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Parkour and Free Running

Last night I watched for the umpteenth time Casino Royale – yes I’m a fan of Bond and have to admit that I think Eva Green who plays Vesper Lynd is absolutely gorgeous (don’t worry Eva I’m the Jones half of Lola Jones – which is Welsh for a bloke!).

Anyway you will remember the action scene at the beginning of the movie when Bond pursues the international bombmaker Mollaka, played by Sebastien Foucan, across a city in Madagascar (actually filmed in the Bahamas) in which there are some spectacular parkour manouvres.

So what exactly is parkour – it is often mis-categorized as an extreme sport; there are no rules or team work – formal hierarchy and competitiveness are not admonished. It was founded by David Belle in France and focuses on practicing efficient movements to develop one’s body and mind to be able to overcome obstacles in an emergency.

Parkour (sometimes abbreviated to PK) or l’art du déplacement (the art of movement) is an activity with the aim of moving from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible, using principally the abilities of the human body. It is meant to help one overcome obstacles, which can be anything in the surrounding environment—from branches and rocks to rails and concrete walls—and can be practiced in both rural and urban areas. Parkour practitioners are referred to as traceurs, or traceuses for females.

Free running, although similar to parkour, is a separate and distinct art — a distinction which is often missed due to the aesthetic similarities. It was founded by Sebastien Foucan who defines free running as a discipline to self development, following your own way.

Parkour as a discipline comprises efficiency, whilst free running embodies complete freedom of movement — and includes many acrobatic manoeuvres. Although often the two are physically similar, the mindsets of each are vastly different.

Free running embraces elements of trickery and street stunts, which are considered by the parkour community to be inefficient and not parkour. Initially, the term free running was used interchangeably with parkour. However, as free runners became interested in aesthetics as well as useful movement, the two became different disciplines.

Foucan summarizes the goals of free running as using the environment to develop yourself and to always keep moving and not go backwards.

Below is Parkour demonstrated in Newcastle amongst other places – thanks stick1000

And to avoid confusion below is Free Running – thanks Captain Rabb

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