Parkour has many confused as to whether it should be called a sport, an art, a philosophy, or a discipline. How do you describe Parkour, and how is it different from Freerunning?
Parkour is not the same as Freerunning. Parkour is a training method, a way of efficiency going from point A to B. Freerunning is more about acrobatic stuff like back flips, 360s… It’s an artistic mix of Parkour and acrobatics.
How does one even decide to get into Parkour? Just waking up one day you say, ”I think I’d like to start jumping off rooftops”…? Is it about adrenaline…. rebelliousness …. freedom?
I think people start Parkour for different reasons, but the first is because it enables you to maintain your spirit from childhood on into being an adult- constantly moving, exploring, and climbing. Aside from this, I think they enjoy various things in Parkour such as freedom of movement, confidence, being outdoors, and constantly adapting to the environment.
What is “Flight Mode”?
“Flight mode” for me is the moment when you’re in the air and time stops around you; that moment when you have the total self control.
You appear so fluid in your execution of “flight” and jumps that you’ve actually made it look easy! What’s the reality of what it takes to pull this off?
I have been practicing Parkour for 11 years now, and it has consisted of daily training both at a physical and mental level. You must have all your active abilities when you move. I try to pull from my natural instincts so that my Parkour should be as smooth as when I walk.
|When not out roaming the rooftops and architectural structures of Paris, what is involved in your training at the Parkour gym?
I’m not on rooftops every day! I train differently every day. It’s more about “modes,” focusing sometimes on conditioning, fluidity, or big jumps. I will never train in the gym, because I do not like it and I feel it does not represent reality. Parkour is outdoors and it is pure and brut, reflecting the realities and perhaps harshness of life. In a gym you are protected by mats and padding, so I believe it is best to train in the closest possible context of reality, because when you perform there will be no mat.
What is that feeling of uncertainty like after plunging over the edge, not knowing how you will land? What’s the difference between getting it right and not getting it wrong?
I don’t have that feeling of uncertainty, because I know what I can or cannot do; I know my limits. Parkour has made me more confident and has taught me to know myself. Everything I do I am 100% sure that I have the capacity to do it. This is what Parkour teaches us! I am not crazy. I am aware of everything that I do, which is what makes me free.
In your Parkour video you mention that exploration and imagination are in all of us, but many forget or lose sense of one or both to a certain extent in life. How has Parkour changed the way you live and view the world?
To me, Parkour is primarily a training method that will allow me to adapt to the environment but also to the people around me. I adapt myself to the environment when I move, but when I’m with people or new people I adapt myself with the same method based on their character and what they say. I am able to read them much easier and it avoids putting me in a difficult situation with conversation. It’s also a way to improve and know myself better, give me more confidence about my choices and judgment, and develop myself and my mind. Now I travel a lot to learn more about the world and culture, and as life is full of both positive and negative experiences, I try to make the best of every situation; with each experience building something strong around me. An experience becomes useless if you do not learn something and grow from it. But what is considered to be the best aspect of an experience will be different for every individual. So take the best in everything and build your own path, your own philosophy, your own style, and your own thoughts…
David Belle, the “creator” of Parkour, once said “Obstacles are found everywhere, and in overcoming them we nourish ourselves.” How do you see this translating into life?
That’s it. When we jump and catch a wall we feel safe and alive, and climbing a wall appearing before us is like overcoming a problem. Obstacles are what make us tick, and what make us proud when we overcome them.
Not only have you captured the beauty of life in your approach to the meaning Parkour gives to your life, but you also have an incredible collection of photos that portray the art and beauty of the sport itself. Why is it important to you to spread awareness of Parkour?
It’s important for me to convey a good image of Parkour. I want people to understand that Parkour is not merely jumping from one roof to another, but it is an opportunity to see things differently. I travel a lot for this, because Parkour pushes me to discover what the world offers us. To paraphrase a French rapper Keny Arkana:
The beauty of life depends on your eyes.