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What We Can Learn from Parkour


How often do you look at the city around you? I mean really look at it? If you’re skilled at the art and sport of parkour, you’re doing it all the time, constantly in the process of finding the perfect ledge to throw yourself off of, the optimal space for a landing, a handle, a bar, a rail. The possibilities are endless when you shift your perspective, which is exactly what parkour invites you to do.

Derived from the French term “parcours du combattant," the sport found its footing in France in the late 1980s, taking its cues from obstacle training historically found within military programs but placing it within the context of urban environments. The general idea, however, remained the same: Get from point to point with maximum efficiency, utilizing only your body and the physical space around you. No crossbar, no hiking cleats, no parachutes, no dumbbells. We’re talking the world’s most muscular, spartan activity ever.

Without the frills and fanfare of other sports, parkour relies almost entirely on brute strength, agility, and the momentum with which you throw yourself around space. The result is totally gravity defying and ninja-like--not unlike watching a bunch of flying squirrels who have really put some serious time in at the gym.

So what does it really take to move yourself over, under, and around the city you call home? As it turns out, not too much. Just remember to practice. A lot.