Parkour Philippines: OPTICAL ILLUSION?

If you think what they’re doing is easy… think again.


When you see these guys trek insane heights and move around to places that would likely “piss off” gravity (and possibly your bone structure), you’ll succumb to the fact that without any background in stunts, gymnastics, kung fu, and even basic "tumbling sa kanto habang may mga kumakanta ng rap" (possibly Tondo or somewhere in Antipolo), then learning parkour is near impossible.

However, according to the guys from Parkour Philippines... (http://www.pkph.multiply.com/ or http://www.pkph.net/) PARKOUR IS FOR EVERYONE!!!

So one would wonder: what the hell are they talking about?


READ ON.




There is a PSP game out called Free Running. I tried to play the game, but the Create-A-Wrestler and the 24/7 modes in the Smackdown versus Raw 2008 game were enough for me to get hooked and forget the game ever existed. Why? If you personally know me, you’ll know that I do not mix myself with anything that shouts sweat, fatigue, injury, and athleticism. Sure, I do like sports… I can man up and get glued to anything that mixes finesse with sheer heart. I love to write about basketball and I can actually write anything and watch anything that does not bore me (I hate tennis matches though… the only time you’ll get me to watch that game is if a hot tennis chick garners some sort of “hot” moment). Playing inside the court however isn’t my cup of tea, as I am more of a spectator than a gladiator. So implying me to play any game where I’m like the Prince of Persia without reaching/finishing any goals and levels is virtually impossible.



However, parkour, the actual activity, is telling me otherwise. Parkour is meant to enhance your physical capabilities as well as your mental smarts. Derived from a French term that more or less means “the art of movement”, it aims to make the body more efficient and quicker in shifting from one speed to another, from one place to another, and to quickly connect one perceived movement, into a graceful collection of move-sets without even getting your thoughts jumbled up.

Do not mistake parkour for free running. As it is, the flare that traceurs emanate are more natural compared to its more competitive counterpart. This is the first thing I saw when these guys where doing their moves: parkour makes you trace to your “kid” days when you were twirling and doing stuffs in your body in an exaggerated manner. Free running is flashier and while aesthetically, it looks cool, its disadvantage lie on being commercial. I think it was parkour founder David Belle who cringes whenever some flexible wannabe whores the activity to the public. This does not mean that he isn’t discounting the exposure. Casino Royale and the numerous Luc Besson French flicks (His French film Taxi, was raped by the American producers when they did its remake) are one of the current releases where parkour was more or less featured. Even Belle starred in an action flick called District 13 where instead of walking like Steven Segal he moves smoothly twice the better than Jean Claude Van Damme! District 13 will have its sequel in the near future. I suggest you Limewire it.

In the shoot I met Bruno, Karen and Macky, three of the chosen traceurs we tapped to make our TVC superbly awesome (Macky is the guy on the left who ruined a perfectly cool pic of me and comic demigod Janno Gibbs). They were seriously sales-talking us to join their sport (can I say parkour is a sport). A next-too-obese guy like me without any poise, equilibrium, and balance could this “thing” make my body coordinated?

According to them, yes!

Parkour is created for people to make themselves “one with the wind”. Granted, moving 10 percent similar to Batman would probably require me years (or a moment before I reach old age), but it will eventually grant me that skill… if I am determined enough. The freedom to glide will open up due to the activity’s yearning for an individual to cheat your perceived motions. They mentioned that they witnessed tubby beginners transform into graceful traceurs. That’s cool. I also admire the fact that they are eager to reach the levels of everybody’s hero… the legendary Jackie Chan.

There is no boy (real boys for that matter) that didn’t waste his brain space and sweat on NOT imitating Jackie Chan. I mean, other than playing an alcoholic in Drunken Master (I only said this because he played a drunkard), he is that adorable underdog that gets a bite out of the audience with his quick-thinking and the capacity to maneuver out of pending doom. Parkour is basically “Poetry in Motion”, meaning taking out the norms and creating flare out of natural movements.
While some of their members were once part of other similarly-based disciplines like martial arts and gymnastics, a normal being can too, prosper in making something out of the sport. The first thing they’ll teach you is conditioning. The bones play a major part in gaining success. The conditioning is meant to make all your 206 bones work in a way to subtract the nonsense you imposed on it by eating more and moving less. Milk is an important facet because it strengthens the bones. This is something I could like because I was once a milk freak (my cousin once lived in my house and he would always drink milk which, like peer pressure, prompted me to it as well). I also heard a no-rice diet. They don’t necessary impose it, but if I want to be flexible and thin in the quickest way, those carbs need to go.

That I hate.

Ehem. Go figure.



I’ll take out the cons and tell you guys the pros of doing parkour.

Safety is an Issue: In pro wrestling, a “complete” sports entertainer is not the guy that dominates the match. This is the guy that could take the fall. That’s why we have a guy like Shawn Michaels stealing every PPV despite the fact of him being 43 years old. The reason for bone strength is for parkour players to sigh away from injuries. As it stands the traceurs could only walk away with simple cuts and bruises. None of the guys I conversed caught their injuries from parkour. Thank conditioning for this miracle. In fact, they once talked about one kid that after two years of membership branched out of their organization and started another parkour group despite still being a work in progress. They saw the guy at one time injured… because he WALKED wrong. Regardless of the risks, safety is a major issue in the discipline.

Leveling: Remember Karate Kid where Mr. Miyagi would make Ralph Macchio do chores before he could do actual Karate? They have a thing like it here too. A beginner will not be thrust in the spotlight to climb high spots not unless he has earned the right to do so. Sure, one might ask the rationale since walking and jumping are mere acts done by humans but this is also where the practitioner’s discipline kicks in. In order to get dibs on the great stunts, you have to perfect the simple ones. These “simple” stunts will prove important in the long run.

Inexpensiveness: Ever seen those overacting basketball players who owns a wristband, headband, armband, those odd-colored masking tapes pressed on their biceps and triceps, knee brace, goggles, etc.? Sure they look pretty… aside from the fact that they pretty much resemble icky, geeky, turds! In parkour, the only equipment you need is yourself and every solid thing that your eyes can lock onto. Sure, short comfortable garments are ideal, but one can’t discount the fact that you can do parkour in a gown! Perhaps the only equipment you could deal with is grips and an appropriate set of sneakers.

Pogi Points: Perhaps the most… important… point… ever. Imagine you’re in bar and there’s this chick who looks at your body and smiles at you. She asks for your sport and you say “parkour”. Suddenly you become interesting. Yes, a sport that sounds foreign will make you such a hottie. I mean, more than half of the population could clearly connect with basketball. The other half? Well bunch them up with volleyball, billiards, badminton, and some random “in thing”. Oh… I forgot about computer games. Yes, the computer games that the only risk you could have is an injured carpal tunnel and a trip to the optical shop. While I consider myself a gamer (don't ask me if I'm good or not), playing DotA is like playing team interactive chess. Compare this to basketball, parkour is too exotic. Plus, the best pogi point in this situation is that the girl you chatted with could join the games instead of just being at the sidelines. Hmmm… yes, this is a crappy reason... a crappy reason... that will convert to genuine love for the activity when it becomes a part of your system.

I am currently finding something clever to utter but it seems my mind just gone blank.

Anywho…

They will conduct sessions for beginners this coming May. The novice will be asked to attend sessions where they will nurture the individual to ultimately like the sport. No idea on their dates so you have to visit their websites for updates. While I doubt May could be a month for me to explore fitness (rather than traveling and going to trips where I will be asked to go topless… thus exposing my wickedly sick one-pack), sooner or later my girlfriend will tell me to shed a few pounds since she’s starting to enjoy a particular hobby called 10-k fun run every Sunday mornings. Also, damn it, ever since Holy Week, my ribs are sore because my sleep posture rivals a pretzel! Whenever I laugh... pain and suffering flourish!

With all the pros that were explained, it could happen. Maybe not next month… but it could happen. I'll leave you with some guy who thinks he's doing parkour.




Until next time. Game over.

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