Parkour Footwork: Adaptation (Part Four)


Parkour Footwork: Adaptation (Part Four)

Jereme Sanders


Part One: Step Length & Consistency

Part Two: Ambidexterity & Tempo

Part Three: Entrance Options

General Notes on Entry/Exit


Understand your Nature then Expand your Nature

Understanding what movements come naturally to you comes with time, repetition and awareness. To make new movements and thoughts natural takes even more of the above.

Think about what preferences you have during the beginning, middle and end of movements to help build up your capabilities and/or address your compensatory mechanisms.

Video feedback can be a useful tool for this if you use it like “a spot the difference“ puzzle. You can use your video and a reference of what you are trying to achieve until you can feel when you get the technique the way you want. Some things to keep in mind for progressing your nature…


Learn to dial in your ability to start and finish from different positions so you can begin to blend your starts and finishes seamlessly into your runs.


  • Find Your Preferences: Take off/landing leg/hand, comfortable approach angles, etc.


  • Ambidexterity: Once a basic understanding is developed(E.G. Multiple vaults from the same leading foot) begin to expand this nature (strive for ambidexterity, the different approach angles, starting positions etc.) and strive for the same level of consistency in all your techniques.


  • Reverse Engineer Known Movements: Build consistency in your comfortable movements so you can bridge the understanding of the technique and reverse engineer it to your other side. (think of being able to achieve 5-10 similar repetitions)


  • Learn Similar Techniques Simultaneously: Once you start to feel safe with a movement try playing with it on the other side, with different angles, environments etc. so you can begin your mastery of the technique as early as possible.


Apply the above techniques as they work for you and try not to ascribe to a one size fits all approach. Some moves you’ll be able to learn variations quickly and other ones may take a lot of time. Think about expanding your sphere of comfortable techniques, so that whether you are improvising, adapting or planning your route, you will be able to approach the movements with confidence.



The best plans and training only mean so much if they fall apart when under pressure. This section will touch on the process of developing adaptive abilities so that you can apply your training during performances, competitions, and other circumstances not entirely under your control.

Connect the Unconnected

After you have begun to master and develop the  “natural” movement capacities, be sure to explore and play with the different end ranges of possibility for different movements. A lot of fun and growth can come from attempting to connect 2 or more seemingly incongruent movements. This struggle will help your adaptability, creativity, problem solving and tenacity.


In addition to these benefits you may find something unique to share with your friends, peers and the world. Once you’ve found the movements that naturally fit each other it’s this exploration of fitting in movements that don’t naturally fit and making them work that shows another level of technical proficiency. This is a great intermediate level exploration concept once you have begun to develop mastery in a range of different techniques.


Falling is moving

This idea is something that was first shown to me in my martial arts training and I’ve found it applies just as readily to Parkour. Simply put if and when you fall/make a mistake, keep moving! The more you develop this skill, the faster you will be if and when you mess up during routes. From a creativity standpoint it can even lead to some very fun moments where you can find new movements from these falls. When you watch those that have trained this skill it can be hard to tell what movements they are doing on purpose and what is just a “happy accident”.


Perfect the Imperfect

The perfectionist mindset while seemingly beneficial can also create some adverse side effects in life. It can promote procrastination(I don’t have enough {insert excuse here} to do my best), hesitation(waiting until the time is right) and/or anxiety if you aren’t always doing your best. This applies in the techniques of Parkour as well.

What happens when you don’t have enough run up for that wall run, when the hands slip on the climb up,  and how will you react to a short and awkward run up into a jump?


Let’s be imperfectionists, opportunists that do our best regardless of the circumstances, doing what is needed to accomplish our goals regardless of how favorable the prevailing winds may be.


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