Natural Movement: The Shared Origin of Parkour & MovNat
People all over the world are being introduced to a method of physical education and natural fitness called MovNat. It is more likely than not you have heard of Parkour. Many people know it as a very extreme level of acrobatics in urban environments. People who know it a little better understand that it’s a specific set of skills practiced for the purpose of moving through any environment without impediment. This is where it starts matching up with MovNat, which encompasses the broader spectrum of all human natural movements, but shares commonalities with Parkour when it comes to the realm of locomotion.
These practices were not inventions, but innovations, with roots that can be traced back many generations. Ever since humans started living in societies that removed themselves from a natural way of life, there have been leaders in physical education who have striven to reintegrate those lost movement patterns in our supplementary training.
Even now, there is an implicit understanding across disciplines of physical fitness that we need to exercise in order to make up for our modern sedentary lifestyles. This is the truth, but what kind of exercise? And what about movement outside of exercise? How do we optimize our sedentarism with better breathing and posture habits and consideration to natural movement principles? MovNat gets deep into even the mundane.
Not many people realize how closely related MovNat is to the practice is Parkour. As MovNat seems like a very beginner friendly approach, Parkour has a reputation of being a dangerous "extreme sport", that intimidates most people. The truth is that Parkour can be taught the same way as MovNat, and MovNat can be practiced at the same level of intensity as Parkour. Furthermore there are no skills in Parkour that are not within the MovNat scope of practice.
Parkour is a skill set. This practice is about locomotion; getting from point “A” to point “B”, usually through an urban environment. That could involve running, jumping, vaulting, rolling, swinging, climbing, balancing, and crawling. The idea at first is to find a way to overcome obstacles, then it’s about being able to do that more quickly and efficiently. The progression of training focus goes from effectively making it across an obstacle, to making it across without the obstacles slowing you down as much, to being able to use the obstacles to speed yourself up. Some Parkour practitioners also add an element of style and flare as a way of cultivating control over their skill.