So, what’s Parkour? Hold on, it has nothing to do with parlour. Parkour is a non-competitive ‘sport’ that requires you to cross obstacles using creativity, acrobatics and individual expression. It needs a lot of guts because injuries and pain has to be endured to learn this trade. And guess what, it’s making its way to Mumbai!
“Parkour is an international discipline, sport and hobby best described as the art of forward motion in spite of hurdles, an integrated fluidity of movements. It involves seeing one’s environment in a new way while imagining the potentialities of the movements”. If all that went above your head, here it is in simpler terms – you dive into gaps and ignore everything that is standing between you and open space.
Many Parkour communities have lately mushroomed in Mumbai and each is trying to glorify the sport. If you want to catch these young lads practicing, you have to go to the beach to see them perform their acrobatics. But beware of fraudulent classes teaching the discipline without any prior training. One the best are the classes run by Free Souls and Parkour Mumbai.
Parkour owes its inspiration to David Belle, a one-time French Military Officer, who really defined the discipline while Jackie Chan went on to popularize it. Now, Parkour is a Hollywood staple, and can be seen in films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Incredible Hulk, Mission Impossible: 3 and Die Hard. In Bollywood, Hrithik Roshan used Parkour in Krrish; it was also used in various other films like Ek Tha Tiger et al.
“Instead of running laps, you could navigate through the urban landscape, making it your personal obstacle course, a playground for freedom and courage”, says Ashok Puri, a Parkour athlete. A lot of people call it urban gymnastics but there is more of an art to it. “While Parkour may be dangerous, it isn’t reckless”, he adds.
Parkour’s entry into Mumbai should see a lot more activity in its many parks. The popularity of this sport has been spread through YouTube and other social media channels. Since there is no regulating body, anybody can start their own little group. And yes, before we finish… don’t try this at home.