Art of movement expressed through parkour

Twin Cities Parkour member Damon Curry does a body spin Wednesday near Jones Hall. Parkour, the art of moving over obstacles from point to point, is gaining popularity in the United States.

Ashley Goetz

Twin Cities Parkour member Damon Curry does a body spin Wednesday near Jones Hall. Parkour, the art of moving over obstacles from point to point, is gaining popularity in the United States.

He climbs walls, vaults over rails and ledges and does it all without getting hurt âÄî at least most of the time. Chemical engineering junior Adam Reimnitz isnâÄôt Spider-Man or Batman âÄî just a college student who practices parkour. With enough University students taking part in the new discipline, Reimnitz said he is beginning the process to start an official parkour student group on campus. Already an international phenomenon, parkour is gaining popularity throughout the United States âÄî even making an appearance on MadonnaâÄôs latest concert tour. âÄúMe and a couple of friends did it in high school and it wasnâÄôt until I came to the âÄòUâÄô campus that I found a bunch of other people who do [parkour],âÄù Reimnitz said. Parkour, a French word meaning the art of movement, can be likened to an obstacle course, but the course is the everyday urban environment. Parkour participants, called traceurs , run, jump, climb and even crawl from point A to point B if itâÄôs the most efficient way, according to AmericanParkour.com . Mark Toorock , who is behind the site and a traceur himself, said parkour allows humans to create the most basic art form âÄî movement. âÄúWhen you see someone who has practiced these moves over and over again, any person can appreciate them,âÄù he said. âÄúItâÄôs natural. Humans were meant to run, jump and play.âÄù Reimnitz said the appeal of the sport is you donâÄôt need fancy equipment. âÄúYou just need yourself, a good pair of shoes, and the environment,âÄù he said. âÄúYou can go out and do it anywhere you want.âÄù Although there is no official student group on campus yet, Reimnitz said several University students use meetup.com to attend meetings of the Twin Cities parkour group, as well as hold unofficial meetings on campus. About 100 people belong to the Twin Cities group and a majority of those are University students, Reimnitz said. He said because of the medical risks involved with parkour, it may not be easy to become an official student group. âÄúWe would probably have to contract our own outside insurance,âÄù he said. In some cases, student groups are required to get a policy beyond what the University student group insurance policy covers, Assistant Director of Student Unions and Activities Megan Sweet said. Sweet said without specifically looking at what the parkour group would be doing during meetings, she is unsure whether the group would need to pursue extra insurance. Parkour can be dangerous, Toorock said, but training properly reduces risk of injury. âÄúIn order to do something in parkour, you have to put yourself in that situation,âÄù he said. But despite the dangers, geography graduate student Stefano Bloch , who studies parkour extensively as a part of his graduate work, said the sport appeals to so many people because of their love for the city environment around them. âÄúFor the first time in human history, now more than half of the worldâÄôs population is now living in urban environments,âÄù he said. âÄúWith that comes a different social perspective. More people are being raised in a different type of environment and that is the built environment.âÄù In upcoming courses at the University, Bloch said he will discuss the theory and practice of parkour because students can learn more about human consciousness and the human condition by studying alternative visions of the world. âÄúParkour bucks all of the trends of all of the basic spacialities ,âÄù he said. âÄúWe climb on, through and above your lifeworlds . The world you create for yourself.âÄù