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The Physics of Parkour (1)

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Okay, had a lightbulb moment that not many people have gone into the physics of some gymnastics moves and the physics of parkour in general. Hopefully you all know what parkour of freerunning is. Its a hobby and sport in which one tries to get from point A to point B (which can be anywhere from a couple of feet away to a half mile cityscape obstacle course) in the most creative way possible. This can include jumping over buildings, railings benches, or using them to one,'s advantage and finding footholds and cool tricking spots. But the tricks are designed to test the limits of the human body, they can include ten foot straight drops, or fenced over obstacles. Anywho, On to the physics.

The first Thing i would like to touch on is large drops and rolls.

Larger jumps and drops often include a front flip or trick with them, but more often than not These rolls aren't optional. The first flip off of a drop brings that anglular momentum to roll when the person lands. it seems like it would be harder to land a large drop with a flip, but so long as one doesnt underspin, (overspinning under 45-degrees can be accounted for and is able to work with because of the roll afterwards) the fl;ip helps the transition into the roll after the high drop.

Then, when the person lands, the direct downward momentum gets changed into forward momentum through the roll or series of rolls afterwards. This dissapates the kinetic energy that could easily break someone's legs or back when landing. the video from 'fight science' on NTGEO shows more on the physics and goes indepth into the specific force and impulse/time that a person feels doing a fourteen foot drop.

skip to 4:30 and watch for about a minute to see the physics behind the madness of dropping beyond human limits :P

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