View Full Version : 'Freerunning' Bootnecks

Derek Blevins
01-15-08, 04:09 AM
Cat leaps get commandos fit for urban jungle Maurice Chittenden reports in the Sunday Times newspaper.

ROYAL MARINE commandos are improving in leaps and bounds by undergoing training in “free running”. The extreme sport involves vaulting between roofs and off lampposts.

Free running, or parkour, featured in the opening sequence of Casino Royale, the most recent Bond movie, and in “idents”, or promotional clips, for BBC television.

But now the sport has been employed in a marine training exercise to help commandos prepare for urban warfare.

The Ministry of Defence has recruited professional free runners with names such as Spidey, EZ and Livewire to teach commandos such gravity-defying moves as the “kong vault” and “running cat”.

The manoeuvres could give the marines a life-saving advantage in urban theatres of war such as Iraq.

The commandos have teamed up with Urban Freeflow, a team of “traceurs”, or professional free runners, for exercises at the marines’ training ground at Lympstone in Devon and on buildings in south London that have been used to film movie scenes and television commercials featuring parkour.

EZ, the traceur leading the training, said: “I suggested a night stealth run, which would see the commandos using some techniques that could maybe serve them well in a combat-type scenario.”

He said when his team first met the commandos, one of his fellow traceurs told the marines: “Hi everyone, my name is Sticky and I’m going to teach you some ****.”

The marines were taken through training exercises before being unleashed on a busy London roundabout during the evening rush hour. They performed flips off a wall and vaults into the air.

On the second day the marines dressed in combat gear to do cat leaps from one wall to another.

EZ said: “The commandos have such focus, confidence and drive that it’s easy to see why they are considered to be among the best in the world at what they do.

“Knowing that they were all aching like hell, but still wanted to crack on regardless, was the point where we really began to appreciate their resolve.”

The Ministry of Defence said: “The marines are an elite force which are trained to be the best. Part of the training to be the best is to learn from the best in other fields.”

One officer said free running moves were likely to be incorporated into battle training and could replace some of the 20-hour yomps over Dartmoor that also form part of the marines’ instruction.

“We found some of the moves were relevant for battle,” he said. “For Urban Freeflow it is about artistic expression, but we need to do the same thing in urban combat to stay safe.”

The marines have now set up their own parkour club.

Free running has turned full circle. It began more than a decade ago when David Belle, a French marine who loved running obstacle courses, left the service and moved to Paris. He began using the city streets and rooftops as his obstacle course and videotaping his stunts, which he then edited to music.

Has this been tried in the USMC?


01-15-08, 06:44 AM
Don't U.S. Marines do this sort of thing on liberty when they've had a few?:nerd: :beer:

Seriously, I've seen this on TV and it appears to be a remarkable type of urban obstacle course, very demanding! Amazing a frog came up with it.:p