Last year a team of French Free Runners captivated Londoners when they scaled some of the city's most famous landmarks from the Albert Hall to HMS Belfast for Channel 4's Jump London . This time they've decided to take on the whole country in a new project that ranges from Edinburgh to Cardiff. Free Running, or Le Parkour, involves literally leaping from roof to roof in a death-defying, yet beautiful, series of jumps, slides and somersaults. It is a discipline combining an extraordinary athleticism and lack of fear - created by Sebastien Foucan and his friends - that has spread across the world. Foucan sees Free Running as more than a spectacle, it is a way of life, with a spiritual dimension plucked from popular culture and allowing an escape from everyday reality. For Jump Britain , Foucan and his team are joined by members of the burgeoning UK Parkour scene as they tackle some of the UK's most iconic sites including Edinburgh Castle and the Forth Rail Bridge in Scotland, the ... Written by
I must say that when I first saw Jump London I was a bit unsure about what exactly it was, but I was very interested. With Jump Britain I was sat at home, beer in hand and ready to see what would happen. I have to say that I was highly impressed. Unlike the first one, which was more targeted on the big moves and impressive moves, this one seemed to delve more into the philosophy and why they did what they did. I was also pleased to see that other members were joining in with Sebastian and his friend. I was a bit unsure when it was just the french, but when I saw people from the UK joining in I was tempted to give it a go myself.
The big shots in it were very impressive, the Stadium roof top had my heart in hand, and the walk across the bridge made my own fear of heights seem like a walk in the park. WHat impressed me the most was the street level moves they did. From my understanding of the documentary it was about fluid movement between the moves. It was gymnastic sort of stuff, but with a heavy Urban feel. I would have been put off if it wasn't for the fact that they guys who were doing it where far from your stereo typical thin gymnastic. These guys were either medium build or built like a boxer. It was great to watch and spurred me into trying to find more information about it.
I found a site called urbanfreeflow.co.uk which has a huge community and un-beknown to me had over 7000 active members and also covered Europe and even as far around as the USA. I hooked up with some guys and girls from Birmingham and a week later I was at a jam (its what they call it) with 20 odd other people. I highly recommend the site and trying it yourself, it was bags of fun. Ache a little bit though.
I personally felt that Jump London was made to show what parkour could do when you got really good at it, and that Jump Britain was a deeper look into why its done and by whom. It also opened my eyes to this new adventure called parkour and made me give it a go.
After seeing this on channel four, I have since seen articles popping up all over the place, Addidas have just released a new trainer that is specifically for parkour, MTV had a segment on it, BBC news, ITV, FHM, all sorts really. From what I can gather its really hitting it big, and its mainly in the UK. They guys that run urbanfreeflow.co.uk where the actual people that were in the documentary. Its really scary to think that anybody can actually do what Sebastian makes look so easy, with enough practice.
I highly recommend that people give it a go. ALso if you haven't seen it, I would suggest you try too. I found very entertaining while at the same time, it made me think very differently about how we move through the world today.
My final thought is that although some of the big shots in Jump Britain wern't as impressive as the ones in jump London, the low level street stuff made up for it ten fold. I would have actually preferred it have more street movement that the big shots. But all in all it was fantastic and highly enjoyable to watch. A big thumbs up.
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