Archive for category freerunning

Freerunning For Calm Amidst Death And Tragedy

I have written about freerunning/parkour before. But this example is much more powerful. It talks about some young men in Kashmir, where I have visited decades ago, before tourists were beheaded and military conflicts were so common. These youths are angry and scared. But after learning and practicing their art, they are calm. Watch it for the context, not the beauty of the moves. And feel blessed that you do not live there.

“The long political conflict in Kashmir has taken tens of thousands of lives, and in July 2016, at least 30 people were killed by armed forces. Trust between Kashmiris and the Indian state that controls them continues to decline, especially among youth who’ve seen violence their entire lives. “The generation that was born and brought up post-nineties, they didn’t have a childhood at all,” says the human rights activist Khurram Parvez. This short documentary, Freerunner, follows a young man and his troupe of friends who practice parkour in the Kashmir Valley. The film is part of a larger project on youth who grew up in a militarized Kashmir; you can learn more about the project here .”

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Fearless Spirits Inspire And Humble Us

What kind of humans take these risks? Check out this unicyclist (around 45 seconds in) riding inches from certain death. For what? Is it even a thrill to this kind of person? He can’t be too scared from the danger…or he wouldn’t do it. Does he simply think he is invincible? A superman who would never be in an accident?

This website has lots of other dare devils in action. Here is one of a parkour guy walking around the high parts of a building he managed to sneak into. No fear of heights or a slip to his death.

It certainly motivates me to test my limits…a little bit. But never to this extent. Is it purely genetic? These kids are alone…not trying to show off to buddies who are goading them. It really is insane!!! They definitely must love doing it…

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Ben Aaron Studies Parkour

So here is Mr. Cute Everyman learning parkour. Adorable. Wouldn’t we all would like to be the next Jackie Chan in our dreams…have those skills and flit through the cityscapes so effortlessly and dramatically. I’ve written about this sport (also called freerunning) a few times. Now I am imagining going to Brooklyn and trying it out.

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Mind-Boggling Sports Stunts In 3D

This is a thrilling collection of death-defying sports clips in an almost-3D mode that adds to the breath-takingness of the stunts. I can’t believe people have the courage to do some of these things. I can’t imagine how many takes it took to get these mind-boggling shots.

Enjoy the video.

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Freerunners In Gaza

Gaza freerunner jumps over a Hamas road block

Here is another article about parkour, or freerunning, but this time it is about 30 kids doing it in the ruins of Gaza. They learn techniques from the internet and dream of going to an upcoming international competition in Miami next year.

I love some of the comments and observations. Pretty unique. Shows their intense living conditions and determination:

Calling themselves the Gaza Parkour Team and practicing with a rotating crew of like-minded edgy acrobats, they spend their days rehearsing routines and teaching the sport to schoolchildren. The local graveyard serves as their practice arena. As Enshasy puts it, “The dead people don’t mind.”

Among the headstones of local dignitaries and graffiti commemorating militants are bullet holes from battles between Palestinian factions and Israeli troops, who were once based in the former Jewish settlement that adjoins the cemetery. “I have witnessed war, invasion and killing,” Enshasy says. “When I was a kid and I saw these things, blood and injuries, I didn’t know what it all meant.”

Ahmad al-Jakhbeer and Enshasy perform gravity-defying acrobatics in the ruins of the Gaza International Airport about eight miles from their home in a refugee camp.

He and Jakhbeer, 22, are wary of straying too near the Hamas training zone, just as they are wary of leaving their homes when Israeli drones appear in the sky over their cinder-block refugee camp. They prefer the comparative safety of their daring leaps and bone-shattering landings. They believe that, one day, their ticket out of Gaza will be written by parkour.

According to Jakhbeer, parkour helps untangle the “anger and depression” that comes with living where they do. Indeed, nowhere could a philosophy of escape and freedom have a greater resonance than in the narrow, politically and militarily confined Gaza Strip, home to a boxed-in population of 1.7 million Palestinians.

Though the only Israelis Jakhbeer and Enshasy have ever met are settlers and soldiers, at whom they threw stones as children, they say they can separate their feelings about Israel’s politics from its people, to whom they bear no ill will. They see themselves as athletes first and not political figures of any sort.

One obstacle to their ambition to be professional athletes is pressure to get a job, not easy in an area of high unemployment. Jakhbeer, in particular, says his family is nagging him to start bringing money in. For the moment he has managed to resist and to continue devoting himself to parkour.

Parkour originated in the suburbs of Paris and is a corruption of the French word “parcours,” meaning route or journey. In a very literal sense, the sport is about overcoming barriers, living beyond the restraints of physics. It inspires a philosophical outlook on life that mirrors the actions of its athletes.

freerunning in the war-torn ruins of Gaza with Palestinian flags for capes

If you want to learn more about this sport, check out some earlier-posted videos here.

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Joy And Expression Of Freerunning

I’ve always admired freerunning, which is a form of urban acrobatics in which participants, known as free runners, use the city and rural landscape to perform movements through its structures. They may jump from building to building, scale walls, do flips and twists and many other amazing and death-defying maneuvers. I loved watching Jackie Chan climb up buildings in his martial arts films. Now there are thousands of kids—following in his footsteps…no make that flight steps or flight patterns. And the video above shows some free runners in TV, movies and commercials.

Free running was derived from a French activity called “parkour,” which is neither a sport nor a competition. It is the efficient movement of the body through space. But there is much confusion between the two, some say the terms are interchangeable, while others point out that free running has many spins and flips that are unnecessary though very showy or stylistic…a more creative expression of the jumper.

Check out these two exciting and admirable videos that make me want to be younger and able to fly like these free runners. The first is at a training school and beautiful to watch:

The second shows jumping from 1″ wide pole to another 1′ wide pole (at 1:57), and I just don’t grasp how this is possible…unless they missed it 20 times and included the one success in the video.

Are you ready to run and fly freely, like a human with wings?

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