Rendezvous : The Annual International Parkour Gathering

Rendezvous 2012 event slide

Rendezvous : The Annual International Parkour Gathering

Sunday the 13th of May saw the first Parkour Generations Rendezvous take place, with great success. And that wasn’t the only first… the other was the involvement of the Yamakasi – Yann Hnautra and Laurent Piemontesi attending and teaching at a UK event: two individuals who were present at the birth of the discipline and who are still there today, providing a benchmark for others to live up to some twenty years on. One of the aims of this inaugural seminar was to introduce the Yamakasi to our community and vice versa, in order to initiate a long-term and productive relationship between the two.

The day saw some of the most experienced practitioners in the UK coming together with several of the Lisses traceurs for three hours of focussed training and physical development. Crossing the Channel for the day were not only the Yamakasi, but also Seb Goudot, Thomas, Cisco and Kazuma, all of whom have been practising parkour or l’art du deplacement for longer than anyone from this side of the waters. Introducing their knowledge and experience into the exploding UK scene is a goal the Parkour Generations team have been working towards for some time, and to see it finally realised was something special.

So how did the event pan out? It followed a simple structure, but one that has proven highly effective in the regular Parkour Generations Academy classes: a thorough warm-up, involving a hefty dose of conditioning, followed by a mixture of movement drills and physical exercises devised to improve and develop the attributes necessary for the safe and efficient practise of parkour, rounded off with a session for the core muscles and a calming warm-down. Simple, but effective: the proof of which can be seen in the impressive progress of the regular Academy students over the past eighteen months. Resilient, strong, fit and fluid, their determination and discipline has been awesome to behold. And that goes not only for the men, but also for the growing body of female practitioners that the Academy has produced, including our very own Tracey.

So yes, the day started hard with Forrest leading the warm-up and stayed that way throughout – but we were impressed to see that none shirked the workload. Old faces mixed in with new – members from The Cambridge Traceurs, Worldwide Jam, Team Traceur, Next Gen, Sin Clan, the Saiyans, the BPCA, and many more rubbed shoulders and hurled themselves into the drills with enormous enthusiasm and drive. The music kept the tempo, the Yamakasi shared their knowledge, and the energy never looked like flagging. In fact, it took us an hour to clear the hall of people at the end of the day after Danny Ilabaca and Yann found some ingenious new ways to use the classic wall bar set-up!

For Stephane, Forrest and myself, this was the start of something that has been long overdue in this country – a meeting of minds between the best in the UK and the ‘old guard’ from France: An exchange of knowledge and skill, a sharing of our equal passion for the discipline, with everyone speaking the same language – the language of movement. The Yamakasi and the Lisses traceurs were blown away by the sheer numbers of practitioners over here, and very happy to see the commitment and the work ethic that fuelled the day. Though our French guests were not leading the training at the event, they gave of themselves tirelessly to any who asked for help or guidance, driving certain lucky individuals to push past what they thought were their limits in order to find the inner strength that is so central to the path of the traceur. For them, and for us, discipline is the key: and on the day it was there in abundance. This was a rendezvous to remember.

The repercussions of this auspicious start are yet to be fully revealed – but one definite result is that the Yamakasi, along with Seb, Thomas, etc., are now very eager to get back over here for the next one… which will be bigger, better, and – sorry to say – harder!

Parkour Generations would like to thank everyone who made the day possible, including St Augustine’s School for the provision of the hall, DJ Cupcake and Gabriel for such fine tunes throughout, Paul Holmes and Julie Angel for documenting the event, and – most importantly – everyone who turned up to sweat it out on a grim, wet Sunday afternoon in Kilburn…

For upcoming details of the second Rendezvous, keep an eye on the website news.

by Dan Edwardes