Definitive Guide to Army & Military Parkour Training

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We will take a deep dive into the types of relevant things that are taught at LondonParkour when delivering military parkour training to soldiers.

Fair warning, this is a long article that covers a huge array of parkour movements that are taught at LondonParkour which specifically target Military personnel.

you can use this article as a potential training guide to help guide you with training methodologies, plans or programmes.

Why Parkour?

Since 2005 we have taught parkour to many various degrees of the military, from British special forces, and American Pentagon officials to Royal Marine Commandos, Army Reserves and everything in between.

Parkour has many components and training philosophies that can be hugely beneficial to anyone, not just soldiers. But it has been observed and experienced that parkour is essentially one of the best ways to refine urban movement because of its definitive results... Since it either works or it doesn't. If it works - we keep using it; tinkering with it and improving upon it. If not, we'll find a different way.

The environment is our feedback. It's harsh and real and you can either do the movement or not... There is no cheating in parkour.

For those reasons, it's why our discipline works so well for training soldiers. We only use what works.

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own” Bruce Lee - Wisdom for the Way

To clarify how parkour can be beneficial to military units, we've written up a summary of the many topics that can be directly useful and why. Some of these are fundamental basics, others are very advanced techniques that take huge amounts of training to make effective.

Landings

Impact

TL;DR - Learning to land properly on the foot can make the body use the correct muscles to take large amounts of impact on hard surfaces.

Impact avoidance is at the top of the list for a reason: learning how to land properly can significantly reduce, if not eliminate any impact going into the skeletal system and causing damage.

Parkour practitioners have been jumping huge distances onto concrete with no crash mats, or other protection, for decades. We know how to distribute those forces into our muscular systems without causing injury to joints or spine, and further; have an acute awareness of exactly how much force we can take.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Dropping down from a wall, off a rope rappel, down from a vehicle or anything else that puts even a small amount of force into the body can cause lower back and joint problems, postural issues and dominance in particular muscular groups over weaker ones.

Putting on big and heavy boots that hide the feeling of that force (but do not get rid of it) and putting on large backpacks will hugely increase that force and weight.

Combined with long-distance repetitive marching with all these factors leads to an exponential increase in chronic back and joint pain. Especially in the long-term.

Technique

TL;DR - Having good landing technique will make you move better, feel better and perform better.

As mentioned above, the landing technique enables you to increase the impact you can take safely, but it also allows for other advantages. Most notably, you can now move better. Your foot will become stronger and arches will become more prominent as the muscles get used more. You'll be able to run more and feel feedback from your feet better.

Proprioception is something that goes out of the window when you have thick shoes and soles masking the ground. With good foot placement and landings, you'll be able to become much more aware of how you interact with the ground.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Using the foot correctly is arguably one of the most important things a long-term soldier should learn. You'll spend much more of your time walking, marching and running than an average civilian, so it's important to get it right.

Ask any veteran about their feet, knees and back. How many now have issues? Having a good landing technique and education on it will mitigate many of these issues.

Control & Precision

TL;DR - Your feet are used more than your weapon. Learn how to use them properly and you will become more effective as a soldier.

The art of landing correctly can take years to master in parkour. At the extreme, many can do their maximum broad-jump distance and land with the exact part of the foot that will absorb the impact on a metal railing target, off the ground, no wider than a centimetre.

That type of accuracy requires constant practice and dedication to the craft. However, the payoff is that the control and accuracy of a landing are so precise that most real-world scenarios are usually easier, which gives the practitioner much more confidence to perform under pressure.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Using the foot correctly is arguably one of the most important things a long-term soldier should learn. You'll spend much more of your time walking, marching and running than an average civilian, so it's important to get it right.

Ascending

The art of vertically moving upwards something. Usually, something connected to buildings, this is occasionally referred to as 'buildering' (the name is based on its close relative - bouldering).

Movement

TL;DR - You should protect your body. Move better for longer by not using joints or the wrong muscles.

Within parkour, there are a few key tenets we try to live by. Adaptability and longevity are two that are close to the top of this list. Breaking those down, adaptability assumes that whatever the environment is, you can change your path to fit it. This means that we always try to practice as many different scenarios as possible and make sure our weaker sides are always trained. Can you do the same vault on the left as you can on the right? Jump from the weaker leg? Hang from the weaker arm?

The second point, and probably more important, is the longevity of life. Making sure you can still move in five, ten, twenty and forty years. To do this, we make sure that:

  1. We never use joints as contact points. No knees, no elbows. Structurally, these are the weak points of the body armour. Hitting a knee by accident happens to all of us, and we know it hurts. So we adapt to not even needing to use it.
  2. We use the right muscles to do the job. Having good control over your body is an absolute must. Otherwise, down the line, you're going to pay for bad form and technique. Lower back hernias, tendonitis, tight hip flexors, sciatica, etc... these will manifest themselves if you don't learn how to use the body properly.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Knee pads and elbow pads are used in the forces to protect those joints from impact, but they don't get rid of it. Relying on pads is going to still cause problems. Wouldn't it be better to move just as well without the use of these?

It should also be noted that there is life after the services. You'll want to be able to move just as well and feel just as good when you leave as you did when you entered.

Wall Running

TL;DR - Wall-runs are extremely effective at getting to high places and as practical skills, is one that all soldiers should learn.

One of the most iconic movements in parkour is scaling huge walls effortlessly. Gliding up, full-stretch reach, and gracefully flowing over the top. When you start to understand what is possible by the human body, wall-running opens up the world around you. Scaling a high wall takes technique and training, but ultimately it's something that anyone can (and should) be able to do.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Even in the officer selection process, you need to be able to climb a two-meter wall. This is because it's something they know you will need to be able to do. What if, in battle, you need to scale a 2.5m wall? What about 3m? would that give you an advantage? help you escape? infiltrate or exfiltrate a building?

Climb-ups

TL;DR - Being able to climb onto and over high obstacles safely and quickly greatly increases your tactical usefulness as a soldier.

I'm sure you've heard of pull-ups, maybe even muscle-ups, but climb-ups? These are an absolute essential movement within the parkour discipline. Once you've grabbed the top of a wall, maybe jumped to it, or wall-run... can you now pull over the edge and onto the top of the wall? Sounds easy, right? You've got your feet as well as your arms! How hard can it be? Well... Hard. Getting the technique correct and moving effectively can take years to master. Don't forget that to not use elbows or knees. Both arms and legs should be moving bi-laterally too.

Despite being tricky to master, climb-ups are very, very, useful. Almost every parkour video you may have seen will include the movement, but being unglamorous gets little attention. However, getting good at this skill will open up a new world of walls and rooftops to you.

Why is this good for soldiers?

A Good climb-up technique will greatly improve your ability to get onto and over walls or obstacles. Becoming more manoeuvrable gives you the ability to go places others cannot. Increasing the freedom of movement over the environment gives huge tactical advantages.

Cat Leaps

TL;DR - The Cat-leap position gives you the ability to jump into, and hang; onto the side of walls usually out of reach for others.

This is jumping and landing onto the side of a wall. Usually with a gap between the two. There are a few different variations, but the thinking is the same. The wall you're landing on will be either be too high or too far away to vault or jump onto. Therefore the cat-leap (followed by a climb-up) will get you to the side of the wall, rather than onto it.

The cat-leap is another highly filmed movement. It looks very impressive and can allow the practitioner to cover a great distance between the take-off and landing. In other scenarios, it can be used for movement up or down buildings and moving to difficult-to-get locations.

Why is this good for soldiers?

The cat-leap teaches you how to take impact INTO a wall. How to land correctly and then move on from that position. It allows you to understand your body very well too. Hip mobility, grip strength, wrist strength, external obliques, lats and traps and much more. Like all other movements, it makes you able to reach places that others, including the enemy, cannot.

Traversing

TL;DR - Move along the side of a high wall over a gap. Increase movement options and tactical advantage.

We've covered the cat-leap, where you are on the side of a wall, but what happens when you can't climb up and you have to move along the wall left or right instead? This type of movement is called traversing; which involves moving laterally along the wall using both hands and feet in unison. It requires considerable upper body strength, to hold onto the top of the wall, but equally, the hip flexors and abs need to be constantly engaged to keep the feet up high and moving.

Wide grips mean you can take bigger steps but requires more strength and mobility. However, it can be exceptionally useful when needing to stay below the top edge of the wall and keep moving.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Some places are just not accessible without traversing a high wall with a gap below. Also, being able to keep your head below the edge of the wall will give you much more concealment and protection. You can also move along the outside edge of the top of a house/wall/building, which increases tactical advantage on the mobility of units.

Koala Pipe Climb

TL;DR - Access higher locations and buildings while improving your pulling strength and stability.

Lamp-posts, drainpipes and scaffolding poles. The koala climb is used for upwards motion up these types of structures. Similar to a rope climb except that they're hard and the feet can be pressed into the pole to create tension.

Extremely useful for accessing higher locations that would not normally be accessible. The koala is sometimes used as a landing position from a previous movement too. A cat-pass to koala climb position is used to hone the accuracy foot and hand landings.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Climbing onto places that are not normally accessible already makes this a good skill tactically, but it also helps develop good grip, good pulling-chains on the arms and leverage on the legs. It's a great way to practice core tension and balance (not swaying left or right) while in the position too.

Descending

Very easy to understand but one of the hardest to perfect due to it's instant (and usually brutal) physical feedback from the environment.

Wall Drops

TL;DR - Dismount and drop from high walls safely and with precision. Maximum control and accuracy.

Dismounting is one of those under-appreciated skills that require training in strength and control. The first issue is getting from a standing position on the wall to a hanging position (or cat position) on the side of the wall. In essence, if performed well, it resembles a reverse (or negative) climb-up.

Following the hang position is the actual drop. This requires you to push away from the wall with either foot or hand to create space beneath you. As you move backwards you will have the ability to look down at your ground target to drop onto. Timing is essential because you need to let go at the apex of the backwards push, so you have maximum distance away from the wall. One hand can remain in front of your head to stop any balance issues with the landing.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Dropping with a full view of the landing and with control will allow you to make sure you're landing on the correct part of the foot and not transferring large forces into the spine from heel-striking. Secondly, getting into a hanging position on the side of the wall will decrease the height of the drop considerably, depending on arm-length and height.

Like all other movements, this increases your ability to infiltrate locations with big drops off walls or exfiltrate secure locations where the surrounding walls are higher than normal.

Rolling

TL;DR - Perform larger drops by redirecting the downward force into a forwards trajectory.

Probably one of the most difficult fundamental movements to get right. Contrary to popular belief, the roll is not used to absorb the impact of a drop, nor is there a one-size-fits-all methodology of performing it. Rather, the roll is used to redirect the downwards momentum (that would normally load the leg muscles with all the force) into a forwards one; which can then be transitioned into some other movement.

The problem lies in the fact that you need to be able to perform on concrete, perfectly, every time. Otherwise, it's effectively useless because you'll either be loading the leg muscles too much, or the redirected force will hit a bone or joint and will cause damage.

However, it's also the parkour practitioners super-power. Performed correctly, it will allow you to drop much bigger distances than previously thought safe. It should be mentioned that rolls can also be used for low-gait moving and rapid agility on the ground.

Why is this good for soldiers?

A well-executed roll can be the difference between broken bones and safety. It can allow you to become more confident with dropping larger distances and essentially become more protected and versatile with redistributing force.

Vaulting

In general, any obstacle between knee and chest height can be vaulted. Usually too high to just jump over, or too low to climb on, vaulting is a fast and diverse way of using the obstacle to your advantage.

The main guideline for vaulting is that no joints or bones should come into contact with the obstacle. For the majority of movements, we only use the palm or the ball of the foot. Otherwise the glutes or belly, both soft muscle tissue, that can be used.

Step Vault

TL;DR - Also known as the 'safety vault', it is the most basic and versatile of vaults that will always be the default for all ability levels.

The step vault is always the first vault taught to beginners; And for good reason - It allows you to move over the wall with the minimum of effort required, can be performed very comfortably and confidently, and will only use the palms and feet for contact. It has lots of variations, but nothing can beat the usefulness and versatility of the basic version of this vault.

One extra added benefit is that you can accurately control your entry and landing movements in and out of the vault. This means that the landing can be soft, quiet and impact absorbing.

Why is this good for soldiers?

When loaded up with equipment and having limited mobility; Moving over walls and obstacles can be tough. Using the step vault will guarantee safely overcoming the wall while being loaded with weight or when the need for silence is required. Since this vault can be performed very slowly it also lends itself to stealth and control. Safety, stealth and stability. The step vault should be the go-to vault for any soldier needing to navigate over walls.

Sit Vault

TL;DR - Aka the 'bum roll'. It can be performed fast and without the need for much strength. Good for beginners because of increase surface contact and control.

The sitting vault allows you to use your bum on the wall or obstacle, and with both hands, you can turn around the wall as if just sitting down and swinging your legs around. It doesn't require much strength to perform and therefore it's a good entry-level vault for beginners to use when they don't feel comfortable.

Other than for beginners or artistic reasons, the sit vault is seldom used in practical movement situations other than when other vaulting techniques are harder to perform.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Similar to the step vault, the sit vault is useful for when loaded up with backpacks and equipment. It uses the most surface area on the wall and feels very comfortable to perform. Therefore, the sit vault can be used much more by the military than the parkour community.

Turn Vault

TL;DR - Usually used to vault over a barrier on the side of a drop to land directly into the cat position. Good for quick descents.

The idea of the turn vault is in the name - you turn 180° while vaulting the obstacle. It has many progressions and uses, but ultimately the most common use is on a wall or barrier on the side of a building or drop. It is extremely useful for more advanced practitioners because it puts them into the cat position on the other side of the obstacle.

The turn vault maintains contact with the railing or wall the entire time and, if performed correctly, allows the practitioner to control their position into an accurate landing.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Controlled movement and rapid descents over potentially dangerous positions using turn vaults means the user is strong, controlled and confident. There are many examples of these exact environmental situations - Sides of buildings, over the side railings of ships or naval craft, sides of bridges, blocked stairways, dropping from mezzanine floors, and many more...

Side Vault

TL;DR - The side vault is good for rapid movement when perpendicular to an obstacle. Jumping over the wall using the hands to help take bodyweight.

Easier to be utilised when unloaded with weight, the jump behind the body can be the tricky part to get. However, once comfortable in performing, its a game-changing vault that is almost as widely used as the step-vault.

When the situation, or environment, requires you to be side-on rather than front-on; then the side-vault is the one to use. It's also very useful when used in parkour-routes or flow-training when multiple moves are chained together.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Staying low behind a wall, in cover, then vaulting the obstacle quickly while having the smallest silhouette or shape on top of the wall, means you can be up, over, and down again in a blink of an eye. You can remain very close to the wall, have your side to the enemy, and keep the time in view to a minimum.

Jumping & Precision

The art of jumping is hugely underrated. A skill that can take years to master properly and has a million variations and uses, makes it very desirable to parkour athletes.

Broad jump, box jump, turning jump, wide landings, narrow landings, one-foot takeoff, two-foot takeoff, standing jump, running jump, plyometric jump, precision jump, low jumps, jumping over obstacles, jumping in the wet, etc... Being good at jumping means you can apply strict control on the way you move depending on what the environment, or situation, requires.

Jump technique

TL;DR - Good jump technique means you can control all aspects of your jump to adapt and land safely in any situation.

The jump is probably the most well-known movement in parkour. There's nothing quite like the feeling of jumping between two obstacles, let alone over gaps or distances. It's the movement that requires the most training, the most control, and the most care. As parkour has matured over the past two decades we have discovered what the human body is truly capable of performing, and how to train dedicated practitioners to do things previously thought impossible.

From landing biomechanics and takeoff technique to strength training and razor-precision control, jumping in parkour makes the practitioner able to go where others cannot. It gives them strongman-level posterior chains with gymnast-level control. It's the true superpower of the parkour practitioner.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Strong legs are a given for anyone in active service. Mainly from a muscular endurance perspective, the soldier can march for long periods, over long distances. Jump training super-charges that. High anaerobic maximum-power broad jump technique, while under the influence of fear and requiring control on landing will make any soldier much more versatile, take impact, and move for longer.

From a tactical angle, having soldiers able to jump with confidence means the can go where the enemy cannot. It means they can move with speed and perform without damage to their skeletal structure.

Balance

Balancing on railings is a great way of training your muscular control and exact body movements. Understanding how your body will react with the slightest of movements makes you acutely aware of how to move well (and how badly you can control your centre of gravity).

Balancing

TL;DR - Good balance, at height, takes razor control and focus as well as strong legs. It gives confidence in all other movement and means you have good body awareness.

The idea is to train the body to move comfortably with the minimal amount of surface area available. This then allows you to land from jumps (or precisions) with more accuracy, move over smaller obstacles and have confidence at height as well as access places not usually accessible.

The rail balance is a staple training method in parkour that all practitioners will be subject to from early on. It's the gateway to having confidence in many other things and can be trained mostly anywhere. There are many, many different techniques, challenges and moves that can be performed; all designed to challenge the practitioner to a higher and higher degree.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Having good balance means you can move with confidence over small objects and rails. It means you can move at height and will give you the ability to know what to do with your body when surfaces are not normal shapes or sizes. It's also a very good muscular endurance training method for the whole body - mostly the quads, obliques and shoulders.

Fine motor control

As a supplemental point, balance training is a fantastic way of training VERY fine motor control. Moving slowly and purposefully on a rail takes a lot of practice and smart training.

It usually requires maximum effort to move so slowly and do exactly what you want to do, when you want to do it on the rail. Controlling your centre of gravity takes very small changes of body position, and the ability to know how much you need to move a body part, in a particular direction, means the athlete has absolute control of their neuro-muscular pathways and fine-motor skills.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Fine motor-control means you can move with purpose and meaning. You have absolute control over everything your body does. As a soldier, this skill is something that can help all other moment abilities and attributes. From moving quickly on bad terrain, reacting to situations with precision, and knowing how to control your body.

Fear

'Breaking a jump' is a catch-all term for overcoming a challenge that scared you. You've essentially broken the fear in your mind. It doesn't need to be a jump, it can be any movement. As practitioners, the dopamine rush that you get from breaking a jump is what rewards us and keeps us moving onto the next one.

Breaking Jumps

TL;DR - Fear training helps build mental toughness. Understand how to handle fear in a structured and incremental way through controlled risk.

Fear training is what sets parkour apart from most other sports, pursuits or disciplines. We understand that fear is something to understand, control and actively seek out to overcome. If you're not a little bit scared, then you're doing something comfortable, something you can already do... Which won't progress your ability.

Through managed risk, injecting an incremental (yet small) amount of fear into your training means you'll keep progressing and keep pushing forwards through mental boundaries.

Very rarely is the scary movements a physical problem. It's mostly a psychological one. If the same set-up was created with a soft, comfortable environment, you would no doubt be able to do it... Its the environment and situation that is causing the fear, not the physical ability level. Matching the physical level to psychological level (perform your max in any situation) is every parkour practitioners dream.

Overcoming fear is understanding the process from multiple angles. From experience, anatomically, chemically, bio-mechanically, logically, psychologically, emotionally and reactionary. How you deal with the situation normally, how to overcome the state you're in and move forward by building personal methods to battling it. Understanding exactly what your body is capable of doing and being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Realising which state your nervous system(s) are in and how to influence them.

Fear is something parkour practitioners actively seek out and train to constantly face.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Understanding what fear is and how to incrementally adapt yourself to it is like body-armour for the mind. It's why long term active-duty soldiers handle dangerous situations better - they've had more experience and time to adapt to those situations and build up that mental body-armour.

Also, parkour has been shown to give veterans a way to still experience fear which is usually cut away when entering back into civilian life. Fear training in parkour can keep that process of adaption and growth consistent and constant outside of military life.

Stealth

TL;DR - Stealth Training is a very translatable skill to military work. Heightened control and practical movement tactics training for civilians.

More of a specialism in parkour, and only trained by a small subset of practitioners, stealth training has roots in the training of the founders of parkour and original practitioners who felt that parkour was to move anywhere and everywhere, at any time. Stealth was then sometimes required in places that offered better training opportunities, but requiring more discretion; sometimes during what was more commonly called 'night-missions'.

The point of stealth training was to challenge the practitioner to have even more control over the body, with greater consequences, through better muscular control. Performing parkour without other people around them even knowing they were there meant that it increased the challenge by being requiring silence in their movements.

This also meant that route-setting and planning the journey for avoidance also became a skill in itself. Seeing where to go, adapting to unforeseen situations and bypassing the usual paths of civilians has developed into something that can give the parkour practitioner many skills beyond that of normal training.

During night-missions, there is the challenge of reduced vision and physical ability levels. However, a heightened understanding of using tactile feedback, proprioception, feeling, hearing and even smelling will translate into a much better practitioner who can appreciate the ease of the same environment on a lovely dry day.

Why is this good for soldiers?

The easy answer here is special-forces training, moving under the cover of darkness, moving while impaired and not relying on just vision. Understanding patterns of human movement, infiltration and exfiltration techniques and moving with maximum muscular control in silence.

Slow and controlled movement is usually harder to perform. Throw in scary, nighttime, infiltration stealth missions and its a great way to understand how you'll react to training in worse conditions.

Evasion

TL;DR - Evasion is one of the immediate byproducts of good parkour. Being able to do much more, skill-wise, than regular civilians makes it much easier to evade.

5D Raw Parkour 2 - Cinematic Edition. on Vimeo

Being fast, agile, controlled and versatile over terrain that others cannot go is the key to immediate evasion techniques. The practising of flowing movement through parkour, foot and hand placement technique and spacial awareness will help those adaption skills on varied environments and situations.

Parkour greatly improves the ability to know how to immediately overcome different obstacles the correct way - and therefore move with better response times.

World Chase Tag

A very direct and relevant example of evasion training and techniques is the World Chase Tag competitions. Training to escape and evade other practitioners on and around a dense collection of obstacles. Even though the spirit of parkour tends to be against the idea of competition, this type of friendly competition will hone the agility, control and fine motor skills of the practitioners to a very high degree.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Escape and Evasion techniques are the bread-and-butter of a soldiers training; especially special-forces units. Very quick evasion methods are skills that can be employable within a multitude of scenarios. Immediately able to out-manoeuvre the enemy or capturing forces, can lead to survival.

On the opposite side of the coin, being able to hunt down and capture evading units or individuals through increased manoeuvrability and tactics will give you the edge over the prey.

The Art of Challenge

Challenge is the beating heart of parkour. Without it, parkour wouldn't exist. The fundamental driving force behind the creators of parkour was how could they challenge each other each day... And help each other overcome it.

The whole idea is that without challenge you're not progressing or improving. You're stagnating your growth and skills. The constant challenge, in any shape or form, is what is required to improve as a human being.

Physically

TL;DR - To become better, you should ALWAYS be challenging yourself physically. Parkour is an easy way to add physical challenge to your training.

The physical challenge is the most obvious topic in parkour. Constantly asking the question "what have I never done, but could try to do and accomplish" is an easy way to look at it. In parkour, that could be a new jump, a different tricky route, a climb, an endurance challenge, a strength challenge, or anything else that tests your physical ability.

Understanding what your body is capable of doing and then incrementally going beyond that will help build all physical attributes. It will also help gauge that physical ability. Knowing what you can or cannot do will mean you can accurately judge how easy or difficult a challenge will be. The environmental differences can also act as the challenge - for instance, can you do the same jump in the rain or snow? During a windy day? Day or Night? While other people are around watching you? These are all factors to think about and use to your advantage.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Soldiers are no strangers to physical challenges. Most of the training is built around the idea of pushing them to their limits and then beyond. It gets them to become familiar with their bodies and their capabilities.

Parkour is an extension of this. We can physically challenge the individual is a much wider array of skills, techniques, attributes and methods. Our movement vocabulary is so diverse and varied that constant challenge is a very simple thing to accomplish.

Physical Body Armour

TL;DR - Rely on your body, not equipment. Improve your physical attributes to become confident in your abilities.

"Be strong to be useful" is a tagline that's used in parkour quite often. If you're not strong, then it'll be easier to hurt yourself. With parkour the risks are real, the training hard and injuries happen. To compound upon the situation, we don't use any safety equipment because we want to rely on just our own physical body, not external factors. The reason being that we want to be able to spring into action whenever we need to. If you need gloves, or shin-pads, helmets, or any other specialist equipment, you're not very effective.

Our body-armour is our body. Having a strong body will allow you to rely on yourself much more than any equipment could give you.

Attribute-based physical training

Strength, endurance, fear, speed, power, stealth, accuracy, flow, proprioception, creativity, spirit, control, agility, grit, teamwork, critical thinking, and many, many more are examples of attributes that we can train.

Rather than thinking about a few specific attributes, we try to work on everything and anything. Constraints over goals. We think that it's better to learn how to move better and be stronger than to just be able to do a cat-pass vault.

The old analogy of the 18-year-old farm-hand being much stronger, adaptable and more useful than an 18-year-old bodybuilder. This is because the farm-hand is used to a variety of different challenges and situation daily. Requiring many more attributes than just focusing on the single attribute of raw strength.

Why is this good for soldiers?

The modern soldier should be versatile and adaptable. This only comes from variation and constant challenge. Being proficient with more attributes makes the person much more well-rounded, prepared and useful on the battlefield. Becoming just strong doesn't make you particularly graceful. Being fast doesn't usually help control... Taking time to address all attributes will make you a force to be reckoned with.

Impact resistance and bailing

TL;DR - Getting stronger means taking more impact, which means bigger movements.

Impact resistance is equal to the amount of force your muscles can absorb without damage to your structure. It can also include force redirection, as mentioned in the rolling section.

'Bailing' is the slang term for failing the movement and recovering to safety. For example, not reaching the distance of a jump and instantly adapting to make it into a cat-leap instead. Specific bail-training allows you to know how to instantly deal with something going wrong. From falling correctly, missing movements, to unexpected environmental changes (walls break for example) and not performing correctly.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Learning how to take impact and knowing how to move correctly when things go wrong means that the soldier is more versatile and more confident in their abilities. The soldier who knows what to do when a movement does wrong is one that will survive longer. It also means that the smaller impacts, bumps and bruises will mean less to them also. Their body is ready for anything.

Adaptability

TL;DR - After Challenge, Adaptability is the second tenet of parkour. Move to the environment, shaping your skills to adapt to anything and everything.

5D Raw Parkour 2 - Cinematic Edition. on Vimeo

As parkour practitioners, we tend to think that we can handle many more situations and scenarios that are placed in front of us because that's the way we train daily. To make a more personal point, since 2005 I've never repeated the content of a class twice. Every single class has contained different themes, focuses, techniques, challenges and attributes. This means that students are always required to adapt to the class - whatever it may contain.

Secondly, the content of the class is never explained beforehand either. This is so there is no mental preparation for what's to come. Students must react and adapt to the immediate situation without prior knowledge. For example - if the coach told you before the class that you were going to do 1000 pushups, your mind and body will automatically start preparing for that. Knowing it will be tough means that you'll reserve strength on training before that horrible thing. However, just immediately having to perform the task in the state you're currently in makes you much better prepared to put 100% effort into everything and adapt to the situation.

Some things to note are:

  • There are no rules - parkour challenges can be anything - it's what makes us versatile.
  • The environment dictates the way - walls, railings and buildings won't change just because you can't do something. You either can do the move or adapt the route.
  • Everything changes - The weather, the structures, your emotional state and nervous system, your strength, the surroundings, etc... Over time, everything changes, and should change. Adapting to that is key.
  • Be ready for anything, at any time - When the time to need parkour comes around, you'll be ready. Run from that dog, chase the bus, climb the house because your keys are locked inside, help someone in need, push a car, lift a rock, move a fallen tree, etc... You're ready for that challenge.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Just as it is in parkour, military service in war-zones is rarely predictable. You'll be required to think while moving, make decisions and tackle whatever you're up against. Rather than be worried about that next challenge, you'll know that you'll be putting in 100% regardless of what it is. You're always ready and willing to get the job done.

Parkour Vision

TL;DR - Gain the ability to see the possibilities of routes, challenges, flowing of movement and training potential all around you using just the environment.

5D Raw Parkour on Vimeo

One of the first things that beginner parkour practitioners realise is that we see the possibilities of training all around us. From curbs, lamp-posts, railings, walls, benches, windows, cracks, bricks, signs and everything else around. We see the world differently because we'll constantly be thinking of the multitude of potential ways to move using that object in the form of a challenge.

The other great side-effect is that we become much more aware of what is physically capable by the human body. It's almost always higher, further and more technically challenging than any normal civilian would think possible. This has been proven through secure facility testing (another service we provide at londonParkour) - Architects and security consultants do not understand real human abilities. Almost all, other than the most secure facilities, are woefully easy to infiltrate - purely because they do not understand how people like parkour practitioners see the world.

Why is this good for soldiers?

Firstly, the ability to get good training anywhere and everywhere means that you always have a gym around you. The creativity to build a good session that is challenging to you or your unit with nothing more than what's around you is a fantastic skill to have.

Secondly, being able to see (and even do) what humans are physically capable of doing at a high level will make you realise real security holes, potential infiltration/exfiltration points, unconventional movement routes and how to get to places other people cannot.

The Generalist

Most sports and disciplines require specialist skills and techniques to be honed to be proficient, And it can be said that we have particular techniques and movements too. However, we aim to improve at everything and anything. We want to be strong, fast, agile, powerful, controlled, fearless, balanced, endurant, stealthy, mobile, flexible and everything else...

International Gathering 2019 on Vimeo

We'll never be the best at any one particular topic (however, we're very good at fear training) like the strongman for strength, the ultra-marathon runner for endurance, the ballet dancer for flow, the gymnast for agility and balance, the free-climber for stamina, the yogi for flexibility, the MMA fighter for power, Sprinter for speed, etc...

BUT, we're the jack-of-all-trades: being pretty good at all of these topics at the same time. And when you combine them in various ways, it makes us a formidable force.

Be strong at height, be flexible in tight space, have power with fear of falling, be fast around obstacles of unknown formations, move constantly for long periods - training all body parts without an obstacle course or gym...

In reality, we're the next generation of movement.

Why is this good for soldiers?

The military places heavy emphasis on endurance and strength. However, what if you were skilled in everything else too? What if you could unlock your bodies' potential in all aspects of physical capability. Why specialise when you can be good at anything and everything?

We believe that a long healthy life is linked to moving well in all aspects, not just one or two specialisms. Learn to use your body well for the rest of your life.

Military Training Sessions

Officer physical training

Many future army officers, recruits and soldiers applying to other units or regiments have had private one-to-one sessions with londonparkour to help accomplish physical parts of the entry processes and training.

For officer training at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst the requirements occasionally varies, with combinations of challenges on an assault course that can include :

  • A two-meter wall run and climb-ups
  • Rope climbs
  • Box jumps / Hurdles
  • Rope-climb to higher platforms
  • Strides on logs
  • Steeple bars

We can help you understand many of these movements and give you the ability to train for any weaknesses you feel you may have. Get ahead of the challenge by learning to move correctly and proficiently. Get to understand the best techniques for the job and ways to build up your training to achieve what you need.

Get in contact with us for more information and enquiries.

One-day & Two-day Unit training

Longer one or two-day training for section or platoon sizes covering a much larger range of content in parkour. This is an extensive movement workshop that is programmed and planned for your specific requirements.

The first day will focus upon the fundamentals of parkour movement, the basic techniques and skills we employ; the idea of challenge and adaption; and how to start looking at parkour as a training method.

The second day will start to look at further fundamental techniques, chaining and movement flow, parkour routes and parkour vision. We'll also be looking at risk, danger and fear; and their role in training parkour - understanding how to inject it into your training safely.

Get in contact with us for more information and enquiries.

Night Missions

Specialist night missions are a parkour experience between sun-down to sun-up. It involves moving through the city at night, exploring, adapting and overcoming challenges as they present themselves.

Note - even though a parkour background is not required, the night missions are very physically and mentally draining that last 8+ hours, and therefore require an adequate level of fitness to keep training for the entire period.

Get in contact with us for more information and enquiries.

Other Tactical Services

Infiltration & Exfiltration Techniques

Route planning & parkour vision - Learn how to see the world as a challenge and understand what you are physically able to do. Assess potential routes from a distance with the fore-thought of being able to exfiltrate too. Be able to adapt at the moment and understand the factors involved with buildering and climbing techniques.

Physical facility penetration testing

What it is - Assessing the potential of bypassing physical security measures. We will help you understand the capabilities of the human body. Can an unauthorised person scale a security wall? Access a roof? Go where they're not meant to? Bypass the razor fence? Climb a building?

All of these types of things are what our parkour professionals can help you assess. We'll be able to show you what is possible and what is not possible. We'll be able to give suggestions on how to protect and secure your facility better.

Practical Strength & Conditioning for soldiers

We have no equipment in parkour. Just a pair of trainers. The idea is that the world around us is our gym and most training can be accomplished with simple things like a wall, a fence, a rail, or even nothing at all. We can show you how practical movement training is completely different from all other training because we're doing the exact movement required to overcome that challenge. Conditioning is the key here.

Conditioning parkour movements for power, strength, control and all other attributes are what keeps your training fun, enjoyable and easy to implement.

Contact us