Thursday, August 20, 2009


In following with yesterday's theme of the crazy and inspiring things people do (you can see yesterday's post on bicycle polo here) I wanted to share another fringe hobby that is quite simply a delight to watch. Parkour is sort of a combination of running, obstacle maneuvering, and ninja prowess. While not really a spectator sport, Parkour is both a mental and physical art in which practitioners use their bodies to fluidly interact with the world around them in an efficient, quiet, and natural manner. The back story for how Parkour was started is actually very interesting, and you can read more about the founders of Parkour on the Wikipedia entry here. The brief (very, very brief) version is that inspiration for the practice came from a Frenchman's (Georges Herbert) observations of the abilities of Africa's indigenous peoples and was put into practice largely by the Belle family (Raymond and his son David).

What's really cool about Parkour is that the entire practice is based on the natural movements and abilities of the human body. It is by not exactly a sport, and there is a push among many within the Parkour community to keep the activity competition free - after all, the practice is about self-development and it would kind of be like making yoga competitive... you just don't.

Now, since it is really hard to describe what Parkour actually entails (and I have likely done nothing but confuse you so far!) let's get on to the videos, shall we? Quickly, though, disclaimer: don't go trying to jump off a building or climbing up some sculpture at the park because you saw someone do it on my blog, okay? I admit, it makes me want to go jump over something too - but be smart and think of this as motivation to explore more of your body's abilities next time you go for a jog, not a confirmation that you can be reckless, scale the side of your neighbor's house, and not get injured. These people have been working on their craft for a long time.

This first video is a good intro, and especially good for the faint of heart:

Some great female Parkour:

And here is Daniel Ilabaca, simply amazing:

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