March 22, 2007
The opening chase scene in the latest James Bond movie, “Casino Royale”, features a man sprinting off cranes and bounding off roofs. Viewers cringe at the sight of each jump absorbed by the man's knees.
Nineteen-year-old Justin Seigler is not being chased by James Bond, but people can see him leaping and bounding, just like the man in the movie, all over Charlottesville. "I love climbing buildings. I love jumping and rolling," he says.
Seigler is a Piedmont Virginia Community College student who practices Parkour, a lesser known sport started in France about a hundred years ago. The sport is now being popularized by commercials and films like the latest Bond flick.
It is difficult to define but is sort of a blend of martial arts and gymnastics.
"It's basically the art of being able to flow over objects in your path, of being able to find the most efficient way to go where you want to," explained Seigler.
This means vaulting over stairs or ricocheting off newspaper stands, but it also means getting over mental obstacles as well.
"Everybody has mental blocks," he confessed. "It's where your body says, 'No I can't do this. I am going to kill myself'. But you know your body can do it."
Seigler says, then you just, 'try, try again.' He also proudly says, he has never been to a gym before, but is able to do Parkour because of his spontaneous practice, which at times, has taught him some painful lessons.
"About two months ago, I was doing a jump, when I landed on a metal spike and it went through my foot."
He is healed now, and you may be able to spot him on the tops of trees and roofs all over town.
"Half my brain is always wandering when I am talking. I'm always looking at buildings, seeing if I can climb them," he said. (He only climbs with the owner's permission).