Vincent Thibault is a writer and cofounder of the Académie québécoise d’art du déplacement. He teaches and has led workshops locally in Quebec and internationally. The author is well-qualified to write about parkour: he’s been training for half a decade, he runs a parkour gym (L’Académie québécoise d’art du déplacement) and he’s trained with the best practitioners in the world.
In Parkour and the Art du Déplacement, Vincent has a way of making parkour seem spiritual, and excites you with the possibilities of a world of movement. The book is exceptional in that it details many of the spiritual aspects of parkour. Vincent begins by clearly explaining what parkour is, with brief descriptions of basic movements. His writing is superb; he puts words together so well, you have no choice but to be pulled in. This a great book for those with either a good understanding of parkour or a college reading level and a strong desire to learn about the more metaphysical aspects of the discipline.
The book is not without faults. At times there is poor translation editing. The book was was originally written in French, so it went through a translation process for English speakers. Most of the book is well-translated, but the author’s preference for French creeps in at times. Vincent makes tireless comparisons to martial arts that seem to drone on. Vincent specified that he wanted “Parkour and the Art du deplacement” to be the guide for everyone, but it’s not. I wouldn’t give this book to a police officer that stopped me and asked what I was doing, nor would I give this to a mother worried about her child starting parkour. It’s too deep, too philosophical; it is written for dedicated practitioners. That’s not a bad thing at all, just something to keep in mind before recommending it to others.
Bottom line: if you’re looking for a new perspective and a deeper connection to your discipline, this is the book for you. It’s written at a high (abstract) level, perfect for philosophical musings. You will certainly learn a few things about parkour (and yourself) in the process of reading. But if you desire a handbook, or a quick guide to explain parkour to non-practitioners, you will be better served looking elsewhere.
Pickup your copy of Parkour and the Art du Déplacement online here.
For further reading, we enjoyed Peter McCambridge’s review over at Ambos.