Finding Parkour

Finding Parkour

Johann Vigroux was my group teacher for the parkour session tonight and as is often happening with me I am getting really blocked with jumps and vaults which scare me even though I can definitely physically do them or even have already done them moments before. I have had some really good and varied advice about dealing with this from all the teachers e.g. not spending too long staring at jump, watching someone else and then following straight after, visualizing it going well in your head and so on. All which have helped and worked really well but only to a point.

After a long time of watching me stare at a tiny brick wall I (wrongly) began to assume that Johan would be getting fed up and soon would be impatient at my inability to put his good advice into practice and so when he said ‘come with me’, again I wrongly assume I’m going to get some shorter jump to ‘do a set of 20’ with…

Off he went along a wall and I dutifully followed; along the wall, over a bush, over a rail with him saying nothing except once, by way of explanation, ‘just stay with me’. We continued like this for ages, under railings, over railings, on railing, through railings, not repeating moves or coaching in any way, up a wall, over a wall, along a wall, to another wall and onward until I realized we weren’t going anywhere in particular just simply moving forward and, as he added, ‘just playing’.

I found it a welcome relief, and after stressing out over the wall it was exactly what I needed. It was so perfect as it was less about demonstrating the discipline of parkour and so much more about what I could do, however basic, and about finding my first instinctual way to tackle an obstacle and then listening to the spirit of curiousity about the other options, the other resources I had.

Johann took the time to share the simple exercise of making what could be a boring walk much more interesting and not only did this remind me that forward motion is basically about being on a journey but also finding your way to enjoy that journey. It’s weird but that memory of going nowhere but onwards, without expectation and in good company will stay with me forever and means more to me than he will ever know.

Thanks Johann!

by Laura Greenhalgh