Who would have thought you could bring a rollercoaster to a halt?

But these parkour guys managed to do just that… hearts in mouth the stunned and amazed crowd watched the jaw-dropping performance

PARKOUR ROLLERCOASTER from Andrew Wonder on Vimeo.

Parkour founder, David Belle, and co-founder, Sébastien Foucan, came to differ slightly in their interpretation of what was meant by ‘PARKOUR’. Belle feels that all moves made should be efficient and with the aim of getting you somewhere. Foucan believes the use of tricky moves such as aerial rotations and spins should be included. The sport has subsequently split into two versions – parkour and freerunning, Foucan being the founder of freerunning.

Parkour is a utilitarian discipline based upon the successful, swift and energy-efficient traversing of one’s surrounding environment. The techniques are self-taught and are based around the concept of self-preservation. Skills such as jumping, climbing, vaulting, rolling and swinging are used to get you as efficiently as possible along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles using only your body. Parkour can be practiced anywhere, but urban areas dense with obstacles are preferable.

Once you incorporate gymnastic elements such as flips, aerial rotations and spins into your techniques you have crossed the boundary between the two disciplines. The boundary is slender though and there are no hard and fast rules. This is an urban sport – you can make of it what you will.

Parkour is and always has been casual – a sport for every man, an urban sport. It has no uniform, but there are opinions of what does and doesn’t work…

Everybody agrees though that you should use comfortable and loose clothing for parkour. Trying to do it in skinny jeans for example would be asking for injury. Your limbs must be able to move freely. Some people advocate doing parkour in jeans as it has several advantages, one of them being that you’re dressed for all occasions in jeans – the other that they are extremely durable if you should take a spill. Doing parkour in jeans can raise other people’s eyebrows. They believe you should do it in sweatpants – but that means wearing sweatpants all the time just incase the mood takes you to parkour! Cargo shorts/pants are another popular option… Whatever you decide to wear, it is advisable that you find a style and a preference that is conducive to your habits – and train extensively in them.

Gloves is another contentious area. To wear them or not? The consensus seems to be that they are no good. You have a much better grip with your bare hands, and if your hands are soft then start on ‘soft’ surfaces as against starting on something as abrasive as old concrete, for example. Your hands will quickly toughen up. Some parkour-ers suggest keeping a pair of gloves on your person somewhere just incase you end up in a hole that you need to extricate yourself from and the surfaces are something awful – like the only exit means climbing rusted wet beams!

Food for thought.

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  1. Parkour can start at a tender age | Xtremesport - 2011 | 29 April

    […] for people doing Parkour is 17. However, this by no means restricts the sport to the youth of today. David Belle, a founder of the sport, was, after all, born in 1973 which puts him fairly significantly over 17! […]

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