Insane Superhuman French People

81 Comments

(Found via Coudal Partners)

The land of frog legs and baguettes has produced, in recent years and unbeknowst to most, some of the worlds most mind-numbing acrobats. I found the above video last night and had to share it. Two questions:

What the hell are kids eating in France?

[Postscript: readers have noted in the comments that this first video was actually in Mexico, though some also claim Brazil.]

If you could have the physical capabilities of any athlete in the world, who would you choose?

I might opt for another French lad named Junior. I used to breakdance (at about 1:40 of this video), but he is superhuman. The clip below is from the Red Bull BC One competition of 2004. Be sure to watch the whole thing or jump to 2:40 — you won’t believe the move in the last five seconds…


For someone who can beat him, the ultimate freak of nature and the best in the world, see another Frenchman named Lilou at 23:30:


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Posted on: February 9, 2008.

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81 comments on “Insane Superhuman French People

  1. WTF? I’m going to choose to ignore what I saw.

    I live in Aptos, Ca (Santa Cruz). and we have an unusual amount of the top (freeride) mountain bikers in the world in our town. I mean, I thought we were obsessive growing up riding bikes, pushing each other, but this just makes us look silly. Then again, I’ve always thought girls gymnastics made us look dumb.

    Like

  2. Tim,

    The street soccer is unheard of! The second video is a popular one, his real name is Scott Willis.

    If you want to see another freakish breakdance video, one that will blow your mind, watch David Elsewhere in this video here, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSoVKUVOnfQ
    It is unbelievable, he is the second guy in the video. Blow your MIND!!! You can search his name on youtube for many crazy videos.

    Thanks Tim

    Like

  3. Hey Tim, great videos. Thanks for sharing. If you like those, have you seen “parkour” which came out of France?? It’s been used in James Bond and one of the Bourne movies–sort of urban climbing/jumping/acrobatics. Great stuff…

    Like

  4. Parkour is unreal. My favorite move in the initial Casino Royale chase scene is the dive head-first over the 10-15-foot table. Incredible.

    Still, I can’t figure out the diagonal flip in this first video where the kid catches the ball on his instep and lands in a dribble. WTF? What happens when you mess that up?

    Ouch.

    Tim

    Like

  5. Tim… I *love* this stuff. I’m sure you’ve heard of Sepak Takraw… the first vid reminded me of that, but those flip soccer kicks were sick like I’ve never seen before.

    I’ve wasted many an hour in front of YouTube watching ‘urban ninja’ stuff, like this dude:

    I really wish I would have devoted some time to training my body to do just a fraction of this stuff. But I’m 32 now. I’ve still got the frame, but definitely not the strength. I had a 23″ vertical leap in junior high. In college, at 5’10″ could *nearly* slam the basket ball. But no longer.

    Like

  6. Although I’d like the football (soccer) guys to be French, I suspect they’re really from Brazil or some South American countries.

    All the videos are really amazing!

    Like

  7. Hi Tim,
    The first video is actually CG. The Ambassadors VFX, based in the Netherlands are responsible for this viral. More info available on Motionographer:

    http://motionographer.com/2008/02/07/fifa-street-3-viral/

    The Ambassadors:

    http://www.theambassadors.nl/

    By the way… love your blog and the book.
    Cheers from London.

    ###

    Wow! Thanks for this, Rehan. CG is really blurring the lines of reality and Spiderman-like effects. Scary, really.

    In that case, my vote for most ridiculous human acrobatics go to Junior and the rest of the next-gen bboying world. Well beyond most Olympic gymnasts. I’d like to see Thomas Flare (sp?) do flares on his elbows.

    Thanks, Rehan,

    Tim

    Like

  8. What happens when you mess up kicking a ball off the top of someone’s head? :S

    The first video was my fav, really awesome.

    No disrespect but regarding Lilou – it may have been my jerky internet but that guy could be part of a “Breakdancing is Uncool” video. His moves were ok but the way he moved his body, didn’t like it. Breakdancing’s also about style.

    ###

    Hi Melencio,

    Agreed on the style, footwork, etc. I actually like “Freddie” in than same video more, but the “best in the world” in this case is just winning the BC One.

    Good call,

    Tim

    Like

  9. NB. Re: Lilou again, best in the world?? It must be my jerky internet… :S

    Junior has insane power through his arms.

    Oh and re: your breakdancing, nice. I was waiting for you to break something out, jerky internet but I think I saw an air flair? (sp.?) Nice.

    Like

  10. Incredible videos, thanks.

    The first video definitely isn’t from France, I know I’ve been living there for 30 years now.

    It looks more like South America.

    ###

    That would have been my vote, too, but the .fr threw me off, as it did the people who attributed it where I initially found it. Bonus points for anyone who can find the real location. The writing on the wall seemed either Spanish or Portuguese, and given the popularity of capoeira in Brazil, I would vote Brazil, probably Rio or Sao Paolo.

    Brazilians are right up there with the French. Check out the semi-finals in the BC One video below for proof.

    Tim

    Like

  11. Ok,

    Tim, What did I win? The commercial was filmed by FIFA on the rooftops in Mexico. Let me know if you want the hyperlink with this information. Do i get a trip around the world? …. Actually I would trade that in for the one thing that is stumping me over and over again the last 6 months. I have squeezed my brain for ideas on a product. I don’t like any of my ideas and am trying to find a product. I looked at my target market that I belong to: 26 year old guys who workout and read??? See what I mean…

    Cheers

    Jose Castro-Frenzel

    ###

    Hi Jose,

    No roundtrip this time, I’m afraid! Getting “bonus points” in this case was just used in the common idiomatic sense of gets my respect, etc. Don’t worry, though — there will be some great competitions coming up soon.

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion! I remember these things like an elephant :)

    Tim

    Like

  12. Cool Videos,

    How do you come across all these cool things so often? That was a good location for that FIFA commercial to be filmed at: Mexico.

    Jose

    Like

  13. I saw the Junior video a number of years ago and the first thing I noticed was how short his legs are. His levers make things like planche pushups a reality. This is why gymnasts aren’t 6’3″. No question though, a superior display of human performance.

    Best,
    Skyler

    Like

  14. Tim, this post is a perfect occasion for me to throw something out there that I feel you will have a perspective on and may lead to a follow-up post.. (short and long version included to respect your time)

    (Quick Version)
    Do you believe that, as a novice, irrational fear/psychology is the key limiting factor in someone’s ability to master intensely physical sports? If so, interested to understand the state of mind you put yourself in when undertaking a new sport that poses a genuine physical challenge (eg: breakdancing).

    (Detailed Version)
    I’ve recently gotten involved in break, which lead me to start practicing capoeira (two things it seems you’ve undertaken as well). I’m realizing that, without exception, the dominant limiting factor in proficiency/mastery of these moves and techniques comes down to fear. Irrational fear. I have never broken a bone and done some crazy things in my life – backcountry snowboarding, cliff diving, BMX, climbing, etc. The moment I put myself in a mental state of fearlessness, a psychological wall breaks down and I find myself nailing a move or doing something I’d never thought myself capable of.

    Martial arts, acrobatics, insane break moves – all of that seems to be not nearly as much about physical capability as it is about being fearless and realizing that the only thing standing between present (novice) state and joining the elite of any sport is the fear that stops you for risk of injury. A recent immersion into the study of neuro-linguistic programming has lead me to explore the undeniable connection between physical prowess and state of mind.

    Very interested in your angle on this as pertains to mental state when you are a complete neophyte to a sport.

    Cheers man, excellent post.

    ###

    Hi David,

    Great questions. I”ll try and tackle this once I get a few others posts up and running. Good luck and boa sorte (as the capoeiristas would tell you)!

    Tim

    David

    Like

  15. Jesus God! They probably eat whatever they want…and in France that could mean anything and everything. Seriously someone should do a study on the affects of French food, genetic mutation, and human evolution…

    Like

  16. Amazing. I was hoping to see more of this stuff in the commercials during the most recent World Cup (Soccer), since here in USA we NEVER get to see the amazing soccer culture out there. After living in Brazil and Argentina off and on for years at a time, I can attest that there is a LOT more of this talent out there!

    PS Those pushups are UNREAL. I’m gonna go back through and look for support cables in the footage.

    Like

  17. There is a “bouncy” quality peculiar to Junior’s style. Its quite veident on his video (second one). When you see him dancing and you have the original track on the video, thats where he really shines: he’s dancing, no doubt..Thats no gymnastics. Bump-bumpbump-1-2-3..everything he does compliments the music.

    Like

  18. TO David Wash,

    I have been studying NLP for the past 3 years and have come to the conclusion that there are some useful things you can use, though I caution not to get too caught up in it. The original founders were Dr. Richard Bandler and Dr. John Grinder. Ironically, though one of them had a severe problem with cocaine and convicted of murder. I say this to further explain that with the good there may also be bad. They self published “Frogs into Princes” a great book. Anthony Robbins was the most famous to use this technology on a grand scale. Furthermore, the book, “The Game,” uses and references its roots to NLP. Good luck on your study, Hope this helps.

    Best

    Jose Castro-Frenzel
    Ps I will send you the link Tim on my discovery, got run now.

    Like

  19. “What the hell are kids eating in France?”

    Funny question, serious answer – I remember visiting Paris in Middle School (this was back in the 80s, don’t mind revealing my age :)) and we were welcomed with an enthusiastic meal at the hotel that consisted of something like bamboo shoots, (mostly) raw peas, surely there was some bread and butter there somewhere, but that’s what I remember. Maybe it was a cruel joke or something, but the parental chaperones ended up taking the group of kids to find something more American-friendly…we all know what that means…fast food.

    Just a little bit of my soapbox here, but humans evolved of off the Earth, and perhaps someone with more experience with French diet can help me, but I tend to think they still eat – produce, local fresh foods – and don’t cook their food all to hell. And eat way more moderately, combined with er, healthy beverages.

    We eat (in America) what we are taught to eat. Rethink this.

    And they don’t worry about it so much :)

    Cheers!
    ~Marcie

    Like

  20. http://www.mad.co.uk/Main/News/Articlex/22fd09299bdd4816ba51bb1f00764577/EA-launches-FIFA-Street-3-campaign.html

    The viral element brings together football tricksters from Toronto’s Ryouko team and an ex-Mexico City player.

    Reported to be filmed in Mexico’s “ghettos”, the tricksters use their skills to emulate the in-game moves of international footballers Ronaldinho, Rino Gattuso and Peter Crouch.

    Online, users can explore ‘behind the moves’ of the footballers and find-out how they execute them.

    This was one of my sources and then there was this one:

    http://www.huntersword.com/article/2008-02-01-fifa.html

    Maybe I am wrong, but hopefully I am not. I checked a few other sites out and they gave the same conclusion, Mexico.

    Anyways,

    Sweet Clips….

    Jose Castro

    Like

  21. Hey Tim,
    nice post
    I saw Lilou in New Zealand a couple of years ago. That guy is a freeeek! It’s like crazy extreme yoga in triple fast forward.
    Mad Props to Lilou…and thanks for the post.

    Naomi

    Like

  22. Marcie, yes, your teacher made you a bad joke when they told you were in Paris, France. A vegan meal in your hotel there ? Come on, the tourists that tried to get one are still waiting.
    I don’t remember eating anything special you wouldn’t have in the US. I mean lamb brain, pig feet, horse steaks, baby pigeons, cancoillote, rabbit tongue, black pudding, snails, frog legs, raw milk cheese, raw seafood, fish roe, full fat products, vegetables covered by tons of butter, cream or lard and the rest are served anywhere, I guess. In real life, the only two things that ever shocked my American friends is that I eat the fries with mayonnaise instead of ketchup.

    Champions come from all places. I’m not specially impressed by the average level of my compatriots.
    Koreans (included the Chinese ones), OTOH, have my eternal admiration. Next month, we have an international festival, like every year, the Korean junior high school will send us about 100 dancers among their 300 students. It seems all of them can fly and are as flexible as chewing-gum. If it’s caused by food, certainly your Mum should have started kimchi 9 months before you were born.

    Did you hear and understand Lilou’s comment ? He is boasting because he has already won many kung fu competitions and will have to find space on his shelf for the new belt. Surely, France is one of the countries with the largest number of children doing martial arts.

    ###

    Hi Kuri,

    The Korea breakers are absolutely amazing. I saw Gamblers and a few others battling live in NYC and think I put a video of it up on YouTube. Just look for me by user “masterlock.”

    There are champions everywhere, to be sure,

    Tim

    Like

  23. Junior has got some insane strength. One thing I found out through some searching is that he may have had polio when he was younger, so his legs stopped growing (or has a partially prosthetic leg).

    check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XhvbTeB_wnU and notice how Junior is walking with his leg.

    He’s still amazing nonetheless. And him having had polio before makes him only more amazing.

    Like

  24. I don’t know what kind of high grade PCP lilou is on but that is amazing – especially since he is all bones!

    Tim, I used to break a few years back as well. After seeing those videos I am thinking about getting back in it, you feeling the same?

    I’m thinking once I can go windmill well and do a few good handstand moves I can stop before killing myself ;)

    Like

  25. The human capacity is unlimited. Those athletes were amazing and so was the dancer. We have in each of us that same capacity to express the extraordinary. What amazingness in you is waiting to be expressed? Is it your ideas, your imagination, your compassion, your ability to understand, your body’s potential, your creativity, you joyous nature, your soul’s ability to soar?

    Joseph

    Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.

    Like

  26. Hi Tim,

    Thanks for posting these videos; they’re definitely inspiring.

    Your book’s on the way from BN.com. I’ve ordered five copies.

    This post has lead me to your postings about muscle gain and fat loss. These are two areas I’m highly opinionated on. I’ve got free articles on these and peak performance at: http://ezinearticles.com/?expert_bio=Scott_Abbett

    I really love your interview of AJ Jacobs; friggin’ hillarious. The description of his “stoning” had me LMAO.

    Based on your blog, I’m looking forward to your book.

    Scott

    Like

  27. I tried Parkour, with a Crossfit warmup. Both kicked my butt. Despite my stunt background, I can’t do that stuff anymore. [I'm over 35!]

    But I started doing tango after seeing the video of you in Uruguay – it looked so interesting to just walk up to a girl and dance so well.

    It’s harder to do Parkour like that – just doing it, although I have a friend in Seattle who does Parkour in commercials and he’s just amazing. (http://tysoncecka.com/archive/parkour-07-short-sampler).

    Like

  28. I grew up doing gymnastics. His routine is packed full of handstand and pommel horse tricks. I love seeing gymnastics incorporated into break dance.

    This guy uses his physical attributes to his advantage. He has short thin legs compared to his upper body. That allows him to swing his legs around and hold positions that look incredible.

    In the last 5 seconds this guy is doing planche pushups. Normally proportioned people can only do that with years of intense strength training. This guy would be awesome on the rings or parallel bars!

    Like

  29. Hi Tim,

    thanks for the post on breakdance. It reminded me of my days of moonwalking a la Jacko and made me realise its time to go back to the gym !

    Junior is insane….. a true inspiration – do you know how tall he is? I noticed his legs are quite short…

    By the way how tall are you ?

    Keep up the good work !

    Daniele

    PS: I love your posts, but the more you post, the more you get close to the 4 hours limit…. be careful ! You dont want us all overworked dudes to lose faith in the promised land !

    PPS: will you be coming to the UK for the UK launch ?

    Like

  30. Hmmm, Tim, you seriously thought this was real ??

    Anybody who has played soccer a bit instantly knows it’s fake ( the first 5 seconds are enough). If you enjoyed this, you should watch “Shaolin Soccer”…

    Thanks for your great blog Tim, by the way.

    I am not sure if this was mentionned but the song is in Spanish.

    ###

    I plead ignorance. I’ve seen too many seemingly impossible things to write it off, but I’m admit I was duped. Cool though, right? And yes, I dig the Spanish song, from the “Don’t stop” to the “Se va, se fue…” Kinda catchy :)

    Tim

    Like

  31. First off, really awesome stuff. Love to watch this with my kids, inspiring! I wondered if the soccer spot was CG, it was a little too perfect. I read Motionographer (video producer) and must have missed that post.

    @ David Walsh:

    I hear what you’re saying about “your mind is what’s holding you back from ultimate abilities”, but I have to disagree with the statement. In short: your body has to be able to back up your mental state, at least in sports like parkour or gymnastics (former gymnast/wrestler/bike racer speaking). If you can’t ‘snap’ or tuck your body with enough force, agility, or speed, you are not going to make the trick, regardless of your mental state. Your mental state is crucial (inseparable) – but equal to your conditioning for achievement in these fields.

    I remember the first time I nailed a giant swing on the high bar – such a rush. Cake after that.

    Like

  32. Not sure if this was mentioned yet, but:

    The dudes jumping around and doing flips in the first video are real, but passing the soccer balls around were added in post.

    Like

  33. Nice vid…the soccer video is NOT Brazil, i live in Brazil and the police not use this uniform in all country :)
    Supose is Mexico…
    Look at parkour videos from David Belle

    Like

  34. The fist video (soccer) is definitely Mexican. Brazilian teenagers don’t dress like that and their police cars don’t look like that either.

    Like

  35. I´m positive that the guys in the first video are not french, they are mexican, that scene was shot in Mexico City. The guy who posted the video is so stupid,how can he think they were french, how in the world does that city look like any city in France, and since when do police officers in France speak spanish and are dark skined.. your intelligence really amazes me.

    Like

  36. Some of the stuff (juggling, some of the passing) is real but a lot of the other stuff is really good editing. Go ask a real soccer (football, futbol) player if this stuff is real and play close attention to his reaction.

    Like

  37. The soccer video was shot Mexico, and I’m pretty sure Mexico City. I’ve hoofed around Distrito Federal (the city’s core) a lot, and that green pedestrian overpass is common over El Periférico (freeway), look at the mural, the Spanish language ads on the walls, the two girls looking out the apartment, la Policía, green VW cab, … todo

    Like

  38. 2nd video..absolutely immense! but his name isnt scott willis…that is th video editor who compiles the video. im not sure what his real name is…but who cares he is amazing! duno where i read it but he is actualy a bit of a freak. instead of the heaviest part of his body being his hips and legs his sentre of balance is up around his chest. hence he can do those crazy ass press ups! cos not only are his arms big he doesnt need to worry bout his legs pullin him down. wierd bone structure or summin!

    Like

  39. This is not France, this is a developing country. Mexico perhaps. That’s not a French cop and the cityscape looks nothing like France, Looks poor.

    Like

  40. I would put my money on those ballers being Brazilian Futsal players. I am reading about them in Daniel Coyles book “The Talent Code” (he is the author of Lance Armstrongs War). He promotes the thesis that talent is not born, it is grown.

    without me its just some,

    AWE

    Like

  41. Wow those french guys are insane, everytime I look back at this post I find my jaw dropping! I was part-inspired by this a month back to setup http://www.superhumanpeople.com. Take a look – there’s some extraordinary abiltiies on there, some due to rare genetic conditions others down to extreme cases of lifestyle design. I’m going to profile you too soon, Tim!

    Thanks for the inspiration.

    Like