The Sport of Parkour


Traceurs in Quito, Ecuador
Photo by Micaela Ayala V./ANDES via Flickr

Have you ever run up a wall? Ryan Geertsma and Robin Basselin look at the sport of parkour.

Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Ryan Geertsma.

Voice 2 

And I’m Robin Basselin. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

A young man runs toward a wall. But he does not stop running. He reaches the wall and kicks off it. He uses the force of his kick to push himself up the wall. Now, his hands can reach the top of the wall. He uses his arms to pull his body up. He quickly climbs over the top of the wall. He jumps down. His feet land on the ground. He keeps running, leaving the wall behind him. Now he searches the environment around him. He looks for another obstacle - a wall, steps, or any other natural structure that blocks his path.

Voice 2 

This young man is doing parkour. The sport of parkour concentrates on training and skilful movement. It demands physical strength. It demands that a person knows her environment. But it does not require much equipment. As a result, a person can do parkour in almost any place. Today’s Spotlight is on the sport parkour.

Voice 1 

The goal of parkour is simple. A person who does parkour is called a traceur. Traceurs want to get from one place to another quickly and efficiently. To do this, a traceur chooses their movements carefully. They want movements that require the smallest amount of effort, but give the greatest result.

Voice 2 

Traceurs do a lot of running, jumping, climbing, and rolling. They also do flips by jumping in the air and rolling their bodies forward or back. Often they do these movements on obstacles they find around them - like walls, steps, and hand rails or bars found next to walking paths. Experienced traceurs even do parkour on high places like the top of buildings.

Voice 1 

To some people, parkour sounds very risky. But traceurs around the world claim that the sport is not about taking risks. Quentin Russell is a traceur in the United States.  He told his school newspaper,

Voice 3 

“People see parkour. Then they go out, do it, and break a bone. That is not what parkour is. You have to start at a lower level and build up. If you get hurt, you are not training correctly. In some ways, it is dangerous. But that is only if you do it in a dangerous way. In all seriousness, if you are afraid of defeating an obstacle, you probably should not do it. You will not be prepared or concentrated enough on your movement.”

Voice 2 

People must train a lot to have good parkour skills. Most traceurs begin by jumping only small distances, like 7 or 8 centimeters. They will spend days and weeks training. They will practice their runs and jumps over and over. Then, when the traceurs are sure their bodies are ready - they will increase the distance of their jumps. Over time, they will try moves that are more and more difficult.

Voice 1 

Every serious traceur respects the limits of what his body can do. Yan Shopin is a traceur in Israel. He talked with a writer named Inbal Aharoni about parkour.  Shopin also showed Aharoni a few parkour movements. But when performing, Shopin made a mistake. He tried to do too much too early in his training. Right away, he climbed the side of a large wall. Then he jumped. But his body was not ready. And he hurt his ankle. He told Aharoni,

Voice 4

“You see, we are supposed to begin each time of training with simple things. We do this so that we do not get injured. I did too big of a jump right at the start.”

Voice 2 

The movements of parkour are not new. But combining the movements into a sport is new. Parkour’s creator is David Belle. Belle was born in France in 1973. His father believed physical health and strength were very important. So Belle worked hard to make his body strong. When he was older, he started training with a group of friends. This training method was the beginning of parkour.

Voice 1 

Belle was very loyal to his training. And sometime between 1995 and 1997, Belle developed his training method into a sport. The sport slowly grew. And in 1998, Belle began calling it parkour.

Voice 2 

As an adult, David Belle began doing parkour in action films. David’s friend, Sebastien Foucan, even performed parkour in the James Bond film, Casino Royale. These films have helped increase the world’s knowledge of parkour. As a result, more people have started training in the sport.

Voice 1 

People like parkour for many reasons. One reason is that it does not require special, costly equipment. Traceurs only need two basic things.  They wear loose fitting clothing so that they can move easily. They also wear good shoes to support their feet. This means almost anyone, anywhere can train in parkour.

Voice 2 

Another reason people like parkour is because it helps them think differently about their environment. To do parkour, people must think creatively. Yanikov is another traceur from Israel. He explained to the Jerusalem Post,

Voice 5 

“We search for a place that will give us as much creativity as possible. When we see things like, for example, a pole, we imagine how many things we can do with it.”

Voice 1 

Finally, many people enjoy parkour because it is more than just a physical sport. On his website, David Belle writes,

Voice 6 

“Parkour is useful. It teaches people how to trust themselves. It helps them learn to be careful. The basic idea is always to go forward, never to stop. Parkour is like life, if you have an obstacle you must always continue forward.”

Voice 2 

This attitude is why many people see parkour as a positive influence. And it is why people all over the world are involved in parkour. Dvir Rozen is another traceur in Israel. He believes parkour helps people to have faith in their abilities. He also believes it helps people learn to have courage. He told the Jerusalem Post,

Voice 7 

“It is both physical training and mental training. It strengthens the body. And it lets you do things that you did not think you could do in the past. Through parkour, you learn about the body, mind and soul. You work them together. You recognize you can defeat any obstacle.”

Voice 1 

The writer of this program was Courtney Schutt. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted and voiced by Spotlight. You can find our programs on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called “The Sport of Parkour.”

Voice 2 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you like extreme sports? Do you want to try any extreme sports?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
roberta
said on April 09, 2012

I never did parkur. I think very cool. I agree with interview where athlet says that parkur it ´s a complete sport, comparing with our lives. I beleive much this, our lives hasn´t obstacles if really we wish to go forward. Good week for all!

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NightlyOwl
said on April 11, 2012

Recently I heard about Parkour. I love almost all kinds of sports. In general, the sport is in my blood. I’m interested in this new one. But it is true for all sports need practice and a good physical training. This is the key to success.

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phongdg
said on April 14, 2012

At first time, I thought that this is a dangerous sport but now I want to train with this sport. Maybe It can help me improve my health. Thank you!

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Haes
said on May 01, 2013

I am looking forward it very much.

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hoaaof
said on May 04, 2013

i was surprised when i saw some video about parkour in youtube. i think it is very exciting. but it is so risky,too.  traceurs always face to dangerous when they perform it in the high building, jumping from house to another house. only a little mistake, the parts of their body can be broken or unfortunately, they can spend their whole life in hospital.
but i want to try it.

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Hangcoi
said on May 06, 2013

They are spiderman…..
Always go to forward….yeah…..

JoaoVBR's avatar
JoaoVBR
said on August 04, 2015

I think parkour is a interesting sport, mainly because you need just fitting clothes to practice. However, I think we may be tired after few minutes of parkour, because this sport may be very tiresome.

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kenhieuloilam
said on September 20, 2015

We learn and train. We have hobbies in the life. We may like sports. We may play sports or take exercise. Activities of sports and exercise help us get good health and joys. We live our lives well. We train to get good health of physique and spirit. We can do beautiful good things. We can do beautiful good things for the life. We have our work to complete. We have our responsibilities and duties to complete. We need good health of physique and spirit. Completing our work well brings us joy. Completing our responsibilities and duties well brings joys.