Parkour, Qing Gong, What’s the Connection?
As a young boy in elementary school throughout the ‘90s, one of my favorite pastimes was weekly forays to the San José Public Library, where I would beeline right past the Dewey Decimal Classification charts straight toward the VHS section. I’d roam up and down the aisles with my head bent sideways, scanning for martial arts movies I hadn’t seen yet. By the end of middle school, I must’ve watched every film with Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Yuen Biao, and Sammo Hung, my five idols growing up. Thanks to them, no one could ever catch me during my other favorite pastime, huge games of manhunt, which was a mixture of hide-and-go-seek tag organized and played by upwards of thirty kids inside the boundaries of my childhood apartment complex.
I still attribute my evasiveness in running away from people during those games to Jackie Chan (and Spider-Man), whose dynamic movements and reconfigurations of urban settings in his films inspired me to scale fences and walls, climb ladders up to our apartments’ rooftops, which were definitely out of bounds, jump off to the nearest tree branches like a goddamn gibbon, and slide down like it was a fireman’s pole too girthed for its own good––death-defying antics for a prepubescent. I was basically practicing parkour before I even learned what it was with the advent of YouTube, and I’m sure the same holds true for thousands of excitable kids all over the world, too.