Flip Through *Parkour* *Freerunning* *Tricking*
April-June 2011 - FREE
Flip Through Magazine .001
A Trip Around Milton Keynes With MKPK
With the first ever freerunning world champion, Ryan Doyle
Plus: trick tips, history and philosophy of parkour
Welcome to Flip Through This is Why We Love Parkour...
It’s the little things, like hopping a fence rather than walking around it. It’s realising that superficial boundaries are just that: superficial. With a little determination we can surpass those boundaries. When you realise this in the physical form through parkour, you also realise this on a mental level. Boundaries in life become obstacles. Obstacles are a challenge. Challenges are fun. With parkour, the world is a playground. So Flip Through
the mag, and then go and play!
We don’t claim to be the law when it comes to parkour. We don’t want to revolutionise the industry. We just want to explore the UK parkour scene, take some photos of the action, and then show them to you guys in full glossy splendour. Our aim is simply to inspire you to get out there to join in.
4 Parkour 101
We’ll be starting with a little parkour history lesson: looking at some of the big names in parkour as well as explaining the general ethos.
5 Getting Deep
We look at some of the hot topics in the world of parkour: is parkour an art form or a sport? Does competition benefit parkour or taint its purity? If a lone deaf traceur farts in the woods does he make a sound?, stuff like that…
A Sunny This month its a knog vault for the beginners, wall flip for Day With the intermediates and double MKPK step wall flip for the nutcases
14 Trick Tips
For this months feature we take a trip round the centre of Milton Keynes with MKPK to show that MK offers more than just skate spots
We’ll be profiling Ryan Doyle of Airborn Entertainment. Ryan was the first world freerunning champion, so he knows a thing or two about the subject!
What is this Parkour lark then...?
Parkour is simply the art of efficient movement The word comes from the French ‘parcours’ which translates as ‘the way through’. Two French men, David Belle and Sebastian Foucan, are commonly referred to as the fathers of parkour. David father taught him the discipline of ‘le parcour de combattant’ (“The path of the warrior”), a technique developed by the French military during the Vietnamese war in order to travel awkward terrain quickly. David quick adapted the techniques he learnt into a new form of movement that also incorporated gymnastics and martial arts. He called this discipline ‘parkour’.
Channel 4 decided to give the word parkour an English translation. They settled for the term ‘freerunning’ and this quickly became the title of Sebastian’s form of parkour. With the inception of freerunning came a major rift in the parkour community. Many traceurs still held true to David Belles ‘efficiency’ model and saw the new form of ‘freerunning’ as a taint on the art form. Arguments on the differences have tainted parkour ever since.Regardless, parkour started to appear more and more in the media and in 2005 and with the invention of YouTube traceurs from all over the world started to post videos of themselves in action.
This discipline was quickly picked In 2007 the World Freerunning up by David’s ‘crew’ the Yamikazi, of and Parkour Federation (WFPF) which Sebastian was a member. As was created by a founding team the team tried to of ten athletes; Daniel Ilabaca, increase their efficiency a set of basic Ryan Doyle, Tim “Livewire” moves started to develop; kong vaults Shieff, Victor Lopez, Rich King, were quicker than Gabe Nunez, Paul “Diddy” climbing over a wall, tick-tacks helped to get up walls quicker Darnell, Oleg Vorslav, Marcus and precision jumping became essential. Those who Gustavsson and Filip Ljungberg. took part in this new craze were labelled as ‘traceurs’ after the The aim of the team was, and Parisian slang term ‘tracer’ which means “to hurry”. still is, to develop promote As the discipline developed various members of the the practice and philosophy of Yamikazi, Sebastian included, became less interested in parkour through the media, rather than shunning the maintaining strictly efficient movement and looked to limelight as many traceurs have decided to do, incorporate more stylised and complex movements. preferring to maintain the ethos of personal development over showmanship. The new more flamboyant brand of parkour was picked up by Channel 4 In 2007 Red Bull held the first who released ‘Jump London’ in 2003. specifically labelled ‘parkThe program followed Foucan and two our’ competition ‘The Art other traceurs, Jerome Ben Aoues and of Motion’ in Vienna, which Johann Vigroux, whereas David Belle was won by Liverpool’s Ryan decided to remain true to his original Doyle. The Art of Motion has techniques. continued yearly ever since.
We give our answers to some of the biggest questions in the world of parkour Parkour vs Freerunning
We at Flip Through are sick of hearing arguments over what the term parkour truly means. The parkour community, especially those online, are constantly at loggerheads as to the definition of parkour and how parkour varies from free running. The issue arises in David Belle’s terminology of parkour: ‘the most efficient route from A to B’ As far as we are concerned, freerunning IS parkour. Parkour is about efficient movement and personal development. Freerunning only differs in the fact that there is no specific distance or direction. Parkour is more than just clearing checkpoints as quickly as possible. It is about fluidity and the beauty of motion. Freerunning takes this love of the aesthetics of movement and expresses it at a far greater level. The reason why we at flip through refer to this art as ‘parkour’ is because that was the original name given to it, as has already been explained. Freerunning is a brand of parkour.
Competitive Parkour Recent years have seen more and more parkour competitions taking place all over the world. But is this a good thing? Events like the Red Bull Art of Motion offer a platform for talented traceurs to show their skills to the public, but many traceurs, such as WFPF cofounder Danny Illabaca, have chosen to shun competitions, insisting that parkour is about personal development, not exhibitionism. The argument is that parkour, like martial arts, is about enlightenment through movement and understanding. It is not about boasting of your skill as you do in competition. However, who are we to deny talented athletes the chance to further their careers through competition. 2007 world champion Ryan Doyle admits that winning the title in Vienna helped kick-start his media career, especially over in the states. Another benefit is that competition often pushes traceurs to try harder, more breath-taking tricks, which is more fun to watch! So we at flip through say yes, parkour competitions are good for parkour!
Parkour: Art or Sport Well, this is where we come into difficulties. After admitting competition is good for parkour, it would be understandable to view parkour as a sport – however, that is not the case. Why?, because parkour does not work on a rating system. No traceur can be labelled as “the best”. Parkour is an art form, just like music: The top 100 pop chart is not a record of who is the best musician, only who was most popular on that given day. No one person can ever be designated as the best musician ever. In competition the judges vote for who most artistically and innovatively used the designated environment, not who is the world’s best parkour practitioner. Parkour is definitely an art form, as are most extreme sports. It is all about expressing oneself: The traceur is the artist, the environment is the canvas and the individual style is the artist’s brush strokes.
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A Sunny Da With MKPK
Why go jump London whe could jump Milton Key
en you ynes
Milton Keynes for some years now has been synonymous with extreme sports, particularly BMX and skateboarding.
The perfect mix of interesting structures and soft grass make MK a parkour paradise, if you haven’t checked it out yet, do so. I spent a sunny bank holiday afternoon with Ruel ‘Ninja’ DaCosta, James ‘Base’ Livan, Conner ‘No Nickname’ Bakker and Why? Well, every walkway in Sam ‘Stitches’ Ainscow of Milton the town centre is bordered Keynes’s parkour team MKPK, who by marble ledges that stand took me to a few of their favourite spots in the town centre (because at about knee height: perfect there are far too many to examine for grinding or doing tricks in the entire town, which holds on to or off of. excess of 250,000 inhabitants). MK council are well aware of the The team has been going strong towns appeal to the extreme for nearly six years, however all sports fan, and have built a members - bar Ninja - work full specially designed skatepark in time, so setting a training schedule an attempt to lure these extreme is difficult. hordes away from the town “We are looking to find sponsorcentre, and for the most part they ship so we can open our own gym have been successful. and earn a living for ourselves through teachBeing a relatively modern town, built only in the ing parkour,” said Base: “We currently train late 1960’s, the town is full of modern at a gym in Kingston alongside gymnasts and architecture and grand concrete structures, cheerleaders. It makes it really hard to develop intertwined with lush grassy areas to break the a training program when you are constantly monotony of grey stone. removed from apparatus because a gymnastics But what about the traceurs? Its true they are class want to use them. They see us as kids without a designated zone, but then all of MK is wanting to mess around but we take our teachtheir playground. ing and training very seriously”
It’s easy to see why parkour is growing so fast in MK. In less than a two hour shoot we had so many quality images in so many top locations that the selection process has been a nightmare.. Apparently more and more students are attending the teams classes which are held three times a week. MKPK focus predominantly on teaching the safe practice of parkour through personal fitness. “High fitness is essential to any traceur. When you are tired you make mistakes, so a high level of fitness means you can do more parkour! It’s a win-win cituation” said Ninja Personal trainer Ninja has developed a colour based grading system to help student’s progress on an individual basis, as well as giving the student structure goals to achieve. Top Left: Ninja, Base and Conner (left to right) flip in Christ Church Gardens Top Right: Ninja’s unique ‘lay swing’ at a bus stop opposite the theatre Bottom Right: Base double kong in theatre district Bottom left: Conner palm flips outside the Xscape (4 pics) And Sam wall flips (3 pic)
For those interested in attending, classes start at £5.60 For further details visit www.mkpk.co.uk
This month we were lucky enough to speak to Ryan Doyle. Ryan’s team run the UK’s largest parkour training sessions, with over 200 traceurs regularly attending one of Airborn Entertainment’s three training facilities.
Since 2004 he has help elevate the UK parkour scene: not only as face of Airborn but a major face on the UK scene. First every World Freerunning Champion; four times National Tricking Champion; black belt martial artist; founding member of Airborn Entertainment and co-founder of the World Freerunning & Parkour Federation (WFPF). Ryan’s impressive resume has landed him a sponsorship with Red Bull, a consultancy role in the Art of Motion competition, a spot on MTV’s Ultimate Parkour Championship and a leading role in Freerunner The Movie (out in July). I first met Ryan in training for the up and coming Art of Motion competition 2011 (in which he finished third) in the tropical paradise that is... Widnes - a little town near Runcorn in Cheshire – where he and his brother Anthony hold a parkour training class. When I got the chance to tear him away from his training/teaching we got down to the business at hand
So Ryan, thanks for meeting me, how was your work out? Not brilliant to be honest, I’m not really in the zone at the moment. I’m really busy and I’m not as young as I used to be.
I know, 26, talk about one foot in the grave! Well, parkour is a young man’s game.
I remember when I could run around all day without even warming up first. Parkour is constantly evolving and the bar is constantly being set higher. There is a new generation of athletes around and I am just glad to be showing them what I can do and, hopefully, inspiring them to push themselves further than I ever could. It must be helpful having classes like
I turned pro at 18.
What made you move away from gymnastics and into parkour? Simple. Gymnastics is a sport with regulations and set standards, parkour is an art form which encourages individuality. Being an art, we recognise that personal influences contribute to how you approach obstacles. The way we move is our identity, the point is to be unique. That’s why I’m the best at my style - because I’ve always incorporated martial arts moves and stunts with my gymnastics skills. Those who hone their skills in their own way will eventually become the best at their individual style. Being classified as a sport brings up the question “who is the best?” We all have different backgrounds that influence our styles, and if someone is taller or can jump higher, does that make them the better athlete? What happens is you end up with people who are genetically perfect to perform a set criteria of movements, and it becomes exclusive. Everyone looks the same, does the same movements all because someone said that was RIGHT. Thinking outside the box is not rewarded; you’re just a number in a competitive elite group... I think Adolf Hitler tried to do the same thing. Centre: Ryan and brother Anthony with their class. Below: Ryan teaching in Widnes gym
these to go to from an early age.
Speaking of early age, how old were you when you got into parkour? I’ve been doing parkour pretty much all my life. When i was three I broke my arm trying to do a front flip! I was into gymnastics at first but then took my training more serious
at 14 when I started martial arts. My brother and I would watch martial arts movies all day, especially anything starring Jackie “The Man” Chan. Then we would go into the garden and try to act out the moves we saw in the movies. Parkour was the final progression a few years later, combining the movements I learnt growing up into my own style of freerunning.
I see, so gymnastics is a fascist movement and parkour is a liberal concept? That’s a bit deep for me. Parkour is definitely more accepting of individuality than gymnastics, that’s all i’m saying.
So parkour is an art form... If this is the case how can we have parkour competitions such as the Art of Motion? Does that not turn parkour into a sport? Art of Motion has nothing to do with parkour. Its a movement tournament, but parkour athletes are the best at giving a good performance which draws in the crowds. Its more of an exhibition of different styles, they are just looking for the best style that was best suited to that environment. A different environment will play to different strengths and will produce a different winner. The MTV show (Ultimate Parkour Challenge) was the same. Thats why there were different winners every week, because different people are tuned to different places. I don’t do bar work in my style, not because i’m not good at it, but because I have bad eye sight and I’m not 100% confident in my ability to grab the bars. I’ve recently had laser eye surgery, so I’m only now discovering that area.
I heard you had a pretty gnarly accident during the first Art of Motion... Yeah, I pretty much split my shin in two. I tried a double cork from about 12 feet onto a crash mat, but missed and landed on concrete. The doctors told me I may lose my leg, but luckily the operation was successful. They put a metal pipe down the centre of my shin bone and a metal plate on my fibula. That’s one of the problems of competition, it’s easy to get caught up
Ryan in action: Above: Ryan do in Widnes gym bottom left and London shootin
: oing some tricking class d right: Ryan in ng for Red Bull
in the atmosphere and push yourself too far in order to win. You did win though! Yeah, I think the organisers decided I was too crazy to not win something. They saw me push my limits and I think they found that inspirational or something. I’m thankful for them giving me the title because its looks good on the CV. Who knows, if I hadn’t won in Vienna I may not be where I am today.
Who do you look to for inspiration? Well, in the oldest traceur I know, but I get a lot of inspiration from the kids I teach. I learnt a cool new trick from a 10yr old (named Tyler Hamilton) the other day. Children seem to come up with new ideas all the time. They come up to me and ask ‘is this possible’ and it inspires me to find out if it is. I don’t really watch parkour videos though, I prefer to train with people in order to gain inspiration. Oh, and Jackie Chan of course, he’s probably inspired me the most. For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be able to do what he can do.
Do you have any tips for up and coming traceurs? My tip for upcoming parkour athletes is... dont listen to me, your way is right. I don’t wan’t to be idolised, I just hope to inspire the next generation to push themselves further than I ever could achieve.
Any ideas for our next profile? Email you suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Trick Tips This month’s trick tips will be with Conner Bakker of MKPK. Conner is only 18 years of age but has progressed at such a quick level that he has now joined MKPK’s teaching ranks. He’ll take us through three moves: The Kong, a wall flip and a two step wall flip
Beginner: Kong Vault (a.k.a monkey vault)
This vault allows you to move quickly over an obstacle and looks a lot harder than it actually is. 1) Spot where you’re going to place your hands. Hands must be just over shoulder width apart to allow the legs to come through 2) Take off with your feet together. As you rise, maintain forward momentum with your arms
3) When starting, most fear clipping their feet on the obstacle. To best avoid this, lean forward, commit, and pull your knees to your chest. Try to look forward and spot your landing as you clear the obstacle. 4) Bend you knees as you land. To maintain momentum, keep running, simple!
Intermediate: Wall Flip For this one knowing how to back tuck will help The key is getting a good footing
Advanced: Double Step Wall This one is all about cajones. If you have the one step on lock this one shouldnâ€™t be too difficult.
Approach with confidence. Plan your run-up so that you plant off of the wall with your weaker leg (i.e. left if you kick with the right)
Approach with a little more speed than with the one step, but not so much that you have to rush the footing
Swing your lead (stronger) leg towards the ceiling and your arms over your head to create the momentum for the back flip
This time step with the lead leg first, a little higher than with the previous trick. This step must produce the bulk of the evelation
Push off with your weak leg as the stronger leg comes past
Either back tuck out of the flip or follow the legs round as you spot the landing
Land with bent knees to absorb the impact
Step on to the wall with your weaker foot. As in the one step, the weak foot pushes you into the flip If the steps are taken correctly you should have enough air time to easily land the back tuck, or you could even do an open back flip Land with bent knees, take a deep breath and let your achievement sink in.