Monday, October 26, 2009

Free Running

Do you ever wish you were Tarzan? How about instead of swinging from treetop to treetop, you could run, jump, and scale over any obstacle in the city? I do but I’m not sure I up to the challenge physically (if you know what I mean). Still, for those diehard athletes out there who can’t afford a bike or skateboard, the newest form of taming a city’s obstacles is upon us. Welcome to free running.

First off, free running has gone by several names so I hope to clear the air here by separating what exactly each term represents. Free running is a form of urban acrobatics where participants use city and rural landscapes to perform movements through its structures. People often confuse this sport with the following two alternatives:

Parkour (PK)- A physical discipline of French origin in which participants run along a route, negotiating obstacles in the most efficient means possible.

o Pronounced in French as l’art du deplacement (English: “the art of moving”).

o Main characteristic is efficiency. Participants travel in the most direct way possible while free runners are keener to freedom movement and creativity.

o Unofficial motto is etre et durer (to be and to last).

Tricking- A new underground sport that combines martial arts, gymnastics, and break dancing.

o Mainly incorporates back flips, 540 kicks from Taekwondo, butterfly twists from Wushu, and double legs from Capoeira.

After receiving attention from the film Casino Royale, militaries from different countries began looking for ways to incorporate parkour into their training. The British Royal Marines hired parkour athletes to train their troops and the art is slowly being introduced into the United States Marine Corps.

If you’re in good enough shape to learn this style of martial arts you should be proud of yourself for taking on this disciplined study. The websites and offer some decent quality tutorials with pictures and a couple videos. However, if you’re just looking for a place to watch some good parkour videos, pretty much says it all.

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