COURTESY OZZI QUINTERO OF HAWAI'I PK
Ozzi Quintero demonstrates a turn vault, which is mostly used to get on the other side of an obstacle with a large drop on the opposite side, then climb down minimizing forces of impact.
Run, jump, flee
Adherents of the Parkour philosophy practice more than daredevil moves
With martial arts the emphasis is on the fight. With Parkour the emphasis is on the flight. Participants - or "traceurs" - train to flee, to run freely and safely through obstacle-filled spaces as they would in an emergency, stopping at nothing.
» Monthly jams: Hawai'i PK meets on the last Sunday of each month, with times and locations posted at www.hawaiipk.com. Those passionate about Parkour can convene and expand their movement vocabularies.
» Seminar: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 19 at Aiea District Park. Features introductions to the physical and mental components of Parkour, including jumping techniques, hurdles and vaults, and discussions about the origins and psychology of the lifestyle. Cost is $20.
» Information: Call 337-2965 or visit www.hawaiipk.com.
As Parkour gains popularity internationally (it has been featured in several high-profile television advertisements, including a McDonald's commercial featuring traceurs performing their gravity-defying feats), local communities are forming. In Hawaii, traceur Ozzi Quintero has founded Hawai'i PK (a standard abbreviation for
Parkour) for all levels of participants.
"Hawai'i PK is a resource to guide anyone interested in learning training methods or getting started," says Quintero. "We work hard to continue to spread this new art form throughout our islands and gather a community of traceurs."
Explaining the essence of Parkour, Quintero explains, "We express our mental strength, physical strength and freedom through unlimited body movements."
COURTESY OZZI QUINTERO OF HAWAI'I PK
Quintero demonstrates cat balance, a technique used for balancing exercises.
True to the spirit of Parkour, Quintero sees obstacles as allies or possibilities.
Another foundation of Parkour is a connection to the primal. "If civilization had not evolved the way it did, it would only be normal for us to move this way. Therefore we are just letting out primordial instinctive self be free, as an animal creation of Mother Nature," says Quintero.
He sees Parkour as an antidote to stagnant mind-sets and lifestyles.
Through Hawai'i PK, aka HIPK, Quintero offers training courses and connects traceurs with resources. Part of the group's mission is to preserve the inherent values of Parkour as well as to teach its ever-evolving inventory of movements.
Quintero is quick to emphasize that Parkour is not, as it might look to the observer, a helter-skelter patchwork of fly-by-the-minute moves. An underlying set of movements informs and inspires Parkour, and the traceur must be able to choose among them at any given moment as well as develop a basic athletic aptitude that includes arm strength, core strength, balance and flexibility.
As for the dramatic feats of flight that some Parkour enthusiasts attempt? These require a streamlined, fluid approach to movement based on the idea of covering as much ground as possible in the most efficient way, as if escaping or chasing an adversary. Traceurs also specialize in minimizing impact forces on the legs and spine, allowing them to scale ever-taller heights.
While "don't try this at home" would be appropriate advice here, there are several ways to begin your own Parkour practice. One is to simply become more aware of everyday movements. How do you hold your body when you walk up or down stairs? When do you feel sure-footed, and when do you feel off balance?
"Since the beginnings of mankind, humans have had the need to hunt and escape," Quintero says. "It is or was part of our instinctive nature, but slowly and through generations, due to the programming of society and the comforts of modern-day life, we have lost the actual need to move efficiently as a method of survival."