Arguably vaults are the essence of parkour and are a simple means of getting past an obstacle. There are many vaults to choose from for your personal arsenal. Some stem from the artistic side of the sport. Some are born from the free running movement and focus on efficiency.
Here is a list of the everyday vaults that should be a part of your practice. Parkour is a sport and visual techniques are paramount. There are plenty of resources and experts to choose from but make sure you get your advice from the best and then develop your own style.
Use these videos as a training aid. The most powerful tool in your training toolbox is to simply do. Get some time logged and refer back to these videos to fine tune your game.
"Watch, then, do ... there is no better teacher than yourself."
A safety vault is simple and is often the first vault taught in parkour. It's a fun vault and easily builds confidence for the beginner. Jesse LaFlair of LaFlair Parkour has a great tutorial on the safety vault. You might recognize him from American Ninja Warrior or his work as a stuntman. He's a wacky dude, much like myself, thus he gets the first shout out.
Jesse explains the step vault well and his methods are congruent with the Breath Parkour way.
Important takeaways include:
- The one foot take off is a must.
- Utilize one hand to ensure you have room to bring the inside leg through easily.
- A light tap of the foot is all that is required.
- Ensure only one leg touches the ground after the vault is performed.
- Push off with the hand and foot and run on.
The side vault is a simple vault that seems to come naturally to the beginner. Place a box in front of most newbies, give them absolutely no instruction, and they will perform a version of the side vault. Ronnie Shalvis of Ronnie Street Stunts will take us through this vault.
Ronnie's thirteen year old brother is clearing some impressive distances in this video - hats off.
Some important takeaways are:
- Ensure you are that your inside hand is removed from the obstacle to allow for your body to come through.
- Make sure that you hips are forward throughout.
- To vault higher obstacles kick the top leg up to help gain altitude.
- Space out the hands to vault larger distances.
MONKEY VAULT & KONG VAULT
The monkey vault is very similar to the kong vault, both knees come in between the arms for both vaults. During the kong vault you leap to the obstacle and feet will be off the ground when contact is made with the hands. During a monkey vault feet will be on the ground when contact is made with those monkey-like hands of yours.
Here is the famous veteran Brian Orosco showing us the beginning steps to a kong vault. You may have seen Brian on American Ninja Warrior, as he is a regular competitor. As well he is a professional stunt man.
Important takeaways and a few additional tips include:
- Learn forward as it will help maintain your forward momentum.
- Keep those hips up in the air to help get them through your arms far easier.
- Finish in a staggered step and run forward.
- Secure hand placement is critical for safe execution, be wise and test the surface first.
- Land your hands at the back of the obstacle to clear greater distances.
- It is a little unclear in the video but the kong vault initiates with a dive.
- Tuck those knees in tight to avoid a bad face plant.
- Aim for a silent planting of the hands.
I quickly learned the kong vault with a bit of focused instruction. It was surprising just how quickly it came, how natural it is and how fun it is.
MINECRAFT PARKOUR VAULT
A, A, LT, L3, LT, until the second ladder and then LR. I'm kidding, I'm kidding.
Jump over a box, feet first, make contact with the hands …. Dash it.
This vault takes commitment, but is simply impressive. The infamous Jesse LaFlair will take us through this move.
The key points for success include:
- A one foot take off is essential.
- Use your arms, knee and the jumping leg to get height.
- It takes trust but leaning back help tremendously with height.
- Ensure your hands push from the obstacle before the feet land.
My buddy Matt's favorite vault is the reverse. The reverse is a bit more visual pleasing than efficient and includes a full 360 degree turn. Let watch Nick Provost, a professional stunt man, take us through the basics of the reverse.
IT'S UP TO YOU
Watch where your training comes from. Ensure you learn from the best and the best in your area. We've just reviewed five vaults from some of the best in the business. Let them inspire you and give you something to reach towards.
However, never forget that your skills will only develop through practice of the sport, not by aggressively watching videos.