Welcome friends, Seeing as UF operates out of the UK, it was always my intention to do a Jump Mag feature there at some point. The most obvious choice would have been to zone in on London, which over the years has become a major hotspot for practitioners from all around the world. But for me, London has been too heavily rinsed in the media and we wouldn’t be able to show anything new of note, that hasn’t been seen by you guys already. Moreton however, is a completely different kettle of fish.... Moreton is a town on the north coast of the Wirral. For those who are still clueless, It’s in the North of England and is right next to Liverpool who’s most famous exports (in no particular order) have been the Beatles, Liverpool footbal club, Cilla Black, Jimmy Tarbuck, Daniel Ilabaca and the Apex Parkour team. For the purposes of this mag though, we’ll keep it strictly PK/FR and focus on the last two in that short list. firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/ezstyla www.urbanfreeflow.com www.facebook.com/urbanfreeflow www.twitter.com/urbanfreeflow www.youtube.com/glyphmedia
Why Moreton of all places? Well unless you’ve been asleep for the last eight years you’ll have heard of a certain Mr Ilabaca, who is without a doubt, one of the highest profile and most naturally gifted practitioners in the scene. Bagging an interview with him was something of a scoop and as you’ll see, we’ve got an in-depth one unlike anything you’d have read about him anywhere before. In addition, we managed to spend a lot of time with Apex Parkour, who are an extremely proactive team of tight-knit athletes led by Nick ‘Capo’ Whitcombe. With him being point man for the whole ‘Moreton Experience’, I was given a guided tour of their stamping grounds and as a result, they’ve got themselves a massive feature for you all to wade through. What else is going on this issue? Not a great deal to be honest. You’ll find all the regular stuff of course, but seeing as Moreton holds so many gems, we decided to dedicate the entire mag to our scouse brethren. A concrete way of life.... Enjoy.... Ez - Editor
Front cover athlete: Daniel Ilabaca- www.youtube.com/IlabacaVideoBlog Photo courtesy of www.parkourtour.com UF ad athlete: Chima Akenzua - www.youtube.com/chimaxeno Photographer : Ez
Copyright © The Urban Freeflow Network. All rights reserved. ‘Urban Freeflow’ and the ‘Glyph’ logo are registered trademarks of Urban Free Flow Ltd
Athlete: Christopher Bailes (USA) Photographer: Markis Allen www.youtube.com/chrispyman101
When I started the whole Jump Magazine journey back in February, Daniel was always someone who was high up on my wishlist of people to interview. Outside of the obvious people like Sebastien Foucan and David Belle, the only person who’s really deserved to be put up on a pedestal is Daniel. You see, back in 2003 when UF was first established, it didn’t take long for this young kid from Moreton to start making a lot of noise in the scene and in no time at all, he very quickly started to build a reputation for himself, along with a very healthy fanbase. Funnily enough, we’ve never really crossed paths in all the time that’s passed between and up until this point, I can count the times I’ve met him on just one hand. Regardless, my admiration for him as a leading light in the scene and an inspiration to many, has always been strong. So when he accepted the request to be interviewed for this issue, I eagerly made my way up to Moreton with a list of questions at the ready. Upon meeting up, we exchanged pleasantries and then chatted away for hours about all manner of things. What follows here is just a fraction of what was captured on tape, but will hopefully serve to give an insight into what makes the man tick....
Interview by Ez Photography courtesy of Jonathan Lucas www.jonathanlucas.com and Parkour Tour www.parkourtour.com
Hi Dan, let’s take it from the top with an introduction. Daniel: My name is Daniel Ilabaca, I live in Moreton, UK. I’m currently 22 years old and have been practising Parkour for most of my life. When did you first get inspired to go out and move? Daniel: Erm…I’ve always been aware of movement from a very young age through Jackie Chan and other movies, so have been inspired through that to go out on adventures and stuff. I was at a rough point in life where I was hanging out on streets and hanging in gangs but one day I saw a guy do a wall flip, which I later found out to be Capoeira, but that was it. I finally saw something that could propel me in a positive direction. What was it about that movement that drew you in? Daniel: It wasn’t so much the movement, it was the person doing it. I know it was a wall flip and whatever, which was fascinating. But at the time I was surrounded by people telling me that this is how life should be lived and this is what’s expected of me. But with this guy he was just different from everyone else and I knew that as long as I’d caught onto whatever it was he was doing, that eventually I’d be able to find myself through practising the art. I also met this lad called Martin at school who was a skateboarder and I used to bunk off and go around his house. We’d play adventurous games in the garden along the fence and it grew from there to the point where we’d go out at night and pretend to be ninja’s <laughs>. Then I saw a ‘Ripley’s Believe it or not’ video on the internet that showed the Yamakasi guys
and I think that was the point for me, where I thought that’s it. To see these guys at their age, gave me faith and hope that if I continued doing what I was doing, I could be happy through movement for the rest of my life. If we go back to the point where you saw the Capoeira guy, what steps did you take to get to the point where you were consciously practising Parkour? Daniel: To be honest, I have no idea. At the time I had nobody to guide me or point me in the right direction. I’d basically be out on the streets trying to learn how to backflip, which was the biggest obstacle back
“We’d spend all day trying to flip off of it and a lot of the early attempts were horrific” then. I’d go to this wall with a friend and we’d spend all day trying to flip off of it and a lot of the early attempts were quite horrific <laughs>. I spent a lot of time landing on my knees but eventually we started to just pick it up naturally. Then one day while we were flipping on the streets, the same Capoeira guy I originally saw flipping, walked by and he was totally amazed at how we were able to do what we were doing, so it got to the point where we started this little Capoeira group and would go out and practise. He wasn’t an instructor or anything. He just loved moving and was self taught through watching
videos. So essentially we all progressed together and grew into a group that we called Flashkick. How long did this go on for? Daniel: It’s sad because as my friend Martin and I began to really progress, the original guy kind of lost motivation because it got to the point where we were able to do more than he could. So the Flashkick thing started to die based on the fact that the group began to lose faith. Me and Martin then decided to really take it to the streets and after seeing Ripley’s, that was it. Have you always been a natural with moving in general? Daniel: My inspiration comes from the positivity of the people I’m around. For instance, as a kid I used to rollerblade with my brothers. They were like warriors to me and were indestructible, so I always wanted to do what they could do. But I progressed at rollerblading so quickly and it got to the point where I could do more than they could. It was the same situation again where they stopped being motivated because I was better than they were. All I wanted was to be with my brothers and skate. Whether they could do what I could do or not, didn’t matter because I just wanted to be moving with them. When you eventually started your Parkour journey, were there any people who served to be your source of inspiration? Daniel: Not so much the people. I was inspired and excited about the fact that there were grown men in France doing this and that inspired me to get out there on the streets and try things.
When I saw Jump London they told the story about how as kids, they used to play and jump around and then go out and be ninja’s. I really wanted to tell them that this is what I’d been doing for years but obviously, they became well known very quickly and if I were to approach them and tell them that I had been doing exactly the same, it wouldn’t have been seen in the right light. I assumed that they’d think that I was just some random kid talking nonsense. So I had to be patient and carry on doing what I was doing and if it was meant to be, our paths would cross at some point. Thinking back to when I first became aware of you….. Daniel: Wasn’t that at the Urban Music Festival at Earl’s Court? I remember seeing you guys there. Actually no, I first saw you when you were using the Urban Monkey monicker and appeared on local TV. What you have to appreciate is that back then you had teams, individuals and new businesses forming and fighting over their slice of the pie in terms of recognition and media spotlight attention. Anyone with an ounce of talent that wasn’t within these circles, would be seen as a threat and would be shutdown to a degree. But I remember seeing that TV piece and being blown away by what you were doing. I can clearly remember highlighting to my own team members that you were someone to keep an eye on. Tell us a bit about the Urban Monkey’s and how ended up getting recognised? Daniel: I knew that in order to move forward, I needed to be a
leader in a sense and that’s why I created the Urban Monkey’s, which was just a group of friends that got together. But even that fell apart because it was under the wrong terms, so that was when I decided to go solo and find my own way. What do you mean by under the wrong terms? Daniel: I didn’t really want to be seen as being better than anyone else or be the one who solely motivated people to go out and train, because I was still on a journey of self discovery myself. So for me to take on a group and say that we’re called this or called that,
“I’m pleased that I’m able to move and express myself through movement” I just didn’t feel ready for that responsibility. How old were you then? Daniel: I think I was 17. Ok let’s look more closely at your own style. You started on the journey of self discovery but at what point did you begin to really see a marked improvement in your level? Daniel: That’s an interesting one. Before I had found Parkour I had no real understanding of what was big or small. I had no idea about what was achievable or not, because to me, a double back flip was no harder than a single back flip. It was just an added rotation. But over the years
of delving into the internet and learning more about how people move and what amazes them, it eventually started to affect my understanding of what was big or small, whereas previously it was all just based on my own experiences. I can remember going down to London and Chase did a 720 butterfly off a wall and at that point I’d never attempted one before but because I’d seen it with my own eyes, I thought right, I’m gonna do it and did. I landed on my knees and everyone was like “what are you doing?” but I carried on, tried it again and landed it. Is there any one technique that you were really pleased to nail for the first time? Daniel: I don’t think there is one move alone. I’m pleased that I’m able to move and that I can express myself through movement in ways that people in my school or people in my area couldn’t. It was nice to know that I was just different. I know it’s wrong, but I used to love running away from the police. You know, running across rooftops, jumping big gaps and escaping the police. I understand that it was wrong but back then it was so much more free. There were no limits, it was just running, jumping big gaps and rolling. Being in the air was just beautiful. From talking to Nick Whitcombe, he said that you guys were always having run-ins with the police back in the day. What kind of things did you get up to? Daniel: We used to climb on rooftops a lot. From when I was about 15 to 18 years old I always felt alone. I know I was inspiring Nick other kids in
Moreton but I felt alone with nobody to really relate to or share with, so I always used to climb on top of the Wetherspoon’s pub roof. Even if it was raining, I would climb up and sit there with tears in my eyes and shouting as loud as I could. I realise now that I wanted to feel emotion. I didn’t want to just find happiness through Parkour, I wanted to feel a range of emotions. Going on top of Wetherspoon’s was a way for me to see the World my own way. It was my World, that was my place, my reality. I found it exhilarating to be up on rooftops away from all the people below and jumping gaps etc. So that would be something I would do daily and that’s when the police started to get involved and it added to the frustration because I was like “you just don’t understand!” so I’d run away. It then got to the point where I’d just stop running because I was getting as bad as the police officers were with their lack of understanding. So I’d try to explain the reasons I was doing what I was doing and I got arrested a lot of times but from then on, I made a point of always explaining what I was doing and why. That’s when it became a big issue in Moreton to the point where a lot of stuff happened recently, but that’s something we’re working on. It’s common knowledge about the Parkour ‘ban’, the greased rooftops and spikes in Moreton. What are your thoughts on it all? Daniel: I can understand how people shy away from things that THEY don’t understand. I feel for the Moreton community and why they retaliated against Parkour, but
nobody has explained properly what it is that we do. They just assume that what the kids are doing is anti-social. The barbed wire and stuff has been put up because we haven’t really explained properly what Parkour is. We just have to accept it. Do you honestly think that if you took the time to explain yourselves, that they’d understand for the better? Daniel: Yeah, I honestly do and we’ve started but it’s a slow process. It’s hard to undo some of the things we’ve done, do you know what I mean? It’s hard for people to see you all of a sudden in a positive light
“I would climb up and sit there with tears in my eyes and shouting as loud as I could” when for so many years they’ve just seen you as being disobedient and not conforming to society or always being arrested by the police. Also, based on the fact that we’ve had so many practitioners coming here from different areas, the buildings have taken a bit of damage. We are working on it but as I say, it’s a slow process. Is there any truth in the rumours about the academy that’s in development up here? Daniel: Yeah, there is. Basically the Wirral council are closing down all the libraries here and there’s a building in the Beechwood estate that’s being given back to the community.
For the last year and a half I’ve been working with a guy to come up with a vision for the future. It’s not necessarily just a Parkour centre. It’s going to be called ‘Movement Matters’ and will have all sorts of things going on there. It awesome to hear that something positive is coming out of all the negativity. How soon will it get under way? Daniel: We’re hoping to start the building process at the end of the year and currently have £70,000 worth of funding and have applied for a grant of £1.5million. How do you view the Parkour/ Freerunning scene worldwide at the moment? Daniel: It feels a bit ghostly right now to be honest. I’ve taken a step back from the community recently. I watch a lot of videos of people moving and they seem to be just moving without a purpose. I don’t see a lot of soul right now. It feels like the movement is just a product from something before it. I think many people will disagree there. You mentioned earlier that you used to bunk off from school a lot. What turned you way from the system? Daniel: I was almost at one point going to accept how they labelled me. I was told that I was dyslexic and that I couldn’t read or write and I almost accepted that. I was at a point in my life where I had to make a split decision about whether to accept that and continue with school, based on the fact that it was what was right for me, or just hold on to who I was and bunk off school, climb trees and be a kid. I realise now
that it wasn’t because I couldn’t read or write, it was because I just didn’t want to. I remember a teacher saying to me “climbing trees will never get you anywhere.” How wrong! On a lighter note, what was the first professional project you did? Daniel: It was the Rogers commercial <laughs>. Out of all the professional jobs you’ve done so far, what’s been the most enjoyable? Daniel: Wow that’s a tough one. You see, there have been loads that had the potential to be amazing but because I wasn’t given the freedom to show who I am, I’ve had to just get on with what they wanted and that made me lose interest in a sense. To be honest, workshops have been the most enjoyable thing and they have come about because of the work I’ve done. One of the most enjoyable was in Italy with Sebastien (Foucan) and Oleg (Vorslav) where we were there for 4 days. I spent most of my time speaking with people and not actually moving. Everybody there was expecting us to move but it allowed us to explain that we didn’t see ourselves as any different to them. Then on the last night everyone was moving together and nobody was looking at me or looking at Oleg, it was just everyone together moving. Then there was a particular obstacle that I’d eyed up and I wanted to attempt something ambitious, so I asked the DJ to turn off the music as I was losing focus. I ran and jumped off this wooden platform and precisioned onto a rail percectly. I know that if I’d done it before meeting
everyone else there, they’d have reacted by clapping and cheering but when I landed it, there was nothing. Just silence and people carried on doing what they were doing and that was so beautiful. I felt for the first time that I could move around people who understood me and the energy there was so powerful. Best country visited so far while on your travels? Daniel: Chile. They are so dying to be a part of the global community but I sat down with them and explained that what they have, Europe doesn’t have any more and that’s the innocence of not knowing much about Parkour and how
as you’re a name now, do you get kids stepping up trying to impress you instead of doing it for themselves? Daniel: Yeah, it’s frustrating. In Russia it was just like that with a massive jam and it felt so awkward. I felt kind of sorry for them but I couldn’t move and give myself to them. It just felt like the wrong environment. So I just stood there and spoke to the people I needed to speak to, but there were people right in my face trying to show me what they were capable of. David Belle was there too and he was the same and just stood there with a smile on his face. It was kind of sad.
they haven’t been affected by all the things that have gone on. It was all so innocent where they just enjoyed moving. On the flipside, you have Russia, where they’ve gone through so much that they break out and express themselves to the point where there are some beautiful movers. But then they get well known and when people pull them over for events or whatever, that’s what shapes them for the worst. When I was in Russia, there were so many people in my face trying to show me what they can do and then expecting me to do something different.
Are you happy with your level right now? Daniel: You know what, where I am is far beyond my own Parkour skills. Through what I believe in, I’m baffled as I really don’t know what I’m capable of. I’m actually scared that I don’t know what I’m capable of. Recently, I’ve been standing at the top of trees looking down and thinking “I could jump out of this tree.” Like if I had a reason, I would jump right out of this tree now. It all comes down to reason. The reason I do Parkour is so I can help others and be there to answer questions. I can meet people and share my life experiences and maybe help them to understand more about themselves. I’m not saying that what I say is always right, but I know that I’m in a position to speak to people. But if there’s a big enough reason, there’s nothing to stop me doing anything. I was standing there in that tree and I was itching to do it.
I was going to ask that. Seeing
How high are we talking?
“To be honest, workshops have been the most enjoyable thing”
Daniel: It was about 30ft high in a local forest. That leads me on to a question we get asked all the time about fear. Let’s say you are preparing for an ambitious roof gap for a commercial or whatever, what goes through your mind and how do you deal with the fear factor? Daniel: Yeah, there was a time when I was at Elephant & Castle in London and I was eyeing up a cat leap that was beyond my reach, but I felt the need to do it. So my adrenaline started to build up and I was feeling really nervous. Then I realised that it was wrong for me to do this because I was trying to prepare myself for something that I haven’t yet chosen to do. I’m not yet in that situation so why am I preparing myself for something that hasn’t yet happened? I was thinking ahead to the future when the only thing I can hold on to is the present, so I accepted that I didn’t have control of the future and because of that, my heart rate went back to normal and I was completely calm again. So I stepped back 15 steps and ran and gave it my all. As soon as I left that rail, I knew I wasn’t going to make it but I’d already accepted that I had no control over what the outcome was going to be, so I had to deal with it. Midway through while in the air, I just adapted, reached out with my legs, hit the wall and dropped to the floor and yeah, it was over in a matter of seconds and nothing had happened to me. Did you hurt yourself? Daniel: Not at all. Do you ever find it hard to get motivated these days?
Daniel: No. The only way I can describe it is like Christmas when you’re a kid and you go to bed all excited, because you knew that the next day is going to be epic. Every day I go to bed with a big smile on my face <laughs>.
myself to anyone else. If there’s a kid people are saying is something special, I wish him all the best and hope that along the way he finds what he’s looking for. None of it affects me because I know that I am the best I can be at being me.
Back when you started out and it was all so innocent, there were no resources at hand to learn from at all. Now though, everything is on a plate and as a result, kids are learning very quickly. Is this a good thing? Daniel: Whether you’re a slow learner or pick it up quickly, if you don’t learn all the most important things when you’re practising, at the end of the day you’re just a mover. Like I said,
In the past you’ve voiced your opinion about being not being into competition. Why did you compete in the MTV thing? Daniel: Yeah it was a competition but at the same time it was America and we all know what America does to the World. America is the final place that completely makes something in the sense of what it should be or what it shouldn’t be.
“The scene is full of ghosts at the moment who aren’t moving with passion” the scene is full of ghosts at the moment who aren’t moving with passion. Maybe people reading this will beg to differ and I might take some heat for it, but that’s how I feel right now. When we talk about taking it to the next level, there’s the analogy of ‘there’s always someone better than you around the corner’. With that in mind, when someone points out someone that’s next level, does that keep you on your toes? Daniel: Not really. There’s nobody in the World who can be better than I am at being me <laughs>. I don’t compare
I don’t agree in the slightest there. Especially in the case of Parkour which grew out of Europe. Daniel: Fair enough. I got involved because it gave me the opportunity to try and introduce Parkour in the right way in a place where a lot of people don’t have an understanding of what Parkour is. But there are already existing communities that are thriving in the US. Daniel: I did try to make a difference but was never really part of the group. For instance, I purposely missed out on being involved in certain episodes because I knew that some athletes were really going to show what they were capable of and I wasn’t really willing to step up and try to prove that I can do stuff that they aren’t capable of. I didn’t want to do that. I was there for a different reason and that was for people to really see Parkour in the right way.
Do you think you achieved what you intended to do? Daniel: To a certain degree, yes. Look, America is massive and there are still people over there who have absolutely no idea what Parkour is. The good thing that came out of it though, was that because MTV didn’t listen to us, people started to lose interest. What do you mean by didn’t listen? Daniel: They were only designing the concepts of the show and the ideas behind the episodes, based on what they thought people wanted to see. What they needed was something more than just Parkour and not this typical example of some guys jumping off rooftops and then competing as friends. People just aren’t interested in that. People just didn’t relate to it. Originally it was meant to be 12 episodes, right? Daniel: Yeah, 12 episodes. They had groups of people come in and give their view on what should be in the show like bigger jumps, bigger gaps, bigger flips and pushing the guys to compete more against each other. For me, I was alone. I could see that the other lads weren’t willing to step out of the group and they stuck together. They all wanted to do it for the exposure, so I was totally alone on that. So it wasn’t an overly enjoyable experience for you? Daniel: Well, I would rather be there experiencing the very worst things that would truly test who I am than being here. It got cut short half way through, right?
Daniel: Yeah, cut short. Either way it was a win win situation for me in my eyes, because they realised it was becoming a failure and backed away from it stopping it at 6 episodes. Now they’ll think twice before doing another season because what they thought would work, clearly didn’t. If they had listened, it would have been a success and totally revolutionary. It would have paved the way for others to express themselves. Is the concept dead in your eyes? Daniel: Yeah, it’s dead. When I was first approached about the pilot show, the idea was that it was a straight up competition.
“God was telling me that this was my time to be his instrument”
I spent over a year speaking with Victor Bevine and shared my heart with him about how we could make it so that people can really get the message. That’s how we came up with the 3 rounds idea. So you had the last round which is the opposite to what we’re about but in the other 2 rounds we could really show who we were. Tell me about the speed round scenario? Daniel: I had that same feeling I had when I was at Elephant & Castle preparing to do that big jump. I was standing there with Pip waiting to go but had to wait for MTV to do their interviews with others and it
was really frustrating because the obstacles were right in front of us and we just wanted to overcome them. So anxiety started to build and we were getting really nervous. Pip was there and he’s a strong lad and has strength to overcome obstacles, so he flew through it. Then there was me, obviously the last person to go and I knew I was being tested and knew that this was my time. As before, the adrenaline started to build and I was getting really scared, so I closed my eyes and prayed. God was telling me that this was my time to be his instrument and all of a sudden, boom, all my adrenaline went and I was there, totally ready. I then ran and won. It was all as calm as day. So the pilot went down well? Daniel: Yes but the sad thing is that they didn’t even involve us in the development of the proper series. They just assumed that we’d get on board and would be fine with it. We then found out that it was exactly the same format as before and that they expected us to go through all that again, so we were like ‘no, we’re not going to do that’. I’m not going to be a hypocrite and do what I did in the pilot. That’s why a lot of the time my heart didn’t seem to be in it. Was there an actual fall out? Daniel: There was a fall out, yeah. We were all sitting there one night and I stood up and said that we could get there much faster if they could let one person represent the group and that I was willing to be that person. I said that I was willing to stand up right there and speak on behalf of everyone as to what the show
should be, how the episodes should be and what the action should consist of. Victor Bevine singled me out that night and he said “You’re no different than anyone else. Who are you to stand up and say that you’re able to speak on behalf of everyone else?” and I responded by telling him that he was right and I walked out and said that’s it, I’m not a part of you any more. I told him that he’d literally cast me out of his group. I explained that I wanted to make it work but under pressure, I’d been cast out. Did you make a conscious decision to make a clean break away from the WFPF? Daniel: Yeah, I was like boom, clean break. I’m not a part of that any more. If I’m going to be put down and told that I’m no different than anyone else, I’m not going to be a part of it and what they are doing. I have to be honest in saying that I never watched any of the MTV episodes. But if they cut it short, does that mean that there was no closure and it was simply pulled from its broadcast slot? Daniel: Yep, it’s dead. They’re now looking at other things to do with this whole shoe thing and other things. For the Parkour shoe in question to be sold at the price it’s being sold at, the profit margins are outweighed massively by all the headaches that are involved. It’s doomed to fail but only time will tell. Let’s move back to grass roots level. If there’s anyone wanting to follow your lead as a professional athlete, what advice would you pass down? Daniel: Go for it but don’t be
too disappointed if you don’t make it work. At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be your ultimate goal. You should cherish what you have at the moment in terms of the family and friends you have. In the words of Muhammad Ali, he said “If you’re going to be a bin man, be the best bin man you can be.” A lot of people on the outside think that working in the movies and commercials is all glamour. Whilst it has plenty of positives, it can also be very tedious and boring. Can you paint a picture detailing what it’s really like? Daniel: It’s not all glamour and is definitely hard work. If
“Who are you to stand up and say that you’re able to speak on behalf of everyone else?” anything, it’s a mental battle to try and stay focused. Most of the time people expect much more of you than you are willing to give. It all comes at a price at the end of the day. Is it something you enjoy doing? Daniel: I enjoy it based on the fact that I already know who I am. Someone who didn’t could maybe be shaped into something that the director wants. You don’t want people to walk all over you. Instead you want them to appreciate that your contribution to the job has real value. What kind of music are you
into right now? Daniel: Christian hip hop right now and anything that touches the soul. You’re a Christian yourself. How has your faith helped you in Parkour? Daniel: It’s helped me through everything. Jesus is the only person I really look up to and I strive to be more like him every day. I can see here in your office that you’ve got quite a heavy duty camera rig. On the subject of filmmaking and Parkour, Youtube has the biggest tool for spreading the word globally. How important is it to you? Daniel: The past few years I’ve really been into it heavily as it’s a great marketing tool to get your work out there in the scene. At the moment I’m more focused on being outdoors and spend less time inside so I’m not on the net as often. I know it’s a great way for people to see who you really are but right now, I’m laying low, taking it easy and coming up with new strategies of getting back into the battle but from different directions. Something new is in the works then? Daniel: Yeah, something is definitely brewing <laughs>. Good to hear. In your opinion, what ingredients go into making a perfect practitioner? Daniel: Emotions and how they show themselves. Not just through body language. For me, it’s not just the physicality. If you really want to show your soul, try and think outside the box and approach obstacles in ways that you might not have done before.
In one of your videos, you attack this kids playground by going up and across it so instinctively and with pinpoint precision foot placement, which really was something else. However, do you ever have bad days at the office where nothing goes right? Daniel: Many times actually. I usually just stop, have a good think about it all and then go straight back to where I was. Do you train indoors in a gym environment? Daniel: No. It’s a dream world where you’re just cheating yourself. If I were in a gym I’d have a mess around for sure, but would never view it as a way to improve my technique. Talking of improving your technique, I’m sitting here in your house but right now you have a new bar set up being made outside in your garden. To say it’s a beast is a massive understatement! What’s the deal there then? Daniel: It’s work in progress and I’ve been meaning to break down the old one for some time. The course I’ve designed is an embodiment of how I want to be afraid and how I want to be challenged. When you stand before it, you’re dwarfed by it and I want it to be that way. I want to know that it’s unlike any obstacle that anybody has seen before and I want to tame it and control it. I’ve called it the ark and I want it to be a place in my garden where I can spend time alone developing my movement. Nobody’s going to be training in that garden for the next few months, it’ll just be me and when I’m ready, people can come and play on it. Do you follow any kind of diet?
Daniel: No, I love my food <laughs>. You’re lucky as you obviously have a fast metabolism. Daniel: I eat pretty much whatever I want but when I get to the point where I need to pay extra attention to my diet, I will. Do you have a proper training regime? Daniel: It’s not something I focus on every day. It all depends on the circumstances. I believe that the only time your body should become a focus is when you have a reason to progress physically. If you were forced to give up
“I knew for so long that our paths would cross but never knew when”
one of the following from your repertoire out of speed, flow or precision, which one would it be and why? Daniel: I’d give up flow because it’s related to beauty and I think I’m beautiful regardless. So I could handle losing flow <laughs>. Modest too? Nice. At the time of this interview, you’ve just completed the Brink Tour. Tell us a bit about that experience. Daniel: My manager approached a video company about doing a tour to promote the new Brink game, so we went ahead with that and it turned out to be a huge success. The challenge was to
go across Europe hitting 8 different cities. Along the way we met up with communities that I’d never be able to reach out to by myself. It was tough because I had to step up each and every day. An interesting thing happened during the tour though, I suddenly found myself fasting. I’ve never been able to understand fasting whatsoever, but for some reason I didn’t feel the need to eat. I felt like I was getting stronger by the day which was an amazing feeling. You were telling me earlier today that during the France leg of the trip, you met David Belle by chance and that it was a prolific experience. Tell us what happened? Daniel: I felt like it was meant to be. I knew for so long that eventually our paths would cross but never knew when. I knew that I had to just live my life and just get on with it. So during my time in Lisses, I met up with Sebastien Foucan and we did a little talk for the cameras and afterwards he told me that he’d given David a call and that he’d like to talk to me. I already knew this from Kazuma, who’s a good friend of mine. He’d previously told me that David would like to one day meet up and talk, which was cool. So anyway, we were sitting around at the Dame Du Lac and I was sitting there in silence doing my own thing and I didn’t know who it was at the time, but sitting under the tree in the distance was a guy. I just felt instinctively that it was David so I just stood up and started walking. At this point I’d lost vision of him sitting down where he was, but assumed the guy was still there. So I walked under the tree and walking under it towards me
was David. We both just smiled at each other but when I looked around, my little brother came and then everybody else was following with camera’s and for a minute I thought I’d lose the chance to share who I was with David. So for a while, we did some filming. I didn’t realise at the time, but my little brother had been asked to move out of shot and when I looked up, I could see that something was up, so I told David that I needed to see if he was ok, so I took off the mic and walked to my brother and was followed by David. We all then walked off into Lisses and were just talking and eventually ended up at David’s house playing music, chilling and talking some more. I don’t want to divulge too much information about what was said other than to say that the future is going to be bright. Daniel, that’s great. I can’t think of a better way to wrap things up. Thank you for taking the time to make this happen. Daniel: Ez, it’s been a pleasure. I really think it’s great that you’ve taken the time to come all the way up to Moreton in person. That means a lot. Essential Links: www.danielilabaca.co.uk www.youtube.com/IlabacaVideoBlog www.youtube.com/chrisilabaca www.parkourtour.com www.youtube.com/parkourtour www.jonathanlucas.com Special thanks to: Stephen Follows Jonathan Lucas Nick Whitcombe Mr Wong’s
Ma flow und
Mathieu Ledoux (Montreal, Canada) With Freerunning, the onus has always been on creativi eo dropped into our inbox, we really were blown away. H is both a Freerunner and a Roller and in his quest to be a the two to really make him stand out from the crowd. W inspired.... www.youtube.com/watch?v=KeQjBX34dS0
Vinnie Coryell (Colorado, USA) any people in our circle who’ve seen 17 year old Vinnie move, have said that his way of wing has a definite touch of European flavour about it. With just 2 years of experience der his belt, we feel that he is someone to keep an eye on in the near future and we’re sure that you’ll agree after watching this edit. www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oG2Q4ybGu4
ity over efficiency, so when this vidHere we have Mathieu Ledoux who as creative as possible, he’s merged Watch this with an open mind and be
Athlete: Ventus Reyes (Mexico) www.urbanrunners.net Photographer: José Luis Robledo Sánchez www.urbanrunners.net
Athlete: Ilko Ilev (Bulgaria) Photographer: Bogi Plakov www.freerunbg.com
Athlete: Luis Saavedra (Chile) Photographer: JoaquĂn Rivera
UNDERPRESSURE Review by Brad Wendes. Photography by Suzi Appleby Featured Freerunner’s - Brad Wendes and Rabin Beeloo www.teamkinetix.co.uk
This month we’re taking a look at some hydration backpacks. There’s plenty out there to choose from, so I thought we’d review a couple of high-end bags to see what you get for you money. For the purposes of this review we’ve got the Inov-8 RacePro 12 & CamelBak M.U.L.E backpacks to pressure test. While I appreciate that a majority of us will put our bags down when training, it’s still good to have a comfortable and practical bag to carry around when we’re not. There are also occasions where we’ll need to climb something to reach a training spot or to find a safe place to dump our bags, so having it strapped to your back as opposed to carrying in your hand, makes sense. Most hydration bags out there are specifically made for sport (generally running or cycling) so they should be perfectly suited for Parkour and Freerunning too. As mentioned, it’s fair to say that you probably won’t end up training all day while actually wearing a bag, but it’s nice to know that you ‘could’ train while wearing one if you needed to. Both the bags we have here to test, are of a similar size and price but have very different styles, features and fit about them. Read on to see how they stood up under pressure....
I have to say that both bags are very comfortable. They both have a decent waist strap and chest strap to keep the bag held tight to your body. The CamelBak does have slightly more padding, but with this comes a slightly stiffer panel in contact with your back. The Inov-8 bag is softer and feels more comfortable to wear while moving, it’s also significantly lighter than the CamelBak. The Inov-8 RacePro 12 only weighs 478 grams when empty, where the CamelBak MULE weighs 800 grams. The Inov-8 bag also features their H2Orizontal hydration bladder (more on this later) which means the main weight of the bag sits on your hips making for a much more comfortable run. The CamelBak straps are stiffer, but more padded and also feature a nifty way of attaching to the main bag, which helps fit users of different sizes and shapes. The Inov-8 straps are softer and once again the bag feels more a part of you than something that’s just strapped to your back.
CAMELBAK – 4 out of 5 INOV-8 – 4.5 out of 5 They’re both comfortable, but the Inov-8 just feels slightly better.
The Inov-8 bag I had was black and lime green, the CamelBak was a much more sedate black and grey. They both feature a number of reflective panels to help you be more visible at night (not always a good thing). The CamelBak features white stitching on the seams and far more buckles and clips than you would ever need to use and it looks like there’s a bit too much going on with it. The Inov-8 bag features one main storage pocket and two smaller pouches that sit on your hips, without the waist strap done up it can look like you have wings. These two bags are styled very differently; the CamelBak bag has lots going on but is still quite dull to look at, whereas the Inov-8 bag is bright but simple.
CAMELBAK – 4 out of 5 INOV-8 – 4 out of 5 Really comes down to personal taste.
The CamelBak MULE has 14 litres of storage spread over two main pouches, each containing smaller pockets and pouches, as with the styling, there’s a lot going in. The Inov-8 RacePro 12 has 12 litres of storage spread between one main storage area and two pouches on your hips and an additional mesh pocket on the back of the bag (with optional bungees to tie it all down securely). Personally I prefer the simplicity of the Inov-8 RacePro 12, I kept my phone in the waterproof hip pouch and my keys in the other hip pouch, everything else went in the main bag. I found myself hunting through internal pockets on the CamelBak trying to find things. I do like the addition of the ‘media pocket’ at the top of the main pouch in the CamelBak, it is soft, slightly padded and will fit most MP3 players. The Media pouch also features easy zip access from the top of the bag, I ended up putting train tickets and keys in here for easy access.
CAMELBAK – 3.5 out of 5 INOV-8 – 4 out of 5 The CamelBak is bigger in capacity, but once again there’s too much going on.
This is one of the major selling points on these bags, they hold a water bladder that you can drink from directly through a hose that attaches to the shoulder straps. Instant hydration without having to take off, or even open the bag. Both bladders contain an internal anti-microbe coating to stop the water from going stagnant. The CamelBak bladder holds 3 litres of water, the Inov-8 H2Orizontal bladder holds 2 litres of water. Obviously more water means more weight but I rarely found myself emptying the CamelBak bladder in one training session, whereas I could often run out of water in the Inov-8 bag. I found a lot of differences between the two systems, both having positive and negative features. Firstly the hose; the CamelBak hose comes out of the top of the bag and follows the shoulder strap, ending at your chest, it’s non-intrusive, but there when you need it. The Inov-8 hose comes out of the bottom of the bag and can be routed over the shoulder or along the bottom of the strap coming up to end at the chest. Although the hose never actually got in the way, I was aware that it wasn’t fixed to the bag as well as the CamelBak hose.
Both bladders were easy to fill up and neither one leaked from the bladder itself. The Camelbak bladder was sealed by screwing a large lid on, the Inov-8 H2Orizontal bladder was sealed with a sliding seal. The nozzle that you drink from was another story. The CamelBak mouthpiece is simple to use; bite and suck. Unfortunately if any pressure is put on the mouthpiece (like putting the bag down on it) it can start to leak water, it’s also open to the elements and can get dirt, sand or other substances on it. Inov-8 have got this one down to a fine art, not only a plastic cap to stop dirt getting on the mouthpiece, but you have to pull the mouthpiece out a few millimetres before any water will come out – no dirt, no leaks. Finally the bladder itself. The CamelBak bladder is larger and is roughly the same height and width as the bag. As you’re running and jumping, you can feel a little movement from the water bladder. Movement is minimised by a clip to keep the bladder upright, but it’s not perfect. Now we’re into another area that Inov-8 have got just right. The Inov-8 H2Orizontal bladder is shaped to be short and wide. The bladder sits on your hips and is held inside the waist strap itself. This keeps the bladder from moving around at all and also keeps the weight of the water nice and low around your centre of gravity. I can’t think of a single way of improving the H2Orizontal bladder design to be honest.
CAMELBAK – 4 out of 5 INOV-8 – 4.5 out of 5 (sort the hose out!) H2Orizontal for the win!
Both bags feature the usual keyring, adjustable straps and basic water resistant materials, but neither one would withstand being thrown in a lake. Considering how many pockets, pouches, straps and clips there are on the CamelBak, it’s surprisingly short on features. I like the easy access media pouch and the versatile strap attachment, but the other pouches and straps appear to be there for the sake of being there. For a basic bag the Inov-8 RacePro 12 has some really functional features. All the seams are weatherproof and the zips are completely waterproof, while this makes them a little stiffer to undo, it’s well worth it for dry stuff in the rain. The Inov-8 bag also features one completely waterproof pouch on the left hip, this is where my phone / iPod lives when I’m out training. This hip pocket is useful not just to keep the phone protected from the weather, but also allows to you roll or bail without smashing your phone up. The Inov-8 bag also features a whistle built into the chest strap buckle, for all those times you need a whistle while out training….
CAMELBAK – 4 out of 5 INOV-8 – 4 out of 5 The RacePro 12 is a basic bag, the MULE doesn’t need so many pouches.
As mentioned earlier in this review, these bags are at the higher end of hydration bags, so they’re not the cheapest bags out there. The CamelBak MULE is available for £50 - £60 online and between £60 & £70 on the high street. The Inov-8 RacePro 12 is available for between £40 & £50 online and around £50 on the high street. It’s worth mentioning at this point that the H2Orizontal bladder is sold separately and doesn’t come with the bag. The bladder costs £14 - £18 online and £16 - £18 on the high street. This can be a negative if you want a hydration system, or a massive plus if you just want a bag and would put the bladder in a cupboard anyway. Both bags are hard-wearing and have taken being thrown around, rolled on (while empty) scraped against bricks, being fallen onto and stamped on. The CamelBak does feel like a sturdier bag, but neither has shown any more signs of wear than the other.
CAMELBAK – 4 out of 5 INOV-8 – 4 out of 5 (include the bladder please!) Not cheap, but worth paying for.
Both bags are good quality, easy to use, reasonably stylish and very functional. The Inov-8 RacePro 12 gets ahead for being lighter and for the awesome H2Orizontal bladder system. Extra points to CamelBak for including the bladder with the bag, but minus points for having too much going on without any real purpose.
CAMELBAK – 4 out of 5 INOV-8 – 4.5 out of 5 (not perfect, but close) Inov-8 have got hydration packs down to a fine art! For more information on these bags and other products, visit: CamelBak: www.camelbak.com Inov-8: www.inov-8.com
We’ve got 2 of the Inov-8 bags to give away (complete with bladders). To be in with a chance of getting one, it’s a simple process... Just go to our Facebook wall and post your name in the relevant thread there. We will choose two names at random on Saturday 20th of November. *This is open to all regardless of where you are in the World.
Athlete: Chima Akenzua (UK) www.youtube.com/chimaxeno Photographer: Ez
by Will Wayland - williamwayland.blogspot.com
Ever found that sometimes in training you’re just not on task and unable to concentrate properly? At times you might feel so amped up that little things cause you to lose focus or become distracted. Well this brings up an important element in sports psychology known as the Zone of Optimal Functioning or the IZOF theory. This refers to a performer’s sweet spot, just the right level of physiological activation that allows him or her to perform well. The concept of flow in sports (or any performance) refers to a state in which there is a perfect or near perfect match between the perceived demands of an activity and the abilities of the performer. Freerunner’s experience flow when they form a chain of seamless movements with little or no perceived effort. Other strange effects occur as well such not really being able to remember what you just did and the expansion of the sensation of time. You might hear people say, “It was as if it was happening in slow motion”. Flow is accompanied by feelings of being energized yet calm and focused with your attention directed on what is essential. It’s the elusive perfect mental state. Some athletes describe it as being “in the zone” or “on fire”. It’s a myth that “the harder you try, the better you’ll do.” Too much activation or arousal can lead to feelings of agitation and tension and a shift of attention from the activity at hand to oneself or others. Of course, too little activation can lead to feelings of disinterest, apathy, boredom and can result in too little focus on the details necessary to perform. So how do you know if you are experiencing the effect of flow? Well 10 factors have been indentified by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showing just that. 1) Clear goals. You go into an activity knowing what it is that you need to do and what your objectives are. 2) Concentrating. Your concentration becomes narrowed and all those voices and external thoughts disappear. Your focus narrows on what is immediately important. 3) A loss of the feeling of self-consciousness. The merging of action and awareness. What is going on around you matters far less. It’s been argued that free runners are narcissists, but anyone who’s experienced flow will know that what goes on around us, just doesn’t matter anymore no matter how many people might be watching 4) Distorted sense of time. What you may have considered felt like slow motion could have been happening faster for everyone else watching. Your sense of time is distorted by flow. 5) Direct and immediate feedback. Your ability to get feedback from what is happening around is heighted. Things like the amount of force required to clear objects or the nature of different surfaces and the traction you can get on them. 6) Balance between ability level and challenge. The activity is neither too easy nor too difficult. A difficult challenge that’s beyond your abilities is nothing but frustrating. But on the other hand anything too easy will have you bored in no time. 7) A sense of personal control. You feel like you own the situation and everything is under your control. The feeling of having no control is one of the biggest problems in psychology, not just in sport. 8) The activity is internally rewarding. No money involved here, you’re doing what you do just because you enjoy doing it, so actions are effortless. 9) A lack of awareness of bodily needs. Hunger, fatigue just stops mattering for those experiencing flow. 10) People become absorbed in their activity, and focus of awareness is narrowed down to the activity itself, action and awareness become one. In an interview with Wired magazine, Csíkszentmihályi described flow as “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” Achieving flow... To achieve a flow state, a balance must be struck between the challenge of the task and the skill of the performer. If the task is too easy or too difficult, flow cannot occur. So the next time you head out for a training session think about what it is you are trying to achieve with your training. There has been research into martial arts, yoga and meditation to improve people’s capacities for flow. I would argue that Parkour/Freerunning can do the same. Put the flow into Urban Freeflow....
Athlete: Charlie Dance (UK) Photographer: Brad Wendes www.teamkinetix.co.uk
Interview & Pics by Ez During my travels on this Jump Magazine project, I’ve been accompanied overseas a number of times by Nick ‘Capo’ Whitcombe, the head man behind the Apex Parkour team. For some annoying reason he never stops going on about how good his local area of Moreton is for Parkour/Freerunning and that it’d make for a worthy mag feature. Up until now I’ve always been able to palm him off with some excuse about how my dog died (I don’t own a dog) or how I was heading off to (insert any country name here) for a shoot. But after some thought I decided that it did make sense after all and told him that if we could make it a double hitter with a piece on Apex and an interview with Daniel Ilabaca, that I’d head up from London. A couple of calls later and I got message to say that it was game on. We then decided that in order to do the piece justice and for it not to be a rushed job, I’d stay up for 3 days and would be given a tour of all the hotspots. What follows is a mix of generic interview stuff, action pics and a fair dose of messing about..... Hi Nick, for the purpose of this visit only a selection of your team will be here for the full duration which is fine, as it’d just turn into one big gang bang of people, who will be fighting for camera attention. Can you give me a run down of who’s here and who couldn’t be bothered to turn up?
Capo: This weekend will see Robert ‘Blaze’ Hughes, Owen ‘Hego’ Hegarty, Johnny ‘Spring’ Phillips, Toby ‘Kezo’ Kelly, Sean ‘Shibby’ Middlebrough, Nathan ‘Chappo’ Chapman and myself session all of the spots. Rob Hooper might join us at some point too. The ones not here are: Ben Taplin, Sam Waitting, Adam ‘Twist’ Sturgess, Will Sutton, Joe Scandrett, Michael ‘Fishy’ Fishgold, Katie Welsh and Emma Davies. That’s a nice healthy sized team you have there. So can the ones who are going to be with us for the length of my stay here, introduce themselves and provide a brief bio. Not you though, Nick. We’ll pick things
“I was just really amazed by how this guys moved, so it just started from there”
up with you in a bit. Johnny: My name is Johnny Phillips, aged 20 originally from Mitcham but deported to Warrington in 2006 <laughs>. Been practising since 2007, I love my fried chicken and have the amazing ability to grow an afro <laughs>. I only got into Parkour when I moved up to Warrington, where some locals who went to the same college showed me what they did and some clips from a recent trip to Moreton where they met up with Dan etc. I was just really amazed by how this guy moved, so it just started from there. My Favourite place in Moreton has to be outside the Youthy. I think
its got a good range of stuff to do there. At the moment I’m just waiting for my shoulder to recover fully so I’m really keen on running precisions right now, and there’s a few to do there, along with some kong precisions and hurdles and so on... Thanks Johnny. How about you Chappo? Nathan ‘Chappo’ Chapman, aged 15 from Liverpool. Been training since January 2008. I’m the baby of the group, also known as the stunt double for Mr Bean, sadly, due to my apparent resemblance to Rowan Atkinson. My main strengths are flips and creative street stunts, though I’ve focused a lot more on Parkour this year. I started practising aged 12 with my cousin, through watching ‘Jump Britain’. The death defying jumps and climbs appealed to me and I thought that Freerunning would make me stand out from other people due to it being an unusual sport. I never found regular sports such as football to be fun or entertaining, but Freerunning was something that caught my eye and because nobody I knew did it, they wouldn’t know if I was good at it or not <laughs>. Seemed like a genious idea to me. It has really changed my life with regard to fitness and my general outlook, so I hope that I can do it for as long as possible. My favourite spot in Moreton is the Methodist, you can see it in many videos of people visiting Moreton. It has literally everything you want to train if that be precisions, catleaps, 180 cats, some flips, I could go on, but really, the great thing about Moreton is that the spots are so close to each other that there is no time wasting walking from one place to the other. Why walk when you can Freerun?
As soon as I arrived at Apex HQ there was a shark feeding frenzy in effect. A few boxes of merchandise from sponsors had just been delivered. As the old saying goes, free shit is good shit.
At the methodist church thereâ€™s an abundance of stuff to do and the rooftop allows for some nice precision and cat opps. Here Nick executes a running precision.
Sadly, spikes and anti-climb grease is something you see a lot of in Moreton. Aside from being a pain, it does little to dampen the enthusiasm of determined practitioners and serves to be just another obstacle to overcome.
Thanks Chappo, who’s next? Kezo: Toby “Kezo” Kelly, aged 16 from West Kirby been training since January 2008. My strengths are probably my cat leaps, My toes and ankles were unbreakable for years up until last week when they died doing a level cat leap. However, I feel that lately my running jumps have been my best thing. I started by filming my mates jumping over rails and walls during the winter of 2007 but then properly gave it ago myself in January 2008. However, for half a year training consisted of jumping off the highest wall that we could find and doing millions of side flips. Eventually, after meeting Apex Parkour I realised what real training was and became extremely disciplined and started to focus on progression. My favourite spot in Moreton has to be the Methodist. Although we’re restricted to only four or five major spots at the moment, the Methodist can offer hours of training and enjoyment. The thing that amazes me about Moreton is the fact that everyone thinks it’s around the same size as Liverpool when realistically, Moreton consists of just 4 main roads <laughs>. Cheers Kezzo. How about you Owen? Hego: I’m Owen Hegarty aka Hego, 18 from the Isle of Man but living in Liverpool for years now. I travel between the two throughout the year. Got into Parkour to get away from bizzy’s because I’m scouse <laughs>. I got into Parkour in 2006. What got me into Freerunning was watching the Urban Freeflow day on the Extreme sports channel I was just flicking through and just happened to see you, Ez, preparing to jump the baby 45 <laughs>.
I’d always wanted to do flips, so I thought I would give it a go and I haven’t looked back since. I would say my main strength is probably twisting and street stunts. My favourite place to train in Moreton is the Pavilion just because I’ve got so many good memories from training there with everybody. Damn, that Extreme Sports documentary is a blast from the past! Who’s next? Blaze: Robert ‘Blaze’ Hughes, 19 from Walton, Liverpool. Started training 2005 to avoid scum an smack heads asking me for change <laughs>. Needless to say, Freerunning has really changed my life beyond anything I thought it could. My
“Freerunning has changed my life beyond anything I thought it could”
main strength is being a Jack of all trades master of none <laughs>. My favourite place in Moreton would have to be the youth centre or the Methodist as I first met Apex or Urban Lemurs (as they used to be known) there with a little beef cake as their leader <laughs>. Had some great times there. Thanks Blaze. Last and by no means least, what about you Shibby? Shibby: Sean ‘Shibby’ Middlebrough, aged 18. Seeking to take my mind off a past I regret, I saw great potential in Parkour to help me do so. I’ve be active since
December 2005, learning the philosophy and core movements. I feel that the philosophical and diciplined side of Parkour is slowly creeping away from the youngsters of PK, so along with my loveable antics and entertaining personality I try to educate others whenever I can. My ultimate dream is a global lifestyle training in places I would ordinarily never get to visit. My favorite place to train in Moreton is the youthy but it’s now a fortress so the next best place is probably G. Evans, which is flat yet versatile. Thanks guys, back to you Nick. tell me a bit about the Apex team in your own words. Capo: The team itself formed shortly after my beginning Parkour in mid 2003 though at the time, after several days of researching names of various breeds of monkeys, we decided on ‘Urban Lemurs’ as our name. Really though it was just a rip off of Ilabacas ‘Urban Monkeys’ team at the time, for anybody who remembers his first website. As you know personally there was literally no information, guidelines or video tutorials anywhere on the web at the time about Parkour or Freerunning so for the first year or so it was little more than a combination of who could jump off the highest roof and how many security guard/ police chases we could get in a day. There were 6 of us to begin with though only myself from the original 6 is still active now. Over the 7 years we’ve had an active team I’ve seen so many people come and go, many with world class talent who have gotten bored and simply lost interest or just become lazy, which has been depressing to see happen time after time.
This was Shibbyâ€™s first day back in training after a period of inactivity, so he took his time to ease back into things. Here he executes a kong to crane as he works up to a kong to precision.
Some of these people are so under-appreciative of the skill they’ve been blessed with. Sadly, that’s a common theme anywhere you look in the scene. I can think of countless talented athletes who’ve slipped under the radar. So when did you start to take Parkour seriously? Capo: As the scene grew and David’s first video come about which was the one with Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ as the background song, which I think dropped mid-late 04, we finally had a small taste of the world of Parkour beyond the obvious climbing around and horribly unhealthy height drops. Being no older than 12 or 13 at the time, big drops was where it was at <laughs>. Things slowly began to get more serious and ever so slightly the bar began to get raised. Personally though, I feel the biggest year for growth on the scene was 2006 and many athletes, myself included, made the trip out to Lisses and met with the locals there and gained greater knowledge of various techniques and new training methods. Then late that year the Yamakasi released ‘Generation Yamakasi’ to Google Video which to this day is probably the most insightful video about Parkour I’ve ever seen - from that point everyone knuckled down. We trained longer, harder, bigger, drilled for hours on end and really had a whole new mental outlook on the movement. What was it about Parkour that appealed to you initially? Capo: Well the first time I met Ilabaca I must have been about 8 or 9 years old. I approached him at our local park when he caught my attention somersaulting around. It was when he’d first started doing
Capoeira. Instantly I knew it was something I really wanted to get involved with and after our brief encounter I headed home and told my mum I’d found something I really wanted to give a go. You see, after several years of playing for junior football and cricket teams and then leaving because of sheer boredom, she’d been on a quest to find me a new sport/hobby to participate in to keep me out of trouble. When she asked me the name of what it was I’d seen him doing, so she could enquire about local clubs, it had completely slipped my mind and I convinced myself it was called Calypso <laughs>. Obviously this wasn’t right and lacking the name or any way of contacting
“We’d go ‘grafting’ at night which was pretty much just stealing stuff from the backs of superstores” Danny it was given up on and forgotten about. It wasn’t until 3 or 4 years later when a friend of mine had knocked at my house and asked me to come out with him and some other local mates, who were doing what he referred to as something like ‘Roof Running’. As it happened they had been introduced to what we now know as Parkour by Ilabaca a few days earlier and later that evening we met up with him, and again the next day and the day following and so on. At the time of all this, Danny slowly but surely became a local icon, the Peter Pan of our local estate and I had nothing but admiration and respect for his
ability at the time, which even by today’s standards was high. It was with this that I started Parkour. Interesting stuff. Tell us more about the early days when you’d just started training with Danny. Capo: Around 2004 there was a group of maybe up to 14 of us aged between 13-16 who clicked together with Danny being the Alpha of the group. It was a dark time where we got into all kinds of petty crimes. We used to have a specific circuit of shops we’d shoplift from every day without fail. We’d go ‘grafting’ at night which was pretty much just stealing stuff from the backs of superstores and breaking into peoples garages. We’d steal whatever we could get our hands on that was worth selling followed by a 4am doorstep to doorstep milk stealing spree, before crashing asleep under the carpet shop shutters until it was a decent enough time to head back home and blag to our parents that we’d stayed at a friends watching movies and eating popcorn. We’d often attack groups from rival estates or anybody that didn’t fit our stereotype. It really was a dark time but around early 2005 Danny changed into a whole new person and defected from how we’d previously been living. He did what he could to bring us all on board, unfortunately from our original click I stood alone by his side and we watched our old friends slowly but surely slip into some real bad stuff. To this day from the original 12 of us it’s only myself and Danny who haven’t done time in prison. Some are still there now and I’m certain that if it wasn’t for the guidance I received from Dan, I too would be behind bars and I’m forever
Johnny steps up with a real spring to his step in order to clear the wall and go straight into a precision.
A perfect spot for drilling strides but as youâ€™d expect, the residents donâ€™t take too kindly to seeing multi coloured scousers on their rooftops. As a result, this place could be sessioned for about 10 mins before someone pulled out a rifle and started taking pot shots. Not even David Belle can run faster than a bullet!
Kezo had to really use his head for this fat precision opportunity
in debt to him for that. I think it’s fair to say that most of us go through rough patches growing up as teenagers but luckily for you, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Let’s fast forward a bit to the point where you set up Apex. Blaze hinted earlier about you guys using the ‘Urban Lemurs’ monicker. Can you enlighten us? Capo: Well around late 2006 we decided to make our first attempt to break into Parkour/ Freerunning as professionals and went by the name of Urban Lemurs. We quickly felt that it wasn’t a name any brand or company would take seriously, so I set out to find a suitable name to represent us in the business sector. I checked through the dictionary and a thesaurus for weeks on end until we came to a choice between either Pinnacle Parkour or Apex Parkour. Apex seemed most logical as most of our training is rooftop/height work and the definition of Apex being the vertex or highest point. Isn’t there a team in the US using that same name? Capo: There are gym sessions in the US going by ‘Apex Movement’. They cropped up around 2008 and I contacted them at the time of their beginning for obvious reasons and they stated that were was no conflict as they are not a team of practitioners or have anything to do with the scene. They just run gym workshops and use the similar name to represent the sessions. Cough *LAWSUIT* Cough. Capo: Nah, it’s all cool. Talking of the law, you guys have had your share of
incidents. It was well documented a while back that Moreton was the first place in the World to have a Parkour/ Freerunning ban imposed, with the threat of ASBO’s being handed out to those who broke the ban. What the hell was all that about? Capo: Up until very early in 2009 we had a stable and friendly relationship with both the council and local police but as the year progressed, we had a massive influx of international guests throughout the entire summer. I’m not joking when I say that there literally wasn’t one day in the 8 week bulk of the summer that we didn’t have guests staying at Apex HQ. For those that have never visited
“Up until very early in 2009 we had a stable and friendly relationship with both the council and local police” Moreton, all of our spots are all found within a square mile very similar to that of Lisses. Essentially it’s a quiet little town/estate so it’s difficult to go unnoticed especially when 90% of our hotspots aren’t legally accessible. At the start of the Summer we hosted a birthday jam for one of our guys and the turnout was close to 80 practitioners from all over the country which, even for Central London is over-crowding the spots. So to say we attracted some police attention would be a harsh understatement <laughs>. With the amount of global practitioners coming to visit, the
local popularity of the sport began to soar and a lot of younger kids got involved, which we thought was great initially. That was until they started to damage windows, drainpipes, tiles and everything else in-between coupled with the obvious wear and tear of the spots from all the guests. We of course were blamed for it all and shortly after came the announcement of the apparent ‘Parkour Ban’. That must of been like a punch in the guts for you guys. How did events unfold? Capo: Yeah, dark times again! The council distributed leaflets door to door all around Moreton announcing that Parkour would be banned and would no longer be tolerated. It was being treated as an act of ‘Anti Social Behaviour’ which as all of you UK guys will know, is the new category they’ve pretty much made up, so they can have an excuse to lock you up for whatever reason they like. Shortly after the leaflets were delivered, I received a letter in the post requesting I attend a recorded interview regarding my alleged ‘Anti Social Behaviour’. The recorded interview/questioning stage is step 1 of 3 towards getting an Anti Social Behaviour Order (ASBO). Harsh lines, man. For those who still don’t get what an ASBO is, how does it work? Capo: An anti-social behaviour order is an Order of the Court which tells an individual over 10 years old how they must not behave. The rules of usually consist of not being allowed to enter certain areas (local Parkour spots or Moreton itself), having a time curfew which forces you to return home
There are a lot of derelict spots in Moreton and this one looked particularly dodgy, but nowhere near as dodgy as Shibby looks here.
Spikes and grease do very little to stop a determined thief. I mean determined Freerunner. Here Hego scales the wall with ease and breaches the crack denâ€™s defences.
by say 6pm at night until the following day etc. Breaching of an ASBO can result in being sent to prison. Sorry, but that sounds absolutely insane! So you attended this interview, right? Capo: I attended the interview having, in my eyes, done nothing wrong and having nothing to hide. I was confronted with over 10 pages of questions which were read to me one at a time and I had to answer accordingly. They had every single date and incident listed since I’d begun in 2003 and had been approached by or cautioned by the police. They proceeded to question me about an assault charge I had received in 2002 as if it had anything to do with the issue at hand. It was a blatant attempt to make me look as anti social as possible on the tape recording for when it would be presented to a judge. Sounds like they really had it in for you. Why on Earth were you singled out? Capo: Being what I can only describe as the spokesmen for the Moreton scene for many years, I was the only person who they could match a name to a face from CCTV recordings and on the logged police records for when I’d engaged in conversations with the police. In effect, all their efforts to punish and attempts to make an example of somebody were directed at me. Shortly after this interview I met with my solicitor who schooled me on the fact that you cannot actually ban anything without having to go through the appropriate court system which takes months to do. So with this in mind, there was no possible way they had legally ‘banned’ Parkour. He contacted the council and
suggested if they did not withdraw this false ban he would press charges for not only falsifying the ban but also for violating our human rights. He stated that because we do Parkour professionally and within obvious reason the practising of such is completely legal they cannot by law, ban it so loosely. As a result, they retracted that they had ‘Banned’ Parkour. However they then went on to say there was now a ‘No tolerance’ of Parkour on Pasture Road in Moreton which is more or less the road which our 4 main spots are on. So you were back to square one again? Does it get any better than that?
“Our local youth club was fitted with bolted spikes around the perimeter of the roof edge”
Capo: Around this time we lost a lot of our areas, our local youth club was fitted with bolted spikes and rotatable spikes around the full perimeter of the roof edge. One of our main catleap/180 areas was greased inches thick and another of our spots was fenced off and pulled down just to stop us training there. This leaves us these days with very slim pickings on where to train, making variation very difficult without travelling to other areas. Don’t even think about telling me that you’ve been defeated. Capo: Not a chance. We only really have one hotspot left
which they did cover in vandal grease but rest assured, no grease can defeat 5 scousers with 2 buckets of water, a bottle of washing up liquid and some scrubbing brushes <laughs>. That’s the spirit <laughs>. So where do you stand with the authorities right now? Capo: Well, Summer passed and everything died down. The nuisance kids got bored and moved on to something else and the local scene died as it always does when the weather gets cold. We had feared things would get worse again this summer but for reasons unknown to us,we’ve had barely any guests this year, UK or international and the local scene has been next to dead all year besides the few of us who are dedicated enough to persevere through the bad times. We’ve had no trouble from the council in the past 12 months and I’d go as far as to call 90% of the local police ‘friends’ now. Thankfully everything has settled but the result of it all means that we don’t have the spots any more to make Moreton worth visiting, unless you’re relatively local. It’s good to hear that all’s well with the police now but just for old times sake, give us an insight into the not so bright mischievous days. Capo: In the past 2-3 years we’ve had no issues with physically uncivil police but in the first 2-3 years of us practising when Parkour was still completely alien to the world, we used to get a lot of drama. Back then we never used to stop and talk to the police to explain what we were doing it was just a case of “oh fuck there’s the police... RUN!” and I’m sure most of you know ,the majority of police are
At the heart of Apex HQ which is always a hive of activity. On this occasion the night revolved around watching bails videos, eating hot dogs, biscuits and cussing Blaze about his socks, which smell so bad they could Freerun on their own.
horribly unfit so they never ever used to catch us but this only enraged them further, so on the very rare occasion they did catch somebody they’d make sure they made the most of it. Police brutality? Capo: A handful of times a couple of our lads had been given beatings by the police then sent on their way in an attempt to put a stop to what we were doing. I recall one time when Danny was running from the police and was cornered in a local car park and the only way out is only doable by someone trained in Parkour, so it would usually be a safe bet that you could get away. However what Dan was unaware of was that earlier that day the wall you jump up to to get away had been vandal greased. So he runs, strides a rail up to the wall hits the grease and slips down onto his back. The officers then set their dog onto him and smacked him in the face. As I said though in recent years there’s been no problems whatsoever and all the local police are really safe besides the odd out of town Bobby who’ll think he’s almighty and powerful and in that scenario, we’ll just tease and taunt him making him run in circles trying to catch us so he knows better next time <laughs>. I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting that kind of answer. I’m reading a paragraph from the interview questions here and there’s one bit where you’re supposed to have said “get a real job you fat twat and fuck off before I kick your head in now you fat fuck”. That’s word for word exactly as it’s printed with no comma’s. While anyone who understands your humour will find it amusing, don’t you think
you deserved a bit of a kicking from time to time, for being such little shits? Capo: I think this was around March 2008, the community patrol (plastic police) had been called out because Ben ‘Jenx’ Jenkin had been seen by various elderly residents taking a piss off a roof or as they worded it ‘indecently exposing himself and urinating from a rooftop’. The guy who was dispatched is a full-on tool and of anybody, he’d be our nemesis in authority though luckily, being com’ patrol his ability to do anything to us is very limited. On that day we were having a jam so there was between 20-30 guys out and as he arrived he attempted to line everybody up
“The officers then set their dog on him and smacked him in the face”
against the wall. I have to point out that he had no legal authority to detain us or physically handle us. His request of “can you all please line up along the wall and wait for the police to arrive” didn’t go down too well and he must have been seriously mentally retarded if he expected us all to line up and wait there for 15 minutes to then be arrested. My best mate Blacky has a lot less patience and tolerance for authority than the rest of us, so to he responded by jumping on top of his patrol car, pulling his pants and boxers to his ankle and saying something like “fuck off you fat twat and get a real job you
plastic piggy” then proceeded to hop down from the roof to the bonnet and then ran awkwardly down the road with his pants still around his ankles singing “who ate all the pies”, you really would have to know him to appreciate his humour. He’s completely harmless but takes police/authority about as seriously as any skilled practitioner takes Parkour Generations. Sounds like perfect material for a showreel <laughs>. Shame you didn’t record it all. At the end of the day, we do need to show respect to the authorities but when you come up against officers whether they are police or security, they can’t expect respect if they step up like assholes. Before we move onto the happier questions, there’s another bit from your interview questions and it states that local residents believe that the Apex team is run by fear and if members don’t do as you say, you beat them up <laughs>. Please set the record straight. Capo: Well I usually carry a baseball bat with me just in case any of my guys aren’t willing to try a new jump or move but that’s what a team leader does, right? <laughs>. Jokes aside, where this came from to this day still baffles me, I honestly didn’t think they were being serious by asking that and I just laughed it off but the interviewer was like “No, I’m actually asking a serious question.” Some of the crap people come out with really does crack me up. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen that a majority of your training includes roof gaps. Is this an important part of your game? Capo: Nearly all of our spots are on rooftops in Moreton so
Johnny and Blaze get their groove on with a spot of Bromance Freerunning. Itâ€™ll never catch on.
Undeterred, Blaze made an indecent proposal which took Johnny by complete surprise. The answer was yes by the way.
Blaze watches on as Nick wall runs and scales this wall in a matter of seconds. Not bad going for a fat lad.
naturally there’s a lot of roof gaps. This isn’t really by choice as we have virtually nothing at ground level to practice on. It’s definitely worked in our favour though. Unlike a lot of the scenes I’ve visited around the UK we’re all completely comfortable at any height and are more than confident enough to max out at height. Though I obviously wouldn’t advise it for complete beginners, rooftop training can be really productive unlike training at ground level, when you have the opportunity to just half arse something and not put everything into it. You really have to commit your mind and body 110% and commit to what you’re attempting because the risk is far greater. It teaches you that control and confidence are the most important aspects of Parkour. For instance, a 15 foot gap at ground level only requires physical strength but the same size gap with a 30 foot drop in the middle is a whole different ball game, where your mind and body must work together. You need to be completely confident in your ability to not only make the distance, but to have the skill to recover properly if you come short. It’s important to practice recoveries at say maybe 8-10 feet high. For example with a running precision, if you’re only used to training at ground level you would hit it and just bounce back onto your feet however at height it doesn’t work like that you must practice at an appropriate height to be able to hit the landing and drop back into catleap if you come too short. Does this type of approach to your training make you feel different from others you’ve encountered on your travels in the community?
Capo: Yeah, we like that we’re a little bit different in our methods. We focus a lot less on vaults and flips and a lot more on brute speed, gaps and wall runs. I’ve been chased by gangs, police, helicopters, dogs and everything in-between and I can honestly say in those situations I’ve never ever used a Kong vault and very rarely a catleap for that matter. There are all these kids that claim they train Parkour to be efficient but at the end of the day, until you’ve been put in a life threatening situation like most of us Liverpool guys have, how do you honestly know what’s efficient? It’s all good and well saying oh if I got chased I would Kong precision this, catleap to that wall and maybe
“we’re all completely comfortable at height and are more than confident to max out at height”
then do this running precision or whatever, but when you’re running for your life and your heart is beating a million reps per second and your mind is racing it really doesn’t go how you’d imagine it to. Try sprinting as fast as you possibly can for 2 miles and then see if you have the energy to risk your life on that wall run you’ve done so many times in training. Interesting theory. During my short visit here, I’ve seen lots of spikes on the rooftops you’ve taken me to and I’m now covered in anti climb paint. It obviously hasn’t stopped you
guys from moving but surely it’s been frustrating? Capo: Yeah, it has been frustrating but there’s little we can really do about it but keep our heads up, stay positive and keep moving with hope that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Councils all over the Country are embracing Parkour and setting up Parks and Centres so we just hope that maybe one day our council will finally catch up with the times. Keep hope alive. I’m from London and we generally consider you Scousers to be thieving tracksuit wearing layabouts. Is that a fair description and in turn, what’s your opinion of us Southerners? Capo: <laughs> Though it’s been some years since I’ve fitted that description that’s unfortunately an accurate description of an average scouser, stealing or scruming as we used to call it, was probably our favourite pastime, milk floats were always a favourite on the way to school and easy to drive even for a 14 year old kid. My opinion of London before I started Free running was only what I’d seen in films and heard from friends in Luton that I’d spoken to over the net. I imagined a lot of really hardened cockney gangsters, guns and street violence. However since starting Freerunning, the thousands of guys I’ve met from London and surrounding areas when I’ve visited, have been real hardcore mummy’s boys who would be scared to hop a fence and tresspass to retrieve an over-shot football <laughs>. In my experience so far though in the scene, that’s the type of kid Parkour & Freerunning generally attracts, so maybe I’m yet to experience real London but for now, you lot fully fit the
Southern fairy category <laughs>. Ok, I’ll let you have that one <laughs>. Let’s talk about life outside of the Moreton ghetto’s. Out of all the Apex team you’re the most travelled. Tell us about some of your exploits this year. Capo: This year has been an absolute monster for travelling in and out of the UK. I’ve been out of the UK more this year than in the last 3 years combined. Some of the highlights would be...the Session Internationale gathering we attended in Paris. We all headed out from the UK in a 17 Seater Glyph Minibus arriving in Paris the night before the jam, giving us chance to have a good noob tourist check around Central Paris. Then we hit Lisses to spend the night in the cheapness of the F1 hotel, so we got to have a good play on Dame Du Lac before hitting the hay. We hit up Paris the following afternoon but being incompetent British tourists, we obviously didn’t arrive on time so when we did actually turn up, we’d missed the warm up but everybody else was there and damn, the turn out was huge! Hundreds of guys and girls of all ages from all round the World had turned out and the weather was fantastic. We were shown around all the old school 13th District spots by the French guys which was really sick as some of them are really unique to anything we have in the UK. We jammed the day away and after waiting what felt like 6 hours in a KFC queue we got some grub and headed back to the Eiffel Tower and got some fantastic footage with the tower lights sparkling in the background. I’ve got mixed feelings about the Paris trip as you guys were a
a major disappointment. As a result, I ended all contact with a whole bunch of you. Where else have you been? Capo: I fully undesrtand about Paris, man. We also hit Denmark up earlier in the year which was complete madness. As far as countries go, I’ve never seen anything like it. Such a crazily rich place. One of the local guys, Jakob Jensen, had arranged a huge jam and a group of us Brits headed out to get involved. Our first day there felt more like a typical holiday with the guys’ than a training venture. Jakob had the keys to a local sports equipment storage lock up which had everything from 100 pairs of
“This year has been an absolute monster for travelling in and out of the UK”
skates and hockey sticks to scooters and basketballs. The sun was booming and we spent the entire day playing every sport you can imagine. Hardly any of us had any experience in roller blading or having the slightest clue how to stop or slow down at full speed <laughs>. We had a heavily competitive game of hockey which was hilarious and by late afternoon we were bumped, bruised and cut to pieces from the none stop falling over for 2 hours. Later in the evening we headed to the house we’d be staying in overnight, which was huge and was equiped with a ground level trampoline. A barbecue had
been set up for us especially. We had a feast, drank some beers, played on the trampoline and ended the night watching Southpark on a projector screen from Chima’s laptop. Was a great night indeed. Explain a bit about what we’d be doing at the jam? Capo: The morning after we set off for the jam and were taken to some really sick spots in an area called Federicia and then we went to a 3 hour gym session with a nastily painful warm up. That evening the plan was for 50+ people from the gym session to sleep in a school gymnasium with hard floor and no blankets <laughs>. Everybody was commanded to go to sleep at 10pm but being semi-nocturnal Brits, that wasn’t going to happen, especially as we were treating it as a holiday. So we set out on what we were told was a 15 minute walk to McDonalds for some munchies and 2 hours later we arrived, feasted and headed back for some fun and games. I have to admit that it was a funny night but I don’t think our Danish hosts were too pleased with us. Capo: <laughs> We arrived back at the gym around 1.30 am and all the lights were out with everyone asleep inside. None of us were even the slightest bit tired so we chilled in the changing rooms in next room from the gym hall. We were making ample amounts of noise talking and messing about and managed to wake up Jakob, the guy who had arranged the entire jam. He stormed into the changing rooms and attempted to tell us all off then stormed into the toilet cubical and locked the door. Unfortunately for him he was unaware that 60 seconds
After being ribbed constantly about the bromance incident with Johnny, Blaze tries to redeem himself via motion but itâ€™s too little and too late for that.
Nick sounded a call to arms for everyone to do this gap and suddenly, the jovial banter subsided as assholes started to squeak. Whilst this wasnâ€™t the biggest gap in the world, it had been a long day of jumping about and enthusiasm really wasnâ€™t flowing at this point.
So with only 3 people (Nick, Kezo and Chappo) being prepared to step up, the only way to do so was with a spot of YMCA humour.
prior to this, a certain UF rep had been in there and dropped a massive bomb <laughs>. Even from the other side of the changing room it was making our eyes water. Given that he’d just raged at all of us, he’d have looked stupid coming out of the toilet because of the smell, so he stayed in there for a full-on 5 mins in order to try and save face, which must have been pure torture <laughs>. He brought it on himself for being a Buzz Killington in the first place. Capo: True. Anyway, while he was holding his breath in the toilets, we took this as our cue to try and locate our sleeping spots in the pitch black gym. Our bags had been set up on the far side of the room at least 30-40 feet away so we made a swift run for it kicking and trampling at least 15 people in process. We dived for the floor and pretended we were asleep as the guys we’d just stomped on scanned the room to see what was going on <laughs>. 5 minutes went by and people were just about to get to sleep again. At this point Elliot decided that he needed his daily dose of hard core porn and knocks the volume up to full blast to ensure the rest of the hall could hear on and off for a good 10 minutes. Everything died down again and the Danish guys were finally hoping we’d fell asleep. How wrong they were.... Charlie’s phone started ringing and he answered loud enough so that the next street could hear “Hello?! No I can’t talk cos I’m in Denmark and people are trying to sleep. I might wake them up. Call me tomorrow!” He must have woken up at least 95% of the guys in there <laughs>. It’s fair to say the next day we got our fair share of evil
looks but that made it all the more worthwhile <laughs>. Anyone spending any time with you guys will see that humour plays a big part in your game. Is this important to you? Capo: Definitely. None of us take anything in life too serious, as life is far too short to be uptight and stiff. We live for the laughs and to anybody outside of our circle observing a standard day with us, you’d assume we all hated each other but nothing is ever personal. It’s all about who can tear into someone and be the funniest about it. In my opinion somebody who lacks the ability to laugh at themselves is nothing more than bad company. Guys like the ones in
“we’d sleep in until 5pm and then meet up around 7pm to train and climb through the night until sunrise” the Manchester scene for example, who’s standard training session consists of push ups drills, eating fruit, salad and discussing new conditioning exercises is our idea of pure hell. Nothing but prison should be that insufferably boring. Parkour is fun and enjoyable it’s not some ancient martial art that should be all spiritual, philosophical and have you training like you’re in the military. You should be able to train and progress at your own pace, with one of the most important things in life being happiness. I find it hard to believe that 10,000 topless push ups in the rain every day could
bring a smile to anybody’s face, besides the guys walking past you getting their 10 laughs at how much of an idiot you look. Humour is absolutely vital for atmosphere with us in Liverpool and I know the Cambridge scene is very similar too. As you’re aware, we’re doing a big feature on Daniel Ilabaca for this issue. Going back to the subject of him, I know we’ve touched on it a bit, but what role has he played for you guys in Moreton? Capo: Back in the day Danny played a huge role for me. We’d both been kicked out of school so we only really had each other to go out with most of the time after our click breaking up which I mentioned earlier. We were both pretty nocturnal at the time too so we’d sleep in until like 5pm and then meet up around 7pm to train and climb through the night until sunrise, it was a great couple of years and really gave me a mental and physical boost which prepared me for the couple years training practically alone that followed. When his career started and he began to pick up work, I slowly but surely saw less and less of him when it got to the point where I’d only see him once every few months which was grim. I’d always text him to ask him to come out when he was home but from what he’s explained to me, he felt it was important that I learn the ‘way’ myself instead of him guiding me every step of the way which is important for everybody to do. Unless you find the way by yourself it will never be your way, always somebody else’s way, always someone else’s Parkour that you’re doing. Parkour should be unique and personal to every practitioner. Danny really made me see this though at the time, I really felt
like he’d deserted me, I now fully appreciate and understand why. Most of the other guys on the team didn’t crop up till around 2006/2007 so they missed what I feel was the really great days of Parkour when everything was experimental, fresh and new. Things were so much more enjoyable back then and there was none of this over serious, philosophically preachy, pre-decided rules in the scene. Has having him live around the corner boosted the attraction for people wanting to come to Moreton and train? Capo: From 2004-2007 Danny attracted many people from all over the place to Moreton and it allowed us, being very young and not having a lot of cash at the time, the opportunity to network with people from around the world which was really cool. From around late 2007 he was away more than he was home so things changed there, but it was around that time we dropped our first video which at the time was one of the few actual heavy content Parkour videos out, so we started getting visitors of our own very frequently. To this day though people still want to visit all the areas Ilabaca trained at, so I’m always getting messages on forums with requests from people needing somewhere to stay and someone to guide them around. I’m always willing to accommodate anybody who wants to visit and train in Moreton on the condition they’re respectful to the area and locals. <laughs> That’s both admirable and rich coming from Mr Asbo. Capo: Fuck you! <laughs>Ok some generic
questions now. Best place visited for Parkour to date? Capo: I’d love to say this was hard to answer due to seeing so many epic places but it definitely isn’t, so without a shadow of a doubt Cambridge is the sickest and most positive place I’ve ever been to. The spots are really sick but that wasn’t the main attraction factor for me, the atmosphere of the place as a whole was unreal not just the practitioners, the entire community of Cambs. Everybody seemed really happy, energetic and everywhere you look somebody is running or biking, every patch of grass we went past there’s people playing sports and just generally having this great athletic vibe
“I’m always willing to accommodate anyone who wants to visit and train in Moreton”
about them. Everywhere is clean and well kept . I’d never seen anything like that in my life it was a real shock to experience, as up here in the North of England it’s just grimy and polluted, we have factories everywhere, council estates, gangs, litter and absolutely everybody is negative, lazy and unfit. Visiting Cambridge made me realise how negative and dull the north of England is in comparison to the majority of the South and it’s honestly saddening to know that none of the clueless 9-5 sheep up here know any different way to be. I would recommend anybody that hasn’t already been there,
to contact some of the local guys who are all mega safe and accommodating. Places on your wish-list to travel to? Capo: There’s nowhere for Parkour training specifically I’d like to visit because I feel once you’ve seen once sick set of walls you’ve seen them all and nowhere in the world that I’ve seen comes close to the spots we have to offer in the UK. Saying that though, meeting other practitioners around the world to swap stories with, exchange ideas, training together and just knowing you already have so much in common before you’ve even exchanged your first words with one another, is such an incredibly unique experience. So with that in mind, I’d love to visit anywhere at all that has a big and friendly scene... Brazil, Mexico, Netherlands etc. Training aside, ever since I was young enough to know what’s what I’ve always wanted to visit America, no real preference on state though if I had to choose probably either California or New York though just to experience the US at all is number 1 on my bucket list. I’ve always been a huge fan boy of America movies, music and fashion so naturally it’s always been the number one destination to visit and maybe even make the move to live there one day. In a professional capacity, what’s been the most enjoyable project to date and why? Capo: Without even needing to consider anything else Devil’s Playground takes the crown for this one. It was a British horror movie we were invited on board for by you guys at UF. It wasn’t only the best professional
Nick shows us where he used to play as a kid with all his toys (and needles).
Spreading the Moreton love and even Daniel Ilabaca canâ€™t stop himself from joining in with a group hug.
If you were to visit Liverpool in the 1980’s, this look would have been all the rage. Here though, Hego gets a name change to Owen ‘Luigi’ Hegarty.
experience I’ve been a part of but also one of, if not the sickest experience in the past 10 years of my life. For real? Dude, you need to get out more. Capo: <laughs> Seriously, it was sick. The first set we were called for was in what seemed like a giant derelict roofless warehouse, where they had machines pumping fog onto the set, a helicopter and bits of debris on fire in various places. Being there was creepy enough, but to be there alone would seriously mess your mind up. Having no previous experience in anything similar, especially in being a rabid zombie and having missed the rehearsals a few weeks before, I had no idea what to expect or what to do once they called action. My plan was just to stay near the back of the pack and follow what the person in front did. However it really wasn’t my lucky day as one of the filming crew came over to organise us and stuck me a good 15 feet in front of everybody else to lead the attack with only “run in and move and sound like zombie” as my instructions <laughs>. In my mind I’m thinking what the fuck does a zombie sound like? It’s 4am, -6 degrees, snowing, I’m panicking thinking I’m about to mess up the entire take which has just taken them like an hour to set up, my hearts pounding and my minds racing trying to think what ridiculous noise I should make while running like a retard toward two of the main cast. They called for quiet, standby.... ACTION! As soon as I heard action something clicked and I was off, snarling and sprinting as best I could, CUT, perfect! In disbelief that it didn’t actually go wrong, I was relieved to say the least. After that,
everything fell into place and it was just a case of fully getting into it and just getting stuck in. Being on a movie set is completely surreal, just to apply our make up and prosthetics it took them around 60 minutes per person. Having somebody spending an hour attaching veins and blood to your face and being able to watch the full transformation in the mirror in front of you, piece by piece, is incredibly cool. And what has been the worst pro experience so far? Capo: Damn, our worst professional experience as a team would have to go to the Sunset Music Festival 2010. It was a huge festival featuring
“15 failed minutes to sober up passed and we headed up on stage for 5 minutes of bails and stumbles” Example, Wiley, Tinchy Stryder etc - They basically came to us with the proposal that they would use us for some stage performances on the first evening in-between acts in exchange for V.I.P tickets but no cash payment, at which point we decided if they’re not going to bother paying us we wont make much of an effort. We arrived in the afternoon of the day we were due to perform and were told we’d be needed around 9pm which was a good 6-7 hours away and the event was the middle of nowhere, so there was little to do to keep ourselves entertained. Our very own alcohol enthusiast Owen
suggested we have one pint of beer each to kill some time. Seeing no harm in one drink many hours before we were due to perform, we agreed and cracked on. Now anybody who’s drunk more than once in their life knows that there’s no such thing as just one drink, so inevitably Owen talked us into a second, a third, a forth.... It was now 8.45 pm, 12 pints of beer and a bottle of vodka later with just 15 minutes before we’re due to go on stage, standing up was proving to be quite a challenge let alone having the conscious ability to perform in front of thousands of people. 15 failed minutes of attempting to sober up had passed and we headed up on stage for 5 minutes of bails and stumbles when Blaze had the bright idea to take off his tee shirt and throw it at Tinchy Stryder. I think that one performance could be described as our worst and best all rolled into one depending on how you look at it <laughs>. Oh man, that is hilarious <laughing hysterically>. Ok who are your favourite practitioners of the moment? Capo: Well regarding Freerunning practitioners, I don’t have a favourite as there’s nobody that strikes out as ‘the best’ any more. In my opinion there are about 40 kids now on the same top level. I really think Freerunning has peaked and there’s little that can be done now to properly raise the bar so that scene doesn’t really interest me at all any more. Unlike in 2006 when there were maybe 2-3 world class guys running the show. That’s when things were really interesting. For personality and general attitude toward the movement though my favourite would undoubtedly be Chima Akenzua
Just before this shot was grabbed, Kezo had attempted a level to level cat here and broke his toe. As he sits on the other side in a fair bit of pain, itâ€™s up to Nick to jump across and give him some TLC.
from London. Parkour however, has came further this year than it ever has. There are some really sick practitioners out there right now maybe 5-6 top guys in the world are a good 10 pegs above the rest. Whilst I have to give strongest and most skilled to Phil Doyle, I’d have to give it to Kie Willis for my favourite Parkour practitioner for how laid back and modest he is whilst being amongst the top 5 most skilled traceurs on the scene. With this in mind though, I wouldn’t feel right without giving Callum Powell a mention for being the sickest up and comer who puts out the best videos out of anybody on the scene. On the flipside, who in your opinion is the most overrated? You’ve already offended a few people already, so a few more won’t make any difference. Capo: It’s definitely a close call between Tim ‘Livewire’ Shieff and Ryan Doyle, though I’ve got nothing but love and respect for how safe these guys are, they’re both over-hyped beyond belief. Minus Tim’s break dancing he only has the very bare basics down and there’s thousands of kids on the scene twice his level and a lot more deserving for the fame and recognition he’s got via the World champs but respect to the man for making his cheddar while he can, I’d probably be doing the same in his position. With Ryan I’m not sure how he got known in the first place, he seems to be known more in America than he is in his own area here in Liverpool. If you ask the majority of practitioners around here what they think of him they would just be like “Ryan who?”, he’s a pretty strong tumbler and tricker but other than that he really lacks the big Freerunning
moves and has really beginner level Parkour. From what he told me at the beginning of last year he teaches his students that training outdoors is really bad and they should stick to gym training only. To me, this is crazy and I’d preach the exact opposite of that. I know many of his students and they can do some slick stuff in gym but most are too terrified to do a back flip outside so realistically what’s the point in even calling yourself a Freerunner when you’re just a gymnast? He’s a great tricker as I say, but he recently released a video via Redbull talking about what Parkour should and shouldn’t be and I gotta be honest, that really pissed me off
“we’re due to head out to Lisses in November with a 9 man team”
West to get away from the woes of teenage life. The series follows the group as they fight through the daily trails of being young but whilst being blessed with the freedom to escape above it all to the streets they create above the town they’re confined to. Though the words ‘Freerunning’ or ‘Parkour’ will never be used in the series it will play a dominant part in the story. We recently won a bursary competition held by Umbro Industries with ‘Streets Above’ for most innovative and original idea, they were really excited by our pitch and awarded us number 1 place out of the thousands who applied for the grant. We begin shooting the trailer next week and the series will follow accordingly. Needless to say, we’re all really excited to get the ball moving and are certain the project will be extremely successful.
as he’s never trained Parkour in his life, so to try take authority in preaching to kids what they should and shouldn’t be doing with their Parkour training is disgraceful. Ryan is one of the safest guys I’ve met though and is really humble, so respect to him as a person.
Sound really interesting. Best of luck with that. I’ve heard that you are all heading back over to Lisses again. Is this right? Capo: Yes, we’re due to head out to Lisses in November with a 9 man team consisting of Myself, Will Sutton, Owen Hegarty, Blaze Hughes, Joe Scandrett, Johnny Phillips, Ben Taplin, Sam Waitting and a photographer/film maker. The trip is being generously funded by the brand 510 promoting their Parkour shoe the ‘Daescent’.
Well, respect to you for telling it like you see it. What’s on the horizon for Apex right now? Capo: We’re shortly to begin shooting a new teen drama ‘Streets Above’. The series follows a group of teenagers who choose not to follow the path well travelled. Instead, they take to the rooftops of the North
Why Lisses? Don’t you think it’s been rinsed to death? Capo: I fully agree, Lisses has been rinsed to pieces over the years. However, with only 3 of the current 15 man team we having made the pilgrimage, I feel it’s important that the rest of the guys experience it all before Dame Du
Down by the sunken boat where Chappo pulled his slick looking front flip to cat, was this old abandoned church. Wasting no time, Hego stepped up and grabbed this quality bit of hangtime.
Lac is eventually pulled down and more of the spots are gotten rid of like they did with the stone circle. I’m not really a philosophical or spiritual personal but the times I’ve visited Lisses I’ve come home with a whole new outlook on Parkour and completely refreshed my creativity and imagination. I believe it’s vital that the rest of the guys get to experience this too. Not only that, it’s a good opportunity just for everybody to bond outside of the country and we’ll get to visit Paris which you know first hand, has some amazing spots. At the end of the day though I’d happily have gone to Wales for a week. The location doesn’t make a huge difference at the end of the day, the most important thing is that we get to spend some proper time together away from home as a team. Unity is prime. Anyone planning on doing the Manpower gap? I’m sure I heard someone talking about flipping it. If yes, who in the Apex team is capable of doing that and surviving to tell the tale? Capo: Yes definitely, when myself, Ben Taplin and Scott Sheehan visited Lisses early 2008 we made our mark as Apex by having the first two British and the World’s youngest to ever do the Manpower gap which was released on our first video later that year. Roofgaps and height drops play a massive part in the Liverpool scene so we’re quite conditioned for impact. Right now we have 3 or 4 guys capable of handling the impact of flipping the Manpower gap and I’m 110% confident Ben Taplin will do it, as he flipped ‘Chases Gap’ in Basingstoke last year which for anybody who knows it, is undoubtedly the biggest roof gap ever flipped and he’s
done the Manpower before. Since that trip he keeps going on about how he wants to flip it. Blaze and Will Sutton are also capable of doing it though neither of them have been up there to see it, so I wouldn’t like to put the pressure on them by saying they will so we’ll have to wait and see. Do you only train outdoors or do you also get some gym time down too? Capo: Personally I only train outside as I’ve no real love for gyms. Though saying that, I’ve never had much of an interest in the Freerunning side of things so I’ve never really had much of a need for it. I know many of the biggest flippers on the scene like
“Right now we have 3-4 guys capable of handling the impact of flipping the Manpower gap”
Danny and Jenx don’t bother with gyms either, which is proof that you can achieve the highest standard of flips without gyms contrary to what the gym dependant guys like Ryan Doyle and 3Run would tell you. Do you guys still train regularly together as a team? Capo: Up until this year it was almost every day without fail though laziness seems to have hit the entire scene this year and I’ve seen so much less of everybody that was active last year which is a great shame. As we’re getting older though, the obvious impact of life’s responsibilities start to take
effect, the need to work full time to pay bills, moving out of our parents houses and the obvious biggest time consumer for teenage lads is girlfriends. Mickey really hit the nail on the head when he said “Women weaken legs” <laughs>. One thing that stands out about Apex is the coloured shirts. Are these available to buy anywhere? Capo: They’re available from our online store. We currently sell hoodies and tee shirts in all varieties of colours though at the moment only in our main logo until we release additional designs at the start of next year. Ok before we wrap things up, anyone you want to throw a shout out to? Capo: Just a shout out to our photographer and web designer Rob Gillibrand for everything he’s done for us this year. He’s an absolute legend, so a massive thanks and appreciation goes out to him from the team. Respect. Thanks for taking the time to chat, for the guided tour and the 5 star treatment at Chateau Moreton. It’s been a real pleasure. Capo: A pleasure, dude. Come back anytime. Essential Apex links www.apexparkour.co.uk www.youtube.com/urbanlemur
Credit has to be given where it’s due...Nick paraded around like this all day and despite everyone looking at him oddly, he wasn’t arrested once which by Moreton standards (so I’m told), is quite unique.
Athlete: Thomas Manning (USA) Photographer: Lauren Price
Athlete: Tom Hickey (UK) Photographer: Lee Rielly www.lrphotography.webs.com