Wednesday, April 18, 2012
P is for PARKOUR_The Cost To Free Running
The term was coined by Hubert Kounde.
It comes from "parcours du combattant", the classic obstacle course created by the famous naval officer, George Hebert.
The student of parkour is called a "traceur", most likely spun from Parisian slang "tracer" which means "to hurry" or "to move quickly".
In proper French, traceur is an adjective qualifying something that leaves a trace or a trail behind it.
And in UNDER A VOODOO MOON, Victor Standish is leaving a trail of evolved raptors following him as he leads them in a furious display of Parkour.
He meets the ghost of Pere Antoine who reminds him that he must one day pay the cost to free running:
The ghost of Pere Antoine lunged, grabbing me by the scruff of my neck and the back of my belt. “Victor, you cannot come out of this alive. You knew that when you sent your Alice away.”
He spun, swinging me around and around in the humid night air. “Parkour is more than jumping, young man. It is a way of living life, of spending it in the cause of something bigger than you. It is time you live … and die the cost of ‘free’ running!”
With those last words, Pere Antoine hurled me up high into the night. It seemed as if the stars came down to welcome me.
There was a rainbow rift right in front of my body. I passed through it, the ghost-scent of apricots coming to me. And I knew. I knew.
I was never going to see Alice again … or hear her odd British accent.
I loved the way she talked. When she talked to me, there was a living tenderness in her voice. She just let it flow from inside her … as if she owned all the words in the world, and she loved me enough to make them dance for me.
Suddenly, the world re-focused, and I thumped precariously on the ledge of a tall French Quarter building at least thirty feet high if it was an inch. My head spinning, I took in my surroundings.
Not forty feet from this building was Meilori’s.
It might have been on the craters of the moon for all the good it was going to do me. Dozens of raptors were running towards me. Coming at me from both ends of the ledge.
Scrambling right at me from the roof in a horde of scales and fangs. Racing at me from across the near-by roofs. No port of safety.
In the empty cement courtyard thirty feet below.
I had seen the Sensei make a leap like this and live. But that was onto grass not concrete. And I was no Sensei.
I smiled wide through my labored breathing. No, I was Victor Standish. I pulled up tall despite the pain in my chest. What had Pere Antoine said?
It was time for me to live the cost to “free” running. And to die it as well.
Pere Antoine was right.
Even the harsh Sensei had taught me that Parkour was more than leaping and dodging. It was a way of life. What was its motto?
être et durer ("to be and to last").
George Hebert had changed that motto while rescuing 700 terrified people during the eruption of Mt. Pele : "être fort pour être utile"
("be strong to be useful".)
I looked at the happily crying raptors charging me as they saw I was standing still, apparently trapped. How many terrified street people would these predators eat alive after tonight?
I sucked in a ragged breath. None.
The pain in my chest was worse, stabbing down my left arm. My nose was bleeding more. I couldn’t see clear. Yet, in a way I saw it all crystal clear.
Maybe I wasn’t Captain Sam’s real son, but I could go out as if I were in my death.
The Soyoko had proven that where I would go, they would follow. I smiled like I figured Captain Sam would in this situation.
“Hey, bitches!,” I panted. “Got the balls to follow me?”
I bent slightly at the knees as I faced them and flipped high into the air in a backwards double somersault right off the building.
And oddest thing, I heard the beginning of NIGHTWISH’s “Come Cover Me” in my head. The wind tickled my ears. Man, this was going to hurt so bad!