Hands On - 5 freerunners and their most important tool
Nothing speaks more about how serious of a freerunner you are than a quick glance at your hands.
And even though the following freerunners don’t need an introduction (and certainly not any more proof of how badass they are), we still left you with a closeup of their most important tool. Scuffed on rough walls, ripped on steel bars and scarred by sharp ledges, our hands are shaped by what we do every day. They tell a story about who we are and what kind of dedication it takes to do what we do.
Of course, hands don’t give you the full story. So we asked each of these internationally recognized freerunners five questions about their history with the sport and their hopes for the future.
I'm Dom Di Tommaso from Sydney City, Australia. I'm 22 and I started freerunning almost eight years ago, in late 2007. I was watching ninja videos online when I stumbled upon parkour and freerunning, and as soon as I watched one video I knew that was what I wanted to do.
I grew up doing a variety of sports, but I chose parkour and freerunning for the freedom of what you are able to do with your body and imagination. This was unlike any of the other sports that I had tried. What first drew me to the sport was that it wasn't necessary to train to anyone else's strict guidelines; there is no final destination because everyone is going their own way.
The special thing for me with parkour is the people involved. The sport attracts and promotes kind, supporting and overall fun individuals, which is rare to sports. Freerunning has offered me a whole new outlook on the world around me. It's given me the opportunity to meet new people, make new friends all over the globe, and travel the world doing something I love.
Australia is a very athletic nation. Much like the culture, the freerunning is very diverse when it comes to style. One similarity however: there does seem to be a tendency to go LARGE.
Freerunning culture promotes a healthy, fun way of life that builds self confidence. I've found that no matter where I go, I'll always find the same basic 'structures' to a freerunners lifestyle: progression, having fun, and enjoying life’s adventures. It helps you find your unique style as an individual. Plus you get sleep-overs!
I hope to see the sport push the boundaries of physical capabilities, and show the public that parkour and freerunning have much to offer in personal progression and growth of self-knowledge.
Click here to watch Dom in Action.
Hi, my name is Alexander Baiturin and I’m 26 years old, soon to be 27. I’m from a city called Vladivostock in Russia. It's so far east, if you jump on a bus for 5 hours you’ll be in China.
Whatever, I started training in 2005, because my dad always told me I should be training, if I want to be strong. I started watching Jackie Chan movies at first and it was my inspiration, then I watched the David Belle movie “B13”, but it was the same as Jackie Chan did to me, just tricks. Later my friend showed me what Parkour is and I got into it in 2005. In my first training-session I learned the 2-step wallflip. I could already backflip and frontflip before that.
Sawadee krap! My name is Anan Anwar, and I'm 28 years old. I'm Indonesian/Scottish, but I was born and raised in Thailand. I first got into freerunnning nine years ago when I came across the documentary Jump Britain with Sebastien Foucan.
I was already moved by 'extreme sports', like inline skating and wake boarding, from a young age, but I was also a dancer at heart. When I tried freerunning for the first time it felt like a perfect fit. For me it had the perfect mix between being both physically challenging and open to creative expression, with a touch of adrenaline and adventure.
I think freerunners across various countries learn to value different attributes through their practice. For some it’s power or speed, for others it’s acrobatic prowess, but for me it’s always been novelty. I've never been the guy with the biggest jump, or thrown the most difficult trick, but if I can surprise you or help you see something that wasn't there before, then I've done my job.
Freerunning culture to me is all the things we communicate about our values and our aesthetics without ever saying it out loud. It's the picture we paint about ourselves through the media we create. A diverse culture allows something like freerunning to grow and thrive because the mixing of competing ideas fuels innovation. Culture is what turns a fad into something with real staying power, which is why I feel like we all need to contribute to this culture because it's such a young sport. Whether you value traveling the world for adventure, practicing parkour as a method for personal development, or chasing personal power through doing dangerous stunts, it doesn't matter, as long as we share these experiences. We don't have to agree on what we value (actually I prefer it if we didn't), as long as we are all contributing to the 'conversation'.
Freerunning has so much to offer, even to those who only scratch the surface of it. I hope that we can create an industry that can support those who want to live this discipline—the teachers, bloggers, performers, photographer, gym owners, etc.—so that they can better deliver freerunning to the world.
Click here to watch Anan in Action.
I'm Luci Romberg, I’m from Denver, Colorado. I won't tell you my exact age but I can say I'm not in my 20s anymore LOL. I grew up playing as many sports as I could fit in a day. I worked really hard and was able to get a full ride college scholarship for gymnastics and soccer. I won the All-Around my senior year of college in gymnastics, then moved to Hollywood to pursue my dream of being a professional stuntwoman. I started training stunts and a few years in, I met Team Tempest and fell in LOVE with freerunning and have been doing it everyday since!
I have played a lot of sports in my life and I can say that I love them all, but freerunning is something special. There are no rules, no limits, no boundaries. There is something so freeing and inspiring about being able to overcome your fear and do something you never thought possible. In traditional sports there is a right way and a wrong way but with freerunning your mind is the limit.
Freerunning has changed my life in every way! It has given me confidence, mental and physical strength, lifelong friendships, an open mindedness of what is possible among many other things. Freerunning has taught me that in life, I can do anything I set my mind to!
When I first started training, I trained a lot with Victor Lopez. As people may know, Vik is all about "go big or go home,” so a lot of my initial training was big, one-off moves. Over the years I have really tried to work on my flow and connecting my moves. As a female I don't have the same speed, power or agility as the guys, but it doesn't matter. That's what's so great about freerunning: the freedom to make it your own.
To me, freerunning culture is about exploration, growth, community, and acceptance. I can sit here and tell you it's been difficult being a woman in a male dominated sport but that would be a lie. The freerunning community has been nothing but loving and supportive! I absolutely adore the freerunning community and the culture around it. It breeds positivity, a healthy lifestyle, personal growth, and a new kind of open mindedness.
I wish that every person in the world could experience what if feels to find true freedom. I hope that freerunning continues to grow and more and more people can experience the many benefits this movement offers. I hope that more and more athletes can make it their lifelong career and make a living doing what they love! I would love to see more competitions, more jams, and more events to bring the community together.
Click here to watch Luci in Action.
My name is Pasha, I am from Latvia and I was born in a very small city, Daugavpils, in 1992. I started practicing parkour when I was 14. I got into it through Parkour videos, although back then I didn't have the Internet. A friend of mine invited me to his place because he had some parkour videos on DVD, and the first video I ever saw was a Russian climber. I remember how excited I was, how this video motivated me so much. I thought, ‘hey, this guy’s from the same city as me, so that means I can do it as well.’
I love parkour, and I'm addicted. I think I’m still in love with it because I started it young, and I don’t have to spend any money to be involved in it. So far freerunning has led me to 29 countries, meeting countless good and crazy people and collecting so many stories along the way. What could be better?
The Latvian and Russian style of freerunning is a little bit different, because we don't have that many options for great spots. So we try to adapt everywhere we can. I think we play more with our moves physically then with our spots, so we use our bodies more to create something. It’s not really about spots, but of course if you show us a good one then we will show you!
Free running culture is one of my favorites, because we are super friendly and always trying to help and support each other. It's growing crazy fast, and everyone is welcome to our family!
I don't know that the future will hold for the sport, but hopefully it will include me.
ShadySav - May 14 2017
Guys. I almost cried… This was amazing.
ryley bucknam - September 27 2016
we are like one big family
in the freeruning community
i am from kentucky in the US come visit some time.
the B'st - April 08 2016
Wow thats so cool Luci Romberg is from Denver I’m from Trinidad C.O. A small town about 3 hours south! Awesome story stay awesome!
Diego Bueno - March 26 2016
Inspirational article I think this was one of the best
beepbel - March 23 2016
Wes - March 17 2016
Anyone else read Pasha’s interview with his voice? haha
José Rodríguez - March 17 2016
‘’Everyone is welcome to our family’’ Much obliged, the least i can do is try, for you are all inspiring people, and i would love to be part of this big, multicultural family.