I was heavy into karate as a kid. Learning subtle dodges, effective blocks, punches, and spinning kicks — that stuff had me giddy. I loved mastering my body and seeing how I could test myself against opponents in the sparring ring.
It brought me into myself and taught me the connection between my body and mind. Thus, it was no accident that when I started to read books about the spiritual dimension of martial arts that I became even more enamored. I saw how my time spent in the dojo was crafting me into a better person. Obtaining goals, overcoming obstacles, becoming a better citizen, karate was helping to steer my young self toward a more fulfilling life.
Vincent Thibault’s book, Parkour and the Art du’ Deplacement: Strength, Dignity, Community, captures the spiritual essence of parkour in the same light as those early martial arts books. In highlighting humility, effort, and social awareness, he makes a compelling case that parkour is a powerful vehicle for transforming oneself into a better citizen.
It is a poetic little book that opens the door to a whole new discussion about the role of parkour in our world. Previous authors have explored the physical practice of parkour, but none dive so deep as Vincent in regard to how the practice itself changes the individual.
Don’t expect his book to help you obtain a better kong vault or a more efficient climb-up. Other books can help you get there. This book, it’s something different.
It’s the type of book that all parkour athletes need to read, regardless of one’s level of expertise.
Less about technique and more about self-cultivation, books like this are what will reorient parkour from a hype-driven extreme sport, into a discipline that can benefit millions of lives, for years to come.