WHAT IS STYLE?


Defining „style“
(see Instagram posts #pktheory2 &#pktheory3 & #pktheory4 )

Lets do the first step into the deep woods of the pkverse! And to start off, i should define some vocabulary, to make sure, that we are talking about the same.

As „style“ has always been one aspect of Parkour that i liked especially, and i will use it excessively, i should define that one first.
So let´s look at the word „style“ first, to see how it is commonly understood and used in the Pk scene:

the how-meaning

It is probably mostly used, to describe movement-moments that are particulary enjoyable to watch. This meaning of the word seems to be independent of the actual move – wether it is a lazy or a double back is not of importance – it is rather concerned about the how than the what - how the what is being executed.
The most obvious, and probably the first „style“-aspect that people getting into parkour can understand ist visual beauty. You can hear words like „smoothness“ „flow“ etc. often being used synonymously for the word „style“. Though when you start looking at the how more exactly, you will find that it goes deeper than the mere surface – the looks of movement. For example, there is something as „authenticity“. Certainly not readable for a beginner in Parkour, but definitely in the how-section of „style“.
Or another example: If somebody is doing a run and struggles with maintaining control, but manages to keep going, this „rawness“ can add some special flavour, and can give a run even more style, than if it were „perfectly“ executed.
So we can see, the how-meaning of the word as it is used has obvious and less obvious or even invisible components... and of course we will try to find some of them later on...
There is also a *what*-meaning to the word „style“ as it is commonly used.

The What-meaning

Often you hear something like „he has a spanish style“ or a „flip style“, etc. By this, it is not meant how this somebody moves, but what moves he does. So if somebody „has a spanish style“, that means probably hes doing a lot of vaults, but this doesnt say how he does it. You can do spanish style without style, you can have a flip style without style, etc.
So you can see, the word „style“ is used with two totally different meanings. The what-ness-view is looking at outline, numbers, countable things, everything that can be measured - and labels those as ‚something‘, e.g. one rotation backwards over the head becomes a „backflip“. The how-ness-view looks at the quality of that which is done. The what is of no importance to the how – you can mess up a backflip in the eyes of the what-ness-view, but still have style in the how-ness-view.
Non-pk people (muggles as they are sometimes called by our supreme pk breed) or pk-beginners mostly appreciate the what-side of it – because the how is not visible to them yet or at least cannot be put in words. Though it is easy to understand a double (!) backflip, or jumping from one house to another. It is about the distance, the height, the amount of rotations, etc.
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I would suggest another word for either the what-style or the how-style because using one word for two totally different meanings is misleading indeed (looking at „style competitions“ this becomes clear) – but i will not be able to establish a new meaning to an old word. So i will accept „style“ as sort of a hyper-category, a word describing the shape, outlook, the way how you the how, the what. In the future i will just refer to the how-style with my own words, such as juice, flavour, soul… and i want to find some ways to understand this mysterious juicyness, this umami of movement.