Changing China

Giant on the move

Beijing’s moving artists

July 13, 2008

Du Yize, the founder and trainer of the Beijing Du Yize Parkour Club, shows his skills at the Forbidden City in Beijing

In the unlikely event Parkour ever becomes an Olympic sport, at least the hosts won’t have to build a venue.

“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.

Members of the Beijing Du Yize Parkour Club show their skills at the Forbidden City in Beijing

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.  

Members of the Beijing Du Yize Parkour Club show their skills at the Forbidden City in Beijing

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 Yize, the founder and trainer of the Beijing Du Yize Parkour Club, shows his skills in front of the Olympic Stadium in Beijing

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.”  

Members of the Beijing Du Yize Parkour Club show their skills at the Forbidden City in Beijing

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.”

Members of the Beijing Du Yize Parkour Club show their skills near the Forbidden City in Beijing

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. 

Comments

Great, what a super way to show respect for historic buildings. Can’t they think of something original?

Posted by BUGZ | Report as abusive
 

so out of respect for everything historic, lets stop all progress and go back to the stone age, huh?

Posted by anomit | Report as abusive
 

Interesting to see such activities at these historical sites like the Forbidden City. I am surprised they were not stopped by the high security profile.

 

we put your film on our site and will be in Being tomorrow.
Any chance we can have an interview with you guys?
email us please

 

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