David Belle “The Way”

Q: How do you start doing crazy stuff like that?

A: You’re already attacking me with your “crazy stuff”. Because doing crazy stuff for 20 years…do you see what I’m saying? Yeah….No…Well, when we discover that our dad is even crazier than us. It’s like, I had chosen my own little quiet path. I did a little athletics, some gymnastics. And in crossing with him a little, given that my dad did not raise me, I wanted to know a bit about where he came from, who he was. And I found out that he was a child soldier…he had done the “way”. And so I started asking him questions, “Okay, but it’s the ‘way’ of what?” So he explained to me: “The way of agility, ‘the way’ of silence. And after really digging, searching into what he’d adapted, I saw that he had a real method of training. And that is what Parkour is: a method of physical training, which allows us to overcome obstacles in urban and natural environments. No I think probably I needed to prove something, for sure. Because, I don’t know. It’s like it was my school. When you’re in a family, you have a father, a mother, an education, a little bit of pressure sometimes and all that…and that all broke down for me. So I needed…Parkour sort of because of my father. It’s what gave me spankings. You see. If it’s not right, you fall, you fail, and you start over until it’s right. And your work ethic, your character is built based on that. Either you have it immediately and you level of willpower is here, or you say “Oh really? You want to play? I’ll try again” Bam!” You fall again. “Oh really?” And I try again, and I try again. And then you learn to pursue that which irritates me, teaches me strength. You know? It’s not enough to want to jump from one building to another. You need to know why. And it’s just in case for one day, there’s a problem. You don’t spend all day on the roof, 60 meters up in the air jumping from one building to another.

Q: Where does this extreme need come from?

A: When you have phobias, or stuff like that, maybe this is what works, to the extreme, the other side. If I’m someone who already naturally had no fear and was confident and all that, I might not have developed this thing so much. But it’s certain that when I’m in an area, right away, I need to know what I can do. I go to someone’s house. I’m on the eleventh floor. Okay I’m at a friends. I look… “Okay, from this window…Okay, we can unlock this…We can access this roof. We can…” I need to…to see the way out right away. I can’t ever come in and find myself suffocating, or caged. By doing this…By practising Parkour, I was released. The opening up of my spirit made me interested in other things and all, but another guy might find this through music or by drawing…You see. The trick is that no matter what you do, do it well. If you don’t like school. Okay. You have a right not to like school, but what are you going to do? If it’s “I don’t like this. I don’t like that” and you reject everything, and you never do anything, then I can’t believe in your vision of life. We have to do things. We are there. We don’t have enough time to do everything there is to do in life.

Excelling…Well, you often have people who sometimes…whose morphology, or how they are, if they are predisposed towards certain things, they will learn more quickly than others. After that it’s, a difference of that only. What’s important is that they understand and they advance at their own rhythm. So it’s not saying to myself: I’m behind as compared to who. It’s already: I am ahead as compared to…it’s better than doing nothing. Already the fact of moving a little, of reading a little bit, of playing a little music, of…There, you’ve already started to interest yourself in something. And that’s what makes you feel like going farther. So you have the right not to be interested in, or to not like something, but make something of your life. So me, by doing Parkour, I was opened up to so many different things. And today, I longer wish to do only Parkour, I’m being drawn by other things. And…By everything. By everything. Knowing how to cook, knowing how to be a handy man, knowing…I don’t know…how to do really useful things that will be useful to me. And when I speak of other artists, in other areas, it’s… I feel a little…a little of the same things. All the other bits before, I thought “What am I doing there?” It’s not my place. I’m doing this because I have to…to give a reason…I was young, and my mother needs to be able to say to her colleagues, “No. No. My son is working.” Because if not, it…At a certain moment you understand that you are doing more things for other than for yourself. And finally it was…What do I feel like doing? Well, now I feel I’m doing well. So I can prolong this thing here, and make myself happy. And find prospects in this artistic milieu. And if I continue, and find that I don’t see anything any more, well then…I’ll leave laughing.

Q: Advice for people starting Parkour?

A: Ah yes…yes…yes.. That’s it…for intention, when you move…for young people-especially the very young- it’s good to be surrounded by older people, guys with experience. Because, it’s a thing where I noticed with Parkour, ego comes out tremendously. You see. Even I feel prey to it. You’re twenty years old. You feel like, when you do a trick, and the other guy goes “Pow. Pow.” that you really had that trick. And it’s fine when it’s fun and you’re having a good time with it. But when you start taking it seriously, it’s no longer good. When you act like the boss because you’re the best and you jump farther than someone else, or…No. There’s no big boss in life. I mean…it isn’t the strongest boxer in the world in the ring with gloves who is the strongest person on the street. If he gets knifed…gets shanked…it’s finished in two seconds. No one gives a shit to know if you’re good or not or if you trained. So the reality is completely different. And we really need to see this side of training Parkour as just being a method that allows you to be a bit better in life. Like a method in cooking allows you to feed yourself when you don’t know what to do, or being able to repair a car because you know a little mechanics and…That’s enough. It can’t be more than that. Well, for sure. Yeah. If I find myself in there because I didn’t do anything, then…well they’ll have to wait until they find a way to keep me in. But…but…but if I’m there because I did something stupid. Well. There you go…I…that could be a fun game, eh?

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