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Russia's Orthodox Church Reintegrates Youth Through Parkour

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.rferl.org/content/russias-orthodox-church-reintegrates-youth-through-parkour/24742623.html Saturday, October 20, 2012 Russia s Orthodox Church
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 20, 2012
      http://www.rferl.org/content/russias-orthodox-church-reintegrates-youth-through-parkour/24742623.html

      Saturday, October 20, 2012

      Russia's Orthodox Church Reintegrates Youth Through Parkour

      Airbrushing Patriarch Kirill’s extravagant watch, banning Zombie
      parades, calling for punishment of the Pussy Riot members for their
      “performance” in Moscow's Orthodox cathedral, and passing a law banning
      “homosexual propaganda” in St. Petersburg are just a few examples of the
      stories which over the past year have made their rounds in the
      international press and framed the image of Russia’s Orthodox Church.

      While criticism for meddling in state affairs and extending its
      influence on the country’s civil institutions is nothing new, the BBC
      now reports that the church has been providing a valuable public
      service: teaching troubled teenagers the popular yet risky urban sport
      of parkour, where runners jump, climb, and run using the city’s urban
      landscape as their main prop. The sport is originally based on the
      military training called “parcours du combattant,” an obstacle training
      course.

      A center for teenagers on probation, St. Basil The Great Adaptation
      Center in St. Petersburg, has partnered with ParkourCity, to weed kids
      off the streets and reintegrate them into society.

      For the past three years, celebrity parkour artist Evgeny Krynin has
      been providing training for teenagers who have struggled with alcohol
      and drugs.

      Although parkour first gained fame in the 1990s in France, Krynin argues
      that the sport's idelogy is best understood in the Russian context.

      "It suits our national psyche. Our appetite for risk and love of speed.
      I guess we're crazy," he tells the BBC.

      The sport is not without risks, especially when practitioners of
      parkour, called “traceurs," try to carry out dangerous stunts such as
      jumping from one building roof to another. Five months ago, a
      24-year-old woman died after attempting a similar jump from the roof of
      a building in St. Petersburg.

      Parkour has additionally gained popularity in action films, most notably
      in Luc Besson’s 2004 film “District B13” and in James Bond’s 2006
      installment “Casino Royale.”
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