A very warm welcome to Jacquelyn Mitchard, whose new book What We Saw at Night comes out tomorrow from the recently launched Soho Teen! She's here to talk a little bit about her research on Parkour.
To my horror, I found out I was once removed from an amateur Parkour addict. My son Dan, now a student chef, suggested that Juliet lead Rob and Allie into this Extreme sport instead of cliff skiing or marathon kayaking because it's so unexpected outside the urban setting and so very, very difficult. I started watching YouTube videos of Parkour "tracers," and at first, I was just seeing the hot dogs, showing off their washboards and their super pecs. But then I got hold of an old video about the founder David Belle, Junior, a Frenchman who started the sport after his father created the basic idea as a military tactic—so that in getting out of a bad situation, you would never have to stop, but would be able to vault or boulder over any obstacle. The whole thing is about safety. It's about being part of the earth instead of being a foreign object on the earth. When you trace, nothing but your own fear can stop you. People who are part of real Parkour "tribes" are not hot dogs. They are very disciplined and strong. There is a big part of the sport (or the discipline) that isn't doing the run or climb at all but lifting weights, and practicing the same hanging swing or leap over and over and over and over until you could do it…well, literally in the dark. And that's how my story was born.
Don't forget to visit Jacquelyn online at her website: http://www.jacquelynmitchard.com/And find out more info about Soho Teen: http://www.sohopress.com/soho-teen/