For many, parkour is a new phenomenon. In fact, before I was assigned to write about this topic, even I was a novice when it came to this sport. But once I started reading about it, I was hitched to it.
Parkour is an international sport and a hobby as well. It is an art of movement in which an individual showcases their immense talent with fast athletic movement and unparalleled agility. It can simply be described as free running. It requires immense physical and mental strength to execute the designated moves with prowess, panache’ and precision.
It is being practiced all over the world and is slowly starting to gain recognition. Its practitioners are called as tracuers (males) and tracueses (females). This specific nomenclature accounts for parkour’s French origin.
Parkour’s history dates back to the late 19th century. David Belle, French by origin, is said to be the founder of parkour. Belle was only 15-years-old when he first got the idea of a sport like parkour, while watching his dad, Raymond. Belle was greatly influenced by his dad’s athleticism. Fascinated by his control and physique, Belle started to mimic his father, amalgamating it with his immense love for martial arts.
This unique blend of complete physical and mental athleticism started to develop even more, resulting in the initiation of “free running”. Apart from Belle’s contribution, other people have also worked hard for its recognition, namely Sebastien Foucan, Kazuma and Stephane Vigoroux.
While there are many techniques that parkour entails, here are some of the moves which tracuers and tracueses perform efficiently.
a. Parkour roll
This is quite similar to the basic roll used in grappling martial arts; the body is rolled across the ground (shoulder first), finishing it at the opposite hip
It is described as the move in which hands are used to overcome an obstacle
c. Monkey or Kong vault
It is similar to the traditional vault but this is done a little different. In it, whilst passing an obstacle, the legs are in between the hands, giving the impression that the practitioner is a monkey.
d. Arm jump
It is a jump in which the tracuer lands on the obstacle with his feet implanted on it whilst the hands are on top of the obstacle.
e. Tic Tac
It is the technique used to gain height and to clear the obstacle through reverse momentum.
f. Dash vault
It is the move in which the tracuer jumps over the obstacle, placing his hands on the obstacle whilst passing it for proper push and momentum.
Parkour hits the media scene
Parkour has become very popular on digital media in the past years. Video games like the Prince of Persia and the famous Assasin’s Creed have been based on this sport. As far as the movies are concerned, Taylor Launter’s Tracers, the Bourne series and the James Bond 007 – Casino Royale have shown the art of free running to a great extent.
Parkour in Pakistan
When it comes to practicing this sport, Pakistan is also in the scene. The U’Chong Brothers, Vernin and Neil laid down the foundation of free running in Karachi, Pakistan. Vernin, being a professional athlete, has won many accolades on account of his outstanding athletic ability and physique; whereas his brother, Neil, teaches break-dancing and is also a graffiti artist in Karachi.
Apart from that, Parkour is also practiced in the region of Hazara, Quetta. Enthusiastic individuals are coming into this sport to showcase their skills.
Parkour is a new and upcoming sport. If you have an athletic attitude and have the aptitude to master this art of movement, then do try it out. Not only does it make you fit and healthy, it also keeps you agile.