Checked out Eric Robertson's PT blog this morning and found this post: Safe Falling. Don't you just love culture-based hyper-regulated technological solutions for prevention of potential injury of all our un- and undereducated contact with gravity and environment?
I like watching people move at high velocities and escaping unscathed - I enjoy watching figure skating, So You Think You Can Dance? (now in Canada too), and parkour. I'm definitely not anyone who would actively participate - now or at any time in my personal trajectory through life - rather I'm an appreciative voyeur. I love having my mirror neurons jazzed with incredible high-velocity human movement, and revel in the fact that it's possible without consequence (much of the time at least.. there are probably collisions with buildings or hands stabbed by glass or other mishaps, but not in these videos).
This parkour phenomenon is non-institutional, maybe anti-establishment even. It's unregulated, free, wild, eccentric, thoroughly primate. Looks like only boys perform parkour so far, if internet videos are any indication. One of my favorites, and one of the oldest I've found, is called russian climbing. Note the lack of any protective equipment. It would just be in the way, obviously..
It blows me away to think of the depth and quality of graded exposure that must have gone into developing all this physical capacity, the associated balance and equilibrium mechanisms that accompany it, and the frank conditioning.
Here is an example from France, which is credited with being the birthplace of this form of human primate display.
The other effect it has on me is the creepy one of feeling that I must always remember to lock my doors and windows no matter what floor I may happen to live on. Guys who can do this are like spiders - they could crawl in anywhere thieving their way through life.