13 October 2006

Trends: Le Parkour, Free Running

When I was in London last year, I saw an amazing documentary on Free Running or Le Parkour. This is an extreme sport out of France that relies on a runner's momentum to keep them moving in a forward direction, no matter what obstacles are in the way - roofs, steps, walls!

Parkour.net describes the sport as "Parkour - an art to help you pass any obstacle; to go from point A to point B using only the possibilities of the human body. This art originated with French soldiers in Vietnam and was developed by David Belle, inspired by his father." There is an inspiring video of David Belle and his technique on the Parkour.net site. Other who pratice the technique created by Belle are referred to as 'Traceurs'.

There is a growing group on MySpace dedicated to Le Parkour and I'm interested to see how the sport develops, especially with the legal ramifications (bodily injury on private property is probably a big one, as well as trespassing). It hasn't taken long to commercialise the sport, with Urban FreeFlow at the fore. I wonder if they will uphold the surfing and martial arts-style philosphy that Belle injected into Parkour.

Update 11/12/06: Parkour should attract a lot of attention from its exposure in the opening scenes of the new James Bond movie, Casino Royale.

Image: MySpace Groups

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