I remember watching The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time a couple of years ago and I liked the movie in general. However, a couple of scenes that do come to mind are Jake Gyllenhaal, the youngest prince of Persia, escaping from his brothers and the entire Persian army at his heels through the streets of Alamut . What was remarkable about this sequence is the level of athleticism he exhibits, his awareness of his surroundings and his flexibility. Another distinctive feature of his escape is the use of his immediate surroundings to aid his escape, be it the horses or using obstacles to impede the enemies.
Even as kids, all we ever did was run around all the time. Looking to somersault over a wall and climb fences Jackie Chan style was a dream.
Few people have heard of David Belle. Born in France, he is considered to be the father of Parkour, a holistic training rooted in movement from obstacle training courses. It is not only rigorous physical training but it is also a lot about mental conditioning that non-practitioners are not aware of. The philosophy behind Parkour is simple: Parkour is a state of mind, a different kind of freedom. It is about facing and overcoming mental and physical barriers. Parkour hopes to instil discipline and precision in their practitioners and through continued training, an increase in self confidence, and ability to overcome fear and pain. David Belle sums it up in a line:
“If two roads open up before you, always take the most difficult one. Because you know you can travel the easy one.”
That being said, one thing which sets Parkour apart from all other forms of fitness training and martial arts is the absence of a set of official “moves”. It is all about free running, combining jumps,vaults and somersaults, mixing it up. Parkour practitioners are called traceurs and the practice is generally done at hotspots. A hotspot is an area where traceurs generally practice parkour.It is basically an obstacle course, a mimicry of an urban landscape. The hotspots are for the amateurs where they learn and perfect it. More experienced traceurs generally practice on the actual urban landscape, jumping around on buildings, climbing walls and fences, jumping off ledges and rolling on sidewalks. However, none of this totally unplanned. It is all very well planned and safety of the traceurs is a major factor taken care of.
Parkour is something that has become very popular in a very short time. With its unique philosophy, it has captured the imagination of the youth. It is seen as something very ‘hip’ and very ‘cool’. It is also very intense and very rigorous too. A machine-free way to become fit and also very fun, I think it will go on to become the next big thing, just like gymnasiums did.
So run, jump roll. If u do fall, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and keep running more.
(Literally and figuratively.)
That is what is Parkour is all about.