I know that there's a fair amount of debate in the community about the distinction between parkour (getting from point A to point B as efficiently as possible) versus freerunning (do impressive stunts while getting from point A to point B). Even among the more hardcore on the parkour side, it seems common to do a front flip when jumping from a high height before landing and doing the momentum-absorbing roll. Is there any actual parkour advantage to this versus just looking neat?
Possibilities I can think of
- By rotating, you get a full view of your surroundings
- Some of these jumps start out as dives, sometimes through narrow openings. If you're going to have to rotate to get back to your feet, it makes more sense to keep rotating forward, in the direction of the roll rather than trying to get your momentum the other way by bringing the legs forward to rotate backwards.
- Relating to the last one, the front flip gets started into a forward momentum which makes it easier to transition into the roll
- It's just general flip training as espoused by traceurs such as Amos Rendao which helps improve air awareness, making it more likely that you'll find a way to recover when a vault goes bad.