Ok, so as Jpnphreak3 finishes cutting the video proof that we were David Belle and Joss, I’d like to share with you some of the knowledge that was imparted upon me by the founder himself.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet David and Joss the evening of July 12, 2005 and just sit down and chat with them. I also got to spend time doing Parkour with them the next day. Here are some of the things we discussed that I don’t think have surfaced to the message boards and the community and I think will help you learn a little more.
First thing first, when asked for his (David’s) words as to what is Parkour, he said this:
At the physical end, Parkour is getting over all the obstacles in your path as you would in an emergency situation. You want to move in such a way, with any movement, that will help you gain the most ground on someone/something as if escaping from someone/something or chasing toward someone/something. Also, wherever you go, you must be able to get back. If you go from A to B, you need to be able to get back from B to A. You don’t need to do the same “move,” but just get back.
He also stated that Parkour extends beyond the physical. When asked if he thinks of Parkour as playing a role in the hardships we face in daily life, translation was a little difficult so I used an example. I asked, “If someone is having difficulties in a relationship with a girlfriend/boyfriend, do you see those difficulties as obstacles like you do in Parkour?” He responded with an example of his own, “If you are in front of a wall that you cannot get passed, would you just keep banging your head into the wall?… No, you would find a new wall.” He defintely believes that Parkour goes beyond just the physical in more than one way, which leads to the next aspect of Parkour.
I’d like to draw your attention to this as possibly being the MOST important thing I learned from speaking with David, as this seems to have gotten lost in our community. Parkour is about helping people. With the training and knowledge we get from Parkour, we become useful and can help others. The range of situations in which we become useful and helpful is wide. We can help save someone stuck inside a burning building. Or help another traceur to progress over a wall so that traceur can then become useful. We need to share with each other what we learn, ways to train, and useful concepts.
Further, it’s about what you can do at that particular moment. If someone is stuck in a fire and you say, “Well, two years ago I could have done something that would have saved you” then you are useless. Parkour is not what you could have done for whatever excuse. If you aren’t able to help someone, what use are you ?
David is a very humble person. He doesn’t see himself as being superior. While many people like to say he is god-like, he quickly shakes his head at this notion. He states that he is just a man and claims, “If I break my leg, I can do nothing and am useless.”
Also, Parkour is about progression, continually looking to improve yourself so you can do that much more. David cites an example, “If someone puts you in front of a 30m high wall, tells you to get over it, and then comes back two years later and you’re still there, you’ve made no progress. You should find another wall.” You need to always look to progress. David’s father was always on top of him to fix his movements and get better. There was, and is, always a way to improve. One of the ways to progress is to help each other. Everyone has a different view, physicality, and means of training and applying knowledge from which they can offer advice, options, and assitance. The more you progress, the more you can help.
David also pointed out that while doing Parkour, you need to be focused on what you are doing. Maintaining concentration is key. You must be ready for whatever you are going to do. When a traceur tells another traceur to “be careful,” they are not saying, “Don’t get hurt.” They are saying, “Keep focused. Don’t lose your concentration.” If you lose your concentration, that is when you put yourself in danger. You don’t want your mind to be elsewhere. Never do things because of other people watching or daring you to do something if you can’t be focused and dedicated to what it is you are doing. Don’t attempt anything when you mentally are distracted. When doing Parkour, you must dedicate your mind to what you are doing.
When asked about why was PAWA formed and why the world tour, the response was this. PAWA was formed to spread Parkour so as to be helpful to the rest of the world. It’s a means of exercising that part of Parkour…being helpful to others and sharing the knowledge. It is a center point and contact for the Parkour information they seek to share. The world tour allows for the true illustration that Parkour can be done anywhere in the world no matter what your environment. Be it rural, urban, rocks, buildings, trees, France, California, Madagascar, Japan, etc. it doesn’t matter. The world tour also allows David and others to get out around the world and spread the understanding of Parkour first hand. Who better than the founder himself.
When asked about competition, it came out that his view of competition is very different from the general ideas about competitions. He said that they already have competitions. However, the competitions are not ones of war, battling for who is better. The competitions are about helping. Who can help the most people and spread their knowledge. There are no medals or prizes. The competitions are when different people meet up and share their views in order to teach and learn from each other. By doing this, you become the best as you show you are useful and helpful. The more people you help, the more useful you have become as those people will then go on to help others…you win.
We spoke about a number of other topics, but nothing quite so significant for the Parkour community as the above information. If something else comes to mind that I left out, I’ll add it in. I hope this has been helpful for everyone. Thanks to David Belle and Joss for coming out. I look forward to seeing them again next month !!