June 01, 2006
After covering the basic two-handed, speed, and lazy vaults in last month’s article, I will finish up the basics of ground-level vaulting technique here by exploring the monkey, dash, and reverse vaults. These three movements ride the cusp of practical technique. All three can be useful in the right situation, but most people seem to have a tendency to apply them for their flair more than anything else. I can think of some very practical situations in which I have used monkey and reverse vaults, but I have yet to figure out the true purpose of the dash vault. Perhaps it's just me, so I will cover the technique here anyway, as you can never have too much information.
Known as the saut de chat, or jump of the cat, in French, our first movement was mistranslated as the monkey vault by some of the original English-speaking traceurs. Gross misnomer aside, the monkey vault is a powerful diving technique that is quite often the first vault learned by new practitioners once they grasp the basics of vaulting in general, as its speed and power are very impressive.