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Dan Edwardes on the Parkour and Freerunning

Dan Edwardes on how parkour was created...

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Comment by hillexallen on February 7, 2009 at 10:42pm
Why were the comments taken off of this video?
Comment by kingtheking on December 13, 2008 at 1:51pm
who cares what people think go out, jump around, have fun, and be safe =)
Comment by Beretta on December 13, 2008 at 12:02pm
My unsolicited two cents:

Dan was really nice. And he went out of his way to train us, without asking anything in return. We asked him for the Q & A period, he didn't just start lecturing or anything. I took his answers as the opinions of one man.

I had a bit of a philosophical difference about the answer I got to my question. I asked if the PK Gens guys and people he trained with had formal training in physiology, something like that. He said just training was more important, I agree. I also think if we, traceurs, become PE teachers, for instance, we can influence the world for the positive and that also Kinesiology degrees are a certification that speaks to people in positions of authority. But, just because I disagreed doesn't mean I'm not truly grateful for the chance to train with him. It was inspiring.

What I got out of that experience is mine. No one can change it or take that away from me. I agreed with a lot of what he said, like the idea that there is much less, or even no, distinction between what "is" parkour and what "is" freerunning.

In the end the definitions are only as important as we make them. If Lethal feels freerunning is different and doesn't want to practice it, that's okay, I'll still train with him. I will still work on 360 catleaps because they are fun, and they're helping me with other more "efficient" movements. What those words mean to me is far more important than what they mean to you, as far as I am concerned.

Other people will come along and make money off parkour. Some will have a good approach. Some will have a horrific approach. Competitions, classes, certifications may well come and go. No matter what happens I will train. There are classes and camps I might want to attend, but if they aren't offered I will still train. If I go and dislike them, I won't go back.

I began training parkour because after six months of limping around on a torn meniscus, I felt like I could move again. No longer would I take for granted the ability to move, even just walking. If you've ever had a frighteningly serious injury, and you know what it's like to need help just to get into a car, then you know how grateful a person is to regain what we so often take for granted: the freedom to move.

Because parkour was part of my rehab from that injury (which I got doing judo, btw), I have always been careful, I have always taken it slow and listened to my body. The only way I could progress was slowly and incrementally. Parkour has given me such freedom in life, that is what I cherish about it: my own personal experience.

Whether or not Mountain Dew and McDonalds sponsor Parkour at the X Games or David Belle, or anyone else, is granted the sole power to christen Parkour instructors, or someone makes millions off Parkour videos: I will train.

I love training with other people and I'm always truly grateful when people travel here and train with us. I appreciate what I've learned from other traceurs. What I love most is how parkour has made me a better person and all the friendships it has brought me.
Comment by hillexallen on December 13, 2008 at 8:37am
But, companies like Urban Freeflow and possibly PK Generations are going to start convincing everyone of the wrong thing!
Comment by lethalbeef on December 12, 2008 at 11:16pm
Haha Bio, that's the spirit.

Well, I think it may be worth discussing because it can be interesting, but not in terms of "what's right? What's wrong?" and trying to make it out so that people have to take a side. And in the end you should be training for yourself, just like Bio says. Move and have a good time.

And Alex, I think this may be one of those problems that will get better if we just ignore it. Think about it, in a way it's a problem that only really exists because we worry about it so much, so much that we try to push people into following the "correct" way.
Comment by hillexallen on December 12, 2008 at 9:28pm
come on Bio, you've got to care! If we just ignore it, it will never get better.
Comment by pyz.particle on December 12, 2008 at 6:55pm
lol tom, i know that the founders did care, i was just addressing the guy in the video...
Comment by Bio on December 12, 2008 at 5:48pm
Don't care 'bout what David Belle says, don't care 'bout what Dan Edwardes says, don't care 'bout what no one says. The fact that part of practicing parkour seems to be arguing about its definition with other people necessitates that everyone has their own, individual definition. Just move 'n have a good time.

If Jesus Belle descended on a beam of light and said that parkour is now defined in the following such-and-such way, the proper response is "That's nice, but you live far away and I don't know you, so shove it."

There's enough people out there who are into parkour that someone will inevitably try to make money off of it. But think about the fact that kids around the world play soccer with nothing but a ball and an empty field, even though there are massive corporate concerns trying very hard to get them to buy shit they don't need.
Comment by hillexallen on December 12, 2008 at 5:06pm
Totally. David Belle is not a God. Well, some people think he is. But you're right, just because David says something doesn't mean we have to live by it. He has his own style, just like any other traceur.

SafeNSure: Yeah, I think that most of the track things are SIMILAR to the art of displacement. Two differences though:

a. Track is competitive.

b. The point of track is not to move freely, it is to move in a straight line over predefined obstacles a quickly as possible. In the art of displacement, the route is not necessarily predefined.

It is less similar to parkour and freerunning than it is to the art of displacement, though, in my opinion.
Comment by lethalbeef on December 12, 2008 at 4:00pm
'I don't like the way they are saying "We are the founders, and what we say is right."'

I don't like how anyone says "we are [represent] the founders, and what we say is right." Same thing when people complain about differences in training because it doesn't match up perfectly with their David Belle quotes. I think this is a problem; I've always had a thing against the idea of a static definition. Parkour is young and it is changing no matter how hard people try to push against it. Every day new limits are broken and new ways of movement are found - how can you say that it needs to be limited to one quote? I understand and respect the need to create defintions and boundaries to some extent, but I don't like how much resistance there is to any breach of it. We get progress by pushing the limits.

On the other hand, I think there are a couple things that have managed to stay pretty constant in parkour and I think that, at least for me, those things are what make define the discipline. First, it's always had an element of community, group progression, local support, etc. Parkour should bring people together to discuss, train, learn, and teach. Second, creativity plays a huge role regardless of whether you want to limit yourself to brutal efficiency or aesthetic expression. By learning to use your body to move in the context of parkour/freerunning, you are also trying to find new ways to get around your environment instead of following the scripted paths that we're expected to take. Third, it's largely about individual improvement, though it tends to be practiced in groups. People try to get better for their own sake. And while these three things may be applied to a lot of disciplines, I don't think the three are as high priority in very many other sports as it is in parkour.

As far as the marketing issue goes, I still don't agree. How can you say that they didn't develop the definition first, then use it as the definition of what they're teaching? They're marketing an idealogy? What's wrong with that? It's the certification that's the issue, I think the definition they use is a separate matter. On that note, Dan did absolutely nothing we would consider "freerunning" while he was here, and very few of the things that I've seen in pkgens videos include tricking. Now, you may say that they just don't film that stuff so that we think they're great and wonderful and deep, but once we buy into their story they'll start making us do flips all the time... there's too much tin foil hat conspiracy theory in there for me.

I think you're all taking the term 'movement' too literally, as well. Everything is movement, sure. Even my typing is movement, but I don't call that parkour. It requires a little 'reading between the lines' :P but there's obviously a type of movement they're referring to, which I think is closer to displacement. English has that sense of 'move,' too. i.e. "I'm moving to Oakland." Not too much of a stretch. But I would say, yes, track sports involve parkour, because running is a huge part of it. But without the track, and in real environments.

I think I have a lot more to say but I'll can it for now.

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