Luís Parkour Insights: ParkourONE Academy

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These are the 5 principles leading the ParkourONE ideology. Courage comes in as the 6th one, bringing strength to follow through the other 5, fixing them all together on TRuST.

Among many other lessons, one is overwhelmingly most relevant to me, the lesson about values and passion.

Honestly, ParkourONE was for me nothing but one more Parkour association, I knew little about their structure and community. Until when a couple of months ago, while training in the Velodrom spot in Berlin, I stumbled across a group of students and their coach having a class part of a Youth Parkour Camp training. Briefly after this group was over, a new one came, this time led by Minh, which for me was also surprising, to be a ParkourOne coach. In my following days in Berlin, it seemed to me that ParkourOne had a big influence on the german community. That beautiful red bricked Parkour Park in Moabit was their design, as well as a new way larger Parkour Park is now being built, also designed by Ben from ParkourONE.

As I previously said, ParkourONE was just a name for me. Even though I have been an ETRE-FORT Athlete for the past 3 years. I had small or no clue of the work done by its Father Association.

Until last week, when I was invited to join the other members of the EF Crew, on the LAST10 Jam. I had little to no expectation on how it would be like. I was happy to be in Switzerland, meeting my friends and teammates.
From the pickup moment to the take-off from Switzerland(which is actually exactly now), this whole trip was a huge learning experience. About the history of ParkourONE and its current work, about the Swiss PK community, about hard work and unity, and among many other lessons, one is overwhelmingly most relevant to me, the lesson about values and passion.

I will split this text into three parts: the history, from what I absorbed listening to countless stories this past week; the education and role of ParkourONE in the Swiss, German and also international scene; and my opinions and feelings about PKONE and ETRE-FORT.

1 – Once upon a time…

In a small town called Münsingen on the surroundings of the Swiss capital, a young man on his teen years, watched a short video broadcasted on Arte TV Channel, showing a French guy jumping and leaping through gaps and rooftops using only his body. The year was 2000, the urban hero David Belle, and the young man with his eyes on the TV, does still seem weird to me for watching the Arte Channel, also watching TV(who does that?), but his name was Roger Widmer. He was one of the daredevils from Münsingen, always riding his quad bike around his neighborhood, and suddenly caught off guard inspired by what David Belle was doing on that TV piece. Roger decided to go out and try the jumping thingy, in which he didn’t know the name, and never stopped.

About a year later he asked his Neighbor, Ramon Siegenthaler to join him on one on his trainings. Ramon loved it from this day on.
Roughly an other year later Ramon invited Felix Stöckli, a friend form his Handball club to join them. This trio turned out to be the first traceurs in Switzerland, long before the big waves created by Yamakasi, B13, Jump London and finally Youtube and all the other social media platforms.

While Parkour started to become a worldwide phenomena, the swiss trio was already creating ParkourONE, an association focused on the unity of its own community, on education of new generations and respect to the values of Parkour as they knew them. Since then, their friendship is way beyond movement. Finally, they created one of of the most powerful PK institutions in the world.
Calling it Institution might seem a bit too radical or ideological. Roger mentioned that in the beginning Parkour was for him almost like a religion, after years dedicating himself to this passion and doctrine, he realized that Parkour is rather a tool, to be used as a mean to personal and social growth.

Right now we are being highly flashed with the incredible physical level and mediatic attention PK has around the world. Meanwhile, we forget the core essence of Parkour.

2 – Education

Standing for Training Standards, TRuST was the name chosen by the swiss trio to ferment their position on parkour coaching. It surprised me to see the workshops and classes coached by PKONE instructors. This education system is highly organized, while still keeping intact the feelings of lightness and freedom. They focus on the 5 values I mentioned in the beginning of this text. Which is for me an important perspective on Parkour. Right now we are being highly flashed with the incredible physical level and mediatic attention PK has around the world. Meanwhile, we forget the core essence of Parkour as a tool and discipline, which separates it from other activities, and the strong values that have been usurped by big organizations and companies into a money-making sport.

What is this that make TRuST education so special? Firstly, their classes are only taught outdoors, regardless of the weather, and attention! We are talking Switzerland, while people ski and snowboard on the mountains, the coaches and students of ParkourONE are down in the urban areas on their feet and hands tracing on cold weather, snow or rain, and during summer, when it can be extremely warm.
The classes have a maximum attendance of 12 students per coach, which is very important for the individual development of each student; the connection between coach and student is closer and personal; and the group in itself are bonded and strongly connected as an unity.

I received as a gift a package that is given to every student after they are part of the Academy for over 2 months. The package contains some informational brochures, an exclusive T-shirt for ParkourOne students and the TRuST Cube. This little dice has illustrations on its faces that the coaches and students can draw and plan their training and to focus deeply into. The illustrations stand for: Emotionally – Laughing is Health; Cognitively – There is always a way!; Physically – Movement is in our genes; Sensorially – Suddenly everything makes sense; Socially – Together we are strong. All these paths can be followed into different question and points to be worked on with courage and unity.

RIght now ParkourONE consists of over 1500 students and 120 coaches around Switzerland and Germany. Moreover, their education is not only based on admirers and Parkour lovers, but also reaches the police, fire brigades or other safety and specialized forces, to be used as a tool.

There’s much more that I could not fully dive into and that words cannot describe. I am still very curious about how deep is TRuST to each one of its followers and educators. Finally, I would enjoy getting myself deeper into this universe.

3 – My personal insight…

I will repeat once again in case you didn’t follow me yet… I had no idea on PKONE’s work until some days ago. I also hope you understand that this is not only a biased opinion once I belong to the EF team. Getting to know this community was a breeze of fresh air midst the storm of Parkour attention-seeking facet. I was so inspired to witness people training for themselves, being connected as a big family and learning about something more important than likes and instant gratification. This might also sound a bit “purist”, but I am very fond of sustainability, individually and on a community scale. I am now 28 years old, after 13 years training, I am now feeling fresher than ever, super motivated and passionate about Parkour.

I feel highly related to ParkourOne’s ideology and connection with the discipline. That is based on the inner power to move and belong in the world of parkour coming from within myself or the community. After years competing and doing parkour professionally, I never felt as strongly connected to it as I currently am, when I’m inspired and surrounded by people who share the passion for the PK for its own richness and power. That includes, supporting, motivating, respecting, trusting and being modest.

Finally, it would be impossible not to mention the conversations about the FIG and IOC situation. Those associations showed interest in using TRuST as the standard educational system for the future of the sport they are trying to shape. ParkourONE decided to stay away to keep its values free from external influences. If you know me, you’re probably aware of the angst against this organization I’ve been leaning on to. I wrote many posts and made videos about my position against FIG. I confronted the EF team when some of its members decided to take part on the new competition agenda. The EF and ParkourONE team refreshed me with a new perspective: There’s no point in fighting, there’s no point in hating, we can only focus in ourselves, in our discipline and values as they motivate us. I now believe that having this whole new Olympics situation, is definitely helping us understand and differentiate the discipline/tool Parkour to the sport Parkour.

You also don’t need to take your part on the dispute, if you are against competition or FIG, you are already competing. My focus now is to stay strong and become stronger to my own beliefs and passion, connect with those who believe and love parkour, respect everyone’s opinions and decisions and support everyone to follow their dreams.

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