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A Leap of Faith
UrbanWire takes you through this beautiful and graceful sport that requires loads of concentration and creativity.
Le Parkour began in 1987 when gymnastics enthusiasts David Belle, Sebastien Foucan, and a group of friends decided to kill their boredom by challenging one another to stunts at their Paris suburban playground.
Soon, it became more than just a playful activity for Belle and Foucan. They spent much time perfecting the art of Parkour, using their background in gymnastics to create this new extreme sport and philosophy. It took them 10 years.
In 1997, the duo formed a group of traceurs [people
who practise Parkour] called the Yamakasi, there was a Luc Besson movie
in 2001 of the same name
This isn’t your average extreme sports with its mindless daredevil and life-threatening stunts. According to Tan Kar Wee, a 20-year-old NS [National Service]man who plays the sport, “It is an achievement in my own element.“
Parkour certainly induces this in traceurs. Just imagine them leaping off buildings, fences and hopefully, not running away from the police.
Traceurs see beauty in every single movement. Jumping over obstacles has taken a whole new meaning. It requires a lot of discipline, patience and confidence. The only obstacle is not that flight of stairs or the building wall, but yourself.
If you don’t think you have the muscular, athletic body type of a typical French traceur, don’t worry because neither does more than half the world. That shouldn’t stop you . Kar Wee, for example, described himself as an “armchair footballer”, meaning the only other sports he participated in is watching soccer on television.
That said, like most sports you do have to build up your strength and stamina. After having his first taste of sweet Parkour, his craving gave him the determination to shed some pounds and build up his stamina.
You don’t need a background in gymnastics to Parkour. All you need is to contact someone who Parkours. A good website would be urbanfreeflow.com. It is highly advisable that you begin with someone who knows what they’re doing.
The beauty of Parkour is that you can practise it anywhere. You are only confined in your imagination. Bus stops, trees, fences, carparks, a flight of stairs or even a dustbin, nothing you see on the streets can’t be used to Parkour.
One wonders how much further they can go if there
was a Parkour competition
Repetition is key
Repetition trains traceurs to focus on their targets,
to be in a meditative state of mind where all thoughts are cleared,
because 1 wrong move or jump might result in fatal accidents.
Parkour in Singapore
Parkour is relatively unknown here and is usually played by teenage boys. However, that doesn’t mean girls can’t play the sport. In fact, traceurs don’t seem to have big muscular bodies.
Finding a venue to play Parkour isn’t a problem.
Gary Ng, a 15-year-old student and member of Reduction, a local Parkour
clan, talks about his usual playground: “I just pull up some chairs
and tables in class and practise new moves.”
The Do’s & Don’ts
Don’t practise Parkour in a crowded street. Social responsibility is important because you’re already putting yourself at risk when you Parkour, so don’t include anyone in that situation. And don’t practise Parkour on white surfaces, for example, at the void deck, because you can be charged for vandalising public property by leaving footprints behind.
And if you’ve a history of broken bones or even asthma, make sure you see a doctor to get an all clear. This is a sport not for the faint-hearted.
There were no strings attached. Cable wires were used only during takes and not the final cut. For example, the first scene of the movie showed them scaling an apartment block to greet the sunset. It would be ridiculous and extremely tiring to leave the Yamakasi hanging onto the apartment blocks when the director needed more than one take for the scene.
The only other safety precaution used was landing
mats to soften the ground when they jumped from high places.
If all this sounds confusing, get your hands on this
movie. Although Le Parkour was never once mentioned, men jumping off
buildings and acting like monkeys never looked so sexy!
However, David and Sebastien did not share the same sentiments and they went their separate ways to pursue their own aspiration for the future of Le Parkour. Since then Sebastien has been seen on the television advertising for Toyota and Nike. David Belle still remains in the street, practising his art and teaching any boy who approaches him.