The wall run, climb up and top out. This is the boiled-down version of the three-part “wall-scale recipe” that traceurs have perfected to allow them to scale walls like their monkey ancestors. But whilst monkeys tend to outshine us in almost every parkour move, we do have one secret and ancient ingredient that has allowed us to overcome walls and get to places our ape friends could not reach: tools. From SWAT teams to pole-vault athletes to fleeing migrants, humans from all walks of life have been using their limited tools to master efficiency in conquering walls and barriers of all sizes and textures. It may be nontraditional, but perhaps simple tools are the answer to a more efficient and more human parkour movement!



Using only a wooden pole, the Vietnamese Mobile Police have perfected the art of scaling a nine-metre high wall in seven seconds flat. That’s way over the height of the parkour record!!! Whether you’re locked out your flat or you just enjoy breaking into high-rise apartments, this wall scale technique is sure to impress your parkour buddies. Although it will require you to carry a large wooden pole to training sessions.



Ninjas were a class of stealth warriors hired by Japanese warlords in 12th – 16th century Japan. Agility was the ninja’s key weapon, so lugging around heavy-duty equipment was a no-go. Instead, they carried with them a small selection of multi-purpose tools – one of which was the Kaginawa (かぎ縄), meaning “rope-hook”.  One of the Kaginawa’s uses was to infiltrating buildings- the hook would be tossed up so that it snagged on an object at the same height as the building’s outer wall. Then, in a silent shimmy of black cloth, the ninja would mount the rope and drop down into the building’s interior.  Definitely, a useful tool for a traceur to have under their belt!


When you’re sitting rotting in a prison all day, planning an escape is the only interesting thing left to think about. But getting your hands on wall scaling equipment is not that easy- this has generated an explosion of creativity in the methods prisoners have come up with to escape from their walled cages. 52-year old  Gintautas Urbonas from Lithuania scaled the wall of his prison using only gardening gloves to protect him from the barbed wire and a rope made of hand-towels he had collected from the prison gym. He was later recaptured, much to the relief of the general public.




The ultimate alternative wall scale technique. Using specialised yet simplistically designed flexible poles (and a nice soft crash-mat), pole-vaulters have earned themselves the superhero ability of flying, over obstacles placed at dizzying heights of up to 6 metres! Why is urban pole vaulting not a thing?!!



For some people, their lives depend on crossing walls. Not everyone knows of Melila, the small Spanish enclave in North Morocco and one of the most fortified barriers on the planet. In the African forests surrounding this quaint European town hide many hundreds of people fleeing famine, war, persecution, and poverty, training their wall scales day and night in preparation for the moment when they will rush the Spanish-Moroccan barrier.

 When the moment comes, equipped with ladders made of tree branches and strips of cloth, hundreds of men and boys grouped into teams of nationality storm the barrier in a desperate bid for safety and freedom. To learn more about the plight of these people and their attempts to overcome this European-funded barrier, see the video below:






Cave Drawings Image- Schott, R. Gallery of Skulls, 2017.  https://galleryofskulls.cool/blogs/blog/neanderthal-and-humans-engaged-in-sex-scandalous-new-revelations

Vietnamese Swat Team:

Al-Othman, H. Vietnamese SWAT Team scale a 30ft wall using nothing but a wooden pole. Mail Online, 2017. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4276118/Tactical-team-scale-30ft-wall-using-WOODEN-POLE.html

Ninja Warriors:

Image- The Root of Ninja,Kaginawa, http://www.ninja-museum.com/ninja-database-en/?p=549

Hays, J. Ninjas History, Ninjas in Japan and Their History, 2016. http://factsanddetails.com/japan/cat16/sub107/item498.html

Kaginawa, Ninja Encyclopedia, 2015. http://www.ninjaencyclopedia.com/weapon/kaginawa.html


Pilgrim, T. CCTV shows a convicted paedophile scaling walls like Spiderman. Cambridge News, 2018. https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/cctv-footage-paedophile-escaping-prison-14350727

Pole-Vault Athletes:

Sportkratos, Yarisley Silva 4.90 Oro Cuba Pole Vault World Championships 2015 HD, Youtube, 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUDdc2OSPEw

Migrants at the Spanish Moroccan Border:

Alexander, I. The Crossing, GP Investigations, 2016. https://gpinvestigations.pri.org/the-crossing-eb527318eb76

Vox Borders, Europe’s most fortified Borders are in Africa, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY_Yiu2U2Ts


©World of Parkour 2018

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