023 – Interview with Stany Boulifard Mallet

Episode Summary

Stany Boulifard Mallet sits down with Craig to discuss his Art du Déplacement (ADD) journey, his practice, and his relationship with the founders. He shares how he met the Yamakasi, and the impact that they have had on his training over the years. Stany also unpacks his thoughts on the motivation behind ADD and his own reasons for training.

What are you doing?

(This question is part of the “What are you doing?” project.)

I’m exercising right now. It’s called parkour, but, it’s a form of exercise where you can use your environment instead of going to a gym. …and everything you can do at a gym, you can do with this. It incorporates so many different exercises! You can do body weight things, you can run and you can do lots of jumping. It’s a full-body work out.

What are you doing?

(This question is part of the “What are you doing?” project.)

It’s funny the different stages my training has gone through. Sometimes the mindset is consistent but the movements are different other times the movements are the same but the mindset is different. It’s been interesting to reflect on the area of precisions in my training and how drastically the mindset has shifted from when I started till now.

When I first started in parkour I was just trying to learn the technique. I only attempted jumps that had little to no risk around ground level and drilled them over and over again. This seems to be a stage that’s becoming less and less common in people’s training and you can see the negative effects of that. It’s so much more appealing once you can do a movement passably to move on to bigger and cooler movements or then take that movement into more difficult contexts. While increasing challenge is an important element of training I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen succeed on something a few times and then assume they are ready for harder challenges only to then hurt themselves because even if they have the capability to do the challenge once, they are not consistent enough that failure and injury is a remote possibility as opposed to a likely result.

After a while I started to build trust in myself and what jumps I could hit consistently with a remote chance of failure as opposed to a likely one. As I got more comfortable in this area I began to increase the complexity and risk involved in these jumps. I would come face to face with a challenging jump and reassure myself that I knew my own capabilities and that the chance of me failing these jumps was extremely low. With that knowledge in my head I would work towards breaking jumps.

This mentality has some definite pros and cons to it. While I think that we should jump with success as the clear goal in mind, if our way of dealing with the consequences of missing the jump is simply don’t miss we are limiting our training drastically and leaving ourselves unprepared for the one time in a hundred where you miss that jump you should not be able to mess up. While not with every jump, a large portion of the jumps you do there is a clear bail option and identifying that and practicing it will open up a ton of jumps for you that you would not otherwise have been able to approach.

Throughout my training I’ve had some pretty cool experiences with ukemi (falling and saving yourself). Before I even started parkour and merely had some basic martial arts training at the age of 12 I fell head first of a ledge to concrete and used a dive roll to come out uninjured. A few months ago I missed one foot on a rail precision that was well over my head height and before I knew it I’d hooked that leg around the bar, grabbed it with both hands and swung myself down to a dead hang. People talk about these moments happening in slow motion but that’s not how I experience them. There is literally no thought and the moment happens in an instant as your body and the training you’ve given it reacts and acts on its own accord. If anything time seems quicker to me.

Ukemi was something I put some effort into but not much. Thankfully I’d been training it without noticing and so it was able to rescue me in more then one occasion and I used it to a minor degree on low risk jumps that I could try repetitively with little to no consequences on a miss. A transformative moment for my training of precisions was a workshop led by Max Henry in Boston at the Parkour Generations American Rendezvous.

I know I’m not the only one who had my training transformed by this workshop. I’ve heard both Sparsha of PKGEN Boston, and Ben from London, Ontario say how influential it was in their training. Max told us how when he works on those high risk jumps he often figures out what it is he is most afraid of in the jump and then forces himself to deal with that consequence first. Similarly to how difficult it is to get a solid handstand if you don’t have exit plans for both forwards and backwards it’s very hard to stick a precision if you don’t have solid backup plans for both overshooting and undershooting. Max challenged us on some precisions that had quite dramatic drops on one side of them to first not stick it and fall in the direction of the big drop and save ourselves by catching ourselves in cat.

At the time I couldn’t bring myself to do it but when I returned home I began to practice both overshooting and turning to cat and undershooting. I prioritized facing the fear and dealing with it by putting myself over the danger more so than actually sticking the jump. While obviously this is not the mindset with which you want to approach every jump it has helped me to wrap my head around actually committing to sticking a jump much quicker then just bouncing off to the side I feel safer on.

Training these bail options has opened up a whole realm of jumps that were inaccessible before. I’ve extended my training to include bails to swinging or hanging so I can attempt jumps to lone bars. Now I’m ok to try a jump over twice my head height that I may or may not be able to stick first try because I am confident in my ability to recover and keep myself safe.

Building trust with yourself is such an important part of training. In relationships, the more trust you build with the other person the more you are able to do together and accomplish. It’s the same thing with your relationship with yourself. If you don’t know your bodies limits or don’t trust it, how much are you really going to accomplish?

Something I’ve been working on is when I say I’m going to do something, doing it. If I say I’m going to overshoot, I overshoot. If I say I’m going to attempt this acrobatic movement, I’m going to attempt it. If I say I’m going to stick it, regardless of if I do I have to give it one hundred percent and put all of my energy into attempting it at the best of my ability. If we lie to ourselves we break that basic trust that is so essential in our movements. I will admit I’m not perfect at this yet. For some reason I find this much easier when attempting a scary parkour movement then when committing to a new acrobatic movement. If I say I’m going to jump I usually jump. But if I say I’m going to attempt that cast away I am infamous for being about to attempt chickening out and yelling one more before hoping back on the wall. With your mentality as well as the rest of your training as essential as it is to be hard on yourself, be patient and don’t expect perfection out of yourself right away. If you wouldn’t expect a student to be perfect right away don’t expect it of yourself.

These of course are not new concepts and have been around since the start but I highly recommend exploring mentality in training with the same, intentionality that we explore our movement. Every person is different and the most effective mentality is going to be different for each person. I suppose if I were to have two desired takeaways it would be to deal with the possibility you’re most afraid of first, and to build trust with yourself. That’s not just good for parkour but for life.

022 – Interview with John Hedge Hall

Episode Summary

Craig travels to Edinburgh, Scotland to interview John “Hedge” Hall about the culture of parkour, his ideas on how Scotland views parkour, and his own personal movement journey. Hedge unpacks how different cultures and societies adapt parkour to fit them and the impact of cultural norms on their practice. Touching a bit on coaching, Hedge discusses the impact of educational environments on his students.

021 – Interview with Ville Leppanen

Episode Summary

Craig sits down to interview Ville Leppanen, a lifelong learner and member of the Finnish Parkour community. Ville discusses how he uses different tools in his coaching, how to work smarter instead of harder, and how he uses interval training to help him in parkour. Finally, Ville touches on how his coaching has evolved over the years and how his teaching has helped him learn things about himself.

MM Insiders 1 – Interview with Mandy Lam

This episode is part of our Insiders Only Content: episodes released only to the members of the Insiders community. The following are some excerpts from a conversation I recently had with Mandy Lam. To hear the rest of the episode, head over to our Insiders page.

Mandy and I recorded this conversation at the 3rd Évry Move event which is held by the Yamakasi in the towns of Évry and Lisse in France. Mandy is originally from Toronto, began Parkour in 2007 and had been traveling for a year visiting Parkour communities when we finally sat down to talk. She shares her stories of adventure, some reflections on Parkour communities around the world, and we eventually get around to talking about her serious concussion.

020 – Interview with Sebastien Foucan Part 3 of 3

WAIT! If you want to read the entire transcript as you listen, GO TO THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT FIRST and then start the media player from there.


Episode Summary

In the final part of our 3-part interview with Sebastien Foucan, Craig and Seb continue to discuss his movement journey. Sebastien brings to light what he sees as his “Path To Truth.” They discuss his relationship with learning, different coaching styles, and wrap up with Sebastien’s three words.

019 – Interview with Sandro Widmer

WAIT! If you want to read the entire transcript as you listen, GO TO THE FULL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT FIRST and then start the media player from there.

Episode Summary

Sandro Widmer discusses ParkourONE’s TRUST concept, his current research and movement journey. Along the way he describes his time in America, and the struggles of studying parkour coaches. Sandro also reminds us to walk through this world with an open mind, as we can never fully understand each other’s experiences.

References

American Rendezvous
ADAPT
ParkourONE TRUST Concept
Johanna Herrmann

Guest Introduction


Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.

Sandro: Hi, I’m Sandro Widmer.

Craig: Sandro Widmer is from Zug, Switzerland. And I have the distinct pleasure of catching up with him after [00:00:30] American Rendezvous in Boston and Somerville. And Sandro is going to talk a little bit today about ParkourONE, Switzerland’s TRuST concept. And I’m also hoping you’ll give us some information about his master’s research that he’s working on. So welcome, Sandro.

Sandro: Thank you for being here.

Craig: It’s my pleasure.

ParkourONE’s TRUST Concept

Craig: So Sandro, can we talk a little bit about ParkourONE’s TRuST concept? What is that? Can you unpack it a little bit for us?

Sandro: Yeah. TRuST, or parkour according to TRuST, is [00:01:00] meant to increase immaterial wealth. I think you say it like that. It’s like the purpose of it is to increase health and-

Craig: Richness of your experience.

Sandro: Yeah. And personality. Develop personality and to parkour according to our values. So our values [00:01:30] are basically a very important thing-

Craig: And they’re also very well thought out, it’s not like a simple punch list, so they, can you run me through them?

Sandro: Exactly. Yeah, we can practically do quickly all of them.

Craig: Okay.

Sandro: Because it’s the concept with the hand, I don’t know if you remember it?

Craig: Yeah, ParkourONE’s logo-

Sandro: A fist, open hand.

Craig: Yeah, they’re superimposed so it’s the fist and the open hand [00:02:00] in the same image.

Sandro: And you can like explain all of the values on one hand. So it’s the thumb is going to be “no competition.” So-

Craig: And the visual there is-

Sandro: -is zoned for-

Craig: Not thumb up north.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly. So we don’t want to judge actually about other people. We don’t want to judge like, “Oh you’re so good, or you’re so bad.” We don’t want to make a difference there, we just want to … we just don’t want to [00:02:30] judge about that. Second one, maybe is that-

Craig: Pointer finger or index finger, we would say.

Sandro: Exactly. It’s … maybe you saw it, everybody saw it when the mother was-

Craig: Yes, my French tutor does that, she shakes her finger at me. So the gesture he’s making is a finger shaking index finger.

Sandro: Exactly. So that means “be cautious.” You only have one body, and if you mess that up, [00:03:00] you don’t have any body left, so-

Craig: Right.

Sandro: So just be cautious about what you’re doing. The middle finger, we’re turning it around, it shows for us respect. Respect for the people around us when we’re training, respect for the spot we’re training at. Because when we want to train for a long time, maybe. And especially respect for nature around us because we don’t want [00:03:30] to mess that up. So we basically just want to show respect as well to show good picture of parkour as well.

Craig: Okay, so the presentation of the thing as well as being respectful.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly.

Craig: Okay.

Sandro: And the fourth one is going to be the Trust. So basically Trusting yourself … I don’t know, is [00:04:00] there another word for …?

Craig: In English? I think trust is, well trust or self-reliance, maybe-

Sandro: Self-confidence?

Craig: Self-confidence. Because I was going to ask you to, when you’re done, go through the names of them in German, so we-

Sandro: Yeah, yeah. Perfectly. So trust in other people and self-confidence in yourself because it needs a lot of self-confidence to go out and train like we do because we are being out there with [00:04:30] all the other people. Some people are used to stare at people doing different things. So it needs a lot of self-confidence to overcome the barrier.

Craig: Yeah, otherwise you add that on top of the actual physical danger that could be there.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly.

Craig: So that’s four is the ring finger. And then we would call it the pinkie or the fifth finger.

Sandro: Exactly. That one is modesty, I think for me it’s one of the most important ones. There’s always more [00:05:00] obstacles in your way that you cannot overcome than obstacles that you overcame. So just be humble. Be modest about what you’re doing. And do not shout out-

Craig: And I love image of when you get to the end of your hand, and you’re holding up this tiny little finger, and that’s for the modesty. So can you do them in English one more time, is ….

Sandro: It’s no competition, be cautious, respect, [00:05:30] sorry … we’re going to go through them again.

Craig: Go ahead.

Sandro: No competition, be careful, respect, trust, and modesty.

Craig: And modesty.

Craig: So just so everyone understands the translations correctly, can you give them to me in German? The way you would normally use them so people can look up what the actual definitions are. So we make sure we have it right.

Sandro: So that would be Konkurrenzfreiheit, Vorsicht, Respekt, Vertrauen, Bescheidenheit [00:06:00] And the actual sixth one, or the catching, it’s actually less making a fist then catching something.

Craig: Okay, like catching, so it’s like a catching motion.

Sandro: Like grab a wall, grab something that’s like the picture that we want to do, and not the making a fist and punching somebody. That’s courage. You need a lot of courage [00:06:30] to do all those things.

Craig: To do all the things.

Sandro: Parkour to get over yourself, or to break a jump sometimes.

Craig: And what’s the German word for the sixth one?

Sandro: Mut.

Craig: Mut? I don’t speak a word of German, I’m sorry.

Sandro: Don’t worry about that.

What is ParkourONE?

Craig: So that’s the TRuST concept from ParkourONE. And if people are paying close attention, there first question should be, “Wait, I thought ParkourONE was the German parkour organization? Why are we talking to someone from [00:07:00] Switzerland?” Aside from the fact that Switzerland is gorgeous, you need to go to Switzerland. “But why are we talking to Sandro from Switzerland about ParkourONE?” And that’s because ParkourONE is not a simple organization within one country. ParkourONE is actually a composition of Switzerland and Germany working together.

Craig: So can you just talk to me a little bit about first of all, what does it mean to be a member of ParkourONE? And I’m going to let the cat out of the bag a little bit, that’s actually different from [00:07:30] simply going to ParkourONE classes. That doesn’t automatically make you a member. So can you tell me a little bit about what it means, let’s say, for you specifically, to be a member of ParkourONE?

Sandro: Yeah, well as a member of ParkourONE, I’m … like some rights and some duties as well. I can … I represent ParkourONE as a member of ParkourONE. And there’s [00:08:00] not just an easy way to get to be a member of ParkourONE, you just cannot apply for it.

Craig: It’s not a simple, “I want to be…”

Sandro: Exactly. You are like chosen or you used to be chosen to be a member. Or especially if they wanted you in, they were going to ask you if you want to be in. Now it got a little bit different because of the … because we changed [00:08:30] a little bit because we grow so much in Switzerland. And in Germany, there were so many coaches, like around 80 coaches and head coaches in Switzerland and in Germany.

Craig: Not a young group, right?

Sandro: Yeah. It’s a pretty old group even, I think for most of us. Because of that we had to make it up a little bit. And now [00:09:00] as you’re going to make a coach education or as you are in the coach program, you are going to be a member automatically.

Craig: Okay, and that allows the organization to maybe verify that you understand the values of the group that you’re trying to join. And also that you’ll be able to maintain the standards. So when someone says, “I’m a member of ParkourONE,” I think the Americans especially [00:09:30] miss, they don’t notice that there’s some subtlety there. It’s not simply that this person paid their monetary dues and filled out a form and then they’re in. They’ve done more than that, significantly more than just a simple form and some money.

Sandro: Yeah, they may be taught very much for the community and stuff like this. Even … you can choose your duties a little bit, like several to choose from. [00:10:00] But you have to verify that you do them. For example, you have to give a class, you have to teach, or you have to distribute parkour in other sessions that are out of classes.

Craig: Right, or you’re working in an administrative capacity behind the scenes, but there’s … you have to have a specific role, and you have to fill that role to a specific standard.

Sandro: Exactly.

How Sandro joined ParkourONE

Craig: So Sandro, can you … that’s a good sketch of the basic structure. [00:10:30] And that is actually rather different from how all of the organizations really in the United States work. And can you maybe color in some details with your personal journey of how you became a member maybe? Or what your path was a little bit? Just to give us an experience of one person.

Sandro: So I was doing Parkour already before I was getting into ParkourONE. And as I was getting into ParkourONE in 2013, Felix started the branch in Basel [00:11:00], a new branch in Basel. And I started in the class there, actually with only one other guy who is teaching now in Basel with me. And first in the beginning, there were the two of us, and then we grow…

Craig: And it grows around that seed group.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly. And then I got asked by Felix if I wanted to do the coach education, the ParkourONE [00:11:30] or the TRuST coach. I was thinking about it because I always liked teaching a lot, or I always liked to teach. I was not sure if I’m ready yet, but they told me I should maybe do it. And look afterwards how it is-

Craig: Start pursuing.

Sandro: Right, if I’m ready for teaching already. And so I did it, and it was [00:12:00] a great decision. I started teaching as a coach. That’s like for you guys, or for the PKGen guys ADAPT level one. Because you’re only allowed to teach with a head coach as a coach. So you cannot teach alone. Yeah. And so I started teaching with many other coaches, or with many other head coaches especially, for a year. And [00:12:30] after this year, I was ready for the head coach.

Craig: For the assessment.

Sandro: Exactly. But I had to fulfill my hours of teaching in case of doing such an education, you’ll always have to fulfill hours of teaching, and you have to do an assessment. Like assessment of teaching, not like a physical assessment. [00:13:00]

Craig: Right, you can do the precision, but do you know how to teach the precision to other people, right?

Sandro: Exactly. Because if only choose people or we only teach people how to teach within our group. So Russel and Felix are pretty much aware of our physical abilities enough technical stuff when they invite us to teach.

Craig: To consider becoming a coach.

Sandro: Yeah. It really was that in [00:13:30] this time. So I did head coach a year afterwards. And since then I’m basically teaching classes for ParkourONE. I’m teaching in the regular class on Tuesday and Thursday as a coach. And I have a kids class on Friday as a head coach. And just basic courses we have as well. They are like over twelve times, [00:14:00] or six times, or eight times, just some of these courses as well. Yeah. So the system is actually going down from a member, not from a member, but from a participant of class in ParkourONE, over a coach, over head coach, and then the system grew a little bit. So there’s head coach 2-

Craig: Right, so they added a layer. [00:14:30]

Sandro: -a certificate. Or then after the head coach 2, there comes the expert as well where you can only … you can only do that if you have a master thesis or a bachelor thesis about parkour.