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"They Just Called Me a Spaz"
January 13, 2008 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Mark Toorock demonstrates the art of Parkour. (Wash. Post video) And there is an associated article (Wash. Post). Parkour has been discussed previously on MeFi. {BugMeNot logins for WaPo if needed.}
posted by fourcheesemac (37 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Maybe I should have called this "They Are Happy When They Run."
posted by fourcheesemac at 10:37 AM on January 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


This video makes me feel the way I did when hot dogging became an official Olympic sport. Happy for those who worked so hard and are now getting credit (and cash), and sad that we've managed to institutionalize another formerly radical sport/thing/idea.
posted by cali at 10:58 AM on January 13, 2008


American Parkour is going to lead to an entirely new breed of American anti-fun.

Coming soon to a sidewalk near you:

No Jumping
posted by Revvy at 11:02 AM on January 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but just try to catch the jumpers, Revvy.
posted by fourcheesemac at 11:08 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Being a spaz is not about having too much energy, or having undiagnosed ADD. It's about how much you annoy me.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:17 AM on January 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Parkour is one of the few video contents that can break past my (no doubt interweb induced) 30 second video attention span.

The David Belle sequence here is worth watching again, or making sure you haven't missed if you like this kind of thing.
posted by Brockles at 11:24 AM on January 13, 2008


I love watching parkour videos. But I just realized that it's more fun when James Bond is chasing the guy so he has to hurl his body through an eight-inch window six feet in the air, rather than a guy in DC who wants to be taken seriously so he vaults over a two-foot planter three or four times.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:35 AM on January 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


As seen on Top Gear.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 11:43 AM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


"he has to hurl his body through an eight-inch window six feet in the air"

Which was a total rip-off of David Belle's chase scene in Banlieue 13, with really lame music on top, but yeah, it's fun.
posted by effbot at 12:08 PM on January 13, 2008


He's no Chase Armitage.
posted by Hildegarde at 12:13 PM on January 13, 2008




@effbot - Actually, I'm going to say that the music is District 13 was MUCH worse than the music in Casino Royale. And of course, you do realize that that's Sebastien Foucan in Casino Royale...
posted by so1omon at 12:34 PM on January 13, 2008


"you do realize"

Well, yeah, it's an homage, of course, but if you watch the behind-the-scenes stuff for B13, they mention that they weren't sure that it was even possible to make that stunt when they first came up with the idea, and Belle spent some considerable time preparing for it. It's not like it was a standard Parkour move at the time...

(and as for the music, I take french techno/electronica over most about everything else most of the time ;-)
posted by effbot at 12:50 PM on January 13, 2008


Parkour's getting a bit past its sell by date isn't it? I mean, if you want to spent your time scrambling around benches and concrete stairs that's fine with me - and I don't doubt it involves skill and fitness. But there really is a limit to the number of times I can find someone jumping from a handrail to a bollard interesting. Like about once.
posted by rhymer at 1:10 PM on January 13, 2008


People find athletics boring, too. Maybe you're just one of those people. I hardly think it's past its sell by date on that premise, though.
posted by Brockles at 1:23 PM on January 13, 2008


rhymer - it's not about watching. It's about doing.

Watching Parkour or martial arts should incite you to want to move and physically express yourself. Your body should twitch with a need to move. When it doesn't that need will manifest itself as tension and ill health.

What most modern ideas of physical fitness have lost is the idea that free physical expression is a crucial need for everyone. The fact that free movement forms like 'dance' are rarely thought of or taught like valid forms of physical fitness for everybody is so sad.

We go to a gym. We need devices. At best we might stomp around in a room to music doing somebody else's limited Aerobic choreography.

Every human body evolved to move in all sorts of amazing ways. It's awesome to see people doing it and suiting the form to the modern human environment.
posted by tkchrist at 1:26 PM on January 13, 2008 [12 favorites]


I rented District 13 on the back of seeing the clip linked above... not really worth it, that's the best bit in the film by a long way. Though there was a good documentary on Parkour as one of the extras.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:38 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice to hear that Mark Toorock is 37. I like his self-awareness:
And I was running in other ways, too. I was just an angry, angry kid. I was adopted, never felt like I fit in and always used to base my self-worth on having been abandoned by somebody, even though my adoptive family was really great. All the cliche stuff, right up to when I ended up running away in high school.

Just love Parkour anything. Even badly done parkour comedy. Young girls do parkour too. Think it's an awesome sport. Parkour goes to India, and there are some really nicely done, practical tips videos.
posted by nickyskye at 2:04 PM on January 13, 2008


I really like - and enjoy doing, even ineptly - parkour, but I hate that it has to be a Sport. Can't it just be people doing a thing?

One of the things my attempts made me realize is the vast, vast rift between how much I used to use every muscle in my body when I was a little kid, and how totally different it feels now. I'm even theoretically "in shape", a bit, but I just don't do the same things anymore. It's completely different than some crap in a gym.
posted by blacklite at 2:14 PM on January 13, 2008


Yup, District 13 has impressive moments, but none of them have to do with storytelling. It's remarkably cornball.
posted by NortonDC at 2:28 PM on January 13, 2008



Watching Parkour or martial arts should incite you to want to move and physically express yourself....

I think what I find silly about it is that it's taking all the stuff you used to do as a kid and then deciding its some great new sport with a cool French name.

I might go down to my local park and start climbing trees - when the police ask me what the hell I'm doing, I'll tell them I'm practising a hip new French called Arbour.
posted by rhymer at 2:32 PM on January 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think what I find silly about it is that it's taking all the stuff you used to do as a kid and then deciding its some great new sport with a cool French name.

You used to jump around the outside of buildings four stories up?
posted by Lucinda at 2:39 PM on January 13, 2008


Parkours, from the french "By the k-bear".
posted by blue_beetle at 2:45 PM on January 13, 2008


Parkour's getting a bit past its sell by date isn't it?

I'm still waiting for the parkour/martial arts b-movies. You have seen nothing yet hopefully
posted by ersatz at 2:54 PM on January 13, 2008


Don't you have to wear special, secret underwear to do Parkour?
posted by KokuRyu at 3:15 PM on January 13, 2008


This guy has nothing on David Belle, at least. The stuff in the video is really boring to watch compared to Belle's videos, no matter how much slow motion they throw in.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:22 PM on January 13, 2008


KokuRyu: Don't you have to wear special, secret underwear to do Parkour?

They're not mormons, they're French.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:23 PM on January 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, so no underwear, then.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:51 PM on January 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't that chafe?

Maybe they tape stuff up or something, then.
posted by Brockles at 4:48 PM on January 13, 2008


You all are going to laugh at me. But I was doing this 65 yrs. ago.

We called it follow the leader.
posted by notreally at 5:54 PM on January 13, 2008


Good stuff.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:01 PM on January 13, 2008


I'm still waiting for the parkour/martial arts b-movies. You have seen nothing yet hopefully

There's a movie called.. Blood and Chocolate. It's about teenage werewolves who are apparently incapable of walking, and insist on jumping everywhere. For no obvious reason. It really is awful.
posted by ambilevous at 9:50 PM on January 13, 2008


You used to jump around the outside of buildings four stories up?

Only when my parents weren't watching.
posted by rhymer at 2:51 AM on January 14, 2008


There's a movie called.. Blood and Chocolate. It really is awful.

When you can't even say the name of the movie without pausing, you won't lose much if you don't see it.
posted by ersatz at 6:29 AM on January 14, 2008


I love watching parkour. From DB13 to the new Bond movie and Live Free or Die Hard, it's all good.

I really thought about trying it myself, but the more I considered it, the more I visualized me, mentally preparing myself to leap across a 12 foot gap three stories up. I make the sprint to the edge, I hit the lip and for a moment I am godlike, floating through the air, a jewel suspended in space far above the ground, life is perfect... I can see that my moment is ending and I concentrate: I gotta stick the landing and roll to absorb the momentum.

My feet hit the gravel on the other rooftop and by brain takes a five second vacation as I forget everything I was supposed to do. So after the horrific crash in which I admirably demonstrate rag-doll physics writ large, I sit there, clutching my broken shins and dislocated shoulder, wondering why the fuck I didn't think to bring a cell phone.

And like so many things in life, this is why I watch movies. Because I can pretend, in the privacy of my mind, that I could totally do that shit, without having to actually epically fail in the real world.
posted by quin at 12:09 PM on January 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think what I find silly about it is that it's taking all the stuff you used to do as a kid and then deciding its some great new sport with a cool French name.

What's silly is your objection.

They have to call it something. Being that this was developed for adults living in France one would suppose it would have a French name. Cool sounding is relative.

And. When adults do something in a group it tends to get systematized, named, and codified. Pool. Bridge. Dungeons and Dragons. World of War Craft. Whatever.

Then when you systematize something you tend to want to create proper form or TECHNIQUE. And with something like this technique is a very good idea because the likelihood of injury is very, very, high. So learning an efficient method of movement is necessary to stay safe.

As you develop technique in something physical you tend to want to COMPARE it to they way others do their technique. This leads to the creation of a competition form. Or sport. People tend to do "better" at things when they do it a competitive environment.

Anyway. It's rather obvious to me.
posted by tkchrist at 2:57 PM on January 14, 2008


"you do realize"

Talking about Sebastien Foucan...
posted by effbot at 8:36 AM on January 15, 2008


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