November 9, 2012 6:27 pm 16 comments Views: 5544

…One of the World’s newest X-Sports

Free Running and Parkour may be new to some but it’s beyond a phenomenon now and is a full on x-sport !

There is no equipment required, although practitioners normally train wearing light casual clothing:

Light upper body garment such as T-shirt, sleeveless shirt or crop top if anything is worn on the upper body

Light lower body garment such as sweatpants, some wear tracksuit bottoms or shorts

Comfortable running shoes, that are generally light, with good grip, and flexibility are encouraged. Various sport shoes manufacturers such as Nike, with their “Free run” shoes, have developed shoes specifically for parkour and free running; and many other companies around the world have started offering parkour-specific products. Some use thin athletic gloves to protect the hands; those who do not, prefer to “feel their environment” directly, often developing thick callouses. Since parkour is closely related to méthode naturelle, practitioners sometimes train barefooted to be able to move efficiently without depending on their gear. Some traceurs also use the lightweight feiyue martial arts shoes. David Belle notes: “bare feet are the best shoes!”[

Free running is a variation of parkour or PK. The term was coined during the filming of Jump London, where it is claimed that it incorporates parkour as a baseline but focuses more on self expression, innovation and creativity, as opposed to the speed and efficiency stressed in parkour. Free running is usually more gymnastic, for flips and spins are used when vaulting obstacles.

The founder and creator of free running, Sébastien Foucan, defines it as a discipline to self-development, to “follow your own way”, which he developed because he felt that parkour lacked creativity and self-expression as a definition for each free runner to follow your own way.

Popular culture

A number of films incorporate parkour; a few documentaries have also been written and filmed about parkour. After including parkour moves in a chase sequence in the film Taxi 2, French director/producer Luc Besson produced a feature film, Yamakasi, featuring members of the original Yamakasi group. In 2004, Besson wrote Banlieue 13, another feature film involving parkour, starring David Belle and Cyril Raffaelli; English-dubbed and -subtitled versions were released in 2006 as District B-13 in North America and the UK. The film Casino Royale features Sébastien Foucan in a chase taking place early in the movie that implements parkour. Casino Royale’s release sparked a renewed media interest in parkour and related disciplines and a large amount of recent mainstream parkour coverage dates to around Casino Royale’s release. Along with The Bourne Ultimatum, Casino Royale is credited with starting a new wave of parkour-inspired stunts in Western film and television. Parkour is featured prominently in the film Breaking and Entering, in which two of the characters employ parkour techniques to burgle an office in Kings Cross, London. Parkour is featured in the film Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. David Belle was hired as parkour choreographer for the film and appears in the DVD and Blu-ray featurettes. Most of Akshay Kumar’s ads for ‘Thums Up’ brand feature him doing Parkour. Aamir Khan learned parkour techniques for his role in the 2011 movie Dhoom 3.

Jump London is a documentary which explains some of the background to parkour and culminated with Sébastien Foucan, Johann Vigroux, and Jérôme Ben Aoues demonstrating their parkour skills. Jump London was followed by Jump Britain, which featured Foucan and Ben Aoeus. My Playground, a documentary film by Kaspar Astrup Schröder, explores the way parkour and free running are changing the perception of urban space and how the spaces and buildings they are moving on are changing them. The Australian TV program 60 Minutes broadcast a segment about parkour on September 16, 2007, which featured Foucan and Stephane Vigroux.

The webcomic Schlock Mercenary makes frequent reference to “Parkata Urbatsu” which is said to have grown “out of the ancient disciplines of parkour, urbobatics, and youtubing. It is a martial art that focuses on both pursuit and escape in developed environments, with an eye towards the aesthetic.”

Your driving me up a wall……

A number of video games include parkour as major gameplay elements. In the Assassin’s Creed series of games, Altaïr and Ezio make heavy use of parkour, though it is named free running in the game. Crackdown and Crackdown 2 include an emphasis on gripping and vaulting from ledges and protruding objects, which are designed to make players feel fully in control of their own movement, and by extension fully in control of their environment. Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland allows the character to use several parkour techniques while not on the skateboard. In this game as well, parkour is referred to as free running. Mirror’s Edge’s core gameplay consists of parkour techniques, and made movement itself the goal. Tron Evolution’s basic movements and combat were based on parkour and capoeira. Prince of Persia incorporated elements of parkour, which were important when creating the film

Are these athletes ?

Could this be an Olympic Sport ?

Do any of you out there do this ?

David Hellewell, Sports writer, Chicago


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