Parkour Kid on the Block

Scott Jackson, aged 21, is an up-and-coming parkour and freerunning traceur from Bournemouth, England. He’s fast: running, jumping and doing flips across obstacles such as buildings, walls and rails. For him the movements are mixture of urban sport, art and philosophy. Anyone can do it with pair of running shoes, energy, practice and leaps in imagination. Scott tells Jameela Oberman how the hippest street sport around has transformed his life.

Q. Can you explain what parkour and freerunning are and what’s the difference between the two?

Technically parkour aims to enable the traceur (parkour practitioner) to move with speed and efficiency passed obstacles; whereas free running has a greater emphasis on self-expression and showy moves. People disagree about this, but I think there’s not really any difference.  When I go out training I don’t think ‘today I’ll do some flips’ or ‘today I won’t, only ‘pure parkour’ because I think that’s limiting. I go out and I find challenges and I work at them.

Q. What are the main movements you do?

The movements called ‘vaults’ are jumps over obstacles by putting the body’s weight on the hands.  Different types of vaulting are the ‘cat passes’, ‘monkey vault’, ‘dash vault’, ‘lazy vault’ and ‘speed vault’. I also do the ‘cat leap/arm jump’, where I jump towards a wall and land hanging off it using my arms to grab and feet to absorb the shock. And the ‘precision jump’ is an accurate jump between two obstacles, and when used between rails it’s an awesome move.

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Q. How do you focus before parkour moves?

My heart rate increases with the adrenalin but I never go for a move unless I’m fully concentrating on the present moment, in order to get the right speed and efficiency. When you’re not focused is when injuries occur. After parkour I get a natural high and hooked to improving technique.

Q. What do you love about parkour?

I get to do cool movements in ordinary places!  It’s about expressing myself and using my body to push limits, getting over physical and mental blocks. Parkour makes me feel empowered in my surroundings – I can move wherever and whatever way I choose.  I was in trampolining for seven years but grew tired of it. It restricted me because I couldn’t move, only change shape. I was judged against a set of criteria, in parkour there are no criteria, it’s just between you and the environment.

Q. – How did you go from trampolinist to parkour?

My younger brother was doing a media project about parkour at school and he knew that I could already do somersaults so he asked me to take part. I really enjoyed it and I wasn’t having fun trampolining anymore.

Q. So it’s the freedom of the sport that makes it exhilarating?

Yes that is why Parkour is unique, the atmosphere is amazing! I train with my friends and just enjoy. There’s no ‘I’m better than you, look at me.’ Traceurs are some of the nicest people to be around, there’s hardly any ego.

Q. Do you apply parkour to the way you approach life?

Definitely, the feeling of overcoming challenges can be applied to life. I take things viewed as obstacles and make them stepping stones to something better. Parkour requires dedication and commitment because I am my own coach; and with that freedom is responsibility for myself – a good lesson in life.

Q. How do you practice parkour and how often?

What I learned in trampolining about balance and control helps with the parkour. But apart from that it’s simply practising outdoors and in the gym once every two months. Parkour is about efficiency and incorporating safety, I know my limits depending on my experience with a particular movement.

Q. When you practice how many mistakes do you make?

Man, I love mistakes! They’re tools for improvement. There aren’t ‘successes’ or ‘failures’, you create a result and learn – it’s a natural feedback mechanism.  Fear is also a good trait to have; it’s another inbuilt mechanism that signals potential harm. It’s good to listen to your body and realise what’s not within your grasp yet, but it shouldn’t run you.

Q- Do you worry about the dangers or is that its appeal?

Danger doesn’t appeal to me – I train situations over and over, safely. People might see me do something and think, ‘My god, that looks dangerous!’ But they have a different perspective, they don’t realise that they have the potential to do parkour too.

Q- How do you gear yourself up ready for a star move like the Quadruple Kong?

That was just me in a gym having fun with friends. In summary – attempt movement, learn from result, attempt movement again.

Q.-Do you get injured much?

I’ve sprained my ankles and wrists and bruised my bladder, but nothing horrendous. My girlfriend asks me not to say if I’ve balanced across a bridge over a dual carriageway, or jumped 12ft between two buildings, and she has little sympathy if I get injured! Haha

[Photo by Scott Bass –]

Q-What is your scariest moment and how?

Evading security guards at midnight when on the roof of a museum in the city of Cambridge. It was an area new to me so my friends showed me around on what’s called a ‘parkour night mission’. The security saw us and thought we were breaking in so a friend and I were hiding on the roof. One friend vanished with a great display of parkour. I was going to talk to the security guards, then our friend appeared and showed the way back down to the high street without being seen.

Q. Haha an adventure, so has parkour changed your life?

It’s given me confidence in my abilities. People limit themselves with negative talk and create self-fulfilling prophesies. People say, ‘I couldn’t do that!’ but it’s not that they can’t, they THINK they can’t. We create our realities with our own thoughts. I like the quote: “In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you” by the writer Deepak Chopra. I relate this to Parkour – it may look erratic but in fact it’s a peaceful, fluent and controlled form of movement.

[Photo by Scott Bass –]

Q.-It’s changed your outlook then?

Yes Parkour’s philosophy has always been ‘Be strong to be useful to others’ and I agree with this. It’s also given me a frame of mind that health comes from the inside-out not from outside-in so I look after my health.

Q. Would you ever give up parkour?

No way. Once I had chronic knee injuries and thought it was the end of Parkour for me. I focused on how restricting it was and how I’d never be able to jump again. This is where my chiropractor helped not only by treating my knee, he taught me that by focusing on the pain and dis-ease I was creating more. I changed my attitude and concentrated on getting better and the knees mended. Where your attention goes, your energy flows. Now I’m studying to be a chiropractor. I see being a chiropractor and a traceur as inextricably linked. Both disciplines create well-being and are about empowering people.

2 Responses to “Parkour Kid on the Block”
  1. Ellie says:

    Awesome interview, parkour is amazing. Something I wish I had the guts to try!

  2. Simon says:

    Hey, I googled Parkour to find out more and found your interview its cool, explains it well. Now where to find my local Parkour group! Cheers

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