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Parkour: Getting over the wall

Story by Lance Cpl. Justis T. Beauregard
MCAS Miramar Combat Correspondent

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif., (January 23, 2009) -- What is the fastest way to get from one place to the other? One Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Marine jumps over railings and climbs up walls.

Staff Sgt. David F. Boyle shown here in mid jump.

Boyle jumps between two wooden boards to improve his balance. Excellent balance is necessary to land the jumps and spins found in Parkour.

Staff Sgt. David F. Boyle, a ground training chief at Air Operations, practices the French art of parkour.

A relatively new sport, parkour was developed to move from one point to another quickly and efficiently. The history of parkour is somewhat unknown but can be traced back to French soldiers in Vietnam who used parkour to excel in their obstacle courses. People who practice parkour attain many acrobatic feats such as jumping over railings and climbing walls.

Boyle recently began practicing parkour after becoming inspired watching several videos on the sport, then conducting a large amount of research. He started with the most basic moves of the art and gradually progressed.

“When I started doing parkour I realized I have been doing it all my life,” said Boyle. “As a kid I used to jump off things and climb things around me.”

Boyle takes what he has learned in the Corps and incorporates it into his parkour training.

“I try to do things that can be used in the Marine Corps,” said Boyle. “I noticed during (the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program), that the shoulder roll Marines use is similar to the one used in Parkour.”

After Boyle's recent MCMAP class, Boyle passed on to his Marines simple parkour moves that related to the MCMAP moves they had learned.

“Staff Sgt. Boyle showed us a few moves,” said Cpl. John R. Coronado, flight planning dispatcher for Air Operations. “He showed us jumps, twists and turns.”

Parkour can be used in the obstacle course, explained Boyle. “Next time I do the obstacle course I will use what I have learned in parkour.”

It is easy to get hurt, added Boyle. Safety is the most important aspect of parkour.

“Parkour is something that takes a lot of strength and conditioning,” said Eric G. Ramirez, a fitness coordinator at the Semper Fit Center.

Someone wishing to practice parkour should start by focusing on strength training, explained Ramirez. The Semper Fit Center can help get individuals to the level they need to be at to do parkour safely.

A quick internet search will provide training sites at gymnastic centers in the San Diego area, where service members can practice in a controlled environment.

Staff Sgt. Boyle’s tips for safety:

1. Know your limitations and work on them.

2. Make sure you do-not train in areas where there are no "No Trespassing" signs.

3. Train and practice. Don't combine the two.

4. Training is meant to be strenuous and tiring.

5. Practice is geared toward technical proficiency, not working out.

6. If you feel yourself getting tired and your body is telling you to quit, QUIT!

7. Don't risk injury, because you want to try one more move.

8. Parkour isn't about showing off.

9. Make sure you are properly warmed up before starting.

10. Don't try new techniques, without first evaluating the risk factors, use operational risk management.

Staff Sgt. David F. Boyle jumping over railings shown here.

Staff Sgt. David F. Boyle, a ground training chief at Station Air Operations, vaults over a railing at the base theater, Jan. 14. Boyle finds railings and walls around base that he can use to practice parkour. He practiced for months before jumping over railings.



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