Understanding Parkour is helping us to view the built environment in a totally different way.
Most people are satisfied with walking; a few find the necessity to run; there are also a growing number of enthusiasts around the world who seem unsatisfied with merely sauntering through life on a level plane - they practice Parkour, a quasi acrobatic sport that has been described as urban-steeplechase aerobics. A traceurs objective (as the exponents are called) is to travel uninhibited by obstacles great or small, finding an uninterrupted flowing course from A to B by pushing the limits of urban architectural functionality.
Parkour is a phenomenon that is sweeping youth culture around the world. The discipline (the title sport would be inaccurate) was developed in suburban Paris during the 1980s amongst a group of friends who used the architectural landscape as their playground. The most prominent of this group is David Belle who is considered as the founder of Parkour. Through a series of films, TV commercials and documentaries produced since the year 2000 the discipline has spread to become a popular pastime among a growing number of enthusiasts.
While many looking from the outside may view Parkour as an excuse to revert back to childlike Spiderman fantasies, most traceurs will tell you that it is much more than that and describe it as a ‘way of life’, although fun is definitely an important part of the discipline. Parkour involves traversing the urban environment and its obstacles in the quickest and most fluid way possible and normally involves a series of moves including jumping, vaulting, leaping and balancing.
“The art of moving from one place to another with fluidity allows you to see your environment differently. The quest’s goal is to become a part of the environment in order to develop your mind and body”