Hendo's Perspective on Flow

We have a little chat with speed competition extraordinaire and esteemed Storm athlete Joseph Henderson on the topic of ‘flow states’ - the psychological phenomena which is being studied and discussed more and more in recent years. Anyone who’s been training parkour for a while will have noticed how different the experience of movement is when they are extremely focused on what they are doing. The extent to which you notice how different that experience is perhaps speaks to how introspective you are. Nonetheless this concept of ‘the zone’ or more recently ‘flow’ is something most of us have been exposed to, subconsciously or otherwise! It may surprise you that there is an increasing body of discussion surrounding this once very slippery and niche idea. Books like Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler go into detail about what is happening at the level of the brain and the mind when athletes are hyper focused on a difficult task out near the limits of their abilities. Indeed you hear it discussed more and more often at events as the years go on. One well known athlete who loves thinking about the concept of flow states is Joseph Henderson. Winner of many a parkour speed competition, he clearly is doing something very right with his training - perhaps his understanding of flow is a factor in that? Let’s find out… So how would you describe what flow is to someone completely unfamiliar with the idea? I’d describe it as a sensation of optimal experience, in which you’re entirely engaged in the task at hand… It’s a state of mind where you are entirely engaged, entirely focused on the the task at hand. You’re working towards some sort of goal, and that task is on the edge of your ability - be that mental or physical. ...Ahh, I want to pinpoint this! It’s times at which you feel like you have control over your own consciousness and over your own fate almost. I think a lot of the time you go through life with a state of mind where you don’t feel like you have any sort of control over the external world (like things going on around you), or the internal world either (like the contents of your mind). You’re pretty much at the whim of the things around you, like if something happens… like some conflict happening nearby causes you to feel uneasy, or you’ll see some advertisement for food and start feeling hungry. Your consciousness is pretty much at the whim of this external world, which is pretty much indifferent to you, or perhaps entirely indifferent to you and your goals. But when you’re in ‘flow’ you have a feeling, not necessarily control, but at least of participating in the order of events happening around you, and having some sort of control of your consciousness. It's like experiencing order in consciousness rather than chaos. When did you start thinking about flow as a feeling of optimal experience? Well I think my concept of flow has changed over the last year or so of doing more research, and educating myself more on it. I think my initial concept of it came from years ago, and at the time I thought I had a good idea about what it was. But now I look back on that I feel it wasn’t quite accurate. I think since reading Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book on flow which is kinda the principle primary text on flow, my concept of flow has become more grounded and substantiated I guess, and more accurate to what it actually is. I think I used to think of flow as this mystical, magical sort of state of mind where you suddenly have access to abilities and focus beyond what you normally have. But now I understand flow to be more a state of mind and consciousness brought on by doing things close to the edge of your ability. How can ‘flow’ help your Parkour? Why should someone be interested? What I think I’ve learnt is that it’s not something you access and then it affects your ability… I think now that it’s a state that you access through doing certain activities. So Parkour can be a flow activity because of the feeling it can give you, which is essentially of being adequately challenged, and feeling like nothing else matters apart from the task you have at hand. For example in parkour if you’re doing a jump which is on the boundary of your ability - perhaps it’s slightly bigger than you’re used to, or there's some intricacy about it that makes it a challenge - but you feel you have the necessary skill set to deal with it… that’s when you’ll access flow. I think the intrigue of it from a parkour perspective isn’t as something that will necessarily help you in parkour, but it’s something worth accessing that parkour can help you to access. Because I think the moments of being in flow, being in that state of optimal experience, are the moments of your life that are remembered as the best ones. They’re the ones that bring you the most contentment, and the ones where you feel like you grow as a person. So rather than thinking of flow as something you can access to help you achieve things in parkour, you should think of parkour as an activity that can help you achieve flow I guess. So you think flow is the bigger deal? Yeah I think so! And to come back to the idea of defining flow; the reason I’d use it synonymously with this idea of ‘optimal experience’ (which is what Csikszentmihalyi does, he talks about this idea), is that it’s the moments of your life you look back on as being the most meaningful and containing the most joy, and providing the most growth. Counterintuitively these experiences won’t really be pleasurable in the moment; for example a swimmer pushing for that personal best at a swimming race or whatever, at the time his lungs are gasping for air, his muscles are aching. Similarly with parkour, trying to conquer some jump you might be scared, or angry even - I’ll often get angry if I’m struggling with a really hard challenge. All those emotions you’re feeling at the time might not have the characteristics of happiness, there’s struggle there. Nonetheless these are the moments you look back on with the most reverence and joy. You feel like if you could fill your life with as many of those moments as possible you’d generally be happier and more satisfied with life. So can you consistently trigger that feeling of optimum experience these days? [Joe thinks for a few moments] Yes. I think so. But it’s not something I can trigger instantaneously, but the more I train and the more I reflect internally on my consciousness as I train, the more I understand how to access that frame of mind I suppose.   And although I said it’s more something parkour helps you achieve, rather than flow helping you achieve within parkour, it works as a cycle because that mindset is only achieved through pushing to the very limits of your ability… and being able to understand how you get to that frame of mind helps you to progress, because obviously it's being out at the edge of your ability and attempting to push beyond that where you progress the most. It kind of goes hand in hand. Pushing that far will trigger the flow state which is a good thing in itself, and then understanding how you get to that frame of mind will help you progress. So bringing it more personal: is flow an important element of your competition strategy these days? Yes. Again though right at the beginning when I didn’t have such a grounded understanding of flow I would have thought of flow as something I could tap into in order to help me with competition. But now it’s hard to say why, because I don’t see it as a state of mind that does enhance you anymore. Your understanding of it is past the point of deliberately trying to leverage it, to gain from it? Sure. I suppose what you would think of when you talk about accessing flow in order to optimise your performance, what you’re really talking about is optimising the conditions for flow to occur. That’s where the performance optimisation comes from; its that the same things that induce flow are the things that induce your best performance. Things like supreme engagement with the activity, and pushing yourself to the limit as well. Yeah… essentially being engaged with the task of voluntarily pushing yourself to the edge of your ability - stretching what you’re capable of. So in terms of competition it’s definitely the case that the level of focus that I engage when I do a competition is exactly the same level of focus that I’d have to be engaged in before I experienced flow. Do you think flow is important to the future of the sport? I do think it’s going to be important to it, but not in terms of like people’s abilities and what’s possible. But more as keeping the sport valuable on a certain level - in terms of individual progression, and enjoyment, and having some meaning greater than… [Joe thinks for a moment] Doing parkour with the objective of accessing flow is kind of what most people are doing anyway, even if they don’t know that themselves. Like if they’re not educated on the topic, and don’t understand what it is they’re seeking, but it is when you’re pushing yourself to the brink and do a jump that you’ve never done before, and it’s like “Why do we put ourselves into these often uncomfortable situations?”... Putting extrinsic motivations like views and fame aside, why do we put ourselves through all this risk of injury and soreness? I think most people actually train for intrinsic reasons, they train because of the way it makes them feel. It’s because being at the edge of your ability in pretty much whatever you’re doing, gives you the most rewarding long term enjoyment experiences that it’s possible to have in life. They’re a lot of what makes your life feel worth living. And I absolutely believe parkour is a great way to achieve those sort of moments. If that was to become separated from parkour, that would mean that people are doing it solely for extrinsic reasons like wanting more Instagram followers or whatever.   So you think flow is the primary intrinsic reason why people train? I think so, yeah! Everyone says stuff when asked why they train like “oh, I like challenging myself” but why do people like challenging themselves? Flow cuts right to the heart of that. In that sense it’s absolutely vital to the future of the sport, or any activity really. -  -  - So to briefly recap Joe’s perspective; I think he’s saying flow is a really just a side effect of challenging yourself to the optimum level for progression, because that level of challenge forces you to focus to such an extent where flow starts to occur. That’s kinda its cash value - experiencing a flow state is a signal that you are training optimally, and being familiar with the feeling is like a homing beacon for finding that optimal training mindset. Of course its value extends way beyond that; as Joe went into at the end, we’re all motivated by flow on some level. Some of the literature on the subject even claims we’re chemically addicted to the state of flow, hence we will go to such crazy lengths to pursue our sports, and get that flow hit. I also get the sense that Joe has a very grounded perspective on life in general, and doesn’t like to dwell too much on highly speculative or subjective interpretations of what’s going on with flow. Hence why you don’t hear him talking about sensations of time collapsing, and depth perception being radically altered, among other things people like to discuss on the topic. I think that is quite refreshing, and lends the things he does say a lot of authority. Thanks for the interview, Joe.   Follow Joseph Henderson on Instagram @joseph.hendo Photo Credits: Cover Photo - Lynn Ljung, Leonardo Grillo, The Motus Projects

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Hendo's Perspective on Flow

We have a little chat with speed competition extraordinaire and esteemed Storm athlete Joseph Hen...

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Do Martial Arts and Parkour Go Together?

I asked Brighton parkour coach, and lifetime martial artist Jai Battrick some of the questions I'd been dying to know about what it's like to train both activities simultaneously. A couple of illusions were shattered in the process!  The popularity of martial arts is on the rise. Between the growth of Mix Martial Arts and it's biggest promotion - the UFC, and as more and more people search for novel ways to stay healthy and in shape. You're starting to see some fighters dipping their toes into the world of the boarder movement community, with some even hiring 'movement coaches' to augment their combat training. Like Conor McGregor working with Ido Portal, and Micheal Page working with Tim Shieff. I decided to interview Jai Battrick, to try and get a martial artist and traceur's perspective on how well the skills of parkour and martial arts cross over. Jai is a very interesting guy, with a rare background in both combat and parkour. He coaches parkour in Brighton, and regularly trains with the likes of Callum Powell and Joe Henderson!  I hope you enjoy the interview! What was the martial art you trained in, and how long did you do that for? I trained Ninjitsu, from the age of about 6 to about 16 - so about 10 years. I did Karate 2 years before I started Ninjitsu, so from about the age of 4. I’ve done MMA since I stopped Ninjitsu. So combat has always been a part of your life? Yeah, for sure.   To people that wouldn’t know what Ninjitsu is, how would you describe it? So ninjitsu is a japanese martial art which directly translates in english to the art of survival. It basically is the art of living your life in the most efficient way - so everything you do has efficiency to it, it isn’t just a martial art in the ‘art of war’ sense, it is also about how you think and how you do things. So at what stage in your martial arts journey did you discover parkour? I discovered parkour when I was about 11 or 12. And I had been doing Ninjutsu a few years before meeting Joe Henderson when I was about 9 or 10. We became good friends, we would hang out with each other. So he inevitably got into Ninjutsu as well… he would come down to the classes with me. Part of ninjitsu is the skill of evasion, as well as offending. So we would learn how to climb, and run up walls and whatnot. So we ended up jumping around a lot. On the way to class we would climb on the walls and run around, and even on the playground after school. A friend of my Dad saw us doing this, and handed down a DVD of this famous UK parkour documentary ‘Jump Britain’ to us. I instantly got into Parkour after watching it, and Joe ended up getting into it at the same time. And yeah, we were already doing something similar, but we instantly got along with this.But yeah, to answer your question, it was around 6 years after starting martial arts that I got into parkour. So you were already quite proficient at martial arts by the time you started - so do you think that background provided any interesting or specific benefits to your parkour training? Yeah for sure. I always wanted to be like… a ‘hero’ or a soldier, or an Indiana Jones type character. So I always wanted an adventurous activity to do; whether that was fighting people or running away from people. So yeah I always trained parkour sort of like a martial art to start off with. Martial Arts had sort of wet my appetite for movement, and doing cool shit in the space around me. It’s kind of not accepted to go down to the park and spar with your mates - I was always scrapping as a kid, getting into little scraps here and there, and that's kind of unaccepted. But comparatively, jumping around and climbing around trees and walls is a lot more accepted. So it became an easier pastime. You didn’t have to pay anything, because there wasn’t any classes back when I started. You didn’t need a facility - with martial arts you need a soft a ground really. You didn’t have to wait for the next class or anything. I could just train all the time and get into that strong and disciplined frame of mind I loved so much from martial arts classes. I finally had something to focus my mind on outside of Ninjutsu class. Ah so the two went hand in hand pretty much - it felt like a natural progression? Exactly, yeah! I’m not pretentious… or maybe I am pretentious, but I’m not pretentious enough to say “Oh it’s all the same thing. Parkour is a martial art, and martial arts are Parkour, it's all just moving around” because I think that’s absolute wank. Like yeah, they’re both moving around but they’re completely different sports - it’s just the mindset that’s similar. That was going to be my next question actually - in what ways are they similar? Is it fair to think of parkour as a bit like a martial art? Or vice-versa? Or is that not fair perhaps? I think if you train Parkour like a Martial Art, if all you train is getting away from someone… Like if you warm up for a while then put yourself in some scenario like you do in Martial Arts. When I first started parkour I would actually do this, me and Joe would literally chase each other in order to force us to do things faster. That probably explains a lot of our style today, and explains why Joe is so quick, because we used to chase and run away from each other. You would pretty much play Tag with each other? Exactly, and I was a lot more physically developed than Joe at that stage. So I was taller and quicker, and he really had to pick up his training to get away from me. But yeah to answer the original question… if you train it like a martial art, it pretty much is a martial art, but I personally don’t think it is. At the moment I just train it because I think it’s fucking cool, there’s no like spiritual element to it for me, in my head the spirit behind it is totally different to martial arts. You’re jumping off of walls, and seeing how far you can jump, and hanging out with friends, like a lot of people participate for the culture of it. Whereas martial arts are very individualistic in a sense, and focused; you turn up to class, you learn something because you need that skill for when it is needed in life. You’re learning how to defend yourself in a real life situation. I’m not training parkour in order than I can run away from someone per say, I’m just learning it because I find it enjoyable. Right, yeah. So that’s the way you use it at least… which is not to say that it couldn’t be flipped for someone? Exactly, yeah! So if someone wants to class parkour as a martial art I think that's totally acceptable. I think it just depends how you train it. If you train it like you’re trying to run away from someone, then it’s pretty much one half of Ninjutsu. A post shared by P A R I A H (@jaibattrick) on Jan 6, 2017 at 11:58am PST   Do you think some people would benefit from treating their training a bit more like a Martial Arts discipline? Yeah I feel it would. You kinda use your imagination… what helps me in martial arts training is to imagine walking down the street, and if someone were to attack me or I witness someone being attacked, I always like to feel like I’m primed and ready to protect myself, my girlfriend, my friends, or the people that I’m with, I never want to slump. I implemented that attitude in my martial arts training and it helped me progress a lot. For some people the ‘It’s just jumping on walls’ attitude works, but I feel with some people, if they maybe use their imagination to think of someone chasing after them then it can make them commit to things and link them together. This is what I usually do when I coach kids, I get them to chase each other and it really motivates them to do the movements… like before they would half-ass do a wallrun, but with the competitive element you see them commit to punching up the wall as fast as they can. And it’s fun. Are there any specific examples you can think of where you’ve been in a Parkour situation, and something you learned from your Martial Arts training actually helped that situation? Maybe reactions. You can obviously learn fast reactions from Parkour but I feel like I have quite quick reactions - not sure if that’s just genetic or from the years of martial arts training, it’s hard to pin it exactly to martial arts. In a parkour situation it’s a bit hard to say. But when I’m out doing parkour, I’ve been threatened a few times and found myself in situations where being proficient at martial arts has benefited the situation…. Or perhaps it escalated it, I’m not sure! Either way I had a fun time! (Laughs) You didn’t feel in danger which is worth something - there’s something to be said for feeling comfortable in confrontations, especially in our sport. Yeah, so like I’ll be happy to diffuse the situation and then go on with my training. It helps at a more zoomed out level of training, and gives confidence in social settings and whatnot. That’s the level at which it helps. Are there any Martial Arts or combat situations you’ve been in where your Parkour training has definitely helped? Again it’s hard to pinpoint, because the times where I’ve trained parkour have always been with martial arts as well. I grew together with them. Maybe some fast twitch and explosive power development came from Parkour. But in general I don’t think it helps that much. Well the only reason I ask is I’m imagining some situation where some weird lateral movement training you’ve done could affect the fight - like you know how Conor McGregor had that ‘movement’ coach for a while? Yeah I definitely think it helps you pick up new skills faster. So for example when I went into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu I picked it up really quick. I think that was because I was used to rolling and spinning. So all these weird situations that would arise, I would know which way to roll out of it. So like, spatial awareness basically? Yeah! The spatial awareness you get from parkour transfers to that discipline of BJJ quite well. Awesome, is there anything else you think is worth saying about this topic? I think training MA and Parkour as separate things makes it easier to progress in them. They have such different goals; one is about knocking people out, breaking limbs, and defending yourself. Martial arts literally means the art of war. It’s about ending the situation as quickly as possible. After that I can turn to something very different, parkour and run away if I need to. They’re seperate things.   - - - So that was a quick incite into the mind of Jai Battrick. My main take away was the extent to which he separates martial arts and parkour philosophically. I'd always seen the two in terms of their similarities, but now I'm wondering what wisdom is there to be found in life by looking closely at the differences between things. Big up to Jai for the interview! Follow Jai on Instagram @jaibattrick  Photo Credits: Faye Fillingham, In Motion Academy, Sacha Powell  

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Do Martial Arts and Parkour Go Together?

I asked Brighton parkour coach, and lifetime martial artist Jai Battrick some of the questions I'...

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Made of Tougher Stuff - Oliver Nordin

This week I explore the fascinating life of Swedish freerunner Oliver Nordin - also known as Mr. Bail! I ask him about his biggest falls, and what makes him so tough. He also talks travel tips, and his 'Blind Man Parkour' video that went mega-viral.   So, what I’m interested to know first is… how did the nickname Mr. Bail come about? I got that name early on. Ever since I started training in 2007 I have pushed myself to the edge of capabilities and people instantly recognised me as the guy with a sketchy style. I bailed a lot, a friend started calling me Mr Bail and it caught on. I watched your bail sampler, and what’s crazy is how you make each fall look so comical, despite going for really difficult and awkward things! How do you do that? Hmm, I don't know... Could it be because I'm almost always quick to get back up with a big smile on my face? :P     So have you ever taken a fall where you couldn't get back up quickly with a smile on your face? Yeah. Two times come to mind. My well known scorpion bail in Bangkok (last clip in bail sampler) where I overextended my back until my feet hit my head (I was going for a diveroll gap and slipped in the take off which made me loose distance). I was just able to take myself to the hospital where they, to my surprise, sent me home after a quick check up. I wasn't even able to lift my legs over the 10 centimetre border of the hospital bed. I spent the next week mostly in the hotel bed where it would take me several serious attempts, almost to the point of me crying, to get me out of bed. It took 2-3 months until I was back in training and my back was fully recovered soon after that. The second one was last last summer when I slipped while doing an awkward rail pre at 2.5 meters height. I landed on my side and banged my head into the floor. I woke up some hours later at the hospital where I stayed a few nights to recover from a concussion and a small crack in my skull. I was back in training around 1 month later.   What's the worst bail you've ever seen in person? (Yourself or somebody else?) I don't remember seeing any worse bails than those in person.   That's kinda badass! Have any of these more scary injuries you've experienced affected your confidence at all? It hasn't affected my confidence. However I have changed my approach over the years. Back in the day, if I found something cool I would go for it straight away. Nowadays I try to break down tricks into smaller steps as much as possible to minimize the risk. That could mean finding somewhere to do the same trick, but with less risk and practice that until it feels safe. Best case it makes you avoid an injury, worst case you lose a couple of minutes. But I still really enjoy doing hard stuff and I still take more risk while training than the average practitioner.   Why do you think you enjoy attempting hard things, and taking risks so much? Have you always been like that? I think I was born with it. I liked pushing the boundaries from an early age and I didn't mind much if I failed. In school I always balanced on the two back legs of the chair. The first 50 times I fell everyone in the class turned around and wondered if I was okey. After that they stopped turning around, they know it was me and they knew I was okey.   When I scroll through your Instagram you seem very well traveled - What is it about certain destinations that compel you to go there? Obviously I want to go to places with great spots. I also like if there is access to skyscraper rooftops, as well as cool architecture and design over all. I like nature and adventure, so places with cool mountain hiking, waterfalls, surfing, cliff diving and stuff like that. Climate is important. Like most North European people I prefer to escape the cold winters. I try to avoid too warm places like south Asia in summer. It's a plus if the cost of living is low. I also enjoy visiting new cultures. I think it's beneficial to see life from different perspectives. I like to have freedom when I travel. It's great for me to travel in Europe because I don't need to think about visas and I can enter countries without having a return ticket. It makes me less likely to go to places like China where I would need to provide information about where I would stay every night of the entire trip before entering the county. It's nice if other people are training in the city. I love to train with new people and get inspiration from their styles. If someone invites me to the city I'm much more likely to go there.   What are a few specific things that you do to get the most out of the destinations you travel to? I always go to Tripadvisor.com and search for things to do in the city. Then I go to Google and search for "Things to do + the city" to see if I missed anything. Often I also do Instagram research. I go on Instagram and search for the hashtag of the city, or combinations of the city+insta/igers/ig/photography to find cool photo locations. For some big cities like Hong Kong and Los Angeles it works even better to go to YouTube and search for city+instagram and you will find lots of cool photo locations. If I don't know anyone within the parkour community in the city I usually go to Facebook and search for city+parkour and I often find something. I that doesn't work, try searching on YouTube. I almost always try to learn at least a few basic phrases in the local language, which makes it easier to connect with the locals. You can use Duolingo, podcasts or YouTube. In new cities I usually go by foot to where I'm going if it takes less than an hour or so. I see it as an adventure. You can often find places to train, other cool things or just see more of the culture.  I try to live like the locals as much as possible. For example eating and traveling like them. This will expand your comfort zone and you will experience more of their culture. The locals usually have good reasons for doing things the way they do. I always travel light. I only bring a small backpack of maximum 30 liters which gives me much more freedom.  That's some awesome travel advice. What do you think of your home country - Sweden? Would you recommend people travel there? Sweden is really nice in the summers. All the big cities are close to beautiful nature and the ocean. It's easy to get around and everyone understands English. Winters are cold and people usually spend most of their time indoors. At least we have a lot of high quality indoor gyms, maybe more than any other country (per capita). Most parkour athletes who's been there seems to like it and want to go back and stay for longer. When you're not training and traveling, what else do you like to do? Do you have a day job? I don't have a day job because I rarely stay in places for more than a month. I like reading and learning stuff over all. I read everything non fictional, stuff like psychology, economy, biographies, game theory and evolutionary biology/psychology. I like nature, adventure, rooftoping and trying new sports. I enjoy making things. It doesn't matter if it is parkour videos, funny videos, photography, music, art or writing. I also like strategy games, but I only play poker. It's hard for me to justify playing other games when I predictably can make money playing poker. Online poker was my main source of income for around 4 years and it was under this period I started travelling more.   So you recently went super-viral on Facebook with that hilarious blind-man parkour video. How did you come up with the idea for that?  At Halloween around 3 years ago I got the idea to dress like a blind person, drop the pole and do a backflip. I did the prank on my friends and they thought it was hilarious. I got the idea of doing a video with the prank, but the idea just sat there.3 years later I talked with Vladimir Polianskii who makes some of the funniest parkour related videos and he inspired me to create videos with the potential to go viral.   I thought the situations we're genius. Did you write it all yourself? And were you expecting it to get so many views?  I came up with all of the ideas for the blind man series except one. Including all accounts I've seen sharing it, it has over 100 million views. I couldn't imagine that response. And finally, have you got any more funny ideas you're working on? Yeah. I always have ideas and I get new ones faster than I can execute them. I keep track of all of my ideas in lists (personally I use Google Keep. A lot of people recommend Evernote as well). If I didn't I would forget most ideas. Currently I have over 20 ideas for things to do in blind man videos. And 80 ideas for other videos.   - - -So that was a tiny window into the life of Mr. Bail. Quite possibly the only freerunner who funds his lifestyle through online poker! Many thanks to Oliver for the interview!You can find Oliver Nordin on Instagram @olivernordin1  

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Made of Tougher Stuff - Oliver Nordin

This week I explore the fascinating life of Swedish freerunner Oliver Nordin - also known as Mr. ...

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The Beasts Down Under

The Australian parkour scene has been gradually growing for years now, and is currently super underrated, so we thought we’d do a little showcase of some of the sickest Australian athletes today! G’day Farangs. Australia is a place very close to the heart of Team Farang. From way back in the days when Anan was studying in Sydney, and Shaun was just a small town daydreamer from the coast. Right up to the present day where Dom, arguably now the face of Australian parkour, represents the team all around the world. That connection to the land down under has always been there. We think the Australian community needs a bit more love! They may be tucked away there in a relatively remote corner of the world, but the Aussies make a lot of effort to come out to events around the world. And when they do they tend to stick around for almost forever! It’s always a blast though - who doesn’t love that chill Aussie sense of humour, and their no nonsense attitude to training? I asked around and compiled a list of some of the beasts of the Aussie parkour scene that deserve a bit more of the world's attention. The Sydney and Brisbane scenes in particular are looking strong, so there’s a fair few names from those places. But I tried to feature people from all across the country! Without further ado... Brodie & Dylan Pawson - @dylanpawson  @brodiepawson The Pawson twins from Brisbane may well be the most well known Australian parkour exports. After appearing on the Australian version of Ninja Warrior, Brodie and Dylan have amassed around 400k Instagram followers between them! They consistently post really cool stuff on their Instagrams. As you can see they recently had a news report run on them, which featured stuff like the classic Brisbane 180 challenge! Sam Carter - @samc.ogp A post shared by Sam Carter (@samc.ogp) on Oct 11, 2017 at 1:16am PDT Next we have Jump Squad and Owls Gang Parliament member Sam Carter, but you’ll be lucky to find him in his hometown of Melbourne as he’s always off exploring some new part of the world. You might have seen him on the Mosquito Island in the Storror Supertramps film. He’s one of the most sound guys you’ll ever meet, and his movement is top notch! He's also super smart, and studied architecture at University. Stephania Zitis - @stephiiezee Steph Zitis is an up and comer from Sydney. She’s only been training for around three years now but is rapidly progressing - her dedication has seen her become one of the most skilled women in the australian parkour scene today. She’s competed in a few speed competitions and even achieved best female time a couple of times at the national level. Jesse Turner - @mrjesseturner A post shared by J E S S E T U R N E R (@mrjesseturner) on Dec 5, 2017 at 12:36am PST Over to the Gold Coast now - Jesse Turner is an Australian parkour OG. He’s been affiliated with 3Run ever since I can remember, and freerunning has taken him around the world. His flips are unbelievable, and he was years ahead of the game with many of the most gnarly movements. I believe he was one of the first freerunners to take tsukaharas outside, way back in the late 00’s! Heesoo Chung - @hs.chungypk Heesoo Chung is a relatively less known beast of a mover from Sydney! His parkour Instagram only has 400 followers at the time of writing this, so he deserves way more! His jumps are powerful and super lucid - he can land exactly where he means to even in the most awkward of situations and still keep the flow going. See him effortlessly glide around the AAPES gym: A post shared by Heesoo Chung (@hs.chungypk) on Dec 24, 2017 at 7:15pm PST Heesoo also has amazing photography skills - check out his photography IG: @hs.chungy Ashlee Camens - @ashleestyle Next we have Ashlee Camens from Adelaide. Ash is a free spirit who spends a big chunks of each year outside of Australia, traveling around the world and showing up at all the major European parkour events. She’s got heaps of confidence, and likes trying out loads of different types of challenges. Last year she competed in the first ever women’s Air Wipp Challenge in Sweden!   Marx Marsters - @mastamarx Another Aussie parkour OG, Marx Marsters from Sydney is a member of Jump Squad. He’s got years of experience under his belt now and it shows in how surefooted he is in his clips. Another cool thing about Marx is that he’s just as into political philosophy as his name would suggest! Anna Yamashita - @littleninjanna A post shared by Women of Sydney - Parkour (@womenofsydpk) on Apr 20, 2018 at 11:56pm PDT The youngest athlete on this list is Anna Yamashita from Sydney - at just 16 she’s already been training for almost three years, and has a dance background before that. It translates into her movement, which is really playful and flowy. She’s already one of the most creative women in australian freerunning today!   Rhys Kirk - @rhys.hopsville Rhys Kirk is a small town guy with some big city jumps. He’s based out of Townsville in northern Queensland, but travels around a lot. He’s holding it down for both the redheads and the jeanscrew, with his mad power and precise landings. Ethan Blondel - @ethanblondel And on the other side of the continent we have Ethan Blondel from Perth. At 19 years old he’s a bit of a young gun, but has already found an affinity for spinning really fast. It looks like a really idyllic life out there; throwing down on the beaches of Western Australia, and getting a bit of surfing in inbetween! Monique McDonald - @skitzkitz A post shared by Monique McDonald 😙😙🚀☄ (@skitzkitz) on Apr 21, 2018 at 9:22pm PDT And last but not least back over in Sydney we have AAPES coach and co-owner Monique McDonald. She has really good power behind her jumps, and puts a lot of effort into drilling parkour techniques and getting them nice and clean! She also wins the award for coolest hair on this list! Monique and all the other women from Sydney Parkour recently got together to make this video which showcases what they're all about! Definitely worth checking out! - - - Just want to throw out a big thank you to Steph and Dom for helping me compile this list of sick Aussie athletes! Please show all the athletes some love by checking out their Instagrams, which are all linked next to their names in the article!  Australia is a huge place packed with opportunities for adventure - most people that I know who have visited have said it’s an experience of a lifetime. Aussies are really fun and crazy people, and their spots apparently live up to that too! The parkour scene may be a bit less developed than Europe or even the States, but the more people who visit the more it can grow. So, definitely consider it as a potential training destination!  Let us know who your favorite Australian athletes are in the comments!    Image Credits: Filippo Dall'Osso, Chris Potirakis, 4Ninety, Pedro Greig

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The Beasts Down Under

The Australian parkour scene has been gradually growing for years now, and is currently super und...

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FISE Hiroshima Results and an Unfortunately Worded Tweet

I take a look at the parkour results from the latest FISE event in Hiroshima, and then look at the controversy caused by an unfortunately worded tweet by the Olympic Channel. A few weeks ago the first FIG organised ‘World Cup’ for parkour took place in Hiroshima, Japan. It was featured as a part of a larger FISE event which showcases various action sports on a global circuit. Most the athletes that were flown in were from Europe, but a few other continents were also represented. I believe it was the first international parkour competition to take place in Japan since the 2011 Red Bull: Art of Motion. The event featured a separate men’s and women’s version of both a ‘speed run’ and ‘freestyle’ competition. According to the FISE website, the event was a success and generated a lot of public interest. A 2nd FIG World Cup event is scheduled to take place in Montpellier, France in May. The podiums of each of the competitions were as follows: Women’s Freestyle Finals: 1st Place: Karla Castellano Gonzalez (21, Mexico) 2nd Place: Aleksandra Shevchenko (31, Russia) 3rd Place: Saskia Neville (26, Netherlands)   Men’s Speed Run Finals: 1st Place: Pedro ‘Phosky’ Gomez (25, Spain) 2nd Place: Jeremy Lorsignol (32, France) 3rd Place: Christian Harmat (26, Switzerland)   Women’s Speed Run Finals: 1st Place: Saskia Neville (26, Netherlands) 2nd Place: Hikari Izumi (22, Japan) 3rd Place: Anna Griukach (28, Ukraine)   Men’s Freestyle Finals: 1st Place: Pavels Petkuns (25, Latvia) 2nd Place: Waldemar Muller (Germany) 3rd Place: Kamil Tobiasz (25, Poland) Congratulations to all the winners, who all took home a considerable chunk of prize money. Despite a few issues with rain initially, it seemed like a fun and well-run event. The course looked decent, and a sizeable crowd turned up to watch. I’m sure getting to meet David Belle was an exciting bonus for many as well.  Of course, it is no secret that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the FIG organisation and its involvement with Parkour. With some arguing that FIG (Fédération Internationale de Gymnastique) is illegitimately appropriating and encroaching on the sovereignty of an established sport. Others argue that they are the organisation that can take parkour to the next level, and provide opportunities within the sport for athletes in less developed countries. Divides within the community surrounding this topic were further ignited recently after an April 12th Tweet from Olympic Channel - a secondary twitter feed of the official Olympics organisation. Many people took exception to the Olympic Channel framing Parkour as a new “gymnastics discipline”. Eugene Minogue - CEO of Parkour UK hit back with a tweet of his own, accusing the gymnastics federation of breaking the Olympic charter by encroaching on parkour: Parkour is NOT “the new #Gymnastics discipline”. Parkour/Freerunning is a recognised sovereign sport & community that @gymnastics is attempting to encroach & misappropriate in violation of the @Olympics charter https://t.co/qDTXT8Np5C #WeAreNOTGymnastics ✊🏼 @ParkourEarth pic.twitter.com/0FZvVYWQHQ — Eugene Minogue (@EugeneMinogue) April 14, 2018 Several other notable parkour community members shared similar sentiments across social media. Even Storror, who have historically tended to stay out of political debates within the sport weighed in with a status of their own: It’s a bit more difficult to find outspoken defenders of the FIG. But one person who has consistently argued on their behalf is David Nelmes, who competed in the Hiroshima event. He posted a status of his own regarding recent controversy, where he urges people to direct their frustration at the olympic channel, and not the FIG: Christian Harmat, who placed 3rd in the speed competition also had this to say, expressing some sympathy for FIG: As you can see this innocuous-seeming tweet from the perspective of the Olympics Channel has added more fuel to an already burning flame. It’s a very divisive issue, and the content of the tweet for many is evidence of everything they were worried about regarding the FIG’s involvement with parkour in the first place. Hence it struck such a nerve. An innocent mistake perhaps, but understandably inflammatory nonetheless. All this comes hot on the heels of another point of contention of a similar vein. Where Ryan Ford, founder of Apex Movement pointed out that the parkour athletes competing in the FIG world cup were listed as ‘gymnasts’ on the FIG website. In the following days, the website was altered so the athletes would be listed as ‘athlete’ instead of ‘gymnast’. - - - This is not a write up about the FIG situation at large - I still feel nowhere near qualified enough to do that justice right now. I’m just reporting on the issue flaring up again as a result of recent events. I have my opinions, but I’m trying to stay as neutral as I can for now. In the future, I will be looking into this topic a lot more deeply, and trying to write something about it. So feel free to reach out and talk to me about your perspectives.

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FISE Hiroshima Results and an Unfortunately Worded Tweet

I take a look at the parkour results from the latest FISE event in Hiroshima, and then look at th...

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DISCRETION - SWEATER - BLACK

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DISCRETION - SWEATER - BLACK

$78.00

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A Turtleneck Sweater with a long silhouette.

Apart from making clothing that is perfect to wear for high intensity movement, we also want to create pieces for the lifestyle that comes with our sport. With the Discretion sweater we added a more refined touch to our Farang collection.

It's our favourite piece to wear for a day of travel, cold weather or layering with other pieces.

The fabric is 100% cotton. Subtle details in the cut give the minimal design an edge and slightly futuristic look. There are pockets hidden in the side-seams, embroidery on the turtleneck and a logo embroidery between the shoulder blades.

Jason is wearing a size Large. He is 5'10 (178cm) and weighs 176 pound (80kg).

A Turtleneck Sweater with a long silhouette. Apart from making clothing that is perfect to wear for high intensity movement, we also want to create pieces for the lifestyle that comes with our spor...

DISCRETION - SWEATER - BLACK

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