Giant on the move
Beijing’s moving artists
“The art of moving” is an urban pastime that involves getting from one point to another as efficiently and quickly as possible and overcoming obstacles using only the human body.
It started in the suburbs of Paris but has spread to cities around the world and, like many Western imports, has ended up in Beijing.
Du Yize, 22, is a student the Beijing Film Academy and was always much keener on sport than he was on schoolwork. He spent a long time training in the the Chinese martial art of wushu, or kung fu, before one day he came upon pictures of Parkour enthusiasts on the internet and decided to look into it.
The result is a 12-strong club operating out of the Academy.
“Parkour is a kind of sport and at the same time, Parkour it’s a kind of fashionable show. You hear lots of passers-by shouting ‘Whoa!!!’ in amazement when we are somersaulting.”
Du says his club has incorporated elements a distinctly Chinese element into their version of Parkour.
“If someone is good at Chinese kung fu, then they have good basics to do Parkour very well,” he said. “Our Parkour is a combination of this fashionable sport and traditional Chinese kung fu. Anyone who wants to learn Parkour in our club needs to learn some basic skills of kung fu first.”
Du says he thinks Parkour has some practical advantages, too. ”In my opinion Parkour is not only a sport, it could help me protect myself,” he said.
“For example, if there was a fire in my building, I could get out through a window and jump from a very high floor.”
The combination with elements of kung fu adds another advantage, he thinks.
“In foreign countries, young people who are good at Parkour are able to get away when someone tries to rob them. People who learnt our version of Parkour could fight the robber as well.”
Pictures of Du (in the black jacket) and his club at various iconic spots around Beijing in January by Reinhard Krause.