Pro Diaries: Parkour & Free-Running with 3RUN

To celebrate the newly launched Parkour experiences here at Extreme Element, we caught up with Sam Parham of the 3RUN team to talk about the development of Parkour & Free-Running, what you could be doing during the sessions and to hear more about a year in the life of the Guinness World Record holders.

Hi Sam, thanks for talking to us today. So what exactly is Parkour, and in which area do you specialise?

Parkour is the ‘art of movement’ – There is no direct translation, but loosely speaking it is about utilising your environment as an obstacle course – tackling any objects that come in your way, both physical and psychological. From Parkour; Free-Running has developed, which most consider to be more somersault related and displays further creative flair.

Where did you learn, and what made you start?

I started teaching myself, loosely copying Jackie Chan and David Belle. I spent a lot of time practicing in sandpits, on grass and in the streets near where I lived. It was that kind of inspiration that really made me want to get into it and give it a go.

Was 2010 a good year for you & 3RUN?

2010 was an incredible year for 3RUN. We had the opportunity to work on high-profile blockbuster movies like Death Race 2 & Beat the World, and mainstream TV commercials for Diechmann, Epson, Nokia, BBC3, Dunlop & Thomson! We also performed at many live shows across the globe, and have just had a team of our athletes return from China & South Africa. So it was a busy but memorable year!

Wow, sounds like fun! What will 2011 hold for you & 3RUN?

Well we’re already quite busy as some of the athletes have returned to South Africa to work on a new TV commercial, and we’ve got some live shows coming up in Germany and across Europe.

As well as our training and fitness, a key area for us this year is continue improving the production of our media. We have been producing a lot of our own stuff and we’re keen to continue developing this – but after training of course!

Have there been any big changes in Parkour lately, and do you see any coming in the future?

Parkour and Free-Running are continuing to grow in popularity at incredible rates. It is becoming more and more widely spread in movies, commercials and of course live shows.

The Internet has also been an incredible force for this surge in popularity, with many big Youtube videos hitting millions of views.

Where in the UK would you say are the best places for Parkour?

It’s very difficult to suggest where the best places for Parkour/Freerunning in the UK are. Basingstoke, where we are based is great – and we now have a Parkour Park specially built for us too!

But other built up urban areas are always rich with opportunities such as London, Cambridge, Oxford and so forth. Anywhere and everywhere provides opportunities to move, it tends to depend more so on the creativity and willingness of the individual.

What has been your best memory in Parkour and Free-Running?

So many to think of! In terms of performances, we had the honour of performing live to Jackie Chan, Will Smith & Jaydan Smith at the Karate Kid Premiere. Also we performed at the Prince of Persia World Premiere which again was truly incredible.

But my best memories are from training with my team, and my best friends – just learning new things, and moving in new ways. It is a true passion and something I love to share.

What is your best / favourite trick or move?

This is a difficult one because it depends upon my mood and what I am training at that time. I love just flowing through an environment, seamlessly and smoothly. I love the accomplishment of overcoming obstacles which I would previously have thought too difficult.

What equipment do you recommend using at first? How much do you think it realistically costs to set up and get into Parkour?

To get into Parkour costs as much as a pair of trainers… and that is why it is becoming so popular; because it is so easy to get into.
Of course, there are coaches and training centres, which help by learning in a safer environment.

Though technically speaking you can step out side and give it a go, I would always recommend first timers seek advice from an expert and start slow, then you can progress at your own pace with tried and tested methods.

What tips would you advise for people looking to get into Parkour?

Check out the videos online such as our 3RUNTube account on Youtube as this is a great place to start for tips and examples. You could also do a search on local groups meeting up and practicing in your area… and go from there.

For those with a longer term interest, my advice would be; It’ all about time, persistence and determination!

What could someone expect to do in a Parkour sessions with 3RUN?

During our training sessions you will have the opportunity to get face-to-face advice and tuition on anything from new techniques to the more specific aspects of things– which really speeds up learning. It all takes place in a friendly atmosphere, with experts that enjoy sharing their knowledge and experiences to help you – regardless of your level, or ability. We would want to help you move forward on your journey of accomplishment, through developing your skills in the art of movement, strength, co-ordination, balance, confidence and skill.

Thanks for talking to us today Sam, best of luck with the rest of 2011 – hope it’s as good for you and 3RUN as 2010!

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