Bay Area Parkour

Train Hard - Stay Humble

Stephane Vigroux on Urban Freeflow

Stephane Vigroux talks about being a student of David Belle, physical and mental training, competitiion, recovery from injury, and why he left France and parkour.

At approximately 35 minutes, it's probably ten times longer than most internet parkour videos, but it's a must watch for anyone who wants to be a true student not just of parkour but of any physical discipline.

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Comment by Seng on March 24, 2012 at 8:20pm

I think the Google link has stopped working so here it is on YouTube. Aside from the comments on competition, so many of his thoughts here on training still affect how I train, years after initially seeing this video.

Comment by Kirill on October 15, 2008 at 4:30pm
I like his words.... I like them a lot.
Comment by Philosofist on August 13, 2008 at 7:33am
Haha, this is great.
Comment by SafeNSure on August 13, 2008 at 7:24am
Comment by Kirill on August 13, 2008 at 6:56am
dont confuse Osetia with Russia.....
Comment by SafeNSure on August 10, 2008 at 10:13am
...also: this is the best inspiration from the Olympics up to now:

(Nino Salukvadze, form Georgia and Russian Natalia Paderina, bronze and silver in 10 meter pistol shooting, hugging for almost 20 seconds, while their two countries are at war, with approx. 2,000 deaths in a couple of days...)
Comment by SafeNSure on August 10, 2008 at 10:00am
...if you train to excel your performance for life (like an Everest climber, or a true martial artist) is one thing, you work hard, you work for yourself, your life may depend on it...

If you train for a sportive competition you are forced by outside stimulation to "constantly and repeatedly endanger their most precious good, health, because of obsession and obligation of victory, and whatever is at stake as a direct consequence of it, including money, rank or status, pride, and also professional or sponsoring contracts and profitable commercial deals.
It leads competitive practitioners to unbalance their training and focus only on the specific skills needed to win, leading to chronic injuries

Also "it boils down to understanding the philosophy and background of parkour. Parkour is often connected to two french mottos: the natural method motto etre forte poure etre utile, and the parkour motto etre et durer. The natural method motto means “be strong to be useful.” The parkour motto means something like “to be and to endure"."

I'm not repeating this stuff as a mantra, I just use these words from others, because i can't express it better; I've been following competitive sports for almost thirty years now, and what struck me of Parkour, which (as the inspirational videos demonstrate is NOT the most awesome, spectacular and "out there" discipline...), is the communal aspect, the immediate solidarity with new practitioners (not with you gymnastic buddies of 10 years, or your teammates...that's obvious...), the similar challenges that beginners and advanced practitioners experiment.

ESPECIALLY looking at the Olympics, thinking about the health complications that, for example gymnasts, are going to experience later in life, or watching not the look in Michael Phelps's eyes, but the one in the "bitterly disappointed" Ryan Lochte, makes me value the non-competitive-spirit of parkour.
Like Yoga is meant to enhance your health, Parkour could do the same for the health of communities...

Somebody wants to compete using its techniques?
Fine don't call it parkour, though... because it will take away something radically new, returning us yet another competitive discipline...

And for that, my choice is still the original Dream Team...
Comment by Seng on August 10, 2008 at 12:07am
I don't get any internal contradiction in his statements (though I do sense a bit of inner conflict in him). A crucial point in discussion of competition is the question, "What do you want with parkour?" (18:18); for the vast majority of traceurs and traceuses, that is what will determine their peace and happiness with their practice and the amount of stress they are willing to endure, not whether or not there is a competition (32:28). Personally, I agree with what he says at 22:18, esp as I sit here with Olympics on TV and streaming into my computer (and in occasional visits to the inspiration discussion).

What is consistent throughout is how much stress he placed himself while learning from David Belle- whether that was a lesson of parkour, something he had on his own before training or something that parkour brought out of him is a bigger question, but I think it is important to note that he considers his training work. He certainly did not learn parkour in a stressless environment and he doesn't seem to spare his training companions (10:59).

It would be interesting to hear how his view of competition and business is now after the various freerunning and "parcouring" championships.
Comment by Chris on August 9, 2008 at 5:40pm
Wow, thorough! I was just going to say Stephan got paid to promote the UF idea of pretty obvious conflict of interests there.
Comment by SafeNSure on August 9, 2008 at 4:24pm
Stephane skills and passion are out of discussion, and he's a real advocate for the discipline (I almost said the "sport"...), so it's not him that I will briefly debate, but some of his thoughts and opinions, which may have also changed by now (this was filmed in early 2006 and he was with Urban Free Flow, which he subsequently left to found Parkour Generations, two businesses providing professional services -media and instruction- connected to parkour/freerunning ...).

Stephane is obviously a very humble guy, nevertheless conscious of his skills and ability, deriving from having trained with the early Yamakasi, before David Belle and Sebastien Foucan left, and from the very passionate fire that burns inside him.
Stephane said in various occasions that he didn't think too much of himself before starting training parkour, and that this became his "way".
Then, as one of the youngest French "disciple", he was one of the first to understand how the French were wasting this incredible potential, became litigious and eventually "sectary"... so, thanks to the mutual help he shared with Forrest, he learned English (his best "move" for the development of the original parkour thinking, because the other French are really hard to "get"...) and moved to London...

The rest is Parkour Generations history, which we link from the main page, which means that we don't disapprove...

BUT in this video Stephane is confused about the eventual positive impact of competition (at 22:18), which contradicts his feelings about returning to (or preserving?) a stressless environment for the practice of parkour, mentioned later (at 31:50).

This opinion may have changed by now (the Red Bull Freerunning competition had not taken place back then...), but while we must remember that interesting personalities are never easy to understand (and to explain), neither simply white-or-black, we have to notice that Stephan contradicts himself on the topic of competition and he contradicts what a lot of practitioners of the discipline feel a..., among them, the founders of this little community that we are trying to grow here...

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