How to Escape Captivity: Practical Parkour Techniques to Escape Pursuit

Escaping from pursuers is a key aspect of escaping being held captive.  Once you are free of your restraints you need to be able to get away quickly and escape because your captors are definitely going to pursue you.  Free running, also known as parkour is the method of taking the most direct path, often over obstacles, gaps, or other things that may in fact slow down your pursuers and trip them up which can give you the advantage you need to escape.  Animals in nature do this as well.  Rabbits are well known for living in thick brush and thorny brambles, because if they can make it from open ground into the brambles, their predators are going to have a much harder time trying to catch them.

Parkour has been featured in several films, including a scene in James Bond where Bond is pursuing someone and they use parkour to try to get away from him. Check it out below as well as moves that could help you escape.

Gear Needed

There’s not actually any real gear needed to do parkour.  We do want to recommend some parkour friendly shoes, especially when training.  Most running shoes in today’s world have big, soft, cushioney heels that get in the way in parkour and can actually wind up causing injuries during landings and such.  Most parkour pro’s and practitioners prefer zero drop shoes, meaning the entire shoe has a flat, thin sole to it.

Basic Landing/Rolling

When you are doing any jump, vault, or anything else parkour related, landing properly is going to be key.  You don’t want to leap away from your pursuers only to end up with a broken leg, arm, or head that results in you being captured again.  Proper rolling and landing can keep you safe during practice as well as during a real life escape scenario.

For a basic landing you need to start with your feet close together but not touching.  swing your arms behind you while bending your knees then explode upwards while swinging your arms up as well.  When you land, utilize all of your legs and bend your hips, ankles and knees to absorb the impact.  Your entire leg is like a giant spring and can absorb these impacts well so long as you don’t lock your legs and land on them straight.  Work on this until you are comfortable and slowly increase the height you are jumping from until you can comfortably land from at least 3-4 feet in the air.

Once you have mastered that, you can work on the roll.  If you are jumping from height or have any forward momentum, you want to do the parkour roll.  This is a simple over the shoulder roll that is done once you have landed and your legs are compressing downwards, you can transition into a roll.  You want to avoid a sommersault, where you roll straight over your head because that risks your head.  You instead want your direction of travel to be (if you are right handed, lefties do the opposite) from your right shoulder down and across your back to your left hip, and roll to your feet.  Modern science has shown that this is how parkour runners are able to compress and absorb impacts from leaps more than 10 feet in the air that should normally break legs.

Wall Run

A Wall Run can mean one of several things.  It can mean running along a wall for several feet or even meters (think Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) but in this case we are referring to a wall run straight up a vertical face.  This can be a very useful technique to escape, because if you can do a wall run and pull yourself to the top of a wall that’s 8 or 10 feet in height, your pursuers are going to have one hell of a time trying to follow you.

Safety Vault

The safety vault is one of the safest and most versatile obstacle that you can use.  This vault utilizes multiple points of contact so it’s much safer in terms of practicing and execution because you typically have better balance and stability.  This is a great move for getting around hand rails, lower obstacles, retaining walls etc.  As you practice and master this vault, it will allow you to quickly overcome obstacles in a way that will make your pursuers think twice about continuing to follow you because you obviously have some skills and are going to be much harder to catch.

Turn Vault

The Turn Vault is mostly used for jumping down from a height without doing a total swan dive and winding up hurt.  It offers more control as well as an ability to somewhat control your fall and gauge just how far the ground is for better landing.

For an example, let’s say someone is pursuing you through the city and you see up ahead are some stairs down to the street and to the right is a railing and a drop off.  Rather than head for the stairs where you can be followed, you head towards the railing and the drop.  Your pursuer is likely going to think you just got yourself cornered by the railing and speed up to get you.  You execute a turn vault and drop the 8-10 feet or so down onto the street level and keep running.  Your pursuer now has to make a decision which slows them down.  Do they run over to the stairs, try to hurry down to them and catch you?  This can cost them 10-15 seconds easy and give you a big head start or an opportunity to hide.  If they jump over the railing after you they have to try to gauge the fall and a lot of people are uncomfortable with that.  Either way, they are now making decisions and head games and you are already running off and getting away.

Precision Jump

You can leap like a cat, landing very precisely exactly where you meant to.  Precision jumps take some time and practice to master, but they can certainly put distance and obstacles between you and your pursuer.  Advanced Parkour runners often do these over gaps that have dizzying falls if you miss.  Don’t do this to start out, or even really in training ever.  There’s little point to risking your life unnecessarily, but the principle of landing a precision jump low to the ground or high in the air is exactly the same.

Kong Vault

By far the most difficult of all these moves, we have saved this one for last.  However, if you are able to master it, it can become a powerful part of your parkour/escape arsenal of moves.  It accomplishes the same goal as the safety vault, but much faster and can cross bigger obstacles if combined with a fast running leap.  Learning this move can be somewhat dangerous as the opportunity to snag your feet on the obstacles and consequently fall onto your head and shoulders is why we put this move last, but it’s certainly worth learning.

In Conclusion

Parkour can be a valuable asset to your skills of escaping from captors or pursuers.  These techniques are good for anyone to learn and do require some basic fitness.  They have a lot of value for children as well, perhaps even moreso with the rise in kidnappings and child trafficking.  Children are quite athletic and flexible still without all the years of couch potatoing and sitting at office jobs, so they adapt to these skills quickly.  When running from a potential kidnapper, these skills could give your children the headstart and advantage they need when trying to evade faster, bigger and stronger adults.  Many cities now have parkour gyms and obstacle gyms similar to gymnastics schools where you or your children can safely learn to do these techniques because they have foam mats for safe landings while you learn and make mistakes.