every athlete is different and requires different types of material and you are not the exception. Figure out what you need from a shoe and then go find the shoe that best fits you and your movements.

A quick rundown of recommended shoes by the PPK Philly Staff:

  1. Puma Cabana Racers

  2. Adidas Adistar Racers

  3. Feiyues

  4. Onitsuka Tigers

  5. Saucony Bullet Classic


PPK Philly Team

Saucony Bullet Classics

Saucony Bullet Classics

Philly National Jam 2017


     This year was the first year Pinnacle Parkour has hosted the Philadelphia National Jam, and it was a great success, with over 50 athletes of all ages and skill levels showing up to jump, clean, and hang out! Fun was had, tons of jumps were broken, and many memories were made over the course of the two day jam, and it’s a weekend none of us will soon forget!

     For those unfamiliar with parkour jams, a jam is a gathering of practitioners. The purpose of jams is to bring athletes from far and wide to practice together. This conflux of talent and skill and different styles and perspectives brings the community closer together, in addition to providing every athlete with more complex challenges that may have never been noticed without an outside perspective. Hundreds of jams take place around the world every year, ranging from small local jams such as our Leave No Trace jam, to huge international jams like Lion City Gathering in Singapore. Jams date back to the very beginning of parkour, with many jams focused on giving back to the communities we practice in.

     One aspect of parkour that can be neglected is the “Leave No Trace” principle. For those of us familiar with backpacking and community festivals, leave no trace isn’t a foreign concept. However, when it comes to parkour, LNT is often overlooked. The concept of this principle is pretty self explanatory; leaving the areas you train in as close to the same or in better condition than they were before you were there. It’s hard to get this across nowadays to people that train parkour largely indoors, so we try our best to promote it at every event we have. Our effort at Philly Nat was a cleanup initiative at Paine’s Skatepark, and our community filled up tons of trash bags and left the park better than ever!

One of our younger athletes making sure we leave the park better than when we got there (Photo by Elias Sell)

One of our younger athletes making sure we leave the park better than when we got there (Photo by Elias Sell)

     Aside from the cleanup aspect, the jam itself was a joyride of fun jumps and challenges for all athletes involved. On Saturday, we started the jam at Markward Playground with warm-up games to get athletes moving as they trickled in, followed by a class to get everybody familiarized with the movement potential of the area. Once everybody had some time to train at the park, we gathered small breakout groups to go to pocket spots around the city. Later on, we headed to the skatepark for our cleanup hour before training, then we headed back to the gym for the indoor portion of the jam. Everybody was hyped up and full of energy (Probably from the free food and drinks provided by our sponsors; Bodyarmor and PopChips!) and training didn’t stop until we turned the lights out at 2AM! On our second and final day, after slowly arising from jump-induced hibernation, athletes travelled to the final outdoor location of the jam, Venice Island! It was incredible to see athletes from the ages of 4 to 40, from no experience to highly experienced, coming together and training with one another. The community really coalesced and made us proud to be a part of it. Athletes jammed around the area for a few hours before heading back home, completely sore, exhausted, and satisfied after an eventful weekend.

Bodyarmor provided us with some dank drinks and PopChips provided the snacks!

Bodyarmor provided us with some dank drinks and PopChips provided the snacks!

     Overall, we couldn’t be happier with the way the event unfolded! We give our thanks to every athlete, participant, observer, volunteer, and parent that made it all happen. What was your favorite part of the jam? Let us know in the comments below, and be sure to check out the bonus photos we posted as well!

One of the many breakout groups (Photo by Elias Sell)

One of the many breakout groups (Photo by Elias Sell)

Dealing with security is an unfortunate necessity, but we always approach them respectfully and will leave if we're asked! (Photo by Elias Sell)

Dealing with security is an unfortunate necessity, but we always approach them respectfully and will leave if we're asked! (Photo by Elias Sell)

The community gathered 'round! See if you can spot the lampshade wizard, the trash mountain, and the ginger that was in the sun for too long (Photo by Elias Sell)

The community gathered 'round! See if you can spot the lampshade wizard, the trash mountain, and the ginger that was in the sun for too long (Photo by Elias Sell)

Training Duration: Whats the Perfect Training Length?

     Getting involved in the sport of parkour can seem like a lot. The glorification of the extreme movements by mainstream media make the sport very unwelcoming to newcomers. There are multiple styles to practice that without someone’s guidance or coaching it is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of skills one can learn with the amount of time one has. However, if someone begins to rush progress in their movement practice then they start to risk serious injury to themselves. How much time should someone put towards each skill? How much time should someone train in general? There isn’t a clear cut answer to any of these questions because each person is different, however there are guidelines one can use to find out the answers to these questions.

     If you are someone who has very little time and only has one hour every few days or so to give to practicing parkour then you don’t need to worry. “Perhaps the biggest misconception, when it comes to training, is ‘more is better,’” says Greg Justice, M.A., personal trainer and founder of Kansas City’s AYC Health and Fitness. He says that around 30-45 minute sessions of high intensity work best for him. After training for 45 minutes your body begins to produce the stress hormone, cortisol, which is counterproductive to any gains made from the session. This does not mean that every person that goes out and practices parkour casually for an hour or two with friends is losing their gains. It is possible to go for an hour or two and train for short periods of time with periods of rest in between, which is typically what happens during most parkour jams.

Photo By: Elias Sell

Photo By: Elias Sell

     How many times a week should someone train? We have an idea as to how long we might train for, but now we need to get an idea as to how often. According to an article in “Men’s Fitness” that talks about strength training, three to four total body workouts a week is plenty for most training goals. “As an individual’s cardiovascular endurance improves, they can then progressively increase the amount of sessions per week as well as the intensity, distance or time of each session,” says Justin Smith, a San Diego personal trainer and health coach. Essentially the more time you spend consistently training the more room you will have to play around with the structure of your training routine. Some might want to condense it to two days a week with a very high intensity output, and others might want to keep the intensity low and train with their friends casually throughout the week. In between the high intensity days, “there should be a minimum of 48 hours between high-intensity sessions, as well as many good nights of sleep, to optimize results.” as mentioned in the same article.

     Parkour is an exercise but it is also a skill based sport, and like with any skill it requires a certain amount of time invested to perfect it. Every skill we develop takes time and effort in order to make it second nature, through a process called “motor patterning”. According to Buddy “Coach X” Morris, “It takes 500 hours to invoke a motor pattern before it comes unconscious. It takes 25-30 thousand reps to break a bad motor pattern.” This means that direct, intentional training for these skills outside of regular workouts are necessary to become a high level athlete, however this training doesn’t have to be boring or particularly difficult. Parkour training can consist of challenges and games such as STICK (think HORSE, except with jumping) in order to make training more enjoyable.

Photo By: Elias Sell

Photo By: Elias Sell

     When it comes down to it, you can set a schedule and a routine and train however long and hard you want, within reason. These guidelines are just that; guidelines. They’re not a complete prescription for all of your training needs, they loosely cover what a healthy training regimen ought to consist of. If you, as the athlete, lose the motivation to train, then all of the planning is for naught. This makes your intentions the biggest part of being a good athlete. If you’re committed enough, then your training structure will reflect that. At any point in our parkour journey, if we can’t answer the question “Why do I train parkour?”, then something needs to change, and finding that purpose is up to us.

     How often do you train? What do you do on your rest days? Why do you train? Let us know in the comments below!


Photos Taken By Elias Sell

Parkour and How It Benefits Those With Special Needs

     Parkour, unlike some other sports, is a full body workout that gets kids and adults moving by having them run, jump, vault, and swing through obstacles in ways that they have not moved before. In addition to being a full body workout, the sport improves upon certain fitness related skills that are useful to have if a situation ever calls upon them.  These skills include agility, balance, power, speed, coordination, proprioception, reaction time, and spatial awareness; all of which play a tremendous role in the development of any athlete. Another benefit comes from the social skills that are developed in a gym setting by working with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes. A person with special needs may have trouble with any or all of these things, however, parkour can be an excellent way to assist special needs individuals of all ages.



     Parkour moves individually work different types of muscles, but as a whole, every movement in parkour engages and strengthens the core muscles. Swinging works on your shoulders, lats, and grip strength; while climbing engages the pushing and pulling muscles in your upper body which include the triceps, biceps, and chest. Running, jumping, and vaulting develop and engage your posterior chain which include the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Developing and growing these muscles is simple because parkour activities encourage play and creativity while teaching practical and fundamental movement related skills. The unintentional benefit of recruiting all of these muscle groups is the incredible development of the athlete’s proprioception, which can be a difficult thing for people with special needs, especially those with dyspraxia. Parkour is a deceptively easy way to train proprioception that is also incredibly fun.


     At a fundamental level, parkour is about learning to be able to safely and effectively use one's body in situations where it is needed by developing coordination and spacial awareness skills. Spatial awareness is an organized knowledge of objects in relation to oneself in space. Through the repetitive motion of training specific parkour skills one can develop and sharpen their coordination and spacial awareness. For example, if a child wants to explore in their surroundings, maybe on a playground or even in their backyard, having the coordination and spacial awareness to climb on top of something high or jump to something below them is going to make the child's life easier as well as build up the child's confidence in their own abilities.


     As a sport, parkour not only helps with your physical health, but also with your social health. The parkour community is an extremely close and supportive one. We have meet ups and help push each other to develop our skills in a positive and constructive way. The community consists of individuals of all ages, shapes, sizes, and experience. Another aspect of developing social skills with parkour would be in the time spent in the gym and in classes. In a school setting, children are typically restricted to only kids of a specific age range, whereas at a gym everybody has the opportunity to work with a variety of people. This helps push social development even further than a school setting or a small group would.


     Parkour is an empowering and disciplined sport in the sense that it requires time and dedication to execute the skills correctly.  For the individual, special needs or not, there is a self-fulfilling element to achieving such physical accomplishments. We all have our own obstacles in life that we find hard and struggle with, however by pushing through the doubt and uncertainty, we can eventually look back in amazement at what we have accomplished. This same mindset, if practiced enough, will translate over into how that individual views challenges or “obstacles” in the world.  More parkour facilities should offer special needs programs so that every person can take advantage of the benefits that this discipline has to offer.



Storror Jam Philadelphia - By Elias Sell

Storror Jam Philadelphia - By Elias Sell

The Importance of Training Outside

      Within the walls of the parkour gym, athletes have become more capable than ever. They’re allowed to progress quickly with a relative level of safety, able to throw double backflips into the foam pit for as long as they like before landing them on trampolines, then mats, then spring floors, then hard floors. It’s undeniable that many of our famous athletes and popular tricks wouldn’t exist for a very long time, or at all if we didn’t have access to these facilities. The value in a place where you can drill individual steps onto soft surfaces and progress as slowly or as quickly as you need to is obvious, but where does the value lie in the outside world? Why would you ever train outside when you have a readily available gym?

      There are innumerable reasons to train outside. They range from the highest of heights to the smallest specks of dust, so we’ll try our best to cover the five most important.

1.Expanding Your Comfort Zone

      The first of these reasons is one of the most intimidating for athletes that start in gyms. Training outside takes away the padding and guarantee of consistency and familiarity with the obstacles athletes encounter. There is uncertainty, there are observers, there’s a completely different headspace that comes with doing something outside of the norm in public space. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all of your anxieties when you’re the odd one out, but this also can and should be empowering. Parkour is about overcoming obstacles both physical and mental, and one of the most effective ways to push your mentality is by doing things that make you uncomfortable in environments that can’t be completely controlled. The one thing you always have control of is your body, and training outdoors forces us to know what’s doable and what’s out of our range, which gives us more motivation to get stronger in order to increase our capabilities.

2. (Un)Limited Options

      The cityscape has lots to offer in terms of nightlife, gourmet cuisine, and entertainment, but training spots can be few and far between. Sometimes it seems like the spots that we do find offer us a very limited variety of moves, however it’s more often than not a lack of creativity that holds us back in these situations. Many athletes are characterized by their ability to create intricate lines in mundane areas, popularized by videos such as “Parkour, imaginatively.”(1) This style of training forces you to practice movements that aren’t used anywhere else, which stimulates the creative parts of your brain while also training you to move in positions you wouldn’t normally try. “You should regularly challenge both your body and mind by keeping the exercises spontaneous and interesting. If you can, train and spend time in new environments and you will begin to notice new technical possibilities too, all things to keep your mind busy and your routine fresh...Do something new this week, surprise yourself with improvisation and as long as you work hard, this is a positive and productive way to train.”(2) On top of these advantages, some of the spots outside are so good that gyms can’t even replicate them, such as the massive “Dame du Lac” of Lisses(3) and the dense complexity that is Freeway Park in Seattle (pictured below).


3.Tangible Feedback

      Outside of the gym, it is very apparent how comfortable you are with your movement. You can’t move the walls around or have mats readily available just in case you bail. The ability to scale down and progress towards movements that are at the edge of your range is often heavily reduced, however it’s still possible with some know-how and creativity. This pressure testing is very good for direct assessment of how diverse your movement library is, along with demonstrating your competence and versatility within your library. Having to adapt your body to the environment instead of the environment to your body can significantly improve your parkour mastery. You can also take note of challenges you find outside and work up to them by practicing the same moves in the gym!

4.Sharpening Focus and Mindfulness

      Within our gyms, there are very few things we cannot control. We control the obstacles’ positions, their surfaces, their integrity, and almost every other buildable factor. We also control the weather, the volume, the wind, the toughness of the ground, and the people themselves, who’ve agreed upon rules and regulations within the facility. Outside, however, these factors are often hard, if not impossible, to control. Walls can be dusty and slippery or break if left unchecked, rain can start without warning, a car could honk, squirrels and bugs and people can get in the way, and security can kick us out at any moment.  All of these things require us to be focused on our training and feedback from our bodies while also being mindful of our surroundings. This teaches us how to listen to our bodies more intuitively and block out the unimportant stimuli, which is incredibly important in situations where we have to move quickly or with urgency, when one wrong move spells disaster.


      One of the factors we don’t consider as much when we think about parkour is the people we train with. Training solo is fun and should be part of your training routine, but training with your friends creates a bond unlike any other. Parkour, by nature, is inherently cooperative. This more often than not creates a positive atmosphere in which all athletes are encouraged to push themselves and come up with challenges for the team to attempt. Outdoor training brings attention to parkour, be it from passers-by, media, or kids at the park. This brings more athletes into the parkour world and increases the awareness of the discipline, and if we nurture a positive image and good training ethics when we’re outside, we can turn parkour into an instrument for change. Community is ultimately what will make or break parkour when it comes to issues like the encroachment of the FIG, and we need a strong community now more than ever.


      The list of advantages of training outdoors could go on for ages, but eventually, we have to stop thinking about it and just do it! What do you think about training outdoors? Let us know in the comments below, and come by a Philadelphia Parkour outdoor meetup! Why are you still here? Go train!!!


1. “Parkour, imaginatively.” (

2. “When Worlds Collide” (

3. Parkour Tour - Dame du Lac Climb (


Creative Environments for Creative Minds...

The Periodic Table - By Elias Sell

The Periodic Table - By Elias Sell

      What does it mean to design a great gym?  What does a great gym need to have in order to cultivate the students and people it wants to put back out into the world?  To start off with, it needs to be structurally designed with multiple different routes or “parkour lines” in mind.  It must also be appealing to look at and must have the possibility to make someone stop and think or to affect their thoughts in some way, shape, or form.  In return, those same thoughts should positively affect a person in some way and perhaps make them see an idea that they have never noticed before.  A great gym needs to be designed so that it designs the people that walk through it.

      The idea of Ontological Design is one that is very interesting and somewhat overlooked in certain facilities.  The architecture and look of the space itself will not only affect how a student learns but also the quality of the learning itself.  In a paper written by Anne-Marie Willis, theory of Ontological Design, she claims three important things:

  1. Design is something far more pervasive and profound than is generally recognised by designers, cultural theorists, philosophers or lay persons;

  2. That designing is fundamental to being human — we design, that is to say, we deliberate, plan and scheme in ways which prefigure our actions and makings — in turn we are designed by our designing and by that which we have designed (i.e., through our interactions with the structural and material specificities of our environments)

  3. That this adds up to a double movement — we design our world, while our world acts back on us and designs us.

Here at PPK Philly we try to create a place where our students shape the way we use and train in our space, as well as how our space shapes our students.  However, a well designed facility is only one of two ways in which we want our gym to passively or actively affect our students.  We believe that the utilization of art has the ability to influence people simply by active or passive observation.    

     For example, one of our art pieces is The Periodic Table, it is a great example of passively stimulating the mind in a scientifically educational way. People can be in a cat hang on the wall while unintentionally staring at the elements on the table. In contrast to the periodic table we have a new piece in the works by another community artist. It depicts two hands reaching from opposite sides of each other seeming to touch, but are just out of reach. This piece is being placed strategically over the top of the mirrors that are near the dance floor so that when someone looks at the mirrors their eyes and attention are drawn to the hands floating above them. The artist wants the hands to be an inspirational piece, and have a feeling of helping others, and pay homage to one of Philadelphia’s nicknames, “The city of Brotherly Love.”. She hopes that by having the piece on display at the gym it will inspire other students to help one another in their journey of being a parkour athlete. These pieces along with our current and many future pieces will decorate our facility and provide thought provoking images, as well as creating a mentally and emotionally nurturing space for students to be in. While simultaneously providing new energy and an ever changing feel to our gym.  

Summer Camp - Ukemi at PPK Philly

       Failure is an essential element of any learning process and the movement art of failure is known as Ukemi. Ukemi is a Japanese word that means “breaking one's fall” and is used to describe a method of falling without getting injured. The method originated in martial art styles including judo, aikido, jujitsu, and wushu and has since been translated over to other sports including parkour. Ukemi was designed to study falling techniques related to specific scenarios of a specific sport. In aikido, Ukemi is used to practice falling out of “uncontrolled” throws safely. A similar example in parkour Ukemi, would be failing a front flip and instead of landing on your head, you turn it into a dive roll. Failing is a part of every sport and learning how to fail safely is one of the most important skills that we can learn as athletes.

       Our style of efficient motion, known as parkour, has been around for decades. Throughout those years there have been controversial philosophies about the best way to approach teaching and learning parkour. There are many different schools of thought. Here at PPK Philly, Ukemi is a large part of the way that we teach. We teach people how to fail, not how to succeed. Success comes after. Ukemi (the art of “taking it”) is defined as the ability to fall, roll, or be forcefully thrown to the ground and get up unscathed. Since parkour already focuses on how to fail, Ukemi is a match made in heaven. This art of falling in its modern form originated from Jujitsu over 1000 years ago, and more famously has been modernized with the martial art of Judo. It would be foolish not to study this art. Learning Ukemi just adds another aspect of safety to an athlete’s training. It helps them deal with the fear, uncertainty, and hesitation that comes with committing to big movements. As well as, adding a boost in confidence in training time, which in turn makes training more beneficial. It keeps athletes injury free which keeps their training more consistent and helps them become stronger. Which in turn provides more fun in training because practitioners aren’t as worried about what may happen when they fall.

       Following this, knowing Parkour Ukemi makes you into a much safer athlete, every gym in the world should have some form of Parkour Ukemi in their curriculum. Imagine you’re jumping on the couch and all of a sudden a 200 pound wolf-dog comes dashing out of nowhere, and in a split second collides with you sending your tiny frail body spiraling towards a paralyzing injury on your tile floor. How do you recover from that with taking minimal physical damage? The answer? Your newly learned Ukemi. One of the focuses of our summer camp here at PPK Philly is for our students to be exposed to the various falling techniques that are used in the world of Parkour Ukemi.  We showed our students all the teachable positions of the front flip falling continuum, side flip falling continuum, and the backflip falling continuum.  The front flip falling continuum, explained in simple terms, is taking every landing/falling position an athlete may end up in, while attempting a front flip and practicing the falling techniques needed to come out of the bail with little to no injury.  The same breakdown would happen when going over the side flip and back flip falling continuums.  

       We believe that by simply exposing our students to the various falling techniques that this will make them well equipped and potentially safer when exposed to any falling scenario. The average person, if equipped with even the slightest amount of Ukemi knowledge and experience might save his or herself from a fall that would otherwise lead to an injury. Almost everyone has slipped before, whether it be on ice, wet floors, or a bump on the sidewalk. If you know basic Ukemi, and utilize it, you can go through these potentially dangerous experiences, and exit on the other side with little to no injury. Utilizing this skill ensures that our students are progressing at a much safer and steady pace giving them the potential to be smarter and better athletes than the generation prior. Our goal here at PPK Philly is to create a community full of strong and well equipped athletes so that a new generation can take what techniques we already know and build on top of them, and perhaps even create something the parkour community, or the world, has yet to witness.