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  • Culture

    Running on the Edge

    By Frances Atkinson 08 September 2015

    THEY scale walls, leap over killer gaps between buildings, lunge, vault and defy gravity. Parkour (French for “the way through”) is the art of free running and while it might look spontaneous, anyone who does it well has spent years perfecting expertly-honed moves (and probably suffered more than a few broken bones). Initially used as a training exercise for French Special Forces, Parkour became a movement in the 1980s when Frenchman David Belle headed a group called Les Traceurs. When the Internet came along, footage turned viral, the ‘c’ was replaced by a ‘k’, and Parkour went global. These days most action films include Parkour, you can take classes, join festivals and watch experts take on an urban environment and turn it into their playground.