For most people, flipping and flying through cityscapes is something reserved for a certain web-slinging superhero, but not for Delson D’Souza. Delson is a movement coach at Chaos Faktory in Bangalore, and an expert traceur — that is, a practitioner of parkour. When we sat down for a chat, he took us on a tour of the fast-paced, intense world of the sport.
An Introduction to Parkour
Delson describes parkour as “efficiently moving from one point to the other through obstacles in the challenging environment.” Of course in this case, efficiently doesn’t mean checking the best route on Google Maps. As a traceur, you need to jump, run, flip, and roll your way through urban landscapes, using the environment as a literal springboard. The sport has a strong following in the West, and is slowly finding its niche here in India, with more and more people gravitating towards it. Delson believes that it’s the visual appeal of the sport that really pulls people in, especially the Free Running Aspects.
Parkour vs Freerunning
Parkour is similar to freerunning — they use a lot of the same movements after all. But while parkour is all about efficiency, freerunning is more about expression. It melds parkour with gymnastics and martial arts tricking to create visually striking movements.
Parkour in Bangalore
Indians have taken to parkour as a new form of expression, and a door to new opportunities in athletics and entertainment. This has resulted in parkour academies opening up across the nation to help build and instil these skills in hopeful traceurs. Chaos Faktory was the first of these academies, set up by Delson and his crew. Delson began his journey in 2010, when he and his friends began teaching themselves how to parkour, and organising meets to train other parkour and movement enthusiasts. As the parkour community in Bangalore grew, so did the need for an environment to teach and support this new sport. Delson describes the role of centers like Chaos Faktory as spaces where traceurs can come together to hone their craft and share their knowledge. “Since then  Chaos Faktory have conducted 10 parkour jams — indoor and outdoor — and trained hundreds and inspired many to kick start their fitness journey through parkour,” he says.
Jumping into Parkour
Parkour is a great way to get into fitness, because you get to see yourself moving in ways you’ve never imagined. It is a sport that tests both your physical and mental capabilities. You need to constantly be aware of your environment and of every movement — even before you make it. “It can be as small as a short distance jump or a big leap. One needs to spend time to understand the mechanics of the movement and drill it to perfection” says Delson. This holistic training helps condition the body, build strength, improve endurance and agility, and develop focus in traceurs of all ages. It also requires utmost patience. You have to keep working at each movement to get a clear understanding of how to do it properly, and avoid reckless movements. Delson‘s tips to learn quickly and safely include:
- Train in a safe and controlled environment
- Take help from experts
- Practice on firm, dry surfaces
Parkour is a sport that is open to anyone who has the will and interest to learn. Experts can move through the environment as effortlessly through flips, vaults, and jumps, as we can by walking. It builds patience, endurance, and well, it looks really cool. So we’ll leave you with a word of encouragement from our movement coach: “I urge everyone to take up parkour as a fitness concept, understand their physical capabilities, overcome fear and mental limitations, get fit, and become a better mover.”