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SPRING 2011 B R E AT H E P K IN THIS ISSUE PAGE 07 Letter from the Editor

PAGE 14 Flying Actors

PAGE 26 Tyler Crichton

PAGE 38 Traceur Essentials

PAGE 08 The Human Body

PAGE 18 Parkour Motivation

PAGE 30 Glen Knockwood

PAGE 40 An Activity for all Ages

PAGE 10 Jack of all Trades

PAGE 22 Deconstruction of a Vault

PAGE 34 Derek Cheng

Spring has sprung, and with it has come our next issue of Breathe Parkour.

climbing, and swinging doesn’t actually come naturally to us, right? Wrong!

Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one.


Who would have ever thought that the art of Parkour would be taught in live theatre?

Why run? Why jump? Why climb? People ask us why do we do what we do.

To jump or leap, especially with the use of hands.

Read the story of how “T-Mac” got his start with Parkour in Winnipeg.

Halifax Parkour enthusiast Glen Knockwood inspires a community.

In west coast Vancouver, BC, Derek Cheng discovers Van City’s Parkour community.

Here are the essentials that we recommend for some of those longer runs.

Parkour isn’t just for the young, it’s also for the young at heart.


BPk Industries Matthew Talbot-Turner Frankie Skripal Richard Roseboom Jordan Craig

WRITERS Jim Sinclair Mack Clayton Irrational Carny aka Ian Holmes Patrick Chan Micky Wall Darren Paul PHOTOGRAPHERS Modesto Orizzonte, Modest Eyes Photography Trevor Johnsen Ian Paterson, Paterson Creative Services Tyler Branston WWW.BRANSTONPHOTOGRAPHY.COM Bert Knockwood Kenzie Gunn Angela Grandy Tim Richards Tanja Antoniak Lydia Wall Lisa Dalmazzi Zvonimir Rac



Riley Fedechko Victor Kingston PHOTOGRAPHER Warren Rempel DATE August 21, 2010 JUMPER




SPRING HAS ARRIVED (FINALLY!) AND WITH IT COMES THE NEXT ISSUE OF BREATHE PARKOUR MAGAZINE! SPRING HAS A CRAZY WAY OF RECREATING THE WORLD AROUND US SO WE THOUGHT THIS WAS A FANTASTIC TIME TO BREAK OUT OUR BRAND NEW LOOK! You’ve probably noticed the changes already. New cover, new website, new logo, new feel. We learned a lot from issue #1. The main thing? Embrace the knowledge and experience of others. This seems like a no-brainer seeing as I’ve been learning Parkour and Freerunning from more experienced Traceurs than myself for years now, but you’d be surprised at how long it took me to realize we at Breathe PK could do the same thing. The first thing we did once the Winter issue hit the shelves across Canada was expand our team. We had an overwhelming amount of requests to volunteer, write, submit photos, and offer advice. I’m confident you’ll find the Spring issue of Breathe to reflect everything we’ve learnt along the way so far. But keep the suggestions coming! THIS PROJECT BELONGS TO EVERY TRACEUR WHO PICKS US UP.




I T.







Mack Clayton


THE PRICE OF ALL OUR MODERN CONVENIENCES, FROM CARS TO SUPERMARKETS TO REFRIGERATION IS THE LOSS OF OUR ANIMAL BODIES. WHO ACTUALLY HUNTS DAILY FOR THEIR MEAL? WHO HAS RAN FOR THEIR LIFE FROM A PREDATOR RECENTLY? DOES ANYBODY IN WESTERN SOCIETY ACTUALLY WALK FIVE KILOMETERS EACH WAY FOR WATER? GIVEN THE CHOICE, MOST WOULD RATHER DRIVE FOR TWO MINUTES THAN SPEND FIFTEEN MINUTES WALKING. We’ve built walls around nature, treating it as a spectacle to visit. The urban space, and technology in general, has stripped us of our primal nature and taken away the need for our primal bodies. The traucer, a parkour practitioner, however, re-invents the primal body in the urban environment. According to biology writer Matt Ridley, the primal body was necessary for survival. He suggests that over the four million years our primal ancestors have been bipedal (walking on two legs), man’s physicality was his only provider of sustenance and safety from the dangers of the wild. Food was scarce and it required tremendous efforts such as climbing to gather fruit or silently stalking game for miles. The caloric expenditure required to collect materials and build a fire with sticks would rival that of an hour on a stair master.



lthough we have lost our predecessors’ abilities to survive without technological d e ve l o p m e n t s , we have inherited their bodies; bodies that have remained unchanged since the last era when man lived as one with nature. Physicality was literally a matter of life or death, and over the millennia, humans gained the ability to perform feats of athletics. Only those who were fit enough to survive the harsh environment would pass their genes on to us (Ridley 2003). Paul Virilio expresses similar views about the human body and the urban environment. In an interview with CTheory (1994), Virilio makes the connection between the animal body and the urban: “To me, the body is fundamental. The body, and the territory or course, for there cannot be an animal body without a territorial body: Three bodies are grafted over each other: the territorial body – the planet, the social body – the couple, and the animal body – you and me. And technology splits this unity, leaving us without a sense of where we are.... The territorial body has been polluted by roads, elevators, etc. Similarly, our animal body starts being polluted. Ecology no longer deals with water, flora, wildlife, and air only. It deals with the human body as well.” As people age, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle inhibits our exceptional abilities to move and react. As children, however, we explore the abilities of the human body, constantly in motion. In this respect, there is nothing more natural than the essence of parkour, and the release of our primal instincts. The adrenaline that heightens our

senses, speeds our movements, and causes the release of synovial fluid to allow our joints to handle the immense pressures is not just a convenient aspect of our makeup. Clearing obstacles is not unnatural and bizarre, as the spectacle of nature would like us to believe. In actuality, nothing is more fundamental than the combination of movements that parkour develops to travel over terrain splattered with obstacles. As one traceur, phrased it: “It’s like a force of nature, something that at first seems disconnected from humanity in a way, because it’s inherently human. It goes against all of the preset notions of what mankind is, a separate entity, man against nature, us against the world....To me, that’s what strikes me as important, not so much some ‘new’ art or sport, but more a return to something that over the centuries we’ve lost. Something to fill the void” (The Art of Movement, Circular Fluidity, 2004,; quoted in Daskalaki, Stara and Imas 2008). This sentiment is rooted in the origins of parkour when French naval officer George Hébert, traveled to Africa. There, influenced by Rousseau’s ‘noble savage,’ he was struck by the physical development and skill of the indigenous peoples. “Their bodies were splendid, flexible, nimble, skillful, enduring, resistant and yet they had no other tutor in gymnastics but their lives in nature.” After his travels, he returned to France and worked as a physical education instructor at the College de Rheims. There he began his own principles and structure for his ‘Méthode Naturelle’ or ‘natural method,’ a training regime based on the indigenous peoples of Africa (Urban Freeflow n.d.). Parkour requires a broad combination of strength, power, endurance, stamina, flexibility, speed, agility, balance, co-ordination

and accuracy. In order to change how a traceur perceives the urban landscape and explores it, he too has to change. The traceur needs the physical strength to escape the pre-coded trajectories of urban living and movement. For example, the American Parkour (APK) website suggests that prior to beginning any parkour technique training, a traceur should be able to perform the ‘APK’ warm-up with relative ease. The warm-up includes three rounds of the following: twenty five squats, fifteen pull-ups, fifteen pushups, five lunges each side, a variety of agility drills, and five to ten burpees. The key exercise regime is calisthenics (the squat, the push-up, the pull-up, the sit-up, dips, calf-raises, etc.). In addition to general physical ability, the traceur requires specific skills that are not prevalent in modern society. The speed vault, for example, requires the leg and core strength to lift the lower body above the level of the obstacle. Flexibility, strength, and co-ordination are required for the dash vault. Arm, back and core strength is essential to perform an underbar maneuver. The tic-tac and wallrun require immense explosive leg strength. Parkour’s movements are in our distant history, in our genome, in our body, and in the stem of our brain. With all of our modern conveniences and urban spaces we are sacrificing the abilities of our bodies. But all is not lost; we can regain our ancient abilities. The traceur must change physically, becoming stronger, explosive, develop endurance and stamina, maintain flexibility, speed, agility, balance, coordination and accuracy in order to escape the pre-coded trajectories of urban living. In spite of all our ‘progress’ and enlightenment, we are still animals. Maybe its time to start acting like them.



j a c k O





t r a d e s STO RY BY



Jack of all trades, master of none, though oftentimes better than master of one”. The phrase came about from the 1600’s to describe a general competency in multiple disciplines rather than becoming a master. Instead, the figure of speech comes to mind as I look across the athletic patchwork that is my apartment. Lying on the floor in the corner sits a pile consisting of yoga mat, my gymnastics grips, and vibram 5 finger barefoot running shoes. On the way to the kitchen, a pair of homemade parallet bars, a set of gymnastics rings, and my 16 yard aerial silks are strewn about like tripping hazards. A quick glance up to the wall and I see a 26” wushu broadsword, and a 5’ longbow which sadly, have never been used against each other in battle. On the other side of the place, jammed in the closet is my climbing harness, a bike helmet, several kinds of rackets, and various shirts from the random circus schools I’ve frequented. I’d like to think of it as a poor man’s Batcave of equipment, but sadly the ongoing growth of gear filling up my place is the sign of a the most wannabe multifaceted man. It’s the curse of being a dabbler. We all do it to a certain extent in our lives, we like to try out all available options we have until we find the one at which we are the best. But anyone who has discovered an activity they love can remember the excitement of starting out. The constant measureable improvement that comes with learning a new skill, the sense of accomplishment we receive after each new task, and all the fuel our brain receives from processing new sensations and information. It’s the rush of learning, and the belief is that it all comes from our evolutionary tendencies to be adaptable and flexible creatures. It’s the one single defining characteristic that has allowed us to scream past our counterparts in the evolutionary race. It is our ability to constantly learn to overcome challenges. So what does this have to do with the climbing harness, swim trunks, and badminton racket all stuffed into one gym bag? How we engage in sports and activities are reflections of how we engage in life. They’re a microcosm for us. Learning team sports helps us deal with social situations, learning to belay your partner while rock climbing teaches you to be responsible for your partner’s life, the focus and discipline you practice at yoga helps you breathe when someone cuts you off in traffic. My point? It all comes together. Jacks (and Jackettes) of all trades are considered to be masters of integration. According to the lovely people at Wikipedia, these individual[s] know enough from many learned trades and skills to be able to bring their disciplines together in a practical manner. Any high performance athlete can tell you the benefits of cross training: reducing exercise boredom, distributing mus-


cular loads, promoting muscle confusion, training around injuries, and most importantly constantly challenging yourself. It is a wonderful feeling to “empty your cup”, and to become a pupil again, eager to learn and improve, only to bring those learnings back to your original craft and get better. It’s not a coincidence that high performance athletes who take time off grinding away at their sport to try something new and exciting, return to their trade weeks later better than before. Recorded cases investigated downhill alpine skiers were reducing their times by starting to take up swimming as the upper body conditioning allowed them to pull themselves out of the gate with more force. Rock climbing athletes are performing aerobic conditioning to increase the body’s ability to get oxygenated blood to the extremities as quickly as possible when hanging on for dear life. Finally, mentally; there’s just something to be said about learning why the guy next to you is passionate about breakdancing and bboying, when you’ve been plateauing on your handstand training for two months. There’s easily a fine balance you need to walk regarding undertaking too many activities. You run the risk of losing skills, not devoting enough time to truly appreciate the technical nature of the sport, or it may turn out to just cost you a bloody fortune. Most of the time, it comes down to just not having enough time. There’s only so many times you can double book date night with training at the gymnastics center before it’s no longer cute. It doesn’t take long trying to do archery, climbing, aerial straps, and swimming before you realize you’re really not doing any of them at all, let alone properly. Like anything, it’s all about balance (which I learned from yoga, [and slacklining]), and striking that balance of using new activities to fuel old passions is a wonderful place to be. It’s a place where I get to slowly tick things off my bucket list, meet amazing new people, and constantly challenge myself to become a better overall athlete. The way I see it, “Nobody is good at everything”, but that shouldn’t prevent you from trying.





FLYING ACTORS p a r ko ur in live theatre

FLASHBACK I’m in my final year of theatre school, professional development class. My classmates and I, equally excited and nervous about our coming emergence into the professional theatre community of Edmonton, Alberta, are looking for the secret leg-up. What is the one thing we can say in an audition, or that one bit of formatting on our cover letters that will get us that gig, fend off starvation, get us noticed, turn us into stars? The quest for the secret has each of us hanging on our artistic director guest speaker’s every word. Our guest, familiar with my Parkour practice, but entirely unprovoked, pauses his lecture and takes the time to lean over his table and stab at me with his index finger: “You are a liability. I would never hire you unless you signed a contract agreeing not to practice Parkour for the duration of the show”. My heart starts pounding in my temples as the room telescopes away. Is my fascination with the concrete circus career suicide? I’m angry. I’ve been embarrassed in front of my peers – peers who already give me the gears about my practice. I take a deep breath. As the Artistic Director turns to another topic, I have a moment of clarity. For every job I lose because I practice Parkour, there is another I will get because I do.


FA S T F O RWA R D S I X M O N T H S I’m hightailing it off stage, drenched in sweat, chased by applause, having just performed Studio Theatre’s first ever Parkour scene in their production of Bertolt Brecht’s The Good Woman of Szechuan, an accomplishment challenged by a lot of red tape. I am ecstatic. But what’s the big deal? Parkour and Freerunning are all over television, film and commercials. Demonstration teams like The Tribe do insane live shows regularly. Why should theatre be different? Why does a creative, successful Artistic Director lash out at the concept? Well, because theatre companies are typically dirt poor! As a commercial organization, The Tribe bills big-money clients for their performances, recorded or live, and that bill includes the cost of their liability insurance. In the theatre industry, every penny is pinched, and with no client to charge atrociously expensive liability insurance to, extra diligence must be practiced in managing risk. An injury or lawsuit can bankrupt a theatre, or at the very least take an irreplaceable actor out of a show, so one can expect administration to be very wary of something like Parkour. For Szechuan, I had the good fortune of finding a believer in Studio Theatre’s Technical Director Larry Clark, formerly of Cirque du Soleil. What followed was a recount of the considerations and precautions that enabled Studio Theatre to dabble in what I see as an exciting future for theatre: the incorporation of the spectacle and athleticism of Parkour and Freerunning in live storytelling. Companies first want to know if a potential performer can demonstrate aptitude and training. Since organized Parkour training is still in its infancy, certifications or levels attained in parallel disciplines may be accepted. Training in martial arts, gymnastics, circus arts, stunt schools and stage combat, especially proven by relative documentation, are all assets to the aspiring actor/traceur. Jamie Cavanagh, Zvonimir Rac, and I, the three stunt performers in the show, proved our training to Studio Theatre by sharing our training logs with Larry, detailing our hundreds of hours of practice. This was enough to get us started. Physical stage action must be choreographed. While improvisation is a key tenet of Parkour, when it comes to showmanship and safety, decisions on exactly what sequences are to be performed provide


two essential benefits. First, we have the ability to choose exactly what story we want to tell. Second, a repeatable sequence can be drilled to make sure all risks are considered and the sequence is tight for opening night. In the heat of the moment, only the performer’s body memory, honed through repetition, will help nail the scene. Even in a non-story based Freerunning demonstration, a la The Tribe’s corporate demonstrations, the traceurs follow choreography to give the hottest show possible. Waiting for the set to be constructed left us with too little time to rehearse, so we began choreographing as soon as a model of the set was available – a full month before actual construction would be finished. Between studying the model, brainstorming in a gymnastics club and paying frequent visits to the carpenter shop to assess drop heights and climbable structures, we established an excellent idea of our choreography by the time we had our first day on stage. We made it our business to open conversations with those responsible for building the set and costumes for the performance. Part of our risk management was working with Larry and our designer, Cory Sincennes, to control the physical elements of the stage as much as possible. We were very opinionated about our footwear, shunning the slippery hard-soled slip-ons we were originally given. In my case, I had the costume designer die my personal Parkour shoes black so I had footwear I was confident in that still fit the overall aesthetic vision of my costume. Once choreography was complete, Larry reinforced specific rails and walls to withstand our action. We moved rubble that was part of the set away from choice landing areas. We also took into consideration the lighting for the show so we wouldn’t be suddenly blinded in the middle of a performance. In order to work the sequences, we brought in gymnastic mats to ensure our safety throughout the rehearsal process. In addition to rehearsal time spent learning the choreography, we performed every fight, stunt and Parkour sequence several times each run. After warming up the riskiest moves (like Jamie’s bridge monkey) with mats, we’d run everything as a whole: once, at a snail’s pace with mats to make sure nobody had forgotten anything, and, provided everything went well, again without mats, as we would perform it in the show. With Jamie doing, at minimum, four ninefoot drops per show, eight shows per week, longevity was a concern. Using subtle padding and keeping ice nearby helped us last through the entire run. All of these steps and considerations gave us the confidence to perform successfully and injury free. As Sandra Nicholls, Director of The Good Woman of Szechuan’s, said “The Theatre is a hungry beast. Its appetite for new forms is voracious….Parkour gave us fresh and surprising physical pyrotechnics that fed the beast well. The flying kicks, seemingly impossible leaps and jumps and a spectacular wall flip brought forth, nightly, gasps of awe and delight and full rounds of applause.” With one confidence-boosting project under my belt, I’m hungry for the next. Armed with the right tools any serious actor and traceur has a chance of putting his or her physical art on the stage. At the very least , we know audiences want it. FULL SCENE AVAILABLE AT WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=6C4CHOzs5Cw



WHAT WE DO I G E T A S K E D A C E R TA I N Q U E S T I O N Q U I T E O F T E N W H E N I ’ M T R A I N I N G , A S I ’ M S U R E M A N Y O F U S A R E A S K E D . Why? Why jump? Why run? Why are you climbing that? And just as I’ve been asked it many times, I’ve also heard a wide variety of answers from different runners. The classic response has usually been: “Why not?” or “Why are you not?” One of my favourite responses has actually been: “What else am I going to climb?” But none of these responses really answer the question; why do we do what we do? The motivation to start parkour for the first time is usually fairly similar. Very few of us considered the deeper reasoning behind what parkour means to us when we first started. We tend to think more along lines of: “it looks fun”, “Person X (insert personal hero here) does it”, or “I want to learn to do a back-flip”. But years down the road our motivation has to change considerably. Sure it’s still fun, Person X may still do it, and you now want to learn that new movement, but there’s something deeper now. These reasons won’t get you out of a nice warm bed on a cold day and drag your sorry butt out to train. They won’t pick you up after you’ve bailed for the sixth time trying something new, only to try again. And they certainly won’t get you back training after an injury puts you out for a month or two. So why do we do what we do?





In thinking about this article I had to ask myself the same question, and come up with a few answers. Each time I did however, I realised that it wasn’t really a full answer. I first decided that a big reason I continue to practice was because of the community I found through it. The friendships and camaraderie has definitely affected my life in a huge way. It doesn’t explain the drive to go out and train though, even by myself. I thought that one of the reasons I continue to practice is because I love the sheer joy I get when I am training. But when I thought about all the times when it hasn’t been fun, the injuries, the early/late runs, the waking up the day after a hard session and feeling like you’ve been hit by a truck, I figure that this can’t be the main reason either. In the end, these answers, and a myriad of others, led me to realise I didn’t really have a solid answer to explain why it is we do what we do. I’ve realised that I don’t have an answer to this question, and I’m wondering if any of us really do. I’ve asked around and have many answers from runners around me, some of which are similar to my own, but I’d love to have a wider range of answers. This is a question that no one runner can answer for anyone else and everyone should at least think about to some degree. Thus, I’m sending out a request to everyone who reads this article: write in and send Breathe PK a short description of why it is you do what you do. Let us know why you started and what drives you to continue, and we’ll compile the responses, the best responses may even be entered in the next article. So write in and let us know why it is you do what we do.




In terms of notation, do all of 1 before proceeding to the 2’s, and so on. As to how to do a work set, do the reps for a, then b, then c, and then proceed with the second set of a’s, then b’s and so on.

Irrational Carny

1A Leg Swings/Leg Kicks/Leg PullDowns [ 10 (x3) ] 1B Squats [ 10 (x3) ] 1C Switch Lunges [ 10 (x3) ]


1. To jump or leap, especially with the use of the hands. Parkour is all vaulting and rolling. This is of course a matter of perspective, and happens to be a gross over simplification of an entire world of movements, as such there will likely be a number of people who will insist on arguing the point, but that doesn’t concern me much. Those trolls can go about getting in heated internet debates about how I am wrong, and the rest of us can get on with our lives and actually move and breathe. The reality is that the vast majority of parkour movements build off a vault, and being able to master this skill is essential if a traceur wishes to improve their ability to move through any given space.  Given the integral role that this skill plays I figured I would break it down into tiny pieces, dissect them, and then determine the best way to improve the various elements in the least amount of time. Then we just put those various strengths back together with some basic ideas for training the vault itself and we should witness some rather impressive results. With that as our goal we can return to my statement that parkour is vaulting and rolling, and note that an improvement in the vault will, by extension, improve the overall capacities of any traceur.  As a quick disclaimer, I am not going to talk about rolling at this point. So, given a roll is often how you ensure you don’t break your neck after doing a variation of the vault, I would suggest you know what you are doing before you act on my advice and launch yourself further than you expect. Any vault is going to involve a few basic portions. The bit when you leave the ground, a lifting of the legs to clear the object, which may or may not precede a point where your hand/hands make contact with an object, lastly you have a landing, which usually turns into a roll. So if we look at these portions of the vault we can safely assume a good vault would include explosive leg strength, strong core muscles and flexible legs/torso to ensure that the legs aren’t in the way, some decent arm strength to provide a snappy pop and support throughout the movement, and then a certain degree of lunacy to ensure that the landing is followed through properly. Now not to mock the gym climbers that much, but if you are a real traceur and are taking these skills outside then by this point your landings should probably be what you are best at. There are reasons that the guys coaching parkour drill basic rolls into everyone in basic classes, they keep you alive. So again, if you don’t have that skill in your bag of tricks, go get it. Spend a lot of time there until you can roll on anything and don’t look like a lumpy, fat bag of hammers. 22 . BREATHEPK.COM . DECONSTRUCTION OF A VAULT


It really doesn’t matter whether you’re taking off of one foot or two, the reality is that you need a mix of basic leg strength, as well as a really high capacity to generate explosive movement with your big ol’ posterior chain muscles. The best way to train these is to first get them working in unison and then work them hard.  Knowing that many traceurs prefer body weight work to using weights I am going to show a well developed jump program here that I have been using with a lot of my athletes that need vert. Now this is the basic program, it will offer some phenomenal returns if followed properly, however if you want greater vert then you need to use weights. The entire program I am going to describe can be done holding light dumb-bells, or using a weight vest. Do not strap ankle weights on to your ankles then jump up and down.  Also, regardless of capacity, work through the program a couple times without weight before adding a whole bunch of weight.  For those with access to real weights and kettle-bells, let Breathe PK know that you want a weighted work out for vert and we’ll get it to you. For the sake of not having to describe every single one of these movements hop on over to and check out the training vault for the jump training video for how to do these movements. This will also be posted on

*This is the wam-up for the workout. We went over the swings pretty decently in the last issue, and while the photos of me doing squats displayed a bit more forward movement of the shins than I would like, the general description listed there gives a pretty good breakdown. So either track down Breathe issue 1, or hop on the website and check out the article there. This whole portion is meant to get your body firing in unison, ensuring that the blood is flowing and you don’t do too much while cold.

2A Vertical Jump [ 3-5 (x5) ] 2B Squat Jump [ 3-5 (x5) ] 2C Long Jump [ 3-5 (x5) ] 2D Calf Jump [ 3-5 (x5) ] *Posterior Chain work.  This stuff  brings everything together. The reason there is a range is because if your distance is decreasing, or performance is getting worse you need to stop. This is not a fast work set. The point is to stop, reset, and explode.

3A Box Rebound [ 5 (x5) ] 3B 30 sec. Rest [ 1 (x5) ] *A crucial portion of the workout that needs to be understood. Plyometric work has been basterdized by every idiot who thinks that box jumps are just about getting on to a higher box. The whole point of this exercise is to minimize ground time, this exercise starts on the box as opposed to on the ground.  You are looking to get a faster snappier rebound.  If you have to stop, pause, and reset on the ground then your box is too high.

4A Hockey Jump [ 3-5 (x5) ] 4B One Leg Box Jump [ 3-5 (x5) ] 4C Lateral Tuck Jump [ 3-5 (x5) ] *These are the random bits and pieces that involve some of what gets neglected by the rest of the program.  Some lateral movement, as well as some one-leg stuff.  This again needs to be done explosively.  I don’t actually care that you can do the whole thing super fast, the point here is to get your neurological networks firing more effectively.  Doing stuff while exhausted doesn’t help that happen. Make sure you are fresh for each rep.


a plank walkout

THE BIT WHERE WE GET THE LEGS OUT OF THE WAY... Core work is always a confusing topic. It always seems that people think this means they need to be doing a host of sit ups, and other odd spinal flexion and extension work that I have never actually seen mimicked in the real world.  Sure they might make your abs sore, but are they actually doing much to stabilize your torso, or to aid in lifting various limbs? That is harder to determine. That being said I personally focus a lot of my core-work around real world stability, and learning to generate tension with bad leverage. Given the real world stability stuff [standing in a split stance, standing on one leg, standing, and a bunch of twisting] are easier to work on with weight I am going to leave them for the eventual advanced routine and give everyone some progressions for doing a front lever.  Not only will this offer up a bunch of cool options for stunts to show off to your friends, it is a phenomenal core exercise that also forces you to work your upper body a fair bit. Nothing wrong with that at all. 


a plank

All of you who had your elbows underneath your hands need to walk your feet back and make the leverage just a little worse. I would say this would be a position that needs to be held for a good 30-45s before progressing on to the next stage. Same rules apply to programming as before.


hanging leg lift

If you can’t hold a plank for a minute start there. This is a movement which is ridiculously easy but starts with stabilizing the core. If you are one of those people who can’t get your glutes and lower back tight to keep your body flat while you are doing this for more than ten seconds then you should start here. I personally like Pavel’s Naked Warrior system for progressing body weight movements so I would recommend not working yourself to complete failure when you do this but start by holding the position for about 80% of the time you could and doing so for 3-5 sets once or twice a day. When you get up and before bed works quite nicely.

Find a bar, or a set of rings, or get stronger fingers and grab the trim around a door way and lift your legs. Point your toes and get those calves engaged and go all the way up. This is an exercise that can be worked as both a static and as a dynamic exercise. I like to do both. I find the best way to do this is to do a few full leg lifts with straight legs and minimal back movement, and then hold my legs just below 90, at ninety, and just above 90, each for about 15 seconds. When you can do 10 straight-legged hanging leg lifts and a set of 15 holds in each position move forwards. This is a controlled movement. Nobody actually cares that you can swing your legs up to the bar with a whole bunch of momentum.




Grab said bar (edge, rings, ledge) and bring your knees to your chest. Now using a bunch of core strength, and some of those mighty triceps that you have been working on lift your torso and hold it in a horizontal position. Look up at the roof or back behind you as opposed to at your hands.  Your head is heavy and acts as a counter weight while doing levers. When you can hold this for 30s it is time to move forward.

I have never been a huge fan of this position as I think it can cause people to get stronger on a dominant side, however many people like it and swear it has made them better people and that they now like flowers because of it so I am including it. Same as the last position, just straighten one leg out. Essentially holding half of a lever. Nail 20s and then switch your legs. I would recommend that you vary which leg you train first.



You had your knees right to your chest before. Now get into that position and get your thigh/torso angle to 90 degrees. Keep your torso tight. 30s

This is where most people lose their flat back and start piking their levers and begin to think they are awesome. If one is flexible enough this position is actually really easy. It is in essence just a lever with spread legs. I do like this position, and if you are flexible I would recommend skipping step six, starting here and working that nice split lever for long durations to see how it comes along.

tuck lever

a not-so-tucked lever


straighten one leg at a time

straddle lever


a lever

Okay so there it is, the goal-exercise. Work these and you will develop some phenomenal core strength. For those who think these are hard, hop over to and check out the carny doing these on single fingers, on ice axes, and a host of other fun lever variations.

I AM THINKING THAT FOR THE TIME BEING THIS IS ENOUGH TRAINING VOLUME FOR EVERYONE. THE STRENGTHS GAINED FROM DOING THESE TWO PROGRAMS WILL GO A LONG WAYS TO INCREASING YOUR UPPER BODY STRENGTH AS WELL SO I WOULD SAY NOT TO WORRY QUITE THAT MUCH ABOUT THAT AT THIS POINT. While I am not going to say that explosive leg strength and core strength are more important to parkour and tricking then upper body strength I will make some big waving motions that might make people suspect that these are the areas they should be focusing on. Lots of people work their upper bodies religiously already to give them some semblance of being fit, however for the time being I would recommend that people shore up this area and improve their overall performance by leaps and bounds rather than focusing on getting larger arms. We can deal with the beach body for parkour in some later issue of Breathe. If there are questions, concerns, or angry hate mail please feel free to send it on.

TYLER ‘T-MAC’ CRICHTON Tyler “T-Mac” Crichton saw an opportunity and seized the moment. This was the beginning of his Parkour adventure. He got involved in the Parkour community when he was working at McDonald’s. His manager was in the film industry and was filming a tricking video. Tyler saw him do a back flip and he wanted to learn how to do that. He went online and searched “how to do a back flip.” After a bit of Google research he found out about Urban Free Flow (UFF). Tyler started training with a friend of his named Jean Guy to prepare for his role in his managers film. Back in 2004, as a gamer, Tyler didn’t take part in anything athletic. Therefore never really had any influences outside of his first film opportunity. Early into his traceur lifestyle he began following “purists”, those who practice a strict form of Parkour. David Belle was an early inspiration. “Who doesn’t have respect for the founder?” he explains. With this new lifestyle, Tyler has transformed himself from a gamer to being in the best shape of his life.

Truly dedicated to the community, Tyler can usually be found on as the sole remaining moderator to the slowly shrinking online community. “Not that the community in Winnipeg is shrinking” he explains, “but with social media being so prevalent in our culture today, more and more people are finding out what’s going on via facebook rather than the old forum”. Even with the diminishing population, Tyler still spends about 4 -5 hours worth of work per week on the forum and website, monitoring the facebook page and responding to emails. Tyler seemed to be the only one practicing Parkour in Winnipeg when he started. He usually stuck around his neighborhood and then over time moved downtown as the community started to gather and grow. When the new group would go on jams and train downtown they would get a variety of looks: confusion, concern and/or awe. The spectators either had no idea what these guys were doing, thought they were up to no good or thought it was just really awesome. Whatever the looks, they kept doing what they loved. As the Parkour community came together Tyler became more outgoing. He was meeting lots of new people and being exposed to many different personalities. One of Tyler’s favorite stories was when he went on the UFF forum looking for people to jam with. He found a post reaching out to all the Winnipeg traceurs. He answered the call expecting lots of people to show up but it was only himself and two others.



yler has a hard time remembering what move he learned first but he says it was most likely a side vault. He perfected those before moving on to his next progression which happened to be a turn vault. The one thing that Tyler regrets is that he did not have the opportunity to train properly when he first began. There was no one around to teach him. There was really nothing he could do about it at the time. Since the community was so small, there was no one around to mentor him. This had a huge impact on his knees and they are pretty damaged now because of it. Tyler’s advice to new traceurs is “CONDITION, CONDITION, CONDITION!” He advises not to do the big things that you see on YouTube first. He suggests you spend your time on the basics, move at your own pace, and work on your foundations to get your form down. Don’t forget that Parkour is a lifestyle, so you have a long time to learn everything. “A house is nothing without a solid foundation. Did I mention conditioning?” With conditioning being so important to Tyler, he has embraced it as his role in the community. Along with conditioning new traceurs, he also teaches private introduction lessons. Tyler is one of the go-to guys in the Winnipeg community now. He says he wouldn’t be where he is without the community involvement and support. This just goes to show how important unity and community is. With summer just around the corner, Tyler has been doing a lot of training at Fantastic Gymnastics. He says he is there at least twice a week. This is where the majority of Winnipeg traceurs train. When Tyler trains he never focuses on one specific movement or goal. He is always trying to improve everything. When it becomes a bit nicer outside, you can find him at The Forks and University of Manitoba. These places are great because they are in such close proximity to each other. There, you can work on almost everything and not have to go very far to train. The architecture is very different than the rest of the city. The Forks is also great because they have places to eat when you get hungry and is central so it’s a great meeting place as well. For most jams traceurs will meet at The Forks but if he’s running by himself he goes where he wants. For the growth of Parkour Tyler would like to see more people come out for jams. “This is slowly happening” he says. This summer will probably bring more people out. Tyler would also love to see a Parkour specific gym open up. This would be a great way to centralize the Parkour community in Winnipeg. He would prefer a non-profit gym. “I want as many people as possible to get what I have gotten out of Parkour.” With a non-profit gym, most of the money can be put right back into the facility. The money can go towards improvements and equipment for the gym. Tyler would like to see new things being built in order to accommodate the ever changing sport. He would want to see it revolve around the community, not financial gain. The future of Parkour is growing exponentially and increasingly experiencing broad change. Tyler would like to take more of an active role in new traceurs training. For the Canadian Parkour scene, he feels that Parkour needs a “Canadian Parkour Association.” Of course it would have to be done a certain way in order for it to be effective. However, Tyler faces a double-edged sword as far as his vision for the sport itself. Part of him wants to see it grow and the other part hopes it goes back underground. In his opinion the sport is becoming too commercialized as it grows in popularity. Whatever the outcome for the sport, Tyler knows that the most important thing is that Parkour doesn’t lose the meaning and the mental discipline.





G L E N N K N O C K W O O D I S A P R E T T Y S U C C E S S F U L G U Y. H E W O R K S A T T H E M I ’ K M A Q N A T I V E F R I E N D S H I P C E N T E R A S T H E S P O R T S A N D R E C R E A T I O N C O O R D I N A T O R I N H A L I F A X N O VA S C O T I A . L E T ’ S G O W AY B A C K ; B A C K T O T H E D AY S W H E R E G L E N N H A D N O I D E A W H A T P A R K O U R W A S . H E K N E W W H A T I T W A S … B U T D I D N ’ T K N O W W H A T T O C A L L I T. W H E N H E W A S 1 8 H E S A W S O M E T H I N G O N R I P L E Y ’ S B E L I E V E I T O R N O T A B O U T P A R K O U R . U N F O R T U N A T E LY H E O N LY C A U G H T T H E T A I L E N D O F I T. I T W A S E N O U G H T O C AT C H T H E A C T I O N B U T N O T E N O U G H I N F O T O E V E N G O O G L E W H AT I T WA S . L AT E R O N H E F O U N D A V I D E O O F S O M E P E O P L E W H O W E R E Y O U N G E R T H A N H I M D O I N G T H I N G S T H A T H E P R E V I O U S LY T H O U G H T W A S I M P O S S I B L E A N D M A D E T H E D E C I S I O N T O G O O U T A N D S T A R T R U N N I N G T H A T N I G H T. H E H A S B E E N DOING IT EVER SINCE.

W H E N G L E N N S TA R T E D , H E B E G A N H I S T R A I N I N G I N H A L I FA X A N D O N LY A T N I G H T . “I didn’t want to be seen by people, doing something I was unsure of at the time” he explains. He says he couldn’t even imagine trying to explain to people what he was doing. When he would head out to train, he didn’t want people to judge him. He realized that training in the day was an obstacle in itself. He would focus his attention on the awareness of people and how he thought people looked at him. He had to learn to focus his thoughts on just what he was doing. The cops also noticed Glenn running at night. To them, it did not look like Glenn was out there for exercise, he looked like he was running from something or chasing someone. When they would flash their lights at him, he would stop running, smile and take the time to explain to each one of them what he was doing. Some of them were nice but others… not so much. But no matter what their reaction was, Glenn never changed his response. This has worked in Glenn’s favour over the years. Now there are police in his city that actually support what they are doing. If security ever calls the cops, the traceurs sit there and wait patiently for the police to tell security that there are no laws against running, jumping and climbing. As time went on, people in the city would see him as that guy who ran everywhere. He actually got jobs because of it! If his job needed something delivered, they would just say, “Send Glenn!” Glenn started with some basic moves like side vaults, speed vaults, pop vaults etc. But the biggest obstacle he had to overcome was running. He realized that when he would go out, he would never run


during his training. Because that is such a huge foundation of Parkour, he made it his goal. “I made the decision that I would run everywhere! I didn’t care how sweaty it made me, and it made me sweaty…really sweaty.” But that didn’t stop Glenn. He told himself that if he let what everyone else thought stop him, it would stop him from making any progress. He made the decision to do Parkour for himself. “I train according to what is best for me; I train for the long run.” Actually, Glenn didn’t just start doing Parkour and training for himself. He also trained for his older brother Bert. He wanted his brother to train with him because he knew it was something he would really enjoy. But Glenn knew that he couldn’t explain to his brother what he was doing. He wanted to train so he could get to a point where he could show his brother something really cool. One day they were driving together and Glenn brought up the idea of Parkour and how people do these crazy things. He told Bert that he could vault over the hood of the car. Bert didn’t believe him. Glenn got out of the car and showed him what he could do. Bert was stoked! They have been training together ever since. In a way, Glenn would say he was inspired by his brother but of course there were the obvious others such as David Belle and Sebastian Foucan. He followed forums and groups like TCT (The Cambridge Traceurs) and of course, Urbanfreeflow. When asked why David and Sebastian were such inspirations to him, Glenn explained that before he saw David Belle move, he was very limited by his

own reality. Until seeing Belle, he never saw his world as a place he could use. One of the first moves Glenn “gained insight from” was a reversal. He had been practicing Parkour for about 4 months at this point. He really wanted to perform a reversal off a wall that was about 8 feet high. “I was very afraid. It took a while to build up the conviction to jump. I did, and it seemed as though I jumped and landed in almost the same second” Glenn explains. Landing that move dissolved some of his previous fears so he tried it again. After two more successful attempts he stopped for the day. But the next time he went back to it the fear had returned. Once he did that first jump of the day and realized everything was ok, he could go on with his training. “I realized that when I would start the reversal at first time moved very quickly, now it seems as if time slows down as I go through the reversal and I can clearly see where my body is travelling” Glenn describes. The Parkour community in Halifax is a very tight network. They advocate that everyone is a teacher and a learner, and everyone has something to contribute. Their group has regular training times every week. They meet three times a week to train, go over basics, and bond as a group. The most recent move Glenn has been working on is something he calls “Gazelle Running”. This is running with long strides but waiting in the air so that your stride is even longer. “If you keep it up for a long time you travel very fast and pick up insane momentum”. This is especially true when heading down Citadel Hill, a histori-

“ N O M AT T E R H O W T H E Y T R E AT E D M E I T O O K T H E D E M E A N O R T H AT W H AT I WA S D O I N G WA S N O T W R O N G . I T WA S F O R H E A L T H A N D S E L F B E T T E R M E N T, ” cal location in Halifax, towards the harbor. As fun as that is, Glenn’s favorite place to run is in the wilderness. He likes running through trees and over rocks, because you have no way to plan or trust that rock. You have to be aware that that rock could potentially move and you have to be ready and change your movement right away. Glenn may not know what the future of Parkour holds for him, but what he does know is he is going to keep training for himself like he always has. “I plan on doing Parkour in my 80 and 90’s and being better than I am now and that takes self reflection and correction. Really thinking about what is efficient, what is useful not just in movement ‘Parkour’ but in life”. Glenn has learned that in life, being efficient doesn’t always mean being faster. One of the best tips Glenn has for other traceurs is to train your weaknesses. The things you like to do or want to do will always be there. But if you only spend time doing the things you are good at then you will not progress or grow. Glenn feels that if the Canadian Parkour scene is ever going to grow stronger, there needs to be solidarity. We need to create a larger network of communities and foster bonds between them. Glenn’s wants to feel like where ever he goes he can feel he is part of a family.








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BACK IN 2006...DEREK CHENG HAD T H R E E H O U R S T O K E E P H I M S E L F B U S Y. . . . . . . . . . . .



E WAS SUDDENLY CAPTIVATED BY A GROUP OF PEOPLE GATHERED AROUND A CONCRETE BLOCK IN FRONT OF THE VANCOUVER ART GALLERY. He knew immediately what was going on and thought to himself, ‘Vancouver has a Parkour community?’ “I remember reading how beneficial communities were to Parkour in terms of teaching newcomers” Derek explains. Along with teaching newcomers, communities are also very helpful when it comes to injury prevention and effective training. Not being one to shy away from an opportunity, Derek joined in right away and went training with the group of traceurs for the next two hours. Not knowing if he would be in touch with those people again, Derek decided to skip the basics and instead learn more complex vaults. In fact, he landed his first attempt which happened to be the “flashy” reverse vault. He says that it taught him a lot about commitment. He realized that if you “try to do a move with half the effort, you will not do very well”. At the time Derek only new Parkour as a spectacle sport. Since ‘06 though, Parkour has grown to mean much more to him than simply aesthetics. Cheng’s opinion is “why not practice pure aesthetics and awesomeness, stretching belief of the abilities of the human body?” After his first day of training, Derek went online and found a website that had been set up for the Vancouver Parkour scene; He used this as his source for keeping in touch with everyone. He wanted peers to train with and knew he could learn the most from

people who had some experience. Over the past five years, Derek has come a long way. At only 20 years old, Derek is seen as a senior traceur in his community. He provides advice, sets up events and acts as a true leader. What really drove him to this sport was when he saw David Belle‘s demo reel. He kept thinking that, “he is only human, I am human. Therefore, this is all within the realm of feasibility and imagination.” Derek knew that even being able to do half of what Belle does would be amazing. Aside from David Belle, Derek got a lot of his creative applications from the video Urban Ninja. However, his first encounter with Parkour was when he watched the ‘District 13’ chase on YouTube. When Derek first started going on runs with the Vancouver group, the community was small, averaging five people a run. If there were eight people it was a party! Over time the numbers increased and there were about 20 people at a modest skill level attending the runs. Early traditional training spots for the group included Stadium Sky Train Station and Bonsor Recreational Centre in Burnaby, BC. Derek recommends Sky Train Station because it is so accessible for everyone and is also well known within the city. Derek does his best to show up to all the jams and is the guy that shakes hands. But he thinks his training is nowhere near as focused as it should be. He is every one’s friend and as a result, usually ends up spending most of his time organizing and publicizing events. When he’s not working on goals for the community, Derek can be found working on his personal goals. He tries to make an effort every week to do something new, it doesn’t always work out that way but “it’s good to have goals”.

He likes to maintain strength and concentrates his training on making his movements smoother. He spends a lot of his time in downtown Vancouver. There is no gym in Vancouver just yet so if they want to do any training in Van they usually go to local gymnastic centers. Even though he spends a lot of his time downtown, his favorite place to jam is Simon Fraser University (SFU). “I just love the environment at the university. Being on top of a mountain, with the fantastic Erickson architecture, and the unforgiving sharp but grippy concrete…it’s great.” Since Derek has become so involved with local community development, he has no problem expanding his view to include the challenges for the Canadian Parkour community as a whole. “Communication. Everyone has to decide that they want to get together and decide what they want to do” he explains. Because all of the Canadian communities are so far apart, he thinks that a national tour would be the best thing. As for the future of Parkour, Derek would like to see all communities viewed by the public without prejudice and refrain from upsetting the police. In order to get to a place like that, Derek knows we need more people involved in training, and training right. Traceurs need to have respect for traceurs, spectators, and law enforcement and then, one day, this sport will be able to move past all the prejudice. Parkour is such an exciting sport to learn. Derek leaves everyone with a little advice. Soak in all the different ways everyone moves. “Get out of the gym and get outside,” is Chang’s message. This sport has become so much more than expected in the lives of traceurs. It starts with the objective of showing off and ends with being personally rewarding.



Hat in the summer, toque in the winter. Like your mom always says. Its good advice.


Something flexible and breathable – styles not really going to be your friend here so you might as well go with something you can move in.


Something comfortable and breathable.


In case of emergency or to upload photos to facebook.


to keep track of time. Preferably a watch that is “shock resistant”, big, ugly and loves concrete because they are going to get closely acquainted.


Also for emergencies.

FIRST AID MATERIALS For minor injuries. Too bad there is nothing you can put in the back pack for damaged pride after a good bail.


It is important to stay hydrated.


To carry all of your extra essentials – Not to many! Don’t want to become top heavy!



Granola bar, apple, pepperoni pizza…



Something light and grippy.




Have you ever noticed how people try to put limits on things in their life? “I’m too old for that” or “you should wait till you’re older to do that” are pretty common things to hear, especially in parkour. I was under the impression parkour was “the natural method”. What’s more natural than being young and growing older? I have come to realize parkour is limitless, and in saying that I have also come to realize the face of parkour is ageless. I’ve told people about the 5 year olds I’ve seen performing some pretty advanced parkour movements. What do some of them say? “That’s crazy, 5 year olds can’t do parkour.” I’ve heard talk about how people over 30 or 35 shouldn’t do parkour anymore because that would be too old (granted this came from fairly young people in their mid


teens). I can assure you 5 years old is not “too young”, and 30 years old is definitely not “too old.” In fact 2 years old is not too young, and 60 years old is not too old to take part in this exhilarating hobby. I can say this because I’ve seen it. I’ve seen a 60 year old practicing wall runs. I think that’s as much fun as he’s had in years. I would know. I’m talking about my dad. I’ve seen my 10



year old nephew on top of a large boulder he’d climbed with an indescribable sense of joy (while giving me the rock ‘n’ roll devil horns hand sign). I’ve seen a 5 year old doing precisions up a set of stairs continuously until he’d accomplished the goal he set for himself, which in my opinion, is priceless. I’ve seen a 7 year old perform an underbar on a stair rail, afterward running up to me and

asking “what’s that move called again?” I respond “an underbar”, as he walks away with a pride filled smile on his face. Who’s going to tell any of these people they shouldn’t do parkour because of their age? I’m sure not. My friend Marc “Selbz” Selby once told me “parkour may change slightly or drastically depending on each individual as we get older, but it is still parkour”. I agree with

him completely. No matter what age you are, how young or how old, parkour is for everyone. So, as Marc would say whether you’re an 80 year old skipping every second step down the sidewalk path through the garden, or (as I would say) a 2 year old doing their first cat crawl on a stone beam 3 feet off the ground, parkour truly is an activity for all ages.




Photo by Tyler Branston

Breathe PK  

Breathe PK is a magazine dedicated to the sport of parkour.