Thursday, April 7, 2011

4/7: Super Mario Parkour

One of the most basic skateboardings tricks is the ollie. And it is a trick, not just a move: kick up the board as you jump, so it appears the board is magically connected to your feet. Decades of snowboarding (where the board really is attached to your feet) and Tony Hawk games have lessened the impact of the ollie, which any kid with a half-hour's time in front of the lirbary steps can pull off.

But when it does get pulled off, the word to use to describe it is grace. Freerunning has that same sort of grace, turning everyday fire hydrants and standpipes and milk crates into your own personal jungle gym. At its best, it makes people living cartoons, as invincibly bouncy as Jackie Chan--in one of his Hong Kong movies where safety is an unlit scented candle and awesomeness is magma.

If you want to experience freerunning on your own, it's sometimes look-attaining (wrong subdivision) to try it on a busy street. It's ironic, yes, that such a poetic form of expression made to use common obstacles needs to be confimed to a specially made gym, a Romper Room for grown-ups who want to relive that scene from Casino Royale where Bond just RICOCHETS from one floor to the next via elevator. (Or, if you're a comedy fan, this.)

A gym in Los Angeles called Tempest Freerunning Academy is trying to bridge that gap. And take a wild guess how they decided to communicate the joy of jumping in their establishment. Hint: it involves the guy in the banner illustration of the blog.