Tokyo playground

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.














2 Responses to “Tokyo playground”

  1. Great set of images, must have been fun. Been interested in this sport for years, as a climber the ability of free runners to use their bodies and find often original ways to cross difficult and varied terrain was similar to what we did on rocks and to a lesser extent in the urban buildering sport that is all but impossible in these paranoid times. My coveted first ascent of Canterbury Multi storey carpark likely to get me shot nowadays. Good to see some people doing it here and as it is a discipline as you say it is not the pose that so many “trendy” sports can and do become. There is no way to just pretend this skill. Good to see. damon

  2. […] This is beginning to turn into a proper photo project. (Previous shoot here). […]

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