This was a fantastic commmision. How much more photogenic can you get than people doing acrobatics in the middle of the city?
The principle behind Parkour (AKA freerunning) is pretty simple – the quickest, most natural way from moving from A to B. There are a couple of Parkour groups in Tokyo, but it’s not that popular here. According to Sullivan (in the night shots below) the number of Tokyo ’traceurs’ is in the low tens.
I knew almost nothing about Parkour before this story so I was surprised to learn it’s influenced by Western military training methods, Eastern martial arts, and even the films of Jackie Chan. Interestingly, there aren’t any Parkour competitions. It’s more a discipline than a sport – about training your body and mind to overcome all sorts of obstacles.
I called this blog (and my story) Tokyo playground. Parkour started as kids testing their athleticism in the playground. Its philosophy is to make a playground of the whole city. Quite a radical idea when you think about it. Tokyo is so grey and crowded. In a way, it’s one of the most alienating cities in the world. Good to see it from a completely new perspective.
Don’t suppose I’ll be doing backflips on the train platform any time soon though.