In the air, everything slows.
As Carl Fortin flips off the side of a two-storey building, he notices the small cracks zigzagging through the pavement below. He senses the film cameras’ equipment hung up and thrust around him to capture the action. Then there are the seconds of weightlessness, a period of time when he focuses on his breathing — methodically sucking oxygen into and out of his lungs.
“I think it is a mixture of really high adrenaline and trying to calm that adrenaline,” the new Squamish resident says.
Since Fortin was five years old, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan wanted to be like the notorious covert agents. He signed up for Taekwondo: the first step in a path to becoming a stuntman, a lifetime of martial arts and the world of parkour.
Parkour — a holistic training discipline that developed from military obstacle course training — is all about movement. It uses structures for acrobatic training. The activity got its breakthrough with the growth of the Internet, exploding into mainstream media in the late 1990s.
Fortin starred in one of the world’s first viral parkour videos, a Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) commercial six years ago. Since then he’s been in more than 21 films, most recently filming Hannibal in Toronto.
“Some people might think that I am a martial arts bum,” Fortin joked. “But at the end of the day, I’ve made a good career for myself.”
Having conquered the film industry, Fortin is now focussing on his next priority — ninja school. The stuntman is set to teach classes in Squamish. The workshops will focus on movement, drawing on martial arts, parkour, acrobatics and breakdancing. It’s a great opportunity for athletes who want to expand their range and people interested in getting involved, Fortin said.
To find out more about the classes, contact Squamish Martial Arts Fitness and Yoga Centre at (604) 892-3710 or visit www.squamishmartialarts.com.
Martial arts and parkour are art forms, Fortin says. Both give one a new perspective on the world. When Fortin explores Squamish’s backyard, he sees fallen trees or low branches as acrobatic opportunities rather than obstacles.
“The possibilities of the human body are boundless,” Fortin says.