The French have given us many things: Poodles, croissants, fine food and the Statue of Liberty.
But perhaps the coolest thing is parkour.
In case you haven’t heard, parkour is a sport that combines running, agility, gymnastics, strength, improvisation and pretty much anything else to get from Point A to Point B on foot.
It’s fun, it’s hip, it’s physical and it would make soldiers more versatile in combat situations. In short, parkour is good Army training.
Apparently, parkour has long been taught in the French military, which allows troops to move faster over obstacles or through rugged terrain.
It’s a sport that has increased in popularity during the last few years, and YouTube is abundant with parkour videos.
Now, I don’t know if any Army units train for parkour but they should.
Imagine if an infantry squad could get to a destination in half the time it would normally take. Or if a tank crew, whose vehicle was disabled, could get back to home base — and safety — faster. Parkour could save lives.
Now, I’m no expert. If I tried parkour, I’d probably die in the effort. Or, at least, break a bone.
It’s a dangerous sport.
Parkour athletes will run full blast, then jump over a 4-foot, vertical wall, then slide over the hood of a car, then do a combat roll on the ground, then run full blast again and jump over an 8-foot-wide pond. Last, but not least, they will scale a brick wall using only their fingertips, and then stop in the middle of the road and do a vertical jump over a moving car.
It’s awesome to watch. And I have much respect for men and women who dare to do parkour.
Just from watching, I can tell it takes a lot of training and discipline. Without that training, someone trying it likely would get seriously hurt.
And that’s where the Army can come in. I would bet that there are already hundreds, maybe even 1,000, Fort Hood soldiers who do parkour as a hobby or a way to stay in shape.
The Army is constantly trying to come up with new ideas for physical training. More specifically, the Army is trying to come up with physical training that relates to Army jobs. And, in the end, that job may be dismounting and getting from Point A to Point B.
The Army should take that and run with it. Or better yet, parkour with it.
Jacob Brooks, a former Army tanker, is the city editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7468.