What are you doing?

(This question is part of the “What are you doing?” project.)

It’s funny the different stages my training has gone through. Sometimes the mindset is consistent but the movements are different other times the movements are the same but the mindset is different. It’s been interesting to reflect on the area of precisions in my training and how drastically the mindset has shifted from when I started till now.

When I first started in parkour I was just trying to learn the technique. I only attempted jumps that had little to no risk around ground level and drilled them over and over again. This seems to be a stage that’s becoming less and less common in people’s training and you can see the negative effects of that. It’s so much more appealing once you can do a movement passably to move on to bigger and cooler movements or then take that movement into more difficult contexts. While increasing challenge is an important element of training I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen succeed on something a few times and then assume they are ready for harder challenges only to then hurt themselves because even if they have the capability to do the challenge once, they are not consistent enough that failure and injury is a remote possibility as opposed to a likely result.

After a while I started to build trust in myself and what jumps I could hit consistently with a remote chance of failure as opposed to a likely one. As I got more comfortable in this area I began to increase the complexity and risk involved in these jumps. I would come face to face with a challenging jump and reassure myself that I knew my own capabilities and that the chance of me failing these jumps was extremely low. With that knowledge in my head I would work towards breaking jumps.

This mentality has some definite pros and cons to it. While I think that we should jump with success as the clear goal in mind, if our way of dealing with the consequences of missing the jump is simply don’t miss we are limiting our training drastically and leaving ourselves unprepared for the one time in a hundred where you miss that jump you should not be able to mess up. While not with every jump, a large portion of the jumps you do there is a clear bail option and identifying that and practicing it will open up a ton of jumps for you that you would not otherwise have been able to approach.

Throughout my training I’ve had some pretty cool experiences with ukemi (falling and saving yourself). Before I even started parkour and merely had some basic martial arts training at the age of 12 I fell head first of a ledge to concrete and used a dive roll to come out uninjured. A few months ago I missed one foot on a rail precision that was well over my head height and before I knew it I’d hooked that leg around the bar, grabbed it with both hands and swung myself down to a dead hang. People talk about these moments happening in slow motion but that’s not how I experience them. There is literally no thought and the moment happens in an instant as your body and the training you’ve given it reacts and acts on its own accord. If anything time seems quicker to me.

Ukemi was something I put some effort into but not much. Thankfully I’d been training it without noticing and so it was able to rescue me in more then one occasion and I used it to a minor degree on low risk jumps that I could try repetitively with little to no consequences on a miss. A transformative moment for my training of precisions was a workshop led by Max Henry in Boston at the Parkour Generations American Rendezvous.

I know I’m not the only one who had my training transformed by this workshop. I’ve heard both Sparsha of PKGEN Boston, and Ben from London, Ontario say how influential it was in their training. Max told us how when he works on those high risk jumps he often figures out what it is he is most afraid of in the jump and then forces himself to deal with that consequence first. Similarly to how difficult it is to get a solid handstand if you don’t have exit plans for both forwards and backwards it’s very hard to stick a precision if you don’t have solid backup plans for both overshooting and undershooting. Max challenged us on some precisions that had quite dramatic drops on one side of them to first not stick it and fall in the direction of the big drop and save ourselves by catching ourselves in cat.

At the time I couldn’t bring myself to do it but when I returned home I began to practice both overshooting and turning to cat and undershooting. I prioritized facing the fear and dealing with it by putting myself over the danger more so than actually sticking the jump. While obviously this is not the mindset with which you want to approach every jump it has helped me to wrap my head around actually committing to sticking a jump much quicker then just bouncing off to the side I feel safer on.

Training these bail options has opened up a whole realm of jumps that were inaccessible before. I’ve extended my training to include bails to swinging or hanging so I can attempt jumps to lone bars. Now I’m ok to try a jump over twice my head height that I may or may not be able to stick first try because I am confident in my ability to recover and keep myself safe.

Building trust with yourself is such an important part of training. In relationships, the more trust you build with the other person the more you are able to do together and accomplish. It’s the same thing with your relationship with yourself. If you don’t know your bodies limits or don’t trust it, how much are you really going to accomplish?

Something I’ve been working on is when I say I’m going to do something, doing it. If I say I’m going to overshoot, I overshoot. If I say I’m going to attempt this acrobatic movement, I’m going to attempt it. If I say I’m going to stick it, regardless of if I do I have to give it one hundred percent and put all of my energy into attempting it at the best of my ability. If we lie to ourselves we break that basic trust that is so essential in our movements. I will admit I’m not perfect at this yet. For some reason I find this much easier when attempting a scary parkour movement then when committing to a new acrobatic movement. If I say I’m going to jump I usually jump. But if I say I’m going to attempt that cast away I am infamous for being about to attempt chickening out and yelling one more before hoping back on the wall. With your mentality as well as the rest of your training as essential as it is to be hard on yourself, be patient and don’t expect perfection out of yourself right away. If you wouldn’t expect a student to be perfect right away don’t expect it of yourself.

These of course are not new concepts and have been around since the start but I highly recommend exploring mentality in training with the same, intentionality that we explore our movement. Every person is different and the most effective mentality is going to be different for each person. I suppose if I were to have two desired takeaways it would be to deal with the possibility you’re most afraid of first, and to build trust with yourself. That’s not just good for parkour but for life.

Finnish Parkour Community

Craig: You said to me randomly at one point, the Finns disprefer confrontation and you actually presented it as if it were a bit of a flaw or blind spot for them and I would say that Americans are probably really good at confrontation and I’m wondering what your thoughts are how that reflects into the parkour community. So I’m guessing that the Finnish parkour community would be colored by that national aspect. I know our parkour community is clearly colored by that aspect here, so I’m wondering, you have a unique perspective on those two points of view, those two communities? I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on that.

Ville: I’m not sure if it’s a nice thing to say about my own culture, they try to avoid confront, but it is true in a way. The unique thing about the Finnish Parkour community is the minute that people started training when they first saw videos of David and the Yamakasi and got inspired to go out and train, immediately within just a few months or the first month, we created a national association.

Craig: That explains it. I’m like, why is the Finnish parkour community so far ahead of everybody else in terms of cohesion and organization. That’s interesting.

Ville: That’s the reason but that’s also what we do in Finland. There’s something new that pops up, let’s do an association around it. That’s the mindset we have to kind of create some organization around it and maybe that comes from the cultural thing. We’re not competing against each other. We don’t want to create a system where we have these groups that are …

Craig: Pulling in different directions?

Ville: Pulling in different directions. Figuring out who’s going to be taking the leadership role in the bigger picture ’cause like everybody, all the different groups, so there was six different groups who started around the same time, they all came together and formed the association and that I think has left a unique stamp on the Finnish parkour community because of the history that we had the association right from the beginning, and that’s kept the community pretty unified. But sometimes, you need to have conflict.

Ville: This is my personal take. You have the difficult questions and I think we’re getting better at them because if the way to avoid conflict and confrontation is to be quiet about it, which is the way sometimes we Finns go about things, which may not be a positive way to go about things, it’s just to avoid the hard things that’s in front of you, but I think our community has learned to also, like over the years, to face those more difficult situations and still have that unity and that sense that, okay we don’t need all the different groups and local communities don’t need to agree with everybody on the different organizations. They don’t need to be identical.

Questions and Coaching Insight

Craig: You clearly like to use questions as tools so you either directly ask the questions of the students by presenting them with some sort of challenge or entice them to come up with their own questions. So this idea of questions being tools, how long have you had that idea and can you maybe take me back to a point where, Ville didn’t have that idea of using questions and how did you get from that version of you to the current version of you?

Ville: That’s a good one. In school, I used to be a know it all, like a really annoying know it all kid and I thought that maybe going back to the idea of success is I thought it is knowing the right answers to everything. I still like but I used to really like being correct; being right. Having the right knowledge but then I guess in the parkour training and being a coach, I’m being a bad coach if I’m always right. If I’m going up to the person and telling them, “Okay, this is how you need to do it. This is the correct way to do it.” And kind of slowly, I guess, through teaching, years of teaching, it’s evolved into how can I facilitate the process for the learner and without me being there, the annoying know it all.

Craig: Just be better, right?

Ville: Yeah. Just be better telling, okay this is exactly how you do it and then you become awesome. No, that’s not very fun for people or it’s not teaching them the process of self discovery and finding the strength.

Craig: Because it’s not the answer that makes you better. It’s the journey to find the answer that made you better.

Ville: So it’s kind of a personal challenge for me with a tendency to really like being correct to try to not give out answers. Try to think of the good questions for the students and then when I start doing that and when I started doing more and more of that in my teaching, having that be a starting point, that explorative kind of experiment lab feel to things, I felt more connected with the students and then I started to reflect that into my own practice too, is about, I don’t need to have knowledge or factual information about the training I’m doing or the correct technique. The most interesting things come out when I ask a question and let that lead me somewhere, whether it be a movement puzzle or can I pull something off like a project. Like what would happen if I had an interesting starting point and then just asked, “Okay, what happens next?’

Family Classes

Craig: Is there anything else that you want to talk about. I know there’s a million things we could bring up.

Ville: I think a souvenir from the Finnish parkour community, or if we had to export something to the rest of the world, like a local specialty, would be our family classes. They are very close to my heart personally and I know the different communities run them all around the world now, but it’s something I think we pioneered back home and it’s my personal favorite definitely to coach and bring the joy of movement, not just to the kids or the adults, but have them move together.

Ville: I find that’s the place where we have the spirit of our discipline brought out the best. Shines the brightest and the smiles on the faces of the kids and the parents and I also find that, anyone who’s a community leader and if you’re not running family classes, I strongly recommend that because it’s so much fun and that’s the way you can influence the parents too, if they’re doing the helicopter parenting thing, you can slowly and slowly start to effect their attitudes and show them the ways you can allow the kids the freedom of movement and the joy of movement, but then also give them tools to how to make it safe and how to make sure that they, of course you want to protect your kids from injuring themselves; to create an environment where they learn, have a good time together, play, enjoy movement and over the years, the best bonds between students I’ve had and the coolest stories that I’ve got the chance to follow are usually like this kid comes, he’s three years old, and they start at a family class.

Ville: The parent gets super excited about the sport maybe after two or three years they’ve been going to the family class, they start training themselves and get more and more into it and then the kids goes on the kids classes and further and then they’re teenagers and then when they’re teenager and their parents are growing older too, but they all keep training together and coming to open gyms or whatever. Just sharing the movement and that feels very special to me when that happens in those cases. It reminds me at least of why I love doing this and why I love being involved in this community.

Learning, Curiosity, and Exploring

Craig: Let’s dig a little deeper into learning. That’s really a key part of exploring. And I don’t mean to be negative, but I understand that you weren’t a great student in school, that you really didn’t want to learn, and you’re clearly on the opposite end of that spectrum now in terms of your desire for knowledge and reading and visual. Can you tell me how did that change from not wanting to be …?

Sebastien: Basically, wherever you are works for some people. It doesn’t work for others. So for me, my understanding of school when I was younger, which is a bit different now, was “I hate it.” Because it was kind of a trauma. But I had to have absolute freedom. To get to this place where you have to sit down and listen, and they don’t ask you what … Now, school probably changed, which is more organic, because they learn. But just to listen, and it was kind of racing for grades. It was super traumatic. Because of my personality, and I was more a dreamer, and in some ways always the eyes towards the skies and watching stars and everything, and was always in my head. And getting this place where they force me to get information, which I didn’t want to get, it was pretty difficult. So I didn’t want to learn. Before, when I was kid, I wanted to learn. Every kid has that.

Craig: Curiosity, right?

Sebastien: Yeah, curiosity. “Dad, what’s that? Mom what’s that? How does it work?” And then the parents say, “Stop. Okay, you’re annoying. Stop saying that to me. Leave me alone.” Do you see? Politely, but, “Stop it now, you ask too much question.” But we can talk about the super power later. This is our super power. And I discovered that later. So for me, it’s like I went through a phase where I don’t want to learn. I want to escape from school. It’s awful. And then my school was the school of outside. And not the street, because people think parkour came from a street, no. Now I’ve been in Pennsylvania, and it remind me–Lisses–the birth of parkour, the place where it started. It’s a mix between the city, where we’re living, like human being living, but well matched, and well–

Craig: Blended, or mixed, or woven?

Sebastien: Yeah, yeah. With nature, this is what I like. This is why my friend and I, we keep moving. Because we are courageous for activity, it connects us with nature, everything. We talk about energy, like we can hear the animal, you can breathe. Everything is there.

Craig: Yeah, after it rains, you can smell the earth, and you hear the birds. Right.

Sebastien: You see, now I’m not even talking about like philosophy and Zen and everything. No, it’s right there, with your senses. It’s right there. So outside I learned that, and I grew because of that. Then I thought, “Oh my God,” then I become curious again. And then out of the curiosity, that’s how I discover I’m an explorer. And then my brain, I cannot stop asking question, “What is that? Why are we doing this? You see?

Coaching and Autonomy

Craig: What I’m most interested here in is getting at the things that no one will hear if we don’t talk about them. You had made a comment, not in the podcast, you made a comment before about an idea for like a coaching exchange, and you really are passionate about talking about coaching techniques, and trying to get coaches together to work on … I don’t want to put words in your mouth. Give me your idea about coaching, and tell me some more about what you are thinking.

Sebastien: Yeah. One thing upset me, now we got more and more coach, we’ve got certificate and everything. But also, we’ve got different sensitivity and ideas toward coaching. And I think, because parkour has become more and more democratic, I think it would be good to have … My dream is it would be good to have something where people get together, and we exchange. We talk so much about political issues, but for me it’s like I’m an explorer, so I want to find the cause of my ignorance, and I want to learn with others. Coaching is good, but parkour is teaching a certain a way that’s not traditional. I talked to you about traditional warm-up, which I do a nontraditional warm-up.

Craig: Right.

Sebastien: And for me it’s the same with coaching. Why do we follow all the coachings there is, and why don’t we do our own way? And that’s something that can be taught together.

Craig: Yeah, you’re not saying throw everything out, you’re saying we should get together and discuss it. Like, did we make a conscious choice?

Sebastien: Yeah, we can bring guests, and people will coaching, and talking about knowledge about physiology and everything. But just, I will bring for example the concept of autonomy. For example, when do we start? Who teaches us everything? We’ve been inspired, but who teach us to do anything? Nobody. It become organic, it has become now very sophisticated and more advanced, because people have knowledge from everywhere, it’s become something.

Craig: Right.

Sebastien: And it’s kind of organic. But the autonomy. Like for example in sports, everyone’s related to their coach. And always looking, okay, is that good? Is my moves good? In parkour, we’re not doing that. You need to understand what you’re doing, by yourself. A bird doesn’t have a coach. It’s like this is it. It’s a belief.

Guest Introduction


Craig: Hello, I’m Craig Constantine.

Sandro: Hi, I’m Sandro Widmer.

Craig: Sandro Widmer is from Zug, Switzerland. And I have the distinct pleasure of catching up with him after [00:00:30] American Rendezvous in Boston and Somerville. And Sandro is going to talk a little bit today about ParkourONE, Switzerland’s TRuST concept. And I’m also hoping you’ll give us some information about his master’s research that he’s working on. So welcome, Sandro.

Sandro: Thank you for being here.

Craig: It’s my pleasure.

ParkourONE’s TRUST Concept

Craig: So Sandro, can we talk a little bit about ParkourONE’s TRuST concept? What is that? Can you unpack it a little bit for us?

Sandro: Yeah. TRuST, or parkour according to TRuST, is [00:01:00] meant to increase immaterial wealth. I think you say it like that. It’s like the purpose of it is to increase health and-

Craig: Richness of your experience.

Sandro: Yeah. And personality. Develop personality and to parkour according to our values. So our values [00:01:30] are basically a very important thing-

Craig: And they’re also very well thought out, it’s not like a simple punch list, so they, can you run me through them?

Sandro: Exactly. Yeah, we can practically do quickly all of them.

Craig: Okay.

Sandro: Because it’s the concept with the hand, I don’t know if you remember it?

Craig: Yeah, ParkourONE’s logo-

Sandro: A fist, open hand.

Craig: Yeah, they’re superimposed so it’s the fist and the open hand [00:02:00] in the same image.

Sandro: And you can like explain all of the values on one hand. So it’s the thumb is going to be “no competition.” So-

Craig: And the visual there is-

Sandro: -is zoned for-

Craig: Not thumb up north.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly. So we don’t want to judge actually about other people. We don’t want to judge like, “Oh you’re so good, or you’re so bad.” We don’t want to make a difference there, we just want to … we just don’t want to [00:02:30] judge about that. Second one, maybe is that-

Craig: Pointer finger or index finger, we would say.

Sandro: Exactly. It’s … maybe you saw it, everybody saw it when the mother was-

Craig: Yes, my French tutor does that, she shakes her finger at me. So the gesture he’s making is a finger shaking index finger.

Sandro: Exactly. So that means “be cautious.” You only have one body, and if you mess that up, [00:03:00] you don’t have any body left, so-

Craig: Right.

Sandro: So just be cautious about what you’re doing. The middle finger, we’re turning it around, it shows for us respect. Respect for the people around us when we’re training, respect for the spot we’re training at. Because when we want to train for a long time, maybe. And especially respect for nature around us because we don’t want [00:03:30] to mess that up. So we basically just want to show respect as well to show good picture of parkour as well.

Craig: Okay, so the presentation of the thing as well as being respectful.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly.

Craig: Okay.

Sandro: And the fourth one is going to be the Trust. So basically Trusting yourself … I don’t know, is [00:04:00] there another word for …?

Craig: In English? I think trust is, well trust or self-reliance, maybe-

Sandro: Self-confidence?

Craig: Self-confidence. Because I was going to ask you to, when you’re done, go through the names of them in German, so we-

Sandro: Yeah, yeah. Perfectly. So trust in other people and self-confidence in yourself because it needs a lot of self-confidence to go out and train like we do because we are being out there with [00:04:30] all the other people. Some people are used to stare at people doing different things. So it needs a lot of self-confidence to overcome the barrier.

Craig: Yeah, otherwise you add that on top of the actual physical danger that could be there.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly.

Craig: So that’s four is the ring finger. And then we would call it the pinkie or the fifth finger.

Sandro: Exactly. That one is modesty, I think for me it’s one of the most important ones. There’s always more [00:05:00] obstacles in your way that you cannot overcome than obstacles that you overcame. So just be humble. Be modest about what you’re doing. And do not shout out-

Craig: And I love image of when you get to the end of your hand, and you’re holding up this tiny little finger, and that’s for the modesty. So can you do them in English one more time, is ….

Sandro: It’s no competition, be cautious, respect, [00:05:30] sorry … we’re going to go through them again.

Craig: Go ahead.

Sandro: No competition, be careful, respect, trust, and modesty.

Craig: And modesty.

Craig: So just so everyone understands the translations correctly, can you give them to me in German? The way you would normally use them so people can look up what the actual definitions are. So we make sure we have it right.

Sandro: So that would be Konkurrenzfreiheit, Vorsicht, Respekt, Vertrauen, Bescheidenheit [00:06:00] And the actual sixth one, or the catching, it’s actually less making a fist then catching something.

Craig: Okay, like catching, so it’s like a catching motion.

Sandro: Like grab a wall, grab something that’s like the picture that we want to do, and not the making a fist and punching somebody. That’s courage. You need a lot of courage [00:06:30] to do all those things.

Craig: To do all the things.

Sandro: Parkour to get over yourself, or to break a jump sometimes.

Craig: And what’s the German word for the sixth one?

Sandro: Mut.

Craig: Mut? I don’t speak a word of German, I’m sorry.

Sandro: Don’t worry about that.

What is ParkourONE?

Craig: So that’s the TRuST concept from ParkourONE. And if people are paying close attention, there first question should be, “Wait, I thought ParkourONE was the German parkour organization? Why are we talking to someone from [00:07:00] Switzerland?” Aside from the fact that Switzerland is gorgeous, you need to go to Switzerland. “But why are we talking to Sandro from Switzerland about ParkourONE?” And that’s because ParkourONE is not a simple organization within one country. ParkourONE is actually a composition of Switzerland and Germany working together.

Craig: So can you just talk to me a little bit about first of all, what does it mean to be a member of ParkourONE? And I’m going to let the cat out of the bag a little bit, that’s actually different from [00:07:30] simply going to ParkourONE classes. That doesn’t automatically make you a member. So can you tell me a little bit about what it means, let’s say, for you specifically, to be a member of ParkourONE?

Sandro: Yeah, well as a member of ParkourONE, I’m … like some rights and some duties as well. I can … I represent ParkourONE as a member of ParkourONE. And there’s [00:08:00] not just an easy way to get to be a member of ParkourONE, you just cannot apply for it.

Craig: It’s not a simple, “I want to be…”

Sandro: Exactly. You are like chosen or you used to be chosen to be a member. Or especially if they wanted you in, they were going to ask you if you want to be in. Now it got a little bit different because of the … because we changed [00:08:30] a little bit because we grow so much in Switzerland. And in Germany, there were so many coaches, like around 80 coaches and head coaches in Switzerland and in Germany.

Craig: Not a young group, right?

Sandro: Yeah. It’s a pretty old group even, I think for most of us. Because of that we had to make it up a little bit. And now [00:09:00] as you’re going to make a coach education or as you are in the coach program, you are going to be a member automatically.

Craig: Okay, and that allows the organization to maybe verify that you understand the values of the group that you’re trying to join. And also that you’ll be able to maintain the standards. So when someone says, “I’m a member of ParkourONE,” I think the Americans especially [00:09:30] miss, they don’t notice that there’s some subtlety there. It’s not simply that this person paid their monetary dues and filled out a form and then they’re in. They’ve done more than that, significantly more than just a simple form and some money.

Sandro: Yeah, they may be taught very much for the community and stuff like this. Even … you can choose your duties a little bit, like several to choose from. [00:10:00] But you have to verify that you do them. For example, you have to give a class, you have to teach, or you have to distribute parkour in other sessions that are out of classes.

Craig: Right, or you’re working in an administrative capacity behind the scenes, but there’s … you have to have a specific role, and you have to fill that role to a specific standard.

Sandro: Exactly.

How Sandro joined ParkourONE

Craig: So Sandro, can you … that’s a good sketch of the basic structure. [00:10:30] And that is actually rather different from how all of the organizations really in the United States work. And can you maybe color in some details with your personal journey of how you became a member maybe? Or what your path was a little bit? Just to give us an experience of one person.

Sandro: So I was doing Parkour already before I was getting into ParkourONE. And as I was getting into ParkourONE in 2013, Felix started the branch in Basel [00:11:00], a new branch in Basel. And I started in the class there, actually with only one other guy who is teaching now in Basel with me. And first in the beginning, there were the two of us, and then we grow…

Craig: And it grows around that seed group.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly. And then I got asked by Felix if I wanted to do the coach education, the ParkourONE [00:11:30] or the TRuST coach. I was thinking about it because I always liked teaching a lot, or I always liked to teach. I was not sure if I’m ready yet, but they told me I should maybe do it. And look afterwards how it is-

Craig: Start pursuing.

Sandro: Right, if I’m ready for teaching already. And so I did it, and it was [00:12:00] a great decision. I started teaching as a coach. That’s like for you guys, or for the PKGen guys ADAPT level one. Because you’re only allowed to teach with a head coach as a coach. So you cannot teach alone. Yeah. And so I started teaching with many other coaches, or with many other head coaches especially, for a year. And [00:12:30] after this year, I was ready for the head coach.

Craig: For the assessment.

Sandro: Exactly. But I had to fulfill my hours of teaching in case of doing such an education, you’ll always have to fulfill hours of teaching, and you have to do an assessment. Like assessment of teaching, not like a physical assessment. [00:13:00]

Craig: Right, you can do the precision, but do you know how to teach the precision to other people, right?

Sandro: Exactly. Because if only choose people or we only teach people how to teach within our group. So Russel and Felix are pretty much aware of our physical abilities enough technical stuff when they invite us to teach.

Craig: To consider becoming a coach.

Sandro: Yeah. It really was that in [00:13:30] this time. So I did head coach a year afterwards. And since then I’m basically teaching classes for ParkourONE. I’m teaching in the regular class on Tuesday and Thursday as a coach. And I have a kids class on Friday as a head coach. And just basic courses we have as well. They are like over twelve times, [00:14:00] or six times, or eight times, just some of these courses as well. Yeah. So the system is actually going down from a member, not from a member, but from a participant of class in ParkourONE, over a coach, over head coach, and then the system grew a little bit. So there’s head coach 2-

Craig: Right, so they added a layer. [00:14:30]

Sandro: -a certificate. Or then after the head coach 2, there comes the expert as well where you can only … you can only do that if you have a master thesis or a bachelor thesis about parkour.

Sandro’s Thesis

Craig: Right. Which leads me to the next question so your master’s thesis is, and can you remind me, like I know you can tell me in German, but that doesn’t help [00:15:00] me. You said it was the effect of one’s philosophy on one’s coaching.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly.

Craig: And I know you’re still in the middle of it, so we don’t have a definitive answer. But can you sketch out the types of data you collected and maybe where you think the research might lead you?

Sandro: So I basically did a questionnaire about this and send it to all the Swiss coaches. So not only in the German part of Switzerland, but also in the French part and the Italian [00:15:30] part. And as I was doing this, I was aware that if I only send the online questionnaire, I won’t be able to collect much feedback. So I actually visited all the groups in Switzerland. So there were like 23-25 groups. And I visited all of them and with some I did some training, with the other ones, I watched some classes [00:16:00] of them.

Craig: Observed them, see how they do.

Sandro: Observed them. Exactly. And so I basically went everywhere just to motivate them to fill out the questionnaire. And that was, I think that was a good move, because I got around 80 answers. And that should be maybe around 70% of all the coaches in Switzerland. So I got basically- [00:16:30]

Craig: That’s really good coverage.

Sandro: -representative data there. Now I only have to watch if I asked the right questions. No, but I basically collected a lot of data about the age, about the experience of the coaches as well. Male and female, so gender. About if they had a pedagogical education [00:17:00] before-

Craig: Yeah, what’s their background before they came to parkour.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly. And then the second part of it, so there was the first part of the questionnaire. The second part of the questionnaire was about the philosophy where I took the work of Johanna Herrmann, I think she’s from Australia. She did some work about the philosophic side of parkour free running, ADD [00:17:30] and how it evolved. And I took some of the words from her, or some of the-

Craig: Sort of used that as a map of or a framework of like this, and then you can try and ask these people if they feel they fit on that tree, that family tree, maybe?

Sandro: Exactly. Yeah, yeah. And I took some of them, and I took some of the … some wordings? [00:18:00] So basically like I follow my way, or [inaudible 00:18:06], and stuff like this. And then I said, well I tried to collect the reasons why they’re doing parkour. And gave some reasons by myself, some possibilities of answers, and left some open so they could fill in their self. So there was the second part. And the third one was about the [00:18:30] methodolic-

Craig: Methodology?

Sandro: Methodology. So I did the methodology part and I was first like, “How are their classes?” So what are they doing in class, doing warm up then the main part, or strength trainings.

Craig: Cool downs.

Sandro: Cool downs. And then I was about how do they work with coordination stuff? So [19:00} do they do balance, do they do relaxation part stuff? Do they have other kinds of coordination things? Then conditioning like endurance, strength training. How long do they do it or do they do strength training? Exactly. Then the main, I think, methodology aspect was about three different concepts I had researched them a little bit more. [00:19:30] And I think they fill in very good with parkour and free running and they …. So it was basically learning from a model.

Sandro: And there was the first one, learning by observing. Second one was differential learning. So as parkour guy, you have always different obstacles, different conditions, different like stuff. [00:20:00] Like there’s different heights, different challenges. And as you go to challenge, the third one was problem solving and methodology like that. And over these three concepts, there were little concept of competence, are you working with competences as well? So that you move from the parkour class as well to the life [00:20:30] so that they can transfers the … topics of your parkour class into life?

Craig: We would say translates, you want to be able to move the concepts. I’ve learned it in this context and I’m moving it to my whole life, translating it.

Sandro: Exactly. So if they could translate the competence from parkour class into life. And the second one was about if they’re fixed on [00:21:00] open or closed exercises. So if they leave space for the students to develop their own concepts of tasks.

Craig: Yeah, maybe are the students building their own game, or are you always giving them all of the instructions.

Sandro: Exactly, exactly.

Craig: Okay, that’s open versus closed?

Sandro: Open versus closed, exactly. That were basically the things I asked for. Now I’ve got all the data and I’ve got to analyze it right now. [00:21:30]

Craig: Figure out what the answer to the question really is.

Sandro: If there is a connection between philosophy and their style of teaching.

Craig: And their style of teaching.

Sandro: Or if there are other like the age or the experience that are more-

Craig: Or the coaches that have a larger impact in performance than their philosophy.

Sandro: Exactly. So that’s basically what it is.

Craig: Well, I’m looking forward to hearing the answers to these questions.

Is there a story you would like to share?

Craig: I say all the time that one of my favorite parts of the podcast [00:22:00] is asking people to share their stories because when you hear someone tell a story, you learn not just the story, but you also get insight into the person telling the story. So is there a story that you would like to share?

Sandro: Yeah, sure. It’s basically the story of my first class of ParkourONE. We did with Felix and the other guy, Silvio. So Felix was, he was one of the first traceurs in Switzerland, or one of the main ones. And I was [00:22:30] really looking forward to it, to the class. And Silvio was also already an experienced traceur with ParkourONE stuff at that time. And I was a traceur as well at that time, for like two or three years. But I was never, or I wasn’t so much into classes, I was often being training by myself and training with other people.

Craig: But you hadn’t been exposed to like a systematic classroom [00:23:00] setting, right?

Sandro: Exactly, exactly. So there were basically the two of us, and Felix was teaching. And everything was really okay, it was really good, and then we came to the conditioning part, and we did an exercise where somebody holds one leg of the person in front. And the person in front has to jump with the other leg, and the other person in behind resists. [00:23:30] So we were basically, Silvio and I were jumping, and Felix was standing beneath it and watching that everything we did, we did well. So yeah, and we did some other exercise, I don’t remember. But after this class, I was so tired, I was so … I was just finished. I think I never got to this feeling again anymore [00:24:00] than I was after this class. Because I was like, I was going home and there was like shaking of exhausting. Exhaustion. It was so crazy. And after that, I always knew I have to stick to the class because that’s what I want to do, that’s what I want to be able to do without getting this exhaustion afterwards.

Craig: Right saw something there that really drew you.

Sandro: Actually, yes. [00:24:30]