The art of movement…
Picasso, Monet and van Gogh…all great European artists. Belle, Foucan, Vigroux…all great European Parkour athletes (traceurs). But what separates these two sets of individuals? Or are they more similar than first thought?
If you didn’t already know, Parkour is a non-competitive, physical discipline of French origin in which participants run along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles in the most efficient way possible. Beautiful. So, like great artists, traceurs express themselves in modern society, like a salmon swimming up stream in a world of conformist fish.
Unlike most sports, but akin to art, Parkour is non-competitive. There are no World Championships to decide the definitive “Traceur of the World”. It is a sport, nay an art of movement, whose beauty is subjective. Parkour is supposed to be about efficiency, and fluency of movement, and as a consequence is compared to martial arts, as it involves athleticism, agility and strength. However instead of round-house kicking Jackie Chan, traceurs navigate their way round houses by vaulting and climbing walls. They see every day impediments, such as staircases and walls, as facilitators of flux.
The best traceurs make their movements in a style that seems effortless, but the professionals say that Parkour is not only physical, but it is also mentally and emotionally draining. To Foucan, Belle and Vigroux, the streets are their canvas. Their vision and fleet of foot are their brushes, and their speed and effectiveness in traversing urban landscapes are their art.
So what is the difference? Simple. Great artists attempt to replicate and portray movement, traceurs live it.