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The Art of Parkour: Capturing Extreme Jump Shotshttp://www.wired.com/culture/art/magazine/15-11/pl_artsThe Sporting Scene: No Obstacleshttp://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/04/16/070416fa_fact_wilkinsonAmerican Parkourhttp://www.americanparkour.com/Howstuffworks: "How Parkour Works"http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/parkour.htmUCLA Ergonomics: Exerciseshttp://www.ergonomics.ucla.edu/exercises.htmlImagine a physical activity (not a sport, per se) that encompasses jumping delicately off a parking ramp onto the side of another building, twisting and turning along the way, and probably ending up careening along a nearby mud embankment to wind up completely intact and hopefully, unhurt. To some, this may smack of mere folly. Others prefer to call it "parkour". The parkour movement has been gaining steam in recent years, fueled by video-sharing websites, a growing network of parkour specialists, and those types of individuals who are generally looking for new and intriguing challenges. The word parkour comes from the French "parcours", which means "route". Through various body motions and maneuvers, the practice of parkour allows practitioners to find their way across all types of obstacles, both physical and mental. The founder of the parkour movement is one David Belle, who spent his early life living in a suburb of Paris. Belle has served as the inspiration for a newer generation of persons interested in this activity. For his own part, he remains introspective about parkour, and in a recent interview he remarked "What I'm interested in for parkour is the utilitarian thing of getting to the other end, whether as a task or a challenge, but in film they like a little entertainment, so I do that, too, but it's not what I'm interested in."The first link will take visitors to an article by the Toledo Blade's Ryan E. Smith about those dedicated to the art of parkour in and around the greater Toledo region. The second link will whisk users away to a feature from Wired magazine that features a new impressionistic film of various traceurs (the word used for male parkour practitioners) in action. Moving on, the third link will take visitors to an excellent piece on parkour by Alec Wilkinson for The New Yorker. For those who are feeling inspired, the fourth link may lead them to try a bit of parkour in the future. The site happens to be American Parkour, and it contains photo galleries, videos, and of course, an answer to the question "How Do I Get Started?" The fifth link will teach users how parkour works, courtesy of Cameron Lawrence and the folks at Howstuffworks. The last site could be the most useful of all, as it contains some great stretching and flexibility exercises offered up by the Ergonomics Division of UCLA's Office of Environment, Health and Safety. Whether you've just come off a long day of parkour or just a long day in a poorly adjusted chair, there's something for everyone here.
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