Why we train.

downs flips

Sebastien Foucan (the man accredited with the founding of “Freerunning” and host of the website http://www.freerunningtv.com/) recently interviewed the accredited founder of Parkour, David Belle. The two have been friends since childhood and trained together for many years, and lately both have become aware of a shift in the reasons why people involved in these disciplines train. Back when they first started training these men, and the rest of the Yamakasi, trained in an effort to strengthen themselves and the people they trained with. Their name, “Yamakasi”, originates from the African Congolese Lingala language meaning loosely ‘Strong Man, Strong Spirit’, and it sums up the original and still core aim of their discipline – to be a strong individual: physically, mentally and ethically (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamakasi). However, Sebastien, David, and other pioneers of these disciplines have started to vocalize their thoughts on this shift in attitude. For the interview follow this link to see Sebastien Foucan interview David Belle.

Their fear is that people these days are wandering away from the deeper meaning of Parkour and Freerunning. They see all of these kids who are introduced to these disciplines by videos on youtube and immediately they think it’s all about producing the best looking and flashiest video edit, being able to do the biggest tricks and sickest flips. Wisely Foucan and Belle are both extremely hesitant to call this shift “bad” or a “negative” thing, they merely say it is just different from how they see things. Being someone who sees eye to eye with them, I agree with their phrasing. It is not inherently “bad” or “worse” to train in Parkour and Freerunning for the, at least partial, purpose of showing off, it merely makes the disciplines mean something different to the person training for that reason. If what you value is being the first to throw triple-flips with impunity for the sake of being put on adverts and featured in movies, more power to you. But if you seek something else, like to strengthen and grow as an individual and help those around you do the same, Parkour and Freerunning offer that as well.

What it comes down to is figuring out what you want from Parkour and/or Freerunning. For the officers of this club, they mean to us what they mean to Foucan and Belle. We wish to grow from the experience, both physically and mentally, and even have fun while doing it. Parkour and Freerunning are amazing in that they can give you just about anything you seek provided you put in the effort.

So, I’ll leave you with this, listen to why other people train. Listen to the Foucans, the Belles, the Shieffs, the Ilabacas, the 15 year olds who just watched 100 youtube videos in one day and decided they want to start training, the gymnasts, the breakdancers, and even the “e-runners” -those self proclaimed experts on these arts who have not trained a day in their life but can rattle off the top youtube videos like they’re scripture. Listen to all of them. But, never, NEVER, take what they say as the absolute truth about Parkour or Freerunning. That is up to you to decide. Take that knowledge you get from listening and use it to formulate your own ideas and opinions about what they mean to you. As the title of Sebastien Foucan’s book wisely says: “Find your way”. PK/FR are not static. They are fluid and can be as complex, simple, profound, or shallow as you make them.

Find your way.


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I don’t wanna listen to the e-runners

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