For this graduation project I traveled 15.000+ km, to capture the true essence of parkour and freerunning.
By Michel Kasper of Team Unity Freerun
Introduction I noticed, during the live presentations of my video, that people could relate even better to the video, after I explained how and why I made it. Here you’ll find my reasoning and my working method, so I/we could educate people and get discussions going in order to improve what we have!
“I don’t think parkour is meant to be defined, because when you define something, you put a limitation on it” “And with a limitation on it, you can’t explore it’s full capabilities”
Although some things in this article might come across as a fact, it’s still my interpretation and my subjective opinion. It’s just to get across what my point is, and how I think we could make our world a better one.
My name is Michel Kasper, 27 y/o, and I just graduated, from the Academy of Popculture, by making this video. I’ve been doing parkour/freerun for 13 years now. For the sake of clarity, I‘ll use the term parkour, referring to both parkour and freerun.
The problem I’ve always been troubled by the general image which people have about parkour. Throughout the years, I noticed that people have a misperception of what parkour actually is. The contrast between how people see us, and who we truly are, couldn’t be bigger. Haven’t we all tried to explain to our friends and families what it means to us? Some people know, to a certain extent, that it is important to us. But do they really know what we stand for?
I want people to understand why that one person always trains alone in the woods, jumping from one branch to another.
I want people to know what our motives are.
I want people to feel how we feel.
I want to tell the story of everyone doing parkour out there.
Working towards the goal So, how am I going to change the thoughts of so many people? Others have tried it before me, but did they succeed? Perhaps..
I looked into the reasoning behind the success and failure of certain videos and articles. They all tried to bring the real image of parkour to the people. Those participating in parkour wish to show that real feel in the video, which is so important to us. It’s so hard to share this feel, with those unfamiliar with parkour. There are some videos out there, which do transfer that feeling to fellow runners, but outsiders can’t relate to those feelings yet, since the videos don’t give them the information they need to get to that feeling. Most other videos, telling people about parkour, are made by non-traceurs, who often haven’t experienced the real deal themselves, and therefore aren’t able to transfer the reasoning and thoughts behind it.
So my goal was to show people what we are about,.. By letting them feel what we feel. During my video I’ll give the information needed to get the facts straightened out, since that’ll be the first step to take. In the first part of my video the audience is being educated, so towards the final part of the video, they can lay back and finally grasp what truly drives us.
Work method In order to look for the true essence of what we do, I needed to know what that true essence is. During all the stages of my work I embraced my main concept, which was just as important as the outcome of the video.
I will let the core of parkour be my guide during all the choices I make.
This results in trying and looking at the possibilities, which occur. I approach these possibilities with a positive mindset, while being completely neutral, and letting my feelings guide me to making the right choice. Working completely intuitively you’ll always make the right decisions.
We all know when we are most likely to get injured: during a shoot, where the camera guy asks you to just do it one more time. Or when people are walking by looking weird at you while you’re standing on a wall, mentally preparing for that big jump. You are kind of “forced” to do the jump since you want to show them, that you are capable of performing awesome moves.. You’re letting other motivations in, other than your own, to perform the jump. And that’s when you fail.
Therefore, during my shoots, I would never force anything onto anyone. I have never set anything up, by forcing or asking people to do stuff for a certain shot, because I want everything to be as natural and as real as possible. I wanted to be the so-called “fly on the wall”, so I could seize the moments when they come to me. Yes, I might have used the “best” music for a certain scene, and yes I might have made some cuts in the footage to get the best results.
But the footage is real, and I’m just trying to convey the vibes and emotions of that moment
Future Is the video the complete package of what parkour is? The definite answer is no. But it has not been my goal to show everything what there is to parkour.. At least not for this particular video. This may possibly give people an idea of what parkour truly is, but there is still so much more to show.
Is the video a bit too romantic? Yes, absolutely. Part of my goal is, to set a standard in the community; the video has been made to make people aware that we must protect and preserve what we have. We got something so unique, and I think we’re not fully aware of how easily this could drift to places we don’t want it to drift off to.
I’m not going to discuss all the different dangers, as what risks are or not, is also up for debate. My point is that we should all stick to the core of what we have.
How to act? I think people who are truly and full on into parkour, have some kind of “unspoken” connection with each other. We always try to be the good-guy, try to respect each and everyone. It’s something we emit, which might be the source of the greatness of parkour. We try to teach respect to others around us, we always make an effort to be a role model, and that’s why parkour is what it is today. And we’re doing a good job!
But if we’ll be more aware of what’s going on, we can be more effective in sharing this all! I’m not saying we got big problems, and that I’m going to bring you all the solutions. But what I’m trying to say is: try to pay more attention to the things that truly matter, instead of just focusing on ‘some moves’.
Share the love! Talk to people, inspire them, discuss, be open and be respectful to others. Even if you’ve always disliked that one thing, try to look at it with (an open mind) a clean slate, and act with a positive mindset.
Let’s protect and preserve what we’ve got, and let’s look more into the norms and values on which this culture is based on.