Character Talents & Skills: Parkour

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 


Description: A discipline of getting from one place to another, regardless of obstacles, as efficiently as possible, using body movement.  A practitioner of parkour uses one’s own body weight and momentum to scale walls or buildings, vault over obstacles and generally get from one place to another in unconventional and creative ways.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: strong hand-eye coordination and depth perception, a mind for physics, a strong body core, good stamina, cardio and flexibility, having some background in tumbling or gymnastics

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: fearless, decisive, careful, determined, radical, sharp-eyed, sensible, imaginative, disciplined

Required Resources and Training: agility and strength training

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions (and misconceptions!):

  • that only “street punks” do parkour, and it’s usually to escape the police
  • that parkour is dangerous
  • people who do parkour are reckless
  • parkour is a skill for young people, not old ones

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • when creative, out-of-the-box thinking is required to get from a to b (in an emergency when roads might be blocked off, elevators not working, etc.)
  • when one must reach a seemingly unattainable place in a life or death situation to reach safety (escaping a burning building, climbing out of a ravine or crevasse, crossing a field of debris, etc.)
  • as a way to prove one’s worth & ability in a “brawn over brains” environment
  • as a way to prove one is intrepid, not weak or fearful
  • in military maneuvers

Resources for Further Information:

The world’s best parkour & free running

Beginner’s guide to parkour

Ultimate guide to parkour

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.


Image: Farioff @ Pixabay


Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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13 Responses to Character Talents & Skills: Parkour

  1. Maxine says:

    Yes, but how would you write that? Perhaps some tis on writing park our would be useful? I’ve been having some trouble doing that

  2. I have always been fascinated with Parkour. If I had known about it in my youth, I would have jumped right in! Thanks for the comments everyone! 🙂

  3. I never would have thought of using this for one of my characters, but it is a great idea. Thanks for the post!

  4. I’ve never heard of parkour, but it sounds very cool. I can see how this could come in handy 🙂

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  6. i first saw parkour used in the movie Prince of Persia. it inspired a character for another book set in my medieval fantasy world. thanks for posting this. now i have more material to work with.

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  8. :Donna Marie says:

    OK, not only is this a skill I never heard of, but a WORD I never heard of! Thank you for the dual education on this one 🙂

  9. Jan Karol says:

    Jacki Chan was probably an original in this skil.

  10. Alex says:

    I can not only see street thugs having that skill, but also well-trained businessmen who are looking for compensation for their sitting and on-screen-looking.

    I could see a training session of Parkour as spot at which several completely different characters from all walks of life are meeting – that should make for an interesting and uncommon starting point for a story.

  11. This would be a pretty good ability to have. I imagine someone from a martial arts movie being able to move this fluidly.

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