We tried to translate ‘La Parkour’. There is no English word, but it means a route over obstacles.
Parkour, is now known as Freerunning. The idea is to run as quickly as possible but to negotiate everything.
Sometimes you run and never pass an obstacle. Sometimes you pass a small obstacle. Sometimes you stay in one place and repeat, repeat, repeat, like with a martial arts dolly, or practising piano scales, looking for more fluidity.
You change your way so you’re not always the same but it’s always la Parkour. For you it’s a table. For me, it’s an obstacle I can roll over with my back.
I try to find out how I can do it with more style, more fluidity, more creativity. It’s always like this. I never switch off. It’s always in your mind. It is a way of life: you have an obstacle and you find a way to pass it. And you can take that into every day of your life.
The discipline began a long time ago. I have developed it but it’s always been there. Human beings have always had the capacity; thousands of years ago we had to hunt. I just moved myself back. We started as children about 15 years ago in Lisses outside Paris.
When you are a child you do a lot of things and you don’t know why. In the beginning it was at a low level, nothing spectacular. You’ve got to learn everything. When you start, you get interested. If you’re interested, you learn the techniques. You have to do it in your rhythm and with your feel for it. But never stay. Always practice. Always progress.
The philosophy is to move, and when you move, try to be like water.
We have a lot of techniques but kids have in mind just jump, jump, jump. I don’t know what my best technique is but there is one I like less and that is a high jump. It is necessary but I don’t spend all my time jumping.
We’ve never done a jump where you have a big risk. I prefer to do a jump where you have more sensation and less risk. A lot of people think big but it’s not true. It’s the time you spend in the air, that’s what gives the sensation. If I put down a big crash mat you still get the same sensation, like in a swimming pool or a bungee.
The difference is you have to land. For me, everything is dangerous but you do it to your level and your rhythm. When a gymnast does his triple thing, for me it’s dangerous but for him it’s not. Sometimes things look too difficult but it’s just in my imagination. If you have fear you run. I have apprehension.
When you practice, when you start, you never have fear. Fear is a wall. If you have apprehension, you can progress. Apprehension is necessary. You need to have a little voice saying ‘be careful’. It becomes a fight in your mind: ‘be careful’, ‘no, shut up’. You want to find the middle.
It’s a discipline for the body but a discipline for the spirit too. I risk my life, fight in my mind and have a choice: to do it. When you think you’re not capable of doing something but you just do it, that is la Parkour.
It’s not a competition. Competition is good for spectacle and ego trips but not for me. I want to practice and focus on techniques, on feelings.
Some people, they practice and do something spectacular. But the person who’s trying to feel will go further.
For more information about Freerunning visit http://www.foucan.com/