It’s not every day you get the chance to step into Taylor Lautner’s shoes. Earlier this week, we got to do just that as we tried our hand at Parkour, which the Twilight star can be seen performing in his latest movie Tracers.
The action-packed thriller follows Lautner as he runs, jumps, climbs and rolls his way across town. As my guide to Parkour, Brad Wendes, puts it ‘The great thing is, you can see he really gets into it.’
Brad is the Head Coach & Director of Team Kinetix. He has been practicing parkour since 2004 and has performed all over the world.
“It was impressive to see Taylor Lautner’s progression in the movie. From how he moves when he starts learning Parkour to his more confident movements later in the film showing a realistic progression.” says Brad.
“The way he does little jumps and movements, trains obsessively and watches online videos of other freerunners really follow how someone gets into the Parkour scene. It’s clear that he actually put some serious training in and studied real Freerunners.”
We headed to one of Brad’s regular haunts on the Southbank to practise some basic moves.
As we practised the basics, I asked Brad about some other recent depictions of Parkour on the big screen.
“It’s always great to see Parkour in films. One of the first big films to depict Parkour and use Free Runners had to be Luc Besson’s District 13 starring David Belle. The chase scene in this movie is still one of my favourite scenes ever. It’s so raw and real in a way that you just can’t achieve with wires in a studio.”
Brad has more praise for the depiction of Parkour in Tracers too.
“It was refreshing to see a lot of Parkour techniques performed at ground level and small, technical movements used as Taylor’s character is learning Parkour. While there were depictions of death-defying roof jumps, it was good that the movie showed that’s not all it’s about – worth mentioning that not all Freerunners are criminals who use their skills to commit crimes and get away.
Onto our introduction to parkour. The first thing of note is just how accessible it all is. As Brad explains he was hooked into the sport very quickly and found the community very welcoming.
Here’s what a few years of training can do for you.
Admittedly we weren’t quite up to those standards ourselves. A few slips and a few scary landings aside though, the appeal of parkour is instant.
To help you out, here is Brad’s Beginners Guide to Parkour:
- Start small and drill the basics: jumping and landing.
- I’d recommend a getting cheap pair of running shoes to start with. Something flexible with as much surface area as possible on the bottom. My personal favourite shoe is the Puma Faas 300.
- Always check your surfaces. Make sure you know what you’re landing on before jumping on it.
- Be respectful when training in public areas. If you break something or get in people’s way you’ll quickly find people less willing to let you train undisturbed.
- Remember that Parkour is about Overcoming Obstacles and finding your own way. Watch other Freerunners videos, try new things and develop your own style.
Here’s the trailer for Tracers,
TRACERS is available on DVD 21st September