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Free Running the Extreme Sport
When I discovered that the daring leaps and leaps over walls higher than those of Alcatraz performed by James Bond in the movie Casino Royale were real movements of an extreme sport, I had to know more. Digging deep into the origins of Free Running I realized that it’s more than just an adrenaline-charged sport, it’s a way to challenge physical and mental limits and like most things in life : it’s all in the mind.
The story goes like this: Once upon a time, there was this incredibly intuitive French naval officer, Georges Hébert, who set off on a voyage to Africa. Noticing the exceptionally robust physique of African warriors, Hébert realized that when it comes to physical strength, agility, and fitness, there is no better gymnastic trainer than nature itself. Thus began a physical method of military training based on energetic and natural movements combined with the altruistic virtues that Hébert considered essential. He called it “natural method”.
From there, it’s simple. An architect came and created a sort of obstacle course that would serve to reinforce the forces of the French soldiers. These methods then influenced the life of a young boy named David Belle, a high school dropout, who developed these methods into an extreme sport, known as parkour. What parkour became was a way to get from point A to point B by negotiating tricky obstacles and overcoming urban structures with death-defying jumps and dashing vaults. But what most traceurs or parkour practitioners are most interested in is “human and urban recovery”, that is, overcoming the physical and mental obstacles of modern society and challenging the fear that causes hesitation and makes an obstacle more threatening than it actually is. is. It’s about moving the way people were meant to move – relying on instinct, thinking on their feet, and using intuition rather than logic. Very cool indeed. It is on this basis that Free Running has found its basis – taking freedom of movement to its most extreme level.
In order to introduce the extreme sport of parkour to English-speaking society, the film Jump London, featured David Belle’s partner in crime, Sébastien Foucan performing dash vaults, cat passes and handstands at the Royal Albert Hall and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. just to name a few. But if parkour is a sports discipline, Free Running has developed into total freedom of movement, urban acrobatics and self-expression through movement. Free running is all about “finding your own way” – no imitations, no limits; just pure freedom of movement.
It’s no surprise that Free Running has spread like wildfire and is now an internationally renowned extreme sport. South Africa has some of its own free-running hotspots and a rapidly growing free-running society. Cape Town tops the charts with the University of Cape Town, University of Stellenbosch Campus, Society Gardens, Muizenberg Beach and Cape Town CBD being popular free running destinations. After all, who said you had to take the stairs when you could just jump to the next level? Have you ever asked yourself this question? Then you just have to try this.
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