On Freerunning

Craig: When [00:03:00] you say freerunning became something else, do you mean that it became something else for you or do you mean that you found it had a life of its own that other people were expanding it and like-

Sebastien: Yeah, absolutely. It becomes something else because it’s been taken by other people and despite me as a founder, I was still here and I’m still alive and people just decide, you know what, this is what freerunning is about. If you look at the video and everything, freerunning is [00:03:30] people using flip and tricks and that makes-

Craig: Videos that you see today.

Sebastien: Yeah. The videos you see today is literally showing the landscape and how now the practices is being done also.

Craig: If I understand correctly, for you freerunning was literally your way of expressing yourself. You had a thing that was close to your heart, which you would consider Parkour with a k that you would consider you still hold true. But freerunning is something slightly [00:04:00] different from that.

Sebastien: For me to be honest, the word Parkour, freerunning, ADD is part of, as I say now it’s a global phenomenon. It’s people practice it. But I was more on a personal journey and freerunning is just one aspect at a part of a time. That’s what I can say about this is just like for me it’s almost like an empty shell. It’s [00:04:30] like you experiment, as an explorer you experience things. I knew I wanted to move away from Parkour because it’s legacy of David and I wanted to make sure that what I’m doing is coming from me and no one come claim anything from the stuff I discover and the stuff I bring.

Craig: Do you think anything when you see people do things under the label of freerunning, do you like assess that and say that’s not the way I would [00:05:00] do it or do you say you shouldn’t have a cork at the end of the line? That’s not freerunning ’cause you’re going to see so much of this thing that was your creation?

Sebastien: No. To be honest, when I see people doing freerunning, I don’t even look at it. For me where am I am now is beyond that. For me, it’s a physical activity and it’s organic. It grow by itself. I think a lot of people don’t understand that. It’s just [00:05:30] become huge and it’s just developed. I let people do what they have to do. As the coach I’m helping my student to grow as a person as well as coordination and like physically, but talking about freerunning for me is just like I don’t give any comment to other people.

Even I’ve got my own view on it is just like it is as it is. But the original idea of freerunning [00:06:00] was to move from one discipline to another discipline. Take what is useless and reject what is, no, take what is useful, sorry, and reject what is useless, like Bruce Lee says. That’s it because I’ve been inspired and I just explore. I just keep on going. I add things and I change and adjust. The purpose of it is liberation and self development.

Parkour Training

Sebastien: That’s also the concept of training came and the difference also between training and practice because everyone now [00:21:30] we do Parkour. Everyone train. Everyone say I’m going to go training.

Craig: Do they? I mean, a lot of people say, I’ve heard people say it to you, ’cause I’m often the fly on the wall in most things and people say to you, “I want to train with you.” There’s this little moment of maybe hesitation on your part where you look at them like that might not work so well and it’s not coming from a place of pride or hubris. Not that you don’t want to work with them, but you know that it is not gonna click.

Sebastien: Because for me, I believe without [00:22:00] being too much, I’m educated in energy. It may sounds bizarre when I say that, but because of everything I look around from Asian philosophy and everything, talking about the sun, talking about the air and like oxygenation, drink water, listen to music and everything. I’m educated with energy so I can feel my yin yang within me. When it’s time to move and when it’s time to slow down and people don’t [00:22:30] have that. Also, because also I’ve got educating in traditional sport, for me training is serious. Training is for a purpose and I only train for a big project.

Craig: Some specific goal.

Sebastien: I can train for like for a move or something, but this is not the training I’m talking about. I’m talking about the training for lifetime, like Michael Phelps, we train to win the Olympic or Roger Federer, who try to win grand slam. [00:23:00] That’s the training I’m talking about. When someone can say, “Oh, I’m training too.” No, you’re not training because you have no idea. That’s your life. You’ve got one life and you need to see the big pictures in your life and you need to direct this energy. First of all, first step you need to understand how you use that energy.

Some people they can’t go through pain, they cannot, they never been educated through that. They see blood in their knuckles, if they do like [crosstalk 00:23:28]

Craig: One [inaudible 00:23:28].

Sebastien: [00:23:30] The nose is bleeding. They think that’s the end of the world and some things, some people crying and I think it’s crying it’s over. I’m like, I don’t know, but you can cry by passion and because you’re pushing. There is a lot of stuff you need to understand, but once you understand like you can canalize this rage or whatever you call it, of passion of anger, whatever it is, it is pure energy. Then what do I do with energy? When you’re a teenager, you spend it all over the place, but when we become more mature is like [00:24:00] a arrow with a target.

Craig: An arrow.

Sebastien: An arrow, I use it with h every single time. I understand we need to use the h, but I use it anytime. So sorry guys for that. Yeah, arrow and you’ve got a target so it’s more efficient when you aim for the target. Once you know that it’s okay now, “Okay, I know how to train all my time. I can train like all week, all months, all years. But what is it for? Then when you it is okay, you stop a little bit, so again, [00:24:30] now you start to think about what do I want to do? That’s why people say I want to train with you. No, you cannot because what is your purpose? What is your goal? If we got the same goal, okay.

Craig: Maybe if our personality click we might.

Sebastien: Like American football team, they’ve got the same goal. They’d better make sure they’ve got the same goal because they’re going to be kicked out because man, you’ll just slow us down. Everyone’s goes for the same direction. From the nutrition, that’s what training is about. Nutrition, timing, [00:25:00] rest, motivation, talk-

Craig: Physicality, the whole.

Sebastien: Yeah, everything from the technique, from the mental, from the physical, everything. That’s training. That is what training is about for me.

An Alternative to Parkour Training

Craig: What’s the alternative from training? The alternative is-

Sebastien: Is practice and it’s more holistic way and doesn’t mean you don’t progress, but it’s more like for me training is hard, is not funny. Even with passion you can go through [00:25:30] it, but when it’s finished, you’re happy, when it’s finished because you achieved the goal.

Craig: Training has sacrifice, training has risk.

Sebastien: Practices is nicer. Is like with fun, it’s playfulness.

Craig: We’re not saying that practice isn’t physically grueling. Practice should be grueling. It should be physically challenging, mentally challenging. It’s the intention.

Sebastien: Yes, absolutely. But you’re not damaging your body because also, as I say, even I watched traditional sport. Yesterday I was watching the playoff, you can see. [00:26:00] I can watch, I can absolutely watch competition and everything, but I’m educated so my body, I respect it. I’m not doing that because I know after 30 years, 40 years, it’s over and I love moving. My body is my vehicle. I always say that. Your life as a road, you’re feeling as a guide your body as a vehicle. That’s that’s the ethos. That’s that’s my teaching, that’s my legacy and that’s what I live.

Even everything I say, it’s not about [00:26:30] try to argue with anyone. This is what I share is my journey is like this is where I am now. If people will need to understand, “Oh my God, you make a difference between practice and training, so when do you train.” When I had the opportunity of being in James Bond movie, trust me, I was training myself for that because I knew it will be so unbalanced the amount of work they will ask me to do. I need to prepare my body for that.

Craig: And perform on the spot, ready, go.

Sebastien: Yeah. Now there is nothing, so it’s like [00:27:00] the sword of Samurai’s like I’m not taking off every single time. I know is sharpen a little bit, now take care of it, is there ready to cut if they have to cut. But most of the time I see the curve. I try to make a nice curve instead of like really abrupt. Instead of a curve of, yeah, explain. Sorry,

Craig: Sebastian is waving his hands, drawing down. That doesn’t work in audio. You’re talking about the lines and sharp changes [00:27:30] and physical stress.

Sebastien: Yeah. Because everything is for me, that’s what I say, again, educating in energy. You need to understand everything is cycle and everything has a beginning and end. Probably not. But that’s something, you know after you’re passed away. That something we don’t need to worry yet because we’re in a lifetime here. For the moment so far there is up and down and you can see it in traditional sports. Now it’s this curve of, [00:28:00] I knew nothing and I’m in the peak of my performance to now I retire now is finish.

How can I stretch it so I can hold as long as possible and I can move? If you’re someone who like moving, I can move and I don’t have back problem, knees problem and so on and so on. When I start to understand that, because after I did the nine months working in the highest level, like it was three months in a James Bond movie, then I go straight to a six months touring with Madonna . [00:28:30] My body was completely crushed and I was crushed physically, mentally.

See, so I need to go back to that and then my discipline was even stronger because I start to embark into a journey of, “Okay, now I’m gonna take care of myself.” That’s where I am now. It’s like I talk about energy. It’s like I know now it’s cycle. I know everything. That’s why I come up with the seasonality. I say, you know what, [00:29:00] is spring and you can feel when it’s spring. As soon as you see like you can hear the birds, your entire body react to that.

You’re so happy, it’s going back. Then after you got summer time and it’s yay. That’s where you want to express yourself. That’s why call it expressing summer. Then after I call it smooth autumn because now the leaves start to fall and everything. That’s why I say usually we keep moving.

Craig: Lower impact and longer periods during the frequencies of wavelengths, the periodicity goes down and things get smoother.

Sebastien: You’ve [00:29:30] got three months, three months is very good for the tendon to recover. Very, very good. Then you can switch to it. It doesn’t mean you stop practice like Bruce Lee say, running water never grows stale. For me it’s like, “Oh, do I have to stop? Maybe not.” I’m still in experimenting phase. Everything I say is not like written in the marble.

Craig: Written in stone.

What do you call your practice?

I call it Parkour, that’s the word that I learned first, and have just stuck with it. I call it training. I’m not too picky about terminology. I’d rather just move. I joke around a lot with names, so me and a couple of the other coaches here, we don’t go rock climbing. We go dancing, because you have to bring your dancing shoes.

If you’re really trying to pry into the whole parkour, free running, l’art du déplacement, all of that debate. Whatever. I don’t care what word you use. Move however you want, fast, slow, efficient, artistic. As long as you’re finding challenges that involve movement and obstacles I’ll train with you.. Movement, challenge, and obstacles is really the simplest possible definition I find.

What do you call your practice?

My practice is a lifelong committment to a better self, a committment to movement diversity & general physical preparedness, commuity engagement & activation, and positive energy & self challenge.

Rather than a sprint, it is a marathon; A discipline of life that requires work-life-play balance, as well as moderation, variety, and a forward looking approach; it is not about jumping the biggest jump of my 27 yr old body, but running, crawling, climbing, swinging, and jumping when I’m 90.

What do you call your practice?

I’m not sure that I could name or pinpoint my practice for several reasons. As one of the odd ball group members over the last few years I have actually decided to focus more time on other areas of my life instead of training, namely my career. Don’t let this fool you as I still love training and don’t think I’d be where I am today without it, even if I don’t practice as much. If I had to name my practice I’d say it is first and foremost a hobby. A hobby I use to forget the world and stay fit. I train for fun. I enjoy getting serious from time to time but when I really shine is when I get a bunch of people together and we just jam and train without any plans in mind.