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charles4

– What is going on in your life at the moment with Parkour work (Culture Parkour, Parkour center…)?

My main occupation is to develop and create art projects for parkour and freerunning within my organization. I also worked with David Belle and other partners who support us, as Sebastien Foucan, on educational projects which will enable future generations of traceurs and other people who want this sport to be their hobby to have the best possible conditions. We want to create a place where we can pass on our knowledge and experience to anyone who is interested.

– What was your inspiration to start training parkour, since mass media was not as developed as it is nowadays?

I found the strength to start training parkour through the power of the group of which I was a member. I already knew back then that I was living, through parkour training, something very strong and that I had to give my best to deserve that chance. David Belle has contributed greatly to my learning, I owe him a lot…

– How did your training look like at the beginning and how does it look like today?

Our trainings were very tough, physically, mentally, and morally. We knew when we start but we never knew the exact time we are finishing! For us it was a way of life. This way of life demanded complete dedication and everyday challenges. From this time distance, those trainings have helped us achieve a good level of training in the discipline, but also enabled us to now, 20 years later, continue practising parkour with a solid base and a good physical condition.

charles3– How do you think society and media influences parkour now, and back then when you guys started training?

I think the media certainly allowed the world to become familiar with parkour but unfortunately, they are too focused on the aspect of „spectacle“ and not on the work and qualities needed to practice this discipline. This resulted in hundreds of young people who see parkour as an opportunity to be famous and to earn some money. A lot of them are trying to create a buzz on the internet where they find themselves in situations where they take big risks. The goal of parkour is not to take big risks. Just the opposite, to train in order to „overcome“ the dangers so you can feel comfortable in your surroundings. To achieve that, it takes several years of rigorous training. Unfortunately and unintentionally we have a part of responsibility in all of this because most people discover parkour through movies which we starred in. In our days, Facebook and YouTube did not exist (oh yes!). It’s hard for people today to understand that the success that we have achieved in the sport and art domain is a result of many years of work.

– What was your life time wish, when you were a child, and what is your wish now?

When I was a kid I read a lot of comics and I imagined I was a superhero, seeing Spiderman who uses his powers to save people. Today, I still read comics and I feel “like” a hero because through parkour I helped to bring something positive to this world. My wish is that parkour inherit good ambassadors who will want to continue the thing that we have started.

charles2

– Do you consider yourself, or better I say the “Yamakasi” group as the “fathers” of ADD/parkour/free running /whatever?

Yes, in a way. What I want to say is that we have “recreated” natural physical activity of our ancestors, which the comfort of our modern society is neglecting more and more. Running, jumping, climbing are the basics of parkour, and that is what a man does for his life, while we have just “woken up” an awareness about that.

– Have you had any injuries during your training and how often do you train?

My biggest injury was a dislocated knee. I fell down the stairs! Apart from that, nothing serious so far. Lucky for me! I train at least three times a week, three hours on average.

– Do you train at winter (outside, indoor, or both) ?

Both, at my age I have to “stress” my body less, so the gym is a good place to continue training during the winter. To be and to last…

– Do you think that method of moving, specific life style and philosophy that you as a (Yamakasi) group formed and bringed to the world have a bright future?

I think that this new approach to sports is a way of life for some people, while for others it will continue to develop in the future. People want to return to the things that are healthier, more realistic and more useful for their lives. Our modern society creates a lot of stress and problems. People have the need to feel better and to face the difficulties in life. This illustrates well the rise of parkour in the world.

– What’s your opinion about so called “competitions” in the art ? What’s your opinion about competitions in general?

I really have no opinion on that subject. We live in a world where everything can be exploited to bring money and fame. There are also people who have a competitive spirit and love rivalry with their opponents. The base of martial arts is based on self-defense, today we have competitions like MMA (mixed martial arts). Red Bull (whose drink many traceurs consume) organizes parkour/freerunning competitions in which many traceurs participate. We should not forget that it is the economy that sustains the life of thousands of people. Do I have to judge? Does this represent a major threat for stopping all this? Do I have a better alternative? I think that there is good and bad sides in this. I focus on the things that I am trying to do well and it already takes away a lot of energy.

– How are your knees doing, after all these years of training?

I feel a little more weight than before, but I’m still happy that I do not feel the pain in my knees while moving even after 20 years of parkour training behind me…

charles5

– What is the single most important thing you have learned trough parkour, and do you think that the thing you guys started has the strength to be the method of positive social change in the society?

Parkour brought me a lot of things. Over the years I have worked on physical and mental aspects. Persevere despite the difficulties and constantly ask yourself questions so you can make progress. Parkour, the way I practise it, helps me to be a better man, brings me peace and balance in everyday life. This discipline or a way of life has a lot to offer to people who are practising it in today’s society.

– Do you have a goal in your training or something you’d like to work on in the following months/years?

Currently, my goal is just to continue practising as long as possible and to help people who want to develop through this discipline.

– Describe Parkour in 10 words?

Strength, Humility, Will, Friendship, Agility, Courage, Respect, Honor, Meaning, Creativity.

– For the end, what would you say to Traceurs in Serbia?

I wish them strength and courage in learning parkour. I know several traceurs from Serbia that I respect a lot. I give my regards to Boki and to all my friends from Serbia.

For Parkour Serbia translated by Dejan Kostevski. Interviewed by Bogdan Cvetković.

Nazad