One arm, two arms? It doesn't matter. Parkour is all about moving efficiently in your environment

James Rudge in action: His sport is all about moving efficiently and effectively in any given environment (picture courtesy of James Rudge)
James Rudge in action: His sport is all about moving efficiently and effectively in any given environment (picture courtesy of James Rudge)

Having Only One Arm Is All I've Ever Known

Okay so obviously I'm not an amputee. I was born without the lower part of my left arm and just as someone with two hands would learn to use two hands I have learned to use one. It‘s all I've ever known and therefore I wouldn't allow myself to be phased by any tasks that someone with two hands might achieve.


The Main Challenges Are In People's Heads

I think the main challenges are mental ones. When I was younger I was not confident and felt like it was something I needed to hide. But you learn to accept it as you get older and then I started to see it as a positive. I had been given a chance to inspire others and I feel like it has made me more appreciative of those that overcome barriers caused by being different.

This all links nicely with a sport I have been interested in for ten years now: Parkour. This is now a declared sport which is all about moving efficiently and effectively in a given environment, jumping, climbing and vaulting over various obstacles in the process.



Get To Know Your Body And You Will Do Things You Thought Impossible

The reason I believe this links to my circumstances is because parkour is all about knowing your body and what it is capable of, and then pushing it in ways you may not believe it can be pushed. Overcoming mental barriers is a key part of Parkour and I have found that those with the most guts and confidence are the ones that achieve the biggest things. As well as those with the most dedication.

As of late, although I would say I am still very engaged with the Parkour scene, my training has converted over to climbing. Whether it be bouldering or ropes. Again this sport is all about setting and overcoming challenges. And having one hand only adds another fun and exciting dimension to those challenges.


Learning to belay (support someone else‘s rope when they are climbing) did prove a challenge. But people in this day of age are so willing to help and there is always a solution to people‘s problems because of the support we are given now.



See Being Different As Something Positive, As A Competitive Advantage

With regards to my hand I have tried using prosthetic arms in the past and was required to use one in my driving test for the indicators (due to not restricting mirror vision). However it has not felt natural to me. I was made this way and as my uses for a prosthetic arm is mainly to bring it out on Halloween I feel like I do not really need one. However I completely understand that for others it can be really beneficial in improving their quality of life. For some it might be very much necessary to get through the day.


For me, those that have lost limbs or had to adapt to a new way of life are so much more commendable than myself. I have only ever known having one hand and it does not and will not ever stop me doing anything I want to do. Hence I do not class myself, personally, as disabled.


However you are, see being different as a positive. Be proud of who you are because a positive attitude makes so much difference. There are so many amazing people out there doing amazing things and I think that is a credit to everyone.


More From James Rudge

Guest post by James Rudge. James was born without the lower part of his arm. But this did not keep him from becoming an accomplished Parkour athlete. Nor did it stop him from taking up rock climbing