Author Topic: David Belle - Bio & General Discussion  (Read 37131 times)

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Offline Czeri

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David Belle - Bio & General Discussion
« on: Thu, Oct 02, 2008, 03:14 PM »








Name: David Belle
Birthday: 29/04/1973 (IMDB)
Eyes: dark brown
Hair: black



Bio: Parkour was created in Lisses, a medium prosperous suburb of Paris, in the early nineteen-nineties, by a reserved and restless teen-age boy named David Belle. His father, Raymond, who died in 1999, was an acrobat and a hero fireman. In 1969, he appeared in newspaper photographs hanging from a cable attached to a helicopter above Notre Dame. The night before, someone had hung a Vietcong flag on the cathedral’s tower. Raymond was lowered like a spider on a thread, and he grabbed the flag. David Belle is now thirty-three. He has an older brother, Jeff, who is also a fireman; they have the same father but different mothers. (A third brother died a few years ago, of an overdose.) David was raised by his mother’s father. On the few occasions when he tried to live with Raymond, their temperaments clashed. David’s grandfather told him stories about Raymond that revolved around his exploits—“Spider-Man stories and Tarzan stories,” David says—and left him wishing to emulate him. He wanted to be Spider-Man when he grew up.

Jeff said that David was a restless boy. “He was always exercising in front of the TV,” he said. “He still takes whatever’s next to him, maybe a big book, and starts lifting it. He can’t sit still. He lives with it.” The brothers did not see much of each other until David, at fourteen, moved to Lisses to live with his mother. Then Jeff, who was already a fireman, began to look after him. He would show him how to climb ropes and perform gymnastic maneuvers, and David would go off and do it his own way. Now and then, David would go to the climbing wall in Lisses with his father and show him things he had taught himself, and Raymond, thinking that he was being encouraging, would say, “I could do that when I was nine.”

Through Jeff, David was exposed to the methods of Georges Hébert, a French sports theorist, whose motto was “Be strong to be useful.” Inspired by Hébert, a Swiss architect developed an obstacle course called a parcours. “David took Hébert’s ideas and said, ‘I will adapt it to what I need,’ ” Jeff said. “Instead of stopping at a reasonable point, he just kept going.”

David was briefly a fireman recruit, until he hurt his wrist. While he was recuperating, he started thinking things over and saw that the life of a fireman had too many rules, and not enough action, and he decided to join the Marines, but he didn’t find the same values among them, the “traditional values.” He left the Marines and went to India, where he stayed for six months. When he came back to Paris, he was twenty-four, and he didn’t know what to do with himself.

“He came to see me at my house,” Jeff said, “and he told me he didn’t know where his life was going. He was only interested in parkour. You could be a super policeman or a firefighter using it, but you can’t earn your living, because there’s no championship. I said, ‘Maybe if we film what you’re doing.’

It was 1997, and Jeff was involved in planning an annual ceremony in which recruits perform firefighting drills. He decided that David should put on a show. He told him to get a group together, so that he wouldn’t look insignificant by himself. David collected two of his cousins and some other kids from the neighborhood, including Sébastien Foucan, with whom he ran around doing parkour. Jeff choreographed a routine for them. They dressed as ninjas and called themselves the Yamakasi. “It means ‘strong spirit’ in the language of Zaire,” Jeff said, “but it sounded Asian.” During the show, David climbed a tower and did a handstand at the top. He also scaled a fireman’s ladder and did a backflip from it. After the demonstration, David began getting invitations to perform. (extracts from the New Yorker article ”No Obstacles” by Alec Wilkinson available for download as a Word document  here: http://www.misterparkour.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/no-obstacles-by-alec-wilkinson.doc)

List of Films:
1) & 2)   Starring roles in “Banlieue 13” (“District 13”) and "Banlieue 13 Ultimatum".
3)   Aside from that he had small parts in “Babylon A.D.”
4)   “Divine Intervention”
5)   “Femme Fatale”
6)   and a blink and you’ll miss him stunt in “Transporter 2”

Trivia: David's book "Parkour" has just been released in France.

Ethnically David is quarter-Vietnamese. His father was from French Indo-China (now Vietnam). ("Parkour" by David Belle)

Sam Raimi wanted David to be Spiderman's double but David turned him down. (”No Obstacles” by Alec Wilkinson)

The 'Forget your job!' line David has in Babylon A.D. is more than likely the most English you'll ever hear him speak. (IMDB)

David has been known to sleep on top of Dam-du-Lac, the climbing wall in Lisses. (”No Obstacles” by Alec Wilkinson)

No matter what an amazing feat he achieves, David would still say that if his father had been there, he'd have done it ten times better. (Stephane Vigroux documentary on the 'District 13' DVD)

Why we Love him: Just look at him move!

http://www.youtube.com/v/SAMAr8y-Vtw&hl=en&fs=1
http://www.youtube.com/v/huv2sTalt7o&hl=en&fs=1
http://www.youtube.com/v/x98jCBnWO8w&hl=en&fs=1
http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Go0DAihSTuU

Surely defying the laws of physics outside of the Matrix should earn him some love, no?

Also, because inventing a new sport and spreading it all over the world is pretty awesome  :)  :)
« Last Edit: Sat, Oct 02, 2010, 09:27 AM by Montgomery Burns 13, Reason: splitting into separate threads for each movie »

Offline karikocha

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #1 on: Thu, Oct 02, 2008, 04:40 PM »
He has a certain quality, makes me curious about him. And damn he looks good.

Offline Furyan Goddess

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #2 on: Thu, Oct 02, 2008, 05:52 PM »
Thanks for the bio, but could you please put a clickly link to where you got the bio info?  was in IMDb or Wiki?  

Thanks
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Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #3 on: Fri, Oct 03, 2008, 12:29 AM »
Quote from: "karikocha"
He has a certain quality, makes me curious about him. And damn he looks good.


That he does  :evillol

Quote
Thanks for the bio, but could you please put a clickly link to where you got the bio info? was in IMDb or Wiki?


I've added a link to where you can download a Word version of the 'No Obstacles' article. That's the best I can do because I don't think it's available anywhere in html.

Offline Furyan Goddess

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #4 on: Fri, Oct 03, 2008, 04:19 AM »
Ok, thanks... Czeri... that should work.  We just have to make sure we credit our sources when we do stuff like this.  

Thanks again
FG

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Offline Janine

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #5 on: Fri, Oct 03, 2008, 10:26 AM »
Quote from: "Czeri"
I mean, they called his character 'Kid with Tattoos' but not a single one of his tattoos was visible. That's false advertising!

Oh, I'm quite sure Kasso has shot some scenes where his tats are visible but wasn't allowed to add them to the movie. Thanks for doing the bio, I've been curious about him for a while now. And damn, yeah, he *is* eye candy. :D

Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #6 on: Wed, Mar 04, 2009, 03:28 PM »
Whee! David has recently published a book called Parkour and my copy has arrived today from Amazon.fr!  :love

Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #7 on: Wed, Apr 29, 2009, 02:04 PM »
It's David's birthday today and in order to celebrate the occasion I thought I'd post the interview with him that was recently published on http://www.misterparkour.com/. He talks among other things about how he ended up working on Prince of Persia and Banlieue 13 Ultimatum at the same time, about the past and the present of parkour, about what training with him entails, and about how he's so fed up with French cops trying to arrest him each time he trains that he considers moving  :bday

Quote
Why have you decided to move from being a fireman to being an actor/stuntman?

Firstly, after being a fireman, I went into the army. I was in the Marine Infantry. It was a coincidence I found myself in movies. It was not a vocation. Not something I wanted to do since I was little. What I wanted was to make my sport known: that Parkour become recognized. My brother showed my small videos to the media and they got interested; which brought me to movies. But acting wasn’t something I originally wanted to do. Now that I am in that field; I enjoy it and I am not going to waste the opportunity. If there are opportunities for me in movies, I will take them. Otherwise I will move on to something else. However, for the moment I am not thinking of making a career in that area. I was more than happy with the first District B13. It was already enough for me to be able to tell that to my kids. When I finished working on B13, I told myself: “Even if there is only that one, I am happy enough that Parkour brought me to do that; to be able to show Parkour to the public and make myself known”. For the rest, let’s not make plans on what is and what is not going to happen.

You’re talking as if you haven’t made any decisions by yourself, as if it just all happened by accident…

But it did all happen just like that! I never had any kind of strategy. I never tried to sell myself to act in movies. I never asked for anything. It all started with the documentary that has been shown on TV. From there I took what people offered. Even the last thing, Prince of Persia, I did not ask for that job, it is them who contacted me while I was filming in B13 Ultimatum. They called me like four times, insisting for me to work with them. I was working on another movie at the time so we agreed that I would work for them on my free days. Parkour is being integrated everywhere in movies now, as soon as there is a little race or a jump they use Parkour. We clearly notice it now, the jumps are different.

What are the differences between preparing yourself for stunts in a movie and your own training?

I do it about the same. Parkour, I am finished with it now. People are starting to get interested in that art, but me I have already explored it a lot. I also have a lot of interests in other things. When someone talks to me about Parkour I am not going to say “It’s too late”; most of the time I answer “You should have come when I was 20 years old. I was really motivated at that time! I was into Parkour every second of my life.” Now I could learn to play music, like the guitar or whatever; what’s important is that I want to learn other things. Parkour is not the only thing in life. People tell me “Parkour kicks ass, I have to do it!” I have interests in other things too. Parkour is a training method men should train because it helps you displace yourself in urban or natural environments and learning to adapt yourself to it. However, for me, learning to do stuff like cooking is as important as doing Parkour. Knowing how to repair a car, how to help someone who’s having a cardiac arrest etc. For me those are the basics of life. I am not like an old martial artist at 80 years old who’s always practicing the same punches. It’s even likely that the guy has never fought for his life and I would like to tell him “Stop punching, relax yourself, live normally; enjoy your life,” because there is too much rigidity when people focus too much on something. And I don’t want to end up like that. When you’re getting your first aid diploma, you are not going to be saving people every day it’s more “if something happens, I will know what to do.” I’ve always trained Parkour with the same mentality. So fuck people who tell me “Hey do a demo! or something…”, I never trained Parkour to perform or show off. To me, Parkour is something personal. It just happened to get popular. I’m not the one who put it on the internet.

Is the reason for your disagreement with the Yamakasi about them moving Parkour into movies and shows?

No. But when I really think about it, there is no issue with the Yamakasi. I only practice what my dad taught me. When you listen to them, they’ll tell you they do something they created themselves. And we all live at the same place. The group Yamakasi does not even exist anymore, everyone went away; now it’s called “Majestic Force thingy”. When it was Yamakasi they were like “We are Yamakasi, it’s the sport”; now they are moving towards Parkour Generations because this project is working well. And I ask myself, why is that? We had a simple sport, why does everyone want to give it a new name? “It’s like Parkour but it’s called Free Running style thingy…”. But it is Parkour! When you go in any other country around the world you say “I play soccer or volleyball”. The name of the sport does not change. So why change the name of Parkour unless you want to do some kind of business and be able to say “I am the creator of this new sport, exactly like Parkour except that you only jump on one leg”? Change one thing to say that you are the creator of something and be able to make some money from it. The goal of Parkour is not to make money or create a business. There is no financial goal behind it. Parkour should be taught to people who want to learn. If they don’t have money it does not matter because you don’t need any to do it, just a pair of good shoes and that’s all. Now people are like “Beware! The Academy is gonna open!” or “There’s gonna be a Parkour center bla bla bla.” But me, I learned Parkour outside! The real Parkour training is to be done outside. You can do whatever with your centers, put some mats down, but people will always end up going outside.

What necessity made you create Parkour?

It was my dad who taught it to me. I had seen and heard a lot of things he did as a fireman – he was a true legend. And I wanted to know his history. Either my dad was gifted and in that case I would never be able to be like him, or he had trained to get that good and in that case he probably has something to teach me. I then realized how much training he had done. He trained like I never have done in my life. Compared with him I am a little kid who’s playing. When I think about all the physical training he went through I tell myself “Is that the price to pay to get that good? Fuck it’s really hard!” Many people pay to get trained, but I reckon if any of them would have trained with him only one day, none of them would have ever come back. That’s how hard it is. So many people try to train easy “Come do Parkour! It’s really cool!” But if tomorrow I made you do real training, you would end up crying. That’s what you need to know: you are going to cry, you are going to bleed and you are going to sweat like never before. I can’t lie to you about that. Now if you come telling me “Hey I want to learn Parkour, but go easy on me, I don’t want to push too much,” well go do something else! It is for warriors. A training method for warriors. It is not like “I want to learn how to fight; but please don’t hit me too hard because I don’t like it.” If that’s the case, go do something else! If you want to be a real warrior you have to go through hard times.

What use has Parkour?

Easy, we have two hands: it’s to grab things. We can grab things to displace ourselves. We can lift ourselves up. We can jump and run with our legs. We can swim. Instinctively you know you can do these things. When you are swimming you know it is in you. It’s not for nothing. You are not obliged to specialize in them, like become a climbing expert. You can still experience everything and I think that’s what life is about. Don’t close yourself to anything and think you have found the truth and understood life. Many people open their mind through different things like music and painting, as well as Parkour. How is not important. What is important is to open your mind because you gain some freedom through it. I think that when you train Parkour, you realize a bit more about what freedom means especially concerning society. It really opened my mind. But it does not mean it will have the same effect on someone else. What’s good for one is not necessarily good for someone else.

What is the freedom of Parkour?

After a good training session, and good physical preparation, we know exactly what we are capable of, and that we can evolve without being disturbed by others. Still respecting others, but not being disturbed by them. Now I often have to justify myself; particularly with cops. But on the other hand I understand them, when they see me climbing stuff they can think that I’ve stolen something. There are many difficult moments like that so I am thinking of moving to another country like Thailand or even the UK, anywhere where cops are not such a pain.

Even the UK?

Yes! Even if there are too many cameras over there. Cops know what Parkour is. Whereas in France they are being such a pain even though the sport was developed here. It has been 10 or 15 years since Parkour was first given media coverage in France and no one knows about it. I am always being asked the same questions over and over. When we are in the street, it is exactly like 15 years ago when it all started. This frustrates me because public perception hasn’t been evolving as fast as Parkour itself has been. If only we had the resources to really create something good, but we haven’t. At the moment everyone is trying to make it his own way, we are all going in circles; but it could all have been done a long time ago! I wouldn’t be surprised if the things I would like to do are only going to happen when I am 60 years old and I won’t be able to move like I do today. What I would like to achieve is something better; something really close to the street. Maybe just a place where we can gather everyone outside. I would like to create a foundation and we get 500,000 euros or even 1,000,000; with that I’d say “OK, Let’s invest all that money to make this sort of place for Parkour”. I won’t be like “OK cool, but I’ll take a quarter of it because I am the founder of the discipline”. No! I’m not going to even take a cent. If we get that money it is because people want a place like that. So we use that money to create this place and that’s it. When I think about it, with the money I made from movies and other things, same with the Yamakasi… if we had all gotten together, it would already be done. But instead, everyone did his own way, arguing over and over about where it all started, some who never wanted to admit that it came from one place; well we got divided instead of being united.

We are now in a “divide and conquer” type of strategy.


Offline Montgomery Burns 13

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #8 on: Wed, Apr 29, 2009, 02:37 PM »
Way cool!  Thanks for posting, Czeri! :rule
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Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #9 on: Tue, Jun 02, 2009, 01:45 PM »
The guys over at Mister Parkour posted links to all of David's demos, commercials, interviews, etc. that they have: http://www.misterparkour.com/davidbelle/#comments. They've gathered quite an impressive collection! Though I have to say I just don't get the point of mounting a camera on David himself. All it captures is: oh look, the ground far below; oh look, a railing; oh look, the ground quite close...  :think

Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #10 on: Thu, Jun 10, 2010, 03:04 PM »
There's a great new video of David and Cyril Raffaelli let loose in Austria:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oUigRlxZo0&feature=player_embedded

Heh, who needs skis, right?  ;D

Offline Montgomery Burns 13

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #11 on: Fri, Jun 11, 2010, 11:00 AM »
pretty cool!  :rule
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Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #12 on: Sun, Aug 08, 2010, 01:11 AM »
There was a parkour event in Moscow last weekend organized by Tracers.ru which David attended as a guest. There are a bunch pictures on their website:











It looks like David was shocked and appalled by the bizarre Russian custom of pressing your lips to another man's face in greeting:



That is, before he remembered his own cultural heritage:  ;D





In unrelated story, I just have to ask: does anyone know what on Earth is up with the views counter for this topic?

Offline Bitten

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #13 on: Sun, Aug 08, 2010, 07:25 AM »
I saw those pics on a google search, and I wondered what was happening in that pic! He looks like he's having fun.

Regarding the view count...I think it is accurate. Every time I come to this board, I see at least 2 guests viewing this thread. Sometimes there are 5 or 6 guests looking at it. The IP addresses are different every time, and they appear to come from all over the world. I was curious about this, because this thread seems to be very popular among our unregistered guests, so I did a google search and found that VX was one of the top sites for David Belle. This was a few weeks ago...I checked again last night and we seem to have dropped off the top 10 pages on a
Google search. I didn't look any further than that...and I haven't bothered to check any other search engines... 

So congrats to you, Czeri, because your thread here has definitely been popular among people searching for more info on David Belle. :)

Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #14 on: Sun, Aug 08, 2010, 08:54 AM »
Damn, now I'm feeling all self-conscious. Maybe I should rework the bio...  ;)

Thanks for the info, Bitten! I didn't realise you could view this topic as an unregistered user, but maybe it was the old board that required being logged in. It makes sense, though, that that would cause all those extra hits, because there really isn't that much info on David out there on the web. Hopefully some of those random visitors here take a look at the rest of the board as well and maybe even join in.

Offline Bitten

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #15 on: Sun, Aug 08, 2010, 09:57 AM »
I hope so! It would be great to have some new members. :)

And I think this means we need to keep enhancing this thread, since people are coming here for info. Yay!

Offline Montgomery Burns 13

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #16 on: Thu, Sep 09, 2010, 12:56 PM »
I found an interview with David Belle on YouTube.  David is interviewed by Babylon A.D. director, Mathieu Kassovitz.  David shares his views about Parkour, the discipline he created.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/Tv6Xj8tiDIQ?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US&amp;amp;rel=0" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/Tv6Xj8tiDIQ?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US&amp;amp;rel=0</a>
Quote
Here also is a translation of Mathieu's original accompanying text:

"I discovered David Belle through District B13, and I had the chance to meet and work with him in Babylon AD. I discovered a man who has elevated his art form at an international level, despite himself. This situation exceeded and motived him.

Parkour is, for me, a natural child of Breakdancing, and hides a thought process and way of life that is close to martial arts.

David is quiet and reserved, he does not like to have to explain what he is doing and what he is looking for, the work is internal and he imposes it on himself daily, in the same way that his father taught him. The youth of the world are discovering this new form of urban expression and are discovering their own capabilities and limitations. We all wanted to fly, jump, and become animals. David did it.

I think in a few years, we will remember him in the same way that we now remember the founders of martial arts such as karate and judo.

After the interview, I invite those who have not yet had the chance, the opportunity to discover in images, the Parkour of David Belle. Hold your breath.

M. Kassovitz"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv6Xj8tiDIQ
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Offline Bitten

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #17 on: Sat, Sep 11, 2010, 05:11 AM »
Quote
despite himself.


I still don't know too much about him. Does that mean he's not into promoting himself?

Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #18 on: Sat, Sep 11, 2010, 10:51 AM »
Quote
Does that mean he's not into promoting himself?


Not in the slightest. In fact, he just might be the shyest famous person ever. He'd rather jump out of the window than answer a personal question, literally  ;) The only reason he's known at all is that most people who come into contact with him end up completely smitten, and so they go and spread the word. David's entire film career happened only because one of the people who fell under his spell is Luc Besson.

Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #19 on: Fri, Sep 17, 2010, 12:31 AM »
I finally got my hands on the Prince of Persia bluray and sadly no, there isn't much more. David's only in the one segment called Parkour Legend, and it lasts two minutes (it's the clip I've linked upthread only slightly longer)  :(

In much better news, David did one episode of a new French sf show called Métal Hurlant. He's apparently playing a man trying to break out of prison in order to see daylight again. Sounds (and looks, if you check out the teaser at http://www.allocine.fr/video/player_gen_cmedia=19116568&cserie=8450.html) a lot like the Chronicles of Riddick games, doesn't it? That makes me really really want to see it   :happydance

Here are some pictures:






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Re: David Belle
« Reply #20 on: Fri, Sep 17, 2010, 12:50 AM »
Wow, awesome! Thanks for keeping us updated on David, Czeri! Due to your constant stream of info this thread has an amazingly high number of visitors. :) Way to go!

Offline Bitten

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #21 on: Fri, Sep 17, 2010, 06:59 PM »
The more I see of his stuff, the more I like him. He's amazing!

Offline Czeri

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #22 on: Mon, Sep 20, 2010, 03:15 AM »
My pleasure, Janine;D

And Bitten, I know exactly how you feel  ;) I still remember how after watching District 13 for the first time I was just sitting in front of my TV with my jaw hanging open, all "What the hell's just happened?"  :)

Offline Montgomery Burns 13

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #23 on: Mon, Sep 20, 2010, 12:56 PM »
Don't know if this clip has been posted already, but I thought it was funny:

It's an older commercial for the BBC, and our guy is shirtless. :grin

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/C6a6YSRGzcA?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/C6a6YSRGzcA?fs=1&amp;amp;hl=en_US</a>
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Re: David Belle
« Reply #24 on: Tue, Sep 21, 2010, 12:00 AM »
I love this commercial! I've once stumbled upon a page where people were posting comments on it directed to BBC, and it was hilarious because there were a bunch from concerned citizens complaining that BBC is spending so much of their money on an ad with special effects, and then when someone would reply how there actually were no special effects used, the original posters were so confused  ;D

And on a shallow note I totally agree, what a great way to start by having David take his clothes off!  ;)

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #25 on: Tue, Sep 21, 2010, 10:08 AM »
I found an interesting article on parkour in Moscow.

I thought the last paragraph - women in parkour - was especially interesting.


http://www.mn.ru/news/20100920/188055353.html

A parkour revolution on Moscow streets
by Lidia Okorokova at 20/09/2010 23:40


The urban jungle of Moscow has become an ideal home for tracers – people involved in the parkour movement. These modern-day Mowglis can be glimpsed on the streets of the city negotiating a variety of seemingly impossible obstacles, stunning passers-by with their speed and grace.


Parkour, or or l’art du déplacement (art of movement), was born in France. David Belle, the son of an elite firefighter whose military upbringing in Vietnam and subsequent career in the fire service shaped his understanding of movement, was instrumental in the initial development of parkour as a physical discipline.


Parkour comes to Russia


In 2003, Muscovite Oleg Krasnyansky started the parkour movement in Russia after viewing Belle’s videos online. Krasnyansky decided to study the phenomenon up close – and wound up meeting David Belle. “In France, I found out what parkour was really like,” he said.


Now there are dozens of parkour clubs in Moscow, offering training to anyone interested. Krasnyansky did mention that in France, there are fewer parkour followers than in Russia, but that the  French tend to train more. “Most Russian tracers still trifle more than they train,” he said.


“Some guys take it seriously and others treat it as just a chance for self-expression,” Krasnyansky added.


The practical side of parkour


Besides being a physical discipline, parkour is a practical philosophy – the main idea of which is to move swiftly through a crowded urban landscape.
“It’s a way of moving as efficiently as possible, without making it look posh and fancy,” Krasnyansky explained. He said he likes the idea of accessing areas that are not easy to reach. “And of course, it’s also a sport,” he added.


That is exactly what makes parkour different from freerunning for instance, according to Krasnyansky. “Using parkour techniques, you are travelling from one point to another skillfully, while freerunning has fancy moves and stunts to impress accidental spectators,” he said.


Dangerous tricks


Krasnyansky believes that younger people do not always understand what parkour is really all about, and that this often results in serious trouble.
Last week, a fifth-grader in Belgorod died while jumping off the roof of a transformer vault, Life News reported.


Another 21-year-old tracer from Krasnodar fell from a height of four stories and died in June 2010, RIA Novosti reported.
Krasnyansky recommends that teenagers get actual training before attempting parkour. Ruslan Dzhavadov, a parkour trainer from the Street Union team in Moscow, agrees. “Those kids don’t get the true meaning of parkour. They misuse the concepts and moves to do crazy things,” he said.


A life philosophy


Ruslan Dzhavadov told the Moscow News that parkour in its essence is a movement that “helps to build you up as person, keeps your fit”.
According to Dzhavadov, getting into parkour must involve a complete understanding of why one desires to be part of the movement. Dzhavadov also sees a problem with the representation of parkour in media. “Newspapers and TV say that tracers just run through the cities, without an actual idea of what it’s all about - that’s wrong,” he pointed out.


Dzhavadov has been practicing parkour for 5 years now, and believes that if a girl or a boy decides that parkour is what he or she wants to do in life, then they should “find a good club and a trainer and get an understanding of the concept behind it”.


Pop culture and parkour


Parkour as a social movement has become a part of international pop culture. French director Luc Besson has produced three movies with parkour as a central theme - Yamakasi (2001), 13th District (2004) and 13th District: Ultimatum (2009).


The Russian parkour movement is also routinely highlighted in films, advertisements and music videos. The Street Union team, for example, has done videos with Russian hip-hop star Legalise and participated in various advertising campaigns.


Women in parkour


When the parkour movement started in Europe, it was considered a movement strictly for men. 20 years on, more and more women and girls are participating in the l’art du déplacement. It is women with previous gymnastics and acrobatics training who often decide to become tracers.


In the Street Union parkour team in Moscow, girls train on equal footing alongside the men. “Girls get very involved into parkour,” Ruslan Dzhavadov said. According to him, there are four girls aged 16-23 in the club who are “as good as the men are. And we welcome everyone, no matter who you are.”
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Re: David Belle
« Reply #26 on: Mon, Sep 27, 2010, 08:55 AM »
Since Monty posted the article about parkour training, here are some great videos on the subject:

The first one (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_YcB93OtFM&feature=player_embedded) starts with a short interview with David (in Russian) and the Speed Air Man demo, but after that there's great footage of David taking the Russian traceurs who filmed it around Lisses for an impromptu training session.

The second one (http://joozly.com/blog/2010/08/the-monkeys-back-parkour-documentary-stephane-vigroux/) is an interview with Stephane Vigroux about how he got into parkour after seeing the Speed Air Man demo and started training with David. It's very interesting, and, fun fact, it's included in the bonus features on the UK version of the District 13 DVD. :perfect

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #27 on: Mon, Sep 27, 2010, 08:58 AM »
Cool! Thanks Czeri!

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Re: David Belle
« Reply #28 on: Mon, Sep 27, 2010, 11:22 AM »
Thanks for posting the videos, they're really interesting.  Here you can see that it takes lots and lots of hard work to become as good as David or Stephane.

This reminds me of some youngsters with their BMX bikes who train on a smooth and flat area near my office.  They practice every day.  It is amazing how dedicated they are, they spend every free minute over there, training.  Those traceurs probably do the same, spend every free minute running, jumping, like Stephane said in the video, doing it 100 times... I am really impressed by their dedication.
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Re: David Belle
« Reply #29 on: Mon, Sep 27, 2010, 02:05 PM »
Yeah, if you want to get to the professional level in parkour it takes an insane amount of work. On the other hand it's a very convenient sport because you can train absolutely anywhere and no special gear is needed  :) Still, it's amazing that so many people all over the world take it up when David's pitch (from an interview I've posted upthread) goes:
Quote
That’s what you need to know: you are going to cry, you are going to bleed and you are going to sweat like never before. I can’t lie to you about that.


 :laughter