Jason Paul performs during Red Bull Al-Andalus in Granada, Spain on April 23, 2021.
Pushing Progression is available to watch on Red Bull TV.
Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk joins freerunning pioneers Jason Paul and Luci Romberg in tracing the communal roots of the freerunning movement and its global appeal in a new short film.
The documentary has been released ahead of the Red Bull Art of Motion 2021 event in Athens on July 10, which sees athletes perform over water for the first time in history. Here is all you need to know:
– A volcanic eruption on the Caribbean island of Martinique was the unlikely inspiration for one of the world’s most talked-about action sports. Freerunning, now a global phenomenon celebrated by the Red Bull Art of Motion contest, found its roots in an emergency evacuation on the island in 1902 – as told in Pushing Progression: Freerunning.
– Originating with young naval lieutenant Georges Hébert, who, when coordinating the escape effort for the Martinique volcano, noticed that indigenous people overcame obstacles with ease by using the movement of their bodies for momentum.
– This discovery led him to create a military training programme called Parcours du Combatant, or, ‘the path of the warrior’.
– More than 100 years later, the sport has a fanbase of millions and the upcoming Art of Motion contest will see the world’s best freerunners compete on a series of converted Mediterranean yachts – the first time in history that the event has taken place on water.
– The release of the Pushing Progression: Freerunning documentary marks the countdown to this landmark event on July 10, with a closer look at the evolution of the discipline and its trailblazing athletic community.
– Throughout the 20th Century, the trend of Parkour spread, as jaw-dropping videos racked up millions of views on social media. The community of freerunners grew, igniting a global movement of people drawn together by their love of bold, creative use of movement.
– Jason Paul, a three-time Art of Motion champion, says: “In the beginning, the mentality behind Parkour was a lot more like martial arts. You could clearly tell that people were pushing themselves and doing something that had never been done before.”
– Skateboarding icon Hawk believes that freerunning’s popularity comes down to the trailblazing spirit at the heart of the sport, saying: “The pioneers of the sport are the ones leading the way. They’re the ones determining how far it can go and showing the new generation what’s possible.”
– Freerunning pioneer and Art of Motion sports director, Nico Wlcek, adds: “We’ve only scratched the surface of what we can discover. It’s grown into more than just a competition… It’s enabled all these athletes to strive for something.”
– Taking place in the Greek harbour of Mikrolimano in Athens on July 10, the Red Bull Art of Motion Grand Final will feature 18 athletes from all over the world, including 2019 champion Didi Alaoui of Morocco.