Superhuman Club Meets on Campus

Tania MacWilliam
Profiles

March 31, 2011

*PDF of newspaper article and photographs here

When the average Sheridan student sees a wall, they only see a support structure. When Michael MacMurchy sees a wall, he wonders how fast and how high he can climb it.

The 21-year-old Applied Photography student is the organizer of the Trafalgar campus Parkour Club.

Parkour is a popular activity that involves climbing, vaulting and jumping over obstacles in an urban environment.

The art of movement, also known as free-running, was instigated by French “traceurs” David Belle and Sebastien Foucan. Traceur is a term that many parkour practitioners call themselves.

While MacMurchy has been a traceur for the last five years, his interest in the signature movements began when he was just a child.

“When I was younger I was known as the guy that climbed trees,” he said.

After becoming more involved in the parkour community this past year, MacMurchy wanted to introduce people outside of the community to parkour.

In an effort to share his love for the sport, he started a club on campus. The club usually meets by the wall in front of SCAET. People often stop to observe and wonder how they can get involved. Since there are no regular meet-ups, the best way to connect with the club is to join their FaceBook group “Sheridan College – Parkour Club.”

The activity can be intimidating to those who observe members practising, but to MacMurchy it’s really quite simple.

“It’s not fancy stuff,” he said. “You’re just jumping, you’re just climbing over stuff, you’re just running a little.”

When you see people jumping over gaps between high structures you would expect that hospitals would be full of traceurs with broken bones.

“It does look like it’s deadly,” he said.

It’s not unusual to get scrapes and bruises, he said. “That just comes with coming in contact with concrete and bricks.”

You can avoid getting injured by understanding your own limitations, he said. That means realizing that those attempting extreme moves have been practising for years.

Before members try their hand at vaulting over an obstacle of significant height, MacMurchy urges them to jump from one line to another on level ground. The lines are then moved progressively farther apart, with focus on precision.

“Even simply walking on a curb without falling off will help you when you are walking on a wall that’s six feet high,” he said.

If you want to join in a practice session, check for postings on the FaceBook group’s wall.

“We always post,” he said. “If it’s going to be a nice day the next day I’ll post: ‘Okay, who’s free to come out?’”

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