We do something similar but...
June 20, 2020 11:18 AM   Subscribe

 
"Hi, my name's Jesse Danger and -"

It really isn't, Jesse.
posted by ominous_paws at 11:24 AM on June 20 [12 favorites]


I like this series! They also have one with figure skaters trying to keep up with ice-hockey players and ice-hockey players trying to keep up with figure skaters. Fun!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 11:34 AM on June 20 [7 favorites]


I had only the patience to watch the gymnasts/parkour but I did check out the intro to figure skaters/ice-hockey and yup, the topic of TOE PICKS came up immediately. The Cutting Edge lives on.
posted by Ber at 11:57 AM on June 20 [10 favorites]


Thanks for posting this.

I was having so much fun laughing good spiritedly and rooting for everyone through both videos. Definitely a much needed brain reset for today.

(I'm a guy who as a young kid was taken to years of girls’ gymnastics at the local Y.
Balance beam is horrifying. :) Swinging and spinning is awesome.)
posted by lothar at 12:10 PM on June 20


This is a fun watch. After listening to the intro of the first one, in the back of my mind I'm thinking that Parkour has caught on because guys want to do gymnastics without other people thinking that they're gay. So you add an army origin story - this is totally about being manly army men! plus volcanoes! - and you get to do gymnastics without having to face homophobia. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it seems to be part of this thing.
posted by clawsoon at 12:20 PM on June 20 [18 favorites]


My son, who is almost 13, was a competitive gymnast from age 5 to 12, and a very good one. He is fond of Nile Wilson, the British gymnast, who dos a lot of this kind of thing on his very fun youtube channel. The episode where he and Olympic diver Tom Daley explore gymnastics v. diving is especially fun. Daley is married to Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, and my favorite part is during a chit-chat when Wilson asks Daley, "Who is the most famous person you've met?" Daley says, "The Queen," and Wilson says, "Oh! Right! I've met her, too! We were together!"
posted by Orlop at 12:26 PM on June 20 [10 favorites]


It really isn't, Jesse.

If he says that's his name, why can't it be his name?
posted by parliboy at 12:27 PM on June 20 [25 favorites]


"Hi, my name's Jesse Danger and -"

They've also got Jeremy Gallant.
posted by clawsoon at 12:29 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


They've also got Jeremy Gallant.

Goofus tended to cut practice, and was not asked to appear in these videos.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:56 PM on June 20 [27 favorites]


this is totally about being manly army men! plus volcanoes! - and you get to do gymnastics without having to face homophobia

I'm a *little* skeptical about this, since the young men I've known involved in gymnastics did not seem to face a whole lot of challenges to their masculinity (and had plenty of het attention). But the gender composition of both teams stands out the whole way through the video, and there does seem to be something traditionally masculine about the parkour orientation on covering territory and overcoming obstacle vs aesthetics & form.

Possibly worth noting that the attention to form seems to give the gymnasts the edge between the two groups. It's probably easier to go from specifically practiced or even regimented intentional form/presentation to loose and adaptive form than the other way around.
posted by wildblueyonder at 1:07 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


I'm a *little* skeptical about this, since the young men I've known involved in gymnastics did not seem to face a whole lot of challenges to their masculinity (and had plenty of het attention

I definitely have anecdotes in the other direction, as well as knowledge of a fair number of gay gymnasts who did not come out until their competition years were over. But I didn't see a whole lot of this in my son's team or competitions, or among the college and elite gymnasts we follow. Less of it than I expected, honestly, because I'd had the impression that there was a stereotype about male gymnasts being gay.

I never saw anything in gymnastics like we saw during my son's brief post-gymnastics foray into competitive cheerleading, where the men do seem to be overwhelmingly gay, and as a result he had teammates who dropped out because of homophobic harassment at school.
posted by Orlop at 1:31 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Just watched the hockey vs ice skating ones. Next, I'd like to see:

- bike polo vs bike dancing
- mountain bike vs BMX
posted by aniola at 1:37 PM on June 20


I wish these weren't so gendered. There are male gymnasts. There are female parkour people. Male figure scaters and female hockey players. There's no reason the videos need to be set up this way and they really take away from the interesting comparisons by instead turning it into this gender trope of "men think thing X is girly, but they're not though enough to do it, hahaha." (ok, that last part is more about the reality tv show where hockey players figure skate than directly about this, but still, that trope bugs me).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:40 PM on June 20 [12 favorites]


But the gender composition of both teams stands out the whole way through the video, and there does seem to be something traditionally masculine about the parkour orientation on covering territory and overcoming obstacle vs aesthetics & form.

I think you'd also have to consider how the different disciplines developed to their present form, as in how women's gymnastics became regimented in the way it did with a different emphasis on aesthetics and form than even found in men's gymnastics. Body type/ability is one part of course, but there are a lot of built in ideas about other aspects there as well. None of which is to take anything away from those who participate in the activities, but to say there are some societal biases present as well.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:44 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


Male figure scaters and female hockey players.

As far as I can tell, they had 33% male figure skaters and 67% female hockey players.
posted by aniola at 1:49 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


Yeah, like I said, I'm more venting about the reality tv. Time to RTFA/WTFV, I guess.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:52 PM on June 20


Oh and I also think the videos mostly do a pretty good job of highlighting the implicit differences between the disciplines, maybe most notably in the diver/gymnast video where the physical emphases are revealed most nakedly, so to speak, as you can see the way each discipline shapes the bodies of the two men involved as they are shirtless throughout which provides ample evidence of how their activities shape their bodies.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:01 PM on June 20


That was delightful, although I was worried those fellas were going to crack their necks trying those vaults. tbh, I have trouble watching non-pro level gymnastics for that reason.

It was great to see them all being so game and having fun though.
posted by gwint at 2:11 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


"men think thing X is girly, but they're not though enough to do it, hahaha"

The actual "Parkour Experts Try Gymnastics" video was refreshingly free of this, fortunately. The parkour guys were obviously a little bit uncomfortable with performing the more aesthetic movements, but if they had any misgivings about the concept the editing left it out.

I agree that it's sort of baked into the framing with the "teams" being so clearly gendered, though.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:16 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


I honestly suspect that the parkour guys did better on the balance beam than male gymnasts would have. Like they mentioned, there just AREN'T male gymnast beam routines, and the skills beam uses are a lot closer to parkour skills than men's gymnastic skills.
I also would love to see it go further -- each group trains each other for a week, and you get to see how good they can get in a couple days instead of just one, then each group goes back to their own home discipline, and sees how much they can incorporate of what they learned, and whether you can improve parkour by including more gymnastics, and gymnastics with more parkour.
I'm not surprised that the parkour guys were so jealous of the springiness of the equipment the gymnasts get with the uneven bars and the vault. They clearly like flying, and finding out that the other sport lets you fly more must be a revelation.
posted by Xiphias Gladius at 2:22 PM on June 20 [24 favorites]


I liked seeing how the momentum is so different between the sports even when the moves were reminiscent of each other. The parkour experts were much more fluid in their forward momentum - lighter on their feet, so they could slip over and under static obstacles quickly. But, the gymnasts momentum is more about power, so they can get height on their flips off of springy beams and bars. These were neat to watch!
posted by bluefly at 2:33 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


It's probably easier to go from specifically practiced or even regimented intentional form/presentation to loose and adaptive form than the other way around.

Definitely, the pair of videos is interesting in several ways, but most noticeably to me demonstrate the value of a solid technical foundation in a given medium or practice.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:49 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


that was super entertaining, and brought back my short-lived gymnastics career.

I wish parkour had been a thing when I was a kid in 70s suburban New England. I wonder if there are easy parkour classes for middle-aged ladies now...
posted by suelac at 2:58 PM on June 20 [4 favorites]


As the mother of a 17yo freerunner, what I want to say re: why boys gravitate to parkour nowadays is that if you have a super jumpy, energetic boy who starts off in Gymboree and My Gym type places even as he's just barely started walking, and then graduates to gymnastics around age four or five when the manager of the toddler gym says "Hey, he's jumping so high and so far and throwing himself around with such vigor that our facility isn't really safe for him," so you enroll him at a basic "fun gymnastics, non-competitive" place which is only like 25% boys, and he has so much fun there over the next few years until the other boys have all moved on to soccer or little league or who knows what, until he's the only boy and hey, he'd love to learn more than just generic skills (which are actually mostly "ladies" skills) so you take him to the bigger, competitve gym where they have actual boys' classes, and finally he gets to experience pommel horse and parallel bars, and when he's 9 or 10 he is actually seriously ripped and can't wait to get into the gym -- well, after all that, you find that there's really only one choice: to get on a very competitive path so you're going to the gym 5 days a week and also competing. You either get on that competitive path or there's nothing else. And we live in a large city with many gyms to choose from, but for boys that's really all there is: get competitve or be the one boy in a class of girls doing cartwheels for the rest of your days. So your kid hears about this thing called "parkour" and you think it sounds like anarchy but you show up at what turns out to be a world-class parkour gym (maybe the first real world-class parkour gym) and you find it filled to the brim with males -- eek! so completely different than the gymnastics gym -- only...you discover that it's this hugely supportive atmosphere and probably the very antethesis of toxic masculinity. For the first time in your kid's athletic life, he is learning basic skills and then being asked to apply them creatively. No more "there's only one way to do this skill." The vibe is "learn these basics and then put them together in a way that feels good to you." It's freaking phenomenal. For several years we basically lived at that gym year-round. And he rose in their rankings (in a system akin to belts in karate) and made friends and just never stopped jumping around. He got hurt once, badly (though it was a freak situation), but came back from it. And then started not wanting to be in the gym, preferring to do all his parkour outside with his boys. And you know what? It's wonderful. Leaving the path of gymnastics was exactly what he needed. I have nothing at all bad to say about the world of parkour, as masculine as it is.

Also, ask me what freerunners feel about the fact that the US gymnastics federation has (or is trying to) become the supervising body for "the sport of parkour."
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:52 PM on June 20 [100 favorites]


Y'know what I really liked here? The diversity. Much appreciated.
posted by cooker girl at 4:34 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


I wonder if there are easy parkour classes for middle-aged ladies now...

I mean, not right now what with COVID, but here's a link from a class in Somerville, Massachusetts last year: https://artsatthearmory.org/events/winter-parkour-ages-50-2019-08-19/
posted by Xiphias Gladius at 4:37 PM on June 20


I wonder if there are easy parkour classes for middle-aged ladies now...

I’m a woman in my early 40’s and until I moved away last year I was taking a beginner parkour class there at the Brooklyn Zoo. It was awesome, and the class was a balanced mix of genders and ages. They were great at showing 3 or 4 levels of each move and letting you explore and scale things to your own abilities.
posted by antinomia at 5:02 PM on June 20 [5 favorites]


The old running through the woods, climbing trees monkey-boy and high school diver in me really liked the gymnast v. diver video. It was always sorta easy from the edge of the pool into water, but so scary to think about doing it on dry land. Sadly, not much gymnastics in small town south western Virginia in the '80s. The most parkour thing I managed was jumping over a chain-link fence (no hands) to go play next door.
posted by zengargoyle at 6:16 PM on June 20


One thing that struck me from the first video was how the gymnasts tended to keep their backs and knees straight, which I'm pretty sure is what they're supposed to do in gymnastics, whereas in parkour it seems you tend to squat a lot.
posted by destrius at 7:54 PM on June 20 [1 favorite]


Form for the gymnasts creates balanced development of their muscles. So their symmetry is more evident, there is less wo ky personal style. They are more performative but will waste less energy because the rigor of their training creates uniform strength.
posted by Oyéah at 8:54 PM on June 20 [2 favorites]


I asked TalkToTransformer to come up with a list of other pairings such as these. I seeded it with their two examples (#1 & #2) and my own goofball example (#3). Here is what it came up with on the first try:
Parkour & gymnast
figure skater & hockey player

vampire & phlebotomist
priest & chef
witch & brewer
mountaineer & chef
murderer & lawyer
psychologist & lawyer
magician & jurist
witch & monk
Swordsman & pirate
I want to see these episodes next. Thank you.
posted by not_on_display at 9:54 PM on June 20 [22 favorites]


One vote for witch & brewer
posted by AxelT at 12:16 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


Oh wow, there are so many of these that look good!

Figure skating vs hockey skating
Surfing vs snowboarding
Rockclimbing vs poledancing!
posted by lollusc at 1:57 AM on June 21


Y'know what I really liked here? The diversity. Much appreciated.
Self Magazine is having a Teen Vogue moment, in which they've gone digital-only and become a much, much better version of themselves. And one of the ways they've become a much better version of themselves is that they've quietly, without making a big deal of it, embraced all kinds of diversity in a sustained way, including (hallelujah!) actual size diversity in the models that they use to illustrate fitness stories.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 6:12 AM on June 21 [11 favorites]


Hey BlahLaLa, how do freerunners feel about about the US gymnastics federation wanting to do that?
posted by the Real Dan at 11:15 AM on June 21 [1 favorite]


What I desperately wish I could find but can't, is a video of a "parkour competition" run by a gymnastics federation. The winner was a woman gymnast who did three things in her flow run: ran around, did traditional gymnastics tumbling, and then -- inexplicably -- would occasionally stop and just bend down and touch the floor. That was something, but it wasn't parkour.

Instead, there's this article from Vice which explains the issue.
posted by BlahLaLa at 2:03 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


The gender split creates an ignorance issue in the one where the gymnasts try to do parkour. The male instructor tells the women that it might be "tempting" to use their upper body for counterbalance, but that they really should come down further. True for men, whose center of gravity is in their chest - not true for women, whose center of gravity is just above their hips.
posted by tzikeh at 2:48 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


If you enjoy sport-swapping in particular, the Olympics did some videos a couple of years back:

Figure Skating vs Ice Hockey
Basketball vs Trampoline Gymnastics
Wrestling vs Rugby 7s
Archery vs Curling
Athletics vs Track Cycling
Boxing vs Skeet Shooting
Table Tennis vs Hockey
Diving vs. Weighlifting

As you might expect from the matchups, many of the athletes had more trouble with the swap than parkour and gymnastics did. Boxing and skeet shooting aren't exactly the best preparation for each other.
posted by clawsoon at 3:14 PM on June 21 [1 favorite]


This is one of my favorite bitchy videos on YouTube.

Men Doing Womens Gymnastics
posted by OldAndTired at 10:10 PM on June 21


lollusc they did surfing vs snowboarding. Turns out standing on a wave is harder than standing on a snowy mountain.
posted by aniola at 11:00 PM on June 21 [2 favorites]


I just paused to take a break; I am only partway through but the surfers take a bit of time to get used to taking a foot off the board to get more control or to push off with. I guess that’s... not something that works in the water.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:05 PM on June 21


"I wish parkour had been a thing when I was a kid in 70s suburban New England."

So true, about the same age. The very first time I saw parkour I experienced this envy, strongly. As a boy, I wasn't generally athletic, certainly not in team sports, but I was from the earliest age a climber (of anything and everything) and always had very good balance. Parkour would have had huge appeal to me.

Now I'm disabled and just walking is a challenge, so my feelings watching this are even more... difficult. I so much want to throw my body through space like that again. However, I'm fortunate that I had a childhood (mostly) free from issues resulting from this genetic illness — my sister has never experienced a time in her life without pain or her body making life difficult. So I really do feel fortunate that I had an entire childhood into my early twenties when I was pretty physically active. I'll mention, say snow skiing in the early 80s and family members will be taken aback and then say, oh I forgot that you used to be able to do those things.

I don't miss running. I do miss bicycling. But I really miss climbing up and down buildings and trees and such.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:51 PM on June 21 [7 favorites]


This reminds me of White Nights, when Gregory Hines and Baryshnikov trade off. I think there's a pretty awesome trade off in Riverdance with tap dancers doing the Irish stuff and vice versa?
posted by Pax at 2:21 PM on June 23 [2 favorites]


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