Don’t Try This At Home

By Nora Cassidy ’13

Carleton Parkour Club 

Getting across campus quickly is an essential skill for busy students, but members of the Carleton Parkour Club have taken it to a new level. Parkour—a French term derived from parcours du combattant, the classic obstacle course method of military training developed in France in the early 1900s—is a sport that’s become an international phenomenon since the 1990s. Using gymnastic and ninja-like skills, club members run, jump, climb, leap, roll, and launch themselves up and down stairs, sides of buildings, railings, fences, and other obstacles as they move through an environment with speed and efficiency. Club president and training manager Milan Cvitkovic ’13 (Seattle) has practiced parkour since 2007; we asked him to tell us more:

Unique aspects: “Parkour is about being universally functional and adaptable. It encourages a level of body control not seen in sports that emphasize specific movements.”

Training: “Parkour has come a long way since the days when we would just throw ourselves at obstacles and see what happened. There is an established pedagogy now. People can make huge progress in one practice, which is a joy to watch.”

Safety: “Our club charter includes specific safety guidelines, but parkour is a low-injury activity because participants develop their skills and only do what they’re comfortable with. We’ve never had anything more serious than a scraped knee or bruised shin at our events.”

Use: “I use parkour every day to get down stairs quickly, go over fences, get around furniture, etcetera. Eventually you don’t even have to think about it; it just becomes how you choose to move.”

Favorite obstacle: “Stairs. They’re ubiquitous, and it’s fun to zoom down them in new ways.”

Web Extra: View a video of club members in action at go.carleton.edu/parkour/

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