Dan’s observations from training with and talking to David Belle
Ok little post from me (related to this topic)…
Thomas, I agree with you like 99%!
I think our friend Erwan has given up too fast on what Parkour is and I still have a little bit of hope since all is not lost yet. 😛 😛 Theres still people out there that can make a different and I still do think the members of this site and others have the power to stop Parkour from going downhill, but even after saying that I fear that they will not. So thats where I believe Erwans standpoint comes from, and I believe his words will come true unfortunetly. The ‘other sites’ feed on the insecurities and lack-of-knowledge people have on Parkour and since no one really has the spirit that people like me and you work so HARD to find and they are easily persuaded. With that being said I want to go a little off topic before I speak again of this…
For those that don’t remember/know, I recently spent some time with David and Cyril in the states. David was very talkative to me because of a couple reasons, A. Im good friends with Erwan, a man he respects alot.. 😉 B. Everything around him in both those cities was fake and he told me he saw something more real in me. Everyone was crowding him, asking him silly questions, getting him to sign silly things, getting him to do and answer things so that websites and tv could use it for their advantage and sell him. Treating him like a monkey… A true monkey.. At times it was hard to watch as some people who had real and honest things to ask him didnt even get a chance. Without even speaking to most people I could see right through them and their intentions shined so strong, I lost a lot of respect for the American Scene that trip and the way someone like David was handled. It could have been such a better experience for David but unfortunetly 🙁 because America is a place where there is very little “Parkour spirit”.
When me and David/Cyril talked, I came in not wanting to talk about moves or definitions, or what is your view on this subject, or can I make a living off parkour… All silly worthless questions to me because you have a man standing next to you that has done so much in his life, why waste your time with questions like that. I wanted to learn about Davids spirit, and thats what I did. I told him that I came with so many questions in my head, but his actions answered most of them without him even having to talk. I’ve only met 1 person like him before in my life with the same true spirit, funny enough he is also someone posting in this thread. 😉 I talked to David about the MN, his father, his life, his dreams and goals when I was in NY/LA with him because as you Thomas I am making my own decisions and want to explore more and be a warrior just like you. We share similar paths my friend and hopefully we will meet on it one day.
The following is an account as accurate and word for word (mostly paraphrased because I dont want to put quotes people will use of David) as I can while ommiting some things I wish not to say on public forums. If David Belle and things we talked about dont interest you, skim through or skip this part. I do feel that this story is somewhat related to this topic and thats the reason Im writing it out.
David told me that the thing wrong with Parkour communities is the way people get into it from these sites and watching videos. He said instead of living, people tend to copy, which isnt a bad thing but its something where they will have a harder time trying to find the true essence he was after. It’s also not their way, when you copy someone and do things you think you should be only doing, you are essentially a trapped soul. He said if things were correct, before even doing anything “Parkour”, people should train 2 years in the MN correctly to learn the proper spirit and real meaning behind what he is after and why he created Parkour. Without this he said its hard to understand why he does what he does. He told me his dad trained extensively in the MN and David still has great great respect for George Hébert today as it being a great method for physical/mental awareness/advancement. He looked into the sky and smiled and said “Homme fort” and nodded his head. The spirit of Parkour, the real spirit, is found in those roots. Natural roots. It was much easier for him to help in France as with his original group they could feed off his ideas/spirit and his fathers inspiration very easily, but as he didnt know it was going to grow to this level, the steps taken weren’t correct. But as I will say later, there was never suppost to be any steps.
He said another great thing wrong with Parkour and something that upsets him is people that use others for their own good. People who think they are overqualified, that think their words and ways are the only right ways, that feed off other people, that put others down and stop them from growing… all those things and many more. That people look upto these leaders and wait and watch for them to do something then are like lemmings and do the same thing; they essentially let the people that run these sites do the thinking for them. He really doesnt understand how people follow and listen to every word these businessman who have no parkour experience say and treat these words like gospel. This is one of the biggest problems in Parkour he said, that people aren’t free anymore when infact Parkour to liberate; they are not free to chose what is right and wrong to them, they are told. He infact doesnt even want people to treat his words like gospel, and that being said I was never going to write about my experience with him just because I thought it was ‘above’ what people who are on these websites are looking for. Its almost setting people up to become what David doesnt want.
But like I mentioned above, he said it was never his duty to become an ambassador and that has never interested him one bit. He is a do-er for himself, a free warrior, in the sense that while many sit around and think, he is living and still at 33 pushing hard to reach goals to find trueness and realness. Parkour is only 1 thing, it’s something he found his way in and named, and it’s just there now to help people find their own way, that’s all. Like Erwan said, which are very strong words, “Live and Learn” or the very common, “Follow your heart” or “Do whats real”. Cyril and Belle both stressed to me that week that it’s great to try and copy sometimes, but the real passionate ones will look and pull things here and there from Cyril, Belle, other great atheletes and then with those things mold them into their own path. It’s exactly what they both do. He told me a story about how his friend showed him a video of a guy climbing the side of a mountain with no harness really really fast. He said it was incredible that these rock climbers can do that, that they can hold their bodyweight with one finger. He said, “I want to do that too, but its hard to imagine, but ill keep training”. David’s a dreamer and hes on his own path, and while it inspires us, we all have to learn that to be real, we have to find our own.
People shouldnt be doing things just to win a contest, or make a video because a site tells you to, or because a site tells you something it is the only way you should train. No one should be told what to do indefinetly on any context, its just not the way. Take what you learn from all these sites and take in all the info you can get from many apon many different places and find out what is right for YOU. Without doing that, you will never have any spirit, and essentially you will always be trapped in a box and probably being used by someone or someplace. 🙁
I will quote Cyril for a second since we also talked about this topic and he said something funny:
I check my site sometimes. I look at the first couple things and try to respond but thats all I have the time for. People don’t understand that we just don’t have the time! We could come online and talk to each person and make sure they know flips aren’t Parkour (he laughed) but then we would not be in the place we are now. I had two choices, I could sit at home and eat pizza and pepsi infront of the computer all day, or I could train, I chose to train.
Anyways.. back to my story..
When we were in LA David did something that was really special to me. He refused to perform, even while under contract, because he knew himself what he was doing was totally fake. They would not let him do what he wanted to do, and portray Parkour the way he wanted to show it. Let me explain more…
He was standing alone at a drop of about 30 feet a bit upset and he looked like he was just thinking and I walked over to him and hit him on the shoulder and said “Ok Im waiting, go for it” maybe to cheer him up. He laughed then I asked him if his training would allow him to do such a jump and he said he could but only because his years and years of training. Then he shook his head and went on to say …
All these people here, they come and they want me to do big things, expect me to do big drops so they can sell pictures, put it on their websites, whatever. But what is my motivation then? I could do this jump once and maybe get hurt, but even if I dont get hurt what is the point right here, right now? To make these people happy? If my family was over there and needed me, I wouldn’t even hesitate. I would do it for them and thats who I train and do these things for. Im not a monkey Dan, I can’t be treated like one. I don’t understand how people want to put themselves into great risk for money. I’ve trained so long and hard for myself, to save people, to protect my family… People get into Parkour now just train in order to do risks for media, I just can’t understand why they would do so. That was never the goal of Parkour. Money changes people, but that money cannot change my goal, my motivation or why I do this. Im on tour now for you, Im here talking to you so you can help others and thats how things work, never think its the other way around. Im doing this for you guys, to inspire you, thats it.
He was really upset that day, you could see in his body language, his general expressions, he wasnt happy. The day before though, he was extremely happy.
We we’re training at UCLA, the university there in Los Angeles. it was only 4 of us that day, no media, no one asking for pictures or anything, and I was truely blessed to see him in his own atmosphere. Theres many things that were interesting about that day, but the most interesting or strongest message was that of when he fell. He had taken a bad fall and cut his back and his arm up trying to do a sautchat -> sautbras. He hit his shin/foot on the wall and fell forward into the gap, hitting the wall then falling to the ground. It was only 6 feet high so he was ok and got up instantly. The first thing he did was check to make sure Pierre was ok who he had almost fallen on, right away, 0 hestitation to help Pierre even before himself.
After that was when the interesting thing happened.
He smiled, and continued smiling. He laughed, and giggled like a little highschool girl. I looked at him and he said “CA! Ca c’est le vrai Parkour” (This! This is real Parkour) … He spoke so fast, and so happy. He continued to be so excited. He said that this is what he lives for, this realness, this feeling that his life is real, that things can happen, that life is unpredictable. All great! He told me to look at his hands so dirty with caluses, so happy he was! We then showed him the video footage, as we were recording a few things he did that day because he wanted souvenirs, and he was so happy we got the fall. Instantly he pointed to me and said to put it all over the internet, so everyone can see him fall and see that he is human and falls just like everyone else out there, that hes no different at all. He said he trained Parkour for 18 years and still on such a simple jump a mistake can happen. Thats how real Parkour is and thats why everyone has to be careful doing it and to make sure they are not taking risks. Did he try again? No, the obstacle won that time, as so his training is never complete.
The best part of falling is getting back up again. If that phrase doesnt examplify what David showed us all there that day, I dunno what would ever!
Anyways Ill stop for a second… what does this have to do with anything? Good question. Lately the notion as Parkour becoming a sport has been going on everywhere because it was listed on Pawas site. Well I have a few things to say about this….
David Belle certainly doesn’t think of Parkour as a sport. From everything he told me, from what I saw, from what we talked about that I havent even posted about… To him Parkour is the same thing Thomas has described it in his first post. Exactly the same. David has become so free in a sense outdoors that he pays very little attention to anything else, because so, I feel that Pawa doesnt even have the right to use his name at all since he is a single free entity. It’s hard to say what will happen with the future of Pawa, but I can certainly say that Pawa and what it has done so far is not a good representation at all of what David believes, and I question Joss’ motives. He outlined very well in different words and teachings he gave me in the USA on how we can fix Parkour and how we can make it more real. I was lucky enough to have been talking to Erwan for a long time now and I have slowly changed the way the community is based here in Toronto, but its upto the rest of you globally to make a difference. If not you can sit and watch while “official/true Parkour” disapears
To those who know anything about Parkour they will not push this concept or idea of it being a sport as its ludacris. The ones pushing it are also the same ones brainwashing communities and people should wake up and realize this is happening and stop contributing, helping, keeping them alive. We need to be strong as a community and put an END to these sites that have video contests giving away prizes or that tell people how what and where they should be doing something. We need to wake up as a community and realize whats going on out there. Harder then it seems, but hey… I dream. I do believe people still can make a difference in one way or another as we are all teachers in this world and we have the power to change many things.
Parkour is something very real, so real! Learn how to train outside, in the woods, in nature, in all sorts of places and do as your body tells you. Thats the only way youll ever come anywhere close to how David feels. Open your eyes to what you are doing!! Not just train what you saw in the latest video, or copying techniques from certain groups, who cares about those things! They are all limited, but your mind and your heart… They are NEVER limited.
Like Thomas said;
“”I cannot tell the future of official Parkour, but as Hebertiste said, it is highly predictable if nothing changes. I speak about “official” Parkour since it doesn’t belong to anyone. Some people just want to make it theirs (PAWA or others) but as long as there will be free men, there will be free Parkour.””
YES. Thats Parkour. At the end of the day if these people want to use communities, if kids want to fall for it, then FINE. If you are strongminded you will not let it effect you and no matter whats going on you will and can always have that same spirit inside. Train with your hearts. Use information to find your own path. Be real. Thats all I can only repeat over and over again.
I dunno… Ill probably look at this later and realize theres 100’s more things to say but its hard… What I need to say I cant say… Only feel … Only show…