Mostly this is an excuse to link to these great videos of free running and parkour, unusual because they show much of the full sequence rather than mash-ups. But to go all scholarly on you, Cognitive Daily had a recent piece on learning to walk and children’s sense of balance. Leaning with backpack weights was a learned process, not an intuitive one, even with toddlers who knew how to walk.
These videos also give me the chance to plug Greg’s early piece on our sense of balance. Rather than an innate module gifted to us by evolution, “The evidence seems very clear that the sense of balance (again, with all the caveats of calling it ‘a’ single ‘sense’) can be trained to wide range of different challenges and to operate more efficiently or from different sets of information depending upon the task constraints. The variability of equilibrium was driven home to me in my research on capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian martial art and dance.”
Similarly with “l’art de displacement” through mixing balance, jumping, climbing and running. Wow!
Just like elite runners, I bet they stay focused on the task on hand, and not on the pain of a misstep or the fear over a missed jump—dissociation from risk and worry through expert technique. And this focused and skilled activity also relies on significant sensory integration of balance, vision, and touch. In turn, sensory integration, plenty of training and experience, and focus on the task help make free running predictable, understandable and controllable, and thus integrated into the person’s everyday interactive design.
Anyways, here’s a couple popular YouTube videos in the mash-up music video style: