Possibly one of the best interviews ever conducted with David Belle. If you would like to see the interview with English or Portuguese subtitles, double click the video to open the video on YouTube.
For the last video in our five part What is Parkour? series we present –as promised- this rare video of David Belle. This clip features a conversation between a Tracer and David during which David discusses what Parkour is and what it means to him. David also addresses flips, Freestyle Parkour, the relevance of beautiful movement and much more. The video is in French with Portuguese subtitles, and, courtesy of Parkour.net, we have included the English transcript below as well.
Guy: So, David Belle.
Guy: You don’t talk a lot, we don’t hear a lot from you, but we do see you a lot on Daily Motion, on the Internet, about Parkour. I would like you to explain to me, in your own way, what is Parkour, what it represents for you, where does it personally come from, and what is behind it.
David: Parkour represents everything to me. It’s a utility art in which I’ve devoted my body and mind to because it comes from my father. He gave the meaning of movement to me. I mean, before all this I’d done athletics, gymnastics, and I was moving to have a good physical condition without knowing what it could be of use to me. So when he started to talk to me about Parkour and how that developed his physical capacities, I started to understand. I understand why we move, why we have arms and legs.
Guy: But what was Parkour to your father ?
David: Parkour is a method of training the physical capacities to overcome life’s obstacles, so in case you have a problem, you are able to protect yourself, your family…
Guy: So it’s “Parcours du combattant”?
David: It’s like “Parcours du combattant” but…
Guy: But more urban…?
David: …to a greater extent, more urban. And from that, came Freestyle Parkour, where you see guys doing flips and completely useless things. But I understand, it’s similar to skateboard or rollerblade at the base. Freestyle Parkour is a fanciful extension to what was created, however there’s no real useful goal to it. Parkour is firstly about the useful side, to teach people how to trust themselves, to learn to be careful. Because some people may say “Woah they are crazy,” but we are way more thoughtful than someone who might fall down the stairs because they didn’t pay attention. That’s what it is to me. It’s a utility art where we learn to be careful, and then when you get comfortable, you see people doing flips and jumps in every direction; it’s like an extension to…
Guy: So it’s a martial art?
David: Philosophically speaking…
Guy: In the philosophy…?
David: The martial part is confronting obstacles. In martial arts, you have to fight, to hurt someone to know that you are strong. But in Parkour, it’s the confrontation between you and the environment. It’s you versus yourself.
Guy: And why is the beauty of the movement not as important as the movement itself?
David: I think the beauty of the movement reflects the love you put in to the utility sport. It’s an expression. You don’t have to make sure the movement is beautiful. The more comfortable you are with the movement, the more beautiful it gets; just like when you see a monkey or a puma getting through a river you say “Woah it’s beautiful”. But when one moves through that river, he doesn’t want to look good; he wants to get through this river, being in agreement (at oneness or in synergy per se) with his own physical abilities and the surrounding environment. I think that with time – body movements begin to stand out, but you have to train on the useful part from the beginning.
Guy: So it’s about saving yourself from a bad situation…?
David: It’s more about the continuity of surpassing yourself, and not feeling suffocated by the walls around us…
Guy: To use the city instead of letting her navigating us?
David: That’s it.
Guy: Nice philosophy man. Stay strong.
David: Thank you.
Starting today www.MisterParkour.com is beginning a five part series that is designed to answer the question, “What is Parkour?” Throughout this series we will be featuring videos with insightful explanations of Parkour from Stephane Vigroux, Forrest, the Yamakasi and of course David Belle. The fifth part of this series will showcase a rare video of David Belle where he speaks for almost four minutes about what Parkour is and what it means to him.
For the first video in this series we start with an excellent video featuring Stephane Vigroux. This video is currently being promoted on YouTube and it was prominently featured on the YouTube homepage a few days ago. In this video Stephane performs some incredible Parkour moves and directly answers the question, What is Parkour?
A few weeks ago we posted a Parkour video featuring Forrest. It also does a great job of answering the question, “What is Parkour?” so we decided to include it in this post as well. The video is made in the same style as the video of Stephane above. In the feature Forrest performs some great Parkour moves and thoroughly describes what Parkour is and why he does it.
This is one of the best and most concise videos we have ever seen that describes what Parkour is. The Tracer speaking is named Forrest. He is a Parkour instructor in London for Parkour Generations, and he is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the sport. Since some of his speech is hard to understand we have transcribe the clip below.
“My name is Forrest. I come from France and sport is my passion. I went to university for four years and graduated as a physical coach. Now I live in London and I teach Parkour.
Parkour is an art of movement, a physical discipline but utilize this on your body and your mind
Parkour is not just a physical challenges, it allows you to discover yourself very deeply. I live to enjoy myself and to understand myself
Young people they told me, “But why you do this,” because it’s my passion. I like that.
I first began to learn about Parkour from Stepahen Vigroux, one of the best in the world. He taught me how to move, and how I could push my body farther than I had ever imagined.
Parkour is demanding and very complex sport where you work all the parts of your body. You have to control your abilities, the key is your mind. But most importantly you have to control your fear.
It’s necessary for you to be relaxed, relaxed.
I watched the other guys and they told me, “Oh, but it is very unusual, it’s very amazing”…
But I believe that I couldn’t do it. But just with practice, practice, practice. Now I love it.
There are no secrets to improving your skill in Parkour, other than hard training. Setting yourself goals and working towards them.
When I come in the new area, in new environment, I can visualize myself doing oh I can do this this this this this this this this. Because of that a few minutes later I be able to do physically. I think the creativity is coming with the level. I train up to 4 hours a day five days a week varying the type of work from physical conditioning to specific Parkour techniques. You can always improve
Parkour is competitive, but not against someone else. The first and most important competition in Parkour is with yourself.
For me the city is a playground. You have to see it through the eyes of a child.
Everybody can do Parkour, everybody if women, man, kids, old people. Everybody can do Parkour. You have to find your own way of doing Parkour. But you know for example, doing just walking on the rails, everybody can do it. It’s not necessary to be strong. It’s necessary to have a good balance. Just balance. And everybody can do it. So after that it just depends, what are you looking for, what do you want to do with Parkour or what do you goals do you want to reach that try to find your own way and be in joy and that’s it.
I hope people will see Parkour as a positive activity and more people will start practicing it in a safe and responsible way.”