Interview: Thibaut Granier / Parkour Paris
This interview is part of the archives. It was published on January 19th 2013 when I was doing an interview series for our PKLinz Blog.
Thibaut is a french Tracer and was a direct student of David Belle in the beginning 2000s. He spent numerous of his weekends in Lisses with David and his team, has traveled the world and has put his skills to use in big media productions such as Banlieu 13: Ultimatum or Babylon AD. Hes is one of the founders of the (in)famous Shintai Team and founder of Parkour Paris.
Enjoy the interview!
Alex: Hey Thibaut, thank you for doing the interview with us!
In our interviews we usually don´t ask these questions but in your case it would be very interesting. When did you see Parkour fort he first time and how did it all start for you?
Thibaut: Well, i always loved to do sports, i tried almost everything. I was doing indoor climbing and a friend told me: „you should go to the cinema there is a movie you should like. The main character is the guy who trained the guys from Yamakasi“. So i had a quick look in the internet to see if it was still at my cinema, but it wasn’t.. So i wrote the name of the main character wich was David Belle, then i found Parkour. At this time, there was just 3 videos (2 of David Belle and 1 of Tim Pisteur), and 1 website called : Parkour.NET. I asked my good friend Florian to join me to try it, and then the story began.
Alex: You have been training with David, what is it like? Could you describe us a typical training session with him?
Thibaut: Hmm, it’s really different that what we can see on video and stuff like this. There is 2 different things: Training WITH David Belle (wich is cool and chill) and train BY David Belle (wich is hard, scary and not funny at all). It’s all about real Parkour. Most of the people think Parkour is a funny thing, you meet your friends, do some jumps, take a break, do some jumps, talk… Most of my training with David was during the night, it was raining. Parkour is a efficient way to escape or help people, when you will be in this situation, your friends won´t be there, maybe the weather won´t be good. SoTraining by David Belle is all about that, train in a real situation with preasure, fear…
Alex: When you compare Parkour now and in the beginning, what are the biggest changes you have noticed?
Thibaut: Whaou, we can’t compare it. I think there is always a big step between the generations. It was like mine (Shintai) and La Releve. It’s different. As i told you, now if you want to start Parkour, it’s easy, there is some association who give classes, there is a million of websites or videos. When I started Parkour, nobody was able to tell me how I should land or reach this jump. We just tried. This is why the next generation will be better than our. People say that the new generation is like shit, dangerous… this is not true (maybe few of them are like that but not all). When my group Shintai was a bit „famous“ most of the people said that we were not prepared to do the jumps we did, they also said we won´t be able to continue Parkour after a few years…well im still here (my friends too) even after 10 years, I’m still in a good shape and still jumping around and smash some big drops loool!
So Parkour is growing up year by year, as long as there is some true guys who keep it real, it’s all good!
Alex: How did you observe/experience the worldwide Parkour boom?
Thibaut: I have been travelling all around the world with David and by myself. I saw a big explosion, now you can really find Parkour everywhere. Even in the outback of Australia or in the north of Thailand. Wich is very cool because if you are a traveller you can find a place to stay everywhere looool
Alex: Can you live off Parkour or are you working as well?
Thibaut: I think you can´t really live off Parkour except if you are David Belle… You can have some fun of doing some clips, movies or events, this can help you to live off it for few years, but then?
So, I work as a Personal Trainer, Parkour gives me some good basics.
Alex: Considering that you have a very intense experience in the performance/show and buisness sector, what is more fun to you: teaching or performing?
Thibaut: To be very honnest with you, performing is fucking awesome because you travel for free, you get a good pay, you meet some local people. But teaching is such a good thing, you share your knowledge with random people who want to know more about you passion. It’s so good to help someone to reach his personal goals. You get more of teaching so I would say teaching is better.
Alex: What values do you teach beginners especially when they start?
Thibaut: I think the top one is: Courage. Parkour is not a easy way, it´s hard, I use to say to my students: „In Parkour you don’t pay with your money, you pay with your blood, your sweat and your tears“. It is also important to teach them about honesty. You have to be honest with yourself. If you say something do it or shut up. I also teach them to be humble, in Parkour you don’t show off, you don’t need to wear a monkey tail to prove something lol.
Alex: Lisses has become a very popular training place for a lot of people. Maybe even comparable to some sort of Parkour mekka. Do you know what the poeple living in Lisses thinkof all the Parkour tourists every year? Is the number of people visiting Lisses still growing?
Thibaut: When I started Parkour, I would spend all my weekend in Lisses with the Shintai guys… it was a great place to learn and share. People used to come with a good spirit, then used to come to meet and share. Now, everyone who comes, most of them, they just want to make a video of them smashing some famous drops, just to prove something. There is no creativity. It’s been lost.
It’s also hard to train there now, just a million of traceurs came to train there and people get pissed off of that. They´re just sick of traceurs loool. So, I think everyone has to be there once but not that much.
Alex: What are your goals for the future?
Thibaut: Well I dont have any goals. I want to develope Parkour in Paris, build a strong community there, keep the real Parkour. We try as much as we can to share the true Parkour during our group class, stage or private class.
Alex: I still remember a very popular video of your group Shintai back from 2007. Does Shintai still exist?
Thibaut: Ahaha of course, it still exists!! We are still friends and we are still training. We all have a different life but we are all good friends. We don’t live in the same city anymore. But I give you a special news, we might prepare a new video for 2013, Shintai is back J I (and my friends too) want to say a huge thanks to everyone who followed us since the beginning, because when I travel people use to remain me about Shintai and all the video we made.
Alex: Is there anything you would like to add or say?
Thibaut: Thank you to give me the opportunity to talk. I hope it wasn’t too boring for you lol. If you want to follow us just go on our facebook page : www.facebook.com/ParkourParis and you can find our video on http://www.youtube.com/user/thib75012
Keep training and keep it real.