Free running man | Life | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Minute to burn it
    July 13, 2013
    Bored by long workouts? Just seven fast and furious minutes can produce results.
  • Going Biblical
    July 13, 2013
    In Jordan, one finds places mentioned in the Bible.
  • Black humour
    July 13, 2013
    Tamil film industry's obsession with fair skin engulfs creativity.
More in this Section
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
A parkour world champion

Free running man


Ryan Doyle is tired. As a freerunner and parkour practitioner, you'd probably expect him to be exhausted from all the practice hours that he puts in. But Doyle is just jet-lagged, from his new globe-trotting project, 'Parkour World Wonders. '

"I can't train much really because I have to stay healthy, " is his intriguing revelation. "I can't take the risk of getting hurt, can't do anything dangerous without the camera rolling, " he says of the project that will see him travel to the new 'seven wonders of the world'. The Red Bull athlete has made stops in Italy, Brazil, Peru, India and Jordan, and will swing by China in August. "The Taj Mahal was just mindblowing. It has a sense of mystery that I just loved, " he exclaims.

Doyle, probably one of the few Liverpudlians who likes neither The Beatles nor the Liverpool football club, is a parkour world champion and is, frankly, a little tired of explaining what it is.

"I'm fed up of telling people what parkour is, what free running is, " he says, without any rancour. "It's an underground style of sport. It's a discipline, an art, a way of life and thinking. We will never be seen as a sport so there are no rules. People can set their own criteria. Everything is available online and one can learn everything and anything, " the 2011 Art of Motion champion says.


Watching the acrobatic 27-year-old execute some of the twists and flips with practised nonchalance is exhilarating. He usually trains on flat surfaces or in the gym, so the chance of jumping off the hundreds of old structures at Machu Picchu or flipping in front of the Colosseum or the Taj Mahal was too good to pass up. Add to that the fact that Doyle is always up for new experiences and a world tour seemed the perfect project to undertake.

"I released a showreel on YouTube and 26 countries contacted me to come and perform. My manager then suggested we do an international tour and put together a travel story around the wonders of the world, " Doyle told TOI-Crest.
According to Doyle, all parkour atheletes or traceurs are addicted to problem solving. "Give us a Rubik cube and most of can put it together within a minute, " he laughs. "For me parkour is a personal way of overcoming obstacles, both physical and mental.

I practice efficient physical movements using the body to get from Point A to Point B and I use that philosophy when I need to achieve a goal. Subconsciously, you apply that on a mental level. If there's a death in the family or you're jobless, you figure out how to get out of it. You are conditioned to be like that, " the Jackie Chan fan says.

Developed in France by David Belle, the main purpose of parkour is to teach participants how to move through an (usually urban) environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and leaping. Increased use of the discipline in popular culture first sparked global interest in the art. Hollywood films like Casino Royale, The Bourne Ultimatum and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, among others, have showcased action sequences based on parkour. Closer home, Akshay Kumar's stunts in advertisements for a fizzy drink are parkour-inspired and even Aamir Khan learnt some techniques for his role in Dhoom 3. Yet while Doyle - who's also acted as a hyperactive ninja in a small indie film called Shinobi Code - and his ilk are mostly happy for the attention, he's not convinced it's for the best.


"Kids are seeing parkour in movies and music videos and want to try the moves out, not because it would make them feel great. They think it's cool, " points out Doyle, whose favourite activity when not flipping is sleeping. Incidentally, it was his apparent disinterest in football - "Can you imagine growing up in England and you don't like football?" - that saw Doyle take up martial arts. He learnt the Korean martial art of Kuk Sool Won, and developed his style of parkour by adding his own free-running movements to the martial arts techniques he learned.

Injuries, of course, are an integral part of Doyle's life. He famously won the first official international free-running event: Red Bull - Art of Motion in Vienna in 2007 and broke his left leg, right at the moment of triumph, when he missed the landing mat from a 12ft jump in the final. He now has a 33cm bar held on to his leg with 14 screws as a permanent reminder. "Bones can heal but cartilages don't grow back, " he says ruefully. "I have several broken toes. There's an annual ankle injury. I have some new teeth, " he says, pointing to his jaw, and adds, "there are calcium buildups and broken fingers. "

Amazingly, for a man who has to quickly estimate the distance between two ledges or drops, Doyle has very poor eyesight, which he claims is an advantage, because if he could actually see the true height of a jump he was on, he'd probably chicken out.
Though there's not much money in parkour, Doyle, like many ace sportsmen, believes in the abiding power of sport, of the good something like parkour can bring to the world. "Parkour is an altruistic sport. It teaches you to respect your environment, your neighbours. I don't try and teach people how to parkour. You can't teach them. I teach them how to be safe. I don't want to create copies of me. I want them to be the best people they can be. "

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik |


itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service