COURTESY OZZI QUINTERO OF HAWAI'I PK
Adam McLellan in a sequence that shows the full precision jump form.
Perhaps you have been in a park and were surprised to see a surpassingly agile individual maneuvering over obstacles as though performing a Hollywood stunt. This individual might have been running, jumping or scaling walls like Spider-Man and seeking out vertical surfaces to conquer.
Your eyes do not betray you. You've probably spotted one of a growing community of island "traceurs" - individuals who practice the art of Parkour, which is often mistakenly identified as an extreme sport or a daredevil activity but is, in fact, a movement philosophy.
Parkour is built around the goal of moving in the fastest, most direct and efficient way possible between Point A and Point B. The stairs, walls, poles and balconies of the urban landscape - as well as trees, rocks and anything else that might be in the way - are obstacles. But in Parkour, obstacles are allies.
Traceurs learn methods of jumping, turning and climbing that provide the highest degree of maneuverability. They share secrets, tricks of the trade and seek out urban areas to practice their art.
Parkour was founded by David Belle, a French military veteran who combined his experience with dangerous rescue missions and his athletic prowess to create an art that would serve as a practical movement method. "Our aim is to take our art to the world and make people understand what it is to move," Belle told BBC News in 2002 as Parkour was gaining popularity in the streets and parks of Paris, London and other European cities.
Known also as the "art of displacement," Parkour takes its name from the French "parcours du combattant," a classic obstacle course method of military training. Rather than practicing only techniques, traceurs seek to free instinctive human ways of moving. They aim for a higher sense of spatial awareness, along with the physical and mental benefits that come with the act of overcoming what seems, at first, impossible.
Devotees are known to say, "I live Parkour," as opposed to, "I do Parkour," emphasizing the influence of the art on their lives.
"Parkour has given me more than a pastime," says traceur Fiona Menendez, of Seattle, who is visiting Oahu for the summer. "It's given me strength, confidence and a humility that comes from relearning how to move the body.
"It's also noncompetitive. It's not a sport; it's a state of mind that leads to a way of moving. I do it everywhere I go, and I use it in other aspects of my life. Life is obstacles, and life is the art of approaching and transcending those obstacles."