340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The shortest distance.

If you haven't heard of parkour, the Parisian sport/dance/martial art, you're really missing out on something extraordinary. Combining elements of skater culture, t'ai chi, capoeira, breakdancing and Situtionist philosophy, parkour features athletes moving through improvised urban obstacle courses in a smooth, free-flowing demonstration of acrobatic skill, daring and sublime strength. To get up to speed, check out the Wikipedia entry. The movement's ostensible founder, David Belle, also has his own site at davidbelle.com, but it's mostly pretty images with no real content. The Parkour Worldwide Association is a little better.

All of this serves as preamble to the following movies. I'd seen a little footage of some traceurs doing their thing a few years ago, but kind of lost track of the activity. These shorts reminded me of my fascination with the "sport" and now I really want to get my hands on Luc Besson's 2001 Yamakasi - Les samouraï des temps modernes, a movie made with (and about) three young traceurs.

First clip.

Second clip.

Notice how they're all dudes? Yeah, me too. Apparently, female traceurs are a small but growing group. Given the sport's infancy and iconoclastic philosophy, it might prove attractive to women turned off by the profoundly codified skater culture (to which parkour is often compared). Fingers crossed.

* * *

We leave for Ottawa in, umm... eight hours. Wish me luck.


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