Book review: Parkour and the Art du déplacement

Book review: Parkour and the Art du déplacement

LiQ_Mag_Cover_July2014This review first appeared in the March 2014 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.

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Parkour and the Art du déplacement
By Vincent Thibault
Priced $16.95
Published by Baraka Books

Strength, Dignity, Community

Born out of the suburbs of Paris, Parkour is where physical activity and urbanism converge to create a unique art form. In his book, Thibault — a Parkour practitioner, coach, and mentor — offers a somewhat pragmatic philosophical take on this sport that is practiced by hundreds of thousands worldwide.

At its most basic level, Parkour is the intimate exploration of the ephemeral urban environment via fundamental movements such as monkey vault, precision jump, one/two-handed vault, wall run, wall jump, tic-tac, arm jump, running jumps, drops, roll, balance, and sway. All of the techniques are practiced over and over and over again, literally hundreds of times, until they become second nature. Disciplined, deliberate, and intense physical practice is the norm for the serious Parkour artist.

However, Parkour is much more than mastering a movement or series of movements.

Parkour provides practitioners with an arena in which to express their creativity and individuality. They learn to adapt to changing conditions and to explore their personal limitations, sometimes discovering a deeper, more authentic self.

Community, helping others, universal responsibility, ethics, humility, and enjoyment are core to Parkour ethos; defacing public property, anti-socialism, improper language, disrespect, and egotism are not.

Parkour and the Art du déplacement was translated by Casey Roberts.

Review by John Spychka
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About Author

John Spychka

John Spychka has dabbled in writing since the early ’90s. His closest claim to fame came around 2006 when his work, “The Slava Ladies League Christmas Pyrogy Fiasco,” was shortlisted for the annual Writers’ Union of Canada’s Short Prose Competition. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in English Literature at the University of Calgary and also has a Master’s in English Literature from Université Laval. He has travelled extensively, having lived in Japan and France. John is a manager in a multi-national software company and dreams to one day be able to live off his writing. He lives in Quebec City with his wife and two children.

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