A die-hard Jackie Chan follower, 16-year-old Vishal Kumar, spent hours watching and dissecting his seamless movements on YouTube when he stumbled upon a video about parkour in the suggested section. “That was when I realized that there was an actual word to describe the thing I was obsessing over!” he recalls. In that moment of thrill, having discovered the existence of parkour, Vishal turned to the internet, finding every resource he could get his hands on, reading everything about his new discovery. That’s when he realised that he wasn’t alone. There was an entire Orkut community (what social media looked like in 2009) of fifty enthusiasts where all of Chennai’s parkour enthusiasts congregated. They would meet on the weekends at open spaces like Besant Nagar Beach or Anna Nagar Tower Park and practice and teach each other movements. “But that group reduced to four within the next two years. Everyone couldn’t sustain the rigorous practice sessions.”

What exactly is parkour you ask? It lies in a grey area between an art form and a sport, with movement styles and techniques borrowed from several of its predecessors, choreographed together and inspired by the architecture in an urban setting. As complex as that may seem, to a conditioned parkour athlete, the world is a playground,…


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