Free running is a skill based extreme sport that has dramatically increased in popularity in recent years. Free runners are also known as practitioners, but a practitioner can also be involved in parkour, which is slightly different. Basically, free running combines the movements found in parkour with true acrobatics.
What Is Free Running?
Free runners use objects in rural landscapes and the city to perform movements between structures. Aesthetically it looks amazing with free runners seemingly bouncing between commonly found structures such as low walls, stairs, trees and so on. Free running also involves training the mind to overcome obstacles in the environment and is thought to be both a physical and mental discipline – this is another area where it differs from parkour.
Where Did Free Running Come From?
Jump London was a movie that tried to introduce the English world to Parkour. From this, free running developed. Parkour really is a discipline, more like a martial art, that focuses on being efficient. Free running, on the other hand, focuses more on being completely free in movements and incorporates moves that were previously only used by trained acrobats.
Sebastien Foucan is the original founder of free running and he states that it is an extreme sport in which you are allowed to develop yourself to your maximum potential in your own way. He felt that parkour was not creative enough and hence took the sport further.
Free Running Moves
There are a number of moves that can be performed whilst free running. However, remember that the key feature of free running is being yourself, so you are able to use any other move and call it whatever you want. The main free running moves are:
- The dash vault – this involves vaulting the body by using the arms for forward momentum over a platform.
- Diving front flip – also known as the Superman flip or Eagle flip, this is when a free runner dives over an obstacle that generally has a large drop on the other side. Immediately after the dive, a free runner will start a tuck.
- The dive roll – this involves rolling on the ground as you land. This move is often performed by stunt men in movies.
- The kong vault – also known as the monkey vault this is when the free runner’s body is vaulted over a platform or railing. They use their palms to provide sufficient momentum to push off.
- The reverse kong vault – this is like the monkey vault, but the free runner also incorporates a 360 degree turn on the axis. Although less efficient, this move looks much better and allows for additional coordination.
- The turn vault – this is when a body turns 180 degrees following a vault over a platform or wall
- The wall flip – this is performed when a free runner runs towards a wall then uses a single foot to push off and do a backwards flip. This is perhaps the most recognised free running move.
- The wall spin – this is where a free runner spins for a full 360 degrees but remains in contact with the wall. The free runner performing a wall spin will run to the wall and place both their hands to it. The rotation is done vertically. Some use only a single hand rather than both.