Posts

2015 war ein gutes Jahr obwohl mir erst klar wurde wieviel eigentlich passiert ist als ich alles niedergeschriebe hatte.

Zuerst wäre da einmal mein Umzug nach Wien Beginn 2015. Dicht gefolgt darauf war der Auftakt für We-Trace (inklusive Website). Die wöchentlichen Trainings laufen mittlerweile und finden jeden Donnerstag an einem monatlich wechselndem Spot statt (mehr Info auf: http://www.we-trace.at/trainingsangebot/termine/).
IMG_3100-crop
Im Juni 2015 besuchten wir mit Parkour Vienna den Parkour Park in St. Pölten, ein kleines Abenteuer, das aufgrund des Schlechtwetters fast ins Wasser gefallen wäre. Letztenendes zeigte sich jedoch noch die Sonne und rettete den Tag 🙂

 


Im Monat darauf zelebrierte Parkour Vienna sein 11 jähriges Bestehen und organiserte neben einem 2 tägigen Trainingsevent den ersten ADAPT Kurs in Österreich. Auf Einladung von Parkour Generations durfte ich Blane beim Kurs assistieren und konnte auch beim darauffolgenden Seminar, die Zeit ein wenig nutzen um wieder auf Stand gebracht zu werden, nachdem ich die Londoner seit etwa einem Jahr nicht mehr gesehen hatte. Etwa eine Woche wurde jeden Tag trainiert, eine Zeit auf die eine nötige Erholungsphase folgte.

 

 

rdvxtitle

Im August ging die Reise nach London zum 10. Rendezvous Event. Das Rendezvous ist ein 2-3 tägiges Trainingsevent geleitet von den besten Parkour Coaches der Welt. Beim diesjährigen Event unterrichteten neben den PKGen Legenden auch Urgesteine wie Yann Hnautra oder Thomas Couetdic. Mehr dazu im 3 teiligen Bericht den ihr hier findet: http://www.we-trace.at/2015/08/29/rdvx/

 

 

page1Nach London stand Urlaub in Griechenland am Plan und die wenigen Tage die ich in Athen verbringen konnte nutzte ich um Panos New World Gym zu besuchen. Athen´s erste und einzige indoor Parkour Akademie, die kurz vor meinem Besuch ihr Tore eröffnet hatte. Panos ist ein guter Freund und war unter anderem in Linz beim 10 Jahre Parkour Linz Seminar.

 

 

 

fbbannerNach monatelanger minutiöser Vorbereitung hieß es erneut Rucksack packen, Zähne zusammenbeißen und durchziehen, denn die Night Mission (Beta) ging im September in ihre zweite Runde. Das erste Mal in Wien, führte uns eine über 20km lange Route durch düstere Tunnel, auf Berge mit verlassenen Kirchen und über Abgründe im Stadtgebiet. Nicht nur die Muskeln waren am Ende der ca. 8 stündigen Traningssession erledigt. Mit neuem Blick auf die Stadt beendeten 6 tapfere Mitstreiter die Night Mission.

 

ctc_logoIm Oktober nahm ich die Einladung von CTC an. Mit dem offiziellen Beitritt werde ich auch weiterhin versuchen einen aktiven und konstruktiven Beitrag zur Förderung der Parkourcommunity zu leisten. Die Arbeit von CTC liefert einen wertvollen Beitrag zur stetigen Etablierung und Professionalisierung von Parkour in Österreich.

 

 

 

 

Außerdem wurde We-Trace die Ehre zu Teil ETRE FORT und Andy (Kiell) Day zu interviewen.

Ein ereignisreiches Jahr neigt sich dem Ende zu. Wir sehen uns 2016!

Andy Day (Kiell) is one of the reasons why parkour has become so popular worldwide. As a photographer he accompanied the scene early on, not only mirroring parkour as a discipline but also shaping it to some degree. The interview you will find below is divided into blocks of questions each with a different thematic focus. As Andy is also one of the voices not affraid to point out developments he finds problematic, topics in this interview will also highlight aspects of the commercialisation of parkour or thoughts on the visual representation of the discipline in general.

 

A – The perfect picture

The image and the video as a medium are probably the most dominant factors in spreading parkour world-wide.

  1. What makes a “good” parkour related picture to you? What constitutes a good picture in terms of parkour movement (or in general)?
    framing, the angle of the shot, lights, background, the athlete, the movement

 

Andy: I think for me a good photograph has got to be about the space as much as it is about the athlete. The thing that interests me about parkour is the relationship between the body and the architecture, which perhaps explains why I’m not that interested in seeing videos in gyms or people tumbling across flat terrain. A shot of someone moving, isolated from their surroundings, is just that – a body, without context, without a dialogue with the world. When it is placed in context, the body enters into a physical relationship with the space that, as a result, changes that space, as well as being changed by it. That’s what interests me about parkour; space is fascinating – it shapes us, and, in turn, we shape it. In order to simply exist, we take up space and through our actions we turn a space into a place.

Secondly, I guess, is a sense of authenticity. If a shot feels like it exists for the sake of being a photograph, or is in thrall with the personality of the athlete rather than that athlete’s conversation with the environment, I lose interest. Trying to verbalise exactly how this works is quite tricky, but I think anyone who knows parkour has a sense of what I’m talking about here. There are plenty of shots in my catalogue that don’t really achieve this authentic feel and I don’t value them anywhere near as much as the others.

Sorry to answer your question in such abstract terms! All of the more practical elements really are secondary – it can be blurry, out of focus, poorly lit and with a weak body posture. But if it nails a sense of exploration of a space and conveys a feeling of authenticity, these things don’t really matter.

 

  1. What do you look for when taking pictures? Do you even look for something or is it a more spontaneous process? Maybe both?

Andy: It’s certainly both. Finding a picture is always a collaboration, to the extent that you could describe many of my photographs as being a self portrait on behalf of the athlete. For example, the picture of Thomas that I took jumping in India that many people might be familiar with: Thomas suggested we go to the location to explore. He led the climb and then found the jump, and even suggested where I could take the photograph from. And even if you forget the fact that he put 10 years of training into doing that jump, he did most of the hard work. All I did was set the camera up and push the button.

That said, I’m very much involved with the exploration of a place when I’m in search of new photographs. It’s something that I’ve written about extensively recently in relation to my most recent project in former Yugoslavia. I bring my own parkour vision and movement to the discovery of a place, and the camera is part of that process.

alex_india

 

  1. What is the most memorable picture you ever took, and what makes it so special? 

Andy: The shot I previously mentioned is certainly up there. Thomas is a very good friend of mine and I value my time spent with him because regularly he takes me out of my comfort zone, pushing me to be more than I am. The whole trip was remarkable – the hospitality of our hosts, the motorbikes, the country, the road. And Hampi. It is an amazing place simply for its landscape, never mind the temples and rice paddies.

Other than that, possibly a shot of Boki I took during the recent project in former Yugoslavia. For me, Boki is one of those people that epitomises parkour, not just in the way that he moves and trains, but in every aspect of his being. The parkour community of Croatia and Serbia is phenomenal, and in many ways they are one of the most important collectives in the world in the way that they work together, across borders, ignoring ethnic and national divisions that are centuries old. They don’t think that what they do collectively is particularly special or different, and that’s half the beauty of it: they just get on with it, training, travelling and exploring together. That’s part of what this photograph represents, I guess. In my mind it sits alongside another photograph from that project, of Ficho, a young guy from Rijeka in Croatia, who will hopefully have opportunity to build on the hard work of people like Boki and Mirko and so many others in Zagreb, Belgrade and beyond.

alex_boki alex_ficho

 

  1. Can you recommend any other parkour related photographers / movement photographers whose work you enjoy? (maybe with links to their portfolio sites?)

Andy: Crucial to developing my understanding of how I work and what I do is the writing and photography of Brad Garrett. It’s not just his images that I find important, but the way he perceives the city and works tirelessly to convey that perception through all aspects of his work – teaching, writing and public speaking. His photographs aren’t just pretty pictures but instead sit amongst a broader provocation of how we should relate to the city, the danger of ignoring the decline of public space, and our potential to disrupt and undermine systems of power that are bent on containing us without us even realising. He lives his work, and his work lives in his photographs. Find out more at http://www.bradleygarrett.com/. And if you have any interest in cities and physicality, you need to read his book: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Explore-Everything-Place-hacking-Bradley-Garrett/dp/1781681295 (Buy it second hand for £3.76. You won’t be disappointed.)

Ours is a culture dominated by spectacle, a spectacle that is usually masculine. This is why the work of Julie Angel is so important for me at the moment. Through creating a body of work that looks at alternative bodies – typically female – that is not primarily concerned with personality or overtly dramatic demonstrations of physical ability, she’s challenging our perception of what parkour photography should be about. It’s a challenge to my own work, and that of everyone else. We – myself included – create a media that is obsessed with spectacle and ego that is male-domainted, and she’s trying to shift that landscape a little through what she does. In my own work, I talk about the ‘insertion of bodies that are radically out of place’ and yet most of my work is about athletic, white, middle-class young men. What the hell is radical about that? What’s more revolutionary: an athletic teenage male doing a backflip off a wall, or a woman in her forties vaulting across a rail? Julie is a renegade photographing the renegades, and it’s refreshing. www.see-do.com

 

B – Commercialisation of parkour / Influence of brands etc.

In your article “Spectacle and spirit; parkour needs better sponsors” you highlight the problematic relationship of parkour and potential sponsors / brands getting involved. In that article you state: ” The beauty of parkour is that it requires nothing. The flip side of this is that parkour can be used to sell pretty much anything.”

  1. Where do you see the main problem of certain brands getting involved in parkour (from energy drinks to cigarette companies)?

Andy: I think the problem is twofold. First is many people’s naivety regarding the power of advertising. People don’t see a nice advert and go and buy a product. It’s infinitely more complex than that. Brands create a lifestyle around their product, provoking an emotional response and, in some cases, creating a normality to their consumption to the extent that, as a society, we’re blinded to its negative aspects. The second problem is that people need to get paid. As a subculture and a community, we’re hungry for work as it permits a lifestyle that allows us to do even more of what we love. When rich companies with questionable products come along, it’s no surprise that they can simply buy their way in. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really blame anyone for taking these shitty sponsors as, in their situation, I might well have found myself doing the same, certainly 8 or so years ago.

 

  1. What do you think of Red Bull and the Art of Motion in general?

Andy: I think there is a bubble of elite performance athletes and their supporters who dominate the visual culture of parkour and give the impression that their world is the epicentre of the parkour community. It’s possible that the reality is actually very different. I’ve travelled extensively and I get the impression that this bubble is primarily supported by very vocal, media-savvy teenagers who buy the products and generate the clicks. Maybe that’s the difference: there’s an online community, and then there is the community. They’re two very different things, which is strange when you consider how much the internet is responsible for the emergence and growth of parkour.

Much of Red Bull’s media over the years has bizarrely been quite clumsy, as though they knew that they wanted to do something with parkour but weren’t really sure what. A few years ago, it was a case of taking their sponsored athletes to random locations and pretty much parachuting them into culturally complex environments and then asking them to talk about it. It was excruciating to listen to these athletes mumble awkwardly about how different everything is and how unique the architecture is, as though having the ability to jump around and do flips is going to have endowed that athlete with the ability to offer cultural insights into the complexities of a former war zone. Again it goes back to parkour’s treatment of space; parkour’s real value is in its relationship with and capacity to change a place, something that’s not really examined through a superficial, spectacle-driven tourism.

 

  1. In the article mentioned above you also state: ” By comparison, the climbing community is supported by a wealth of progressive companies engineering fantastic products and funding athletes, events and expeditions around the world. It’s a healthy symbiosis.”

               Do you think a similar development is possible for parkour?

Andy: I’m not sure. To a degree that already happens with various tours and events organised by some of parkour’s clothing brands.

 

  1. Is there anything we as practicioners can do to support a way of commercialisation of parkour that we can live with morally?

Andy: I think if everyone who thought that Red Bull was a shitty sponsor suddenly spoke up, Red Bull would run a mile. Strangely I’ve been asked a few times to coordinate something like that but I don’t think I’m the right person to do it. I get a lot of people thanking me for taking a stand but, honestly, it’s very easy to sit here and throw stones!

 

C – Parkour / Climbing, Buildering

20130821_hoxton_blane_302_1200px

 

You are an active urban explorer, climber and also engage in buildering (climbing / bouldering in the urban environment).

  1. Do you see any similarities between parkour, urban exploration and buildering? (thinking of how the urban explorer, climber views and uses public space for example)

Andy: The boundaries aren’t distinct and this indeterminacy is one of their characteristics. Parkour is the only one that really engages in arguments about what is or isn’t parkour. The other two couldn’t give a shit.

 

  1. If you think about parkour communities, urban exploration and buildering/bouldering communities. Are there any main differences you have observed that are worth mentioning? (be it from an athlete’s point of view or from a photographer´s point of view)

Andy: Well, firstly, there is no buildering community. Certainly not here in London. There’s me and Bobby and Ash, and a few others, and that’s about it. We meet up a few times a year and repeat some of the old stuff, and very occasionally go in search of new stuff. So I think that’s one of the first things to emphasise – buildering is barely a thing. As for the urban exploration community, I don’t really know. I’m not really a part of that community. Community is a weird concept, though, especially many people would regard me as part of that community even though I don’t feel a part of it. And that’s a characteristic of these urban social formations, much like the indeterminate boundaries I discussed earlier. Membership is fluid and you’re a part of something (even if you don’t feel a part of something) that is amorphous, fragmented, dispersed, and indistinct.

As for differences… parkour is a little caught up in its own sense of self-importance sometimes, probably because people genuinely care about what it is and what the future holds for it. Parkour is pretty unstable but buildering, through not really existing, has no stability whatsoever. As a result, it can’t take itself seriously at all – one of its features that I find quite endearing. Plus buildering is generally a bit ridiculous which all adds to the fun. I’m a big fan of silliness, something that strangely has quite a lot of power.

 

D – Closing questions

  1. What are you currently working on? Can you tell us anything about upcoming projects?

Andy: At the moment, I’m still working on FORMER, the project that I shot in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia. I’m not sure if I will shoot more of the monuments but there’s a load of stuff that I need to do, mostly to try and understand the project fully and give the images a life beyond their current state on my hard drive. Beyond that, I’m teaching a week-long course in parkour and dance photography at Central St Martins in the spring and plotting my escape from London.

 

  1. Is there anything else that should be mentioned? Anything else you´d like to say?

Andy: Parkour is progressive. Its community is progressive, as is the way that it values teaching, as is its spirit of inclusivity. We can inspire future generations to move through the spectacles we create, but let’s also ensure that this doesn’t compromise our values. It’s a fine balance but one that’s worth fighting for, which is why I’m often so vocal. Often the response from those that get called out for shitty decisions is that criticising is easy and ‘haters gonna hate’. In response it’s worth considering this quote from Churchill: “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” As a community of progressive-minded people, I’m very proud of parkour. I think as a collective we have an intelligence and a self-awareness that is different to most other sports, characteristics that have their roots in the values estbalished by some of the earliest practitioners.  We’re very fortunate in that respect.

 

At this point a HUGE THANK YOU to Andy for taking his time and putting his thoughts on paper. Thank you for this opportunity and the insights you have provided us!
If there is anything else you would like to know or if you wish to see some more of Andys work visit http://www.kiell.com/

I´ll make day3 of RDVX less detailed and instead just highlight some of the things that remained vivid in my mind.

 

First off. I was dead tired and in pain in the morning of day 3. Putting on my socks was challenge nr. 1. but the weather was sunny  and we were motivated. We were heading for the Olympic Village where for the first time an official permission for a Parkour related group was given by the authorities to train there.

 

One of the sessions was with Blane. He teamed us up in pairs and gave us a distance to cover. We would plyo over our partner who would be in push up position, drop down to the push up position ourselves and do 1 push up more than our partner did just the moment before us. When we finish our push ups our partner plyos over and drops down to do his set of push ups (one more than I did before). So if I´d start, I´d do 1,3,5,7….and so on. In the end (after the time frame of 40 minutes) I was up to 27 push ups but we had just about covered half of the distance Blane had set. Good challenge!

After 2 other strength related sessions we headed to the Chainstore for our last 3 sessions of RDVX. I was particulary impressed with Ben Sheffler from PKOne (Germany). He had some great input in terms of reaction-time related training. Again we were teamed up in pairs of 2. There was a route with a certain goal set. For example a wall run and a starting point a few meters away facing the wall with the back. We then gave some queues to our partners and they had to quickly adapt. For example which foot they´d have to use for the wallrun, which side the vault should be done with if there was something in the way, in what way to turn when they´d start running or simply blinding them, taking them somewhere in the space and then letting them adapt to what´s around them.

The other 2 sessions opposed to the first one with Ben were indoors. Pownall had set up about 15 different stations with the aim of massaging (deep tissue) and stretching us. If you want to know how to use an elastic band and a wooden stick to massage your calves to total relaxation including a horrendous amount of pain (just kidding), Alex is the man for you! Hector and Adam led the other Chainstore session that consisted of a variety of rolling challenges in different situations. Dive rolls across gaps. Rolls on thin walls and different obstacles. Dive rolls on concrete through a gap of rails. Good fun!

 

Conclusions:

Again I got proven that just because I am tired, stiff from the day before or simply have the worst muscle ache ever, does not mean I can´t move. The right warm up and attitude can boost you!

The huge variety of movement in RDVX was great, so was the input from all the coaches that came from all over the world.

Just having experienced so many different Parkour styles and coaching methods is inspirational and showed me how limited my view was before and how important it is to get in exchange with other people. RDVX did just that for me.

And overall it was great to see all the guys again I got to know back in 2013/2014.

Oh and just before I forget it. Congratulations to Forrest for knowing/learning each and every name of ALL the participants and coaches of RDVX. At the end of day 3 Forrest went through a crowd of about 150 people calling every one by their name, an amazing skill he had demonstrated the year before as it was told me.

 

THANKS to everyone who was part of it. To Hector for hosting us. To the English weather for being so nice these days. To the scandinavians for a relaxed and funny evening at the Canary Wharf burger place. It was a great experience and who knows, maybe see you all again at RDVXI!

P.S. This is the so called Grant curve as we named it. We had a slight jogg with Chris Grant who then came up with it and I feel obliged to share the knowledge.
grantcurve
In the beginning of every traceurs life the motivation to run / jogg is growing. Up to a peak that is reached after a few years. From that point on it nears to zero again as the more experienced a traceur gets the more lazy he gets 😉

Check out the previous part for a quick overview of what happened on day 1 of RDVX!

The day to come would be quite a long and exhausting one. We would start 09:00 in the morning and, including the extra modules, would end at around 22:00. After an unpleseant situation in 2009 in Vauxhall and some light training sessions there in 2013/2014 I was anxious and looking forwardat the same time to train at the place again, as the Vauxhall walls are one of the worlds most famous Parkour spot ever.

 

Day 2 (Saturday) – Locations: Vauxhall (various areas) + The Chainstore (evening modules)

Session 1 – Forrest / Yann Hnautra

After a slight warm up led by Blane and a split into 4 groups our first session was with Forrest and Yann at a small spot right next to the Thames. The session was split into 2 parts, first part with Yann and then a switch over to Forrest. It was my first time ever getting into a session led by Yann so I was excited and given the high level of the advanced group I was a little anxious to deliver my best. Now, imagine Yann furiosly demonstrating a small route consisting of 4-5 (rather complex) moves, including rolls, palm spins, rolls on the backs on walls and so on, ending with a set of push ups and then expecting us to repeat. The group couldn´t go all at once due to limited space but as soon as the majority of the group was done, Yann would shoot off demonstrating the next round. No need to say I struggled. First off, I could not really remember / reproduce the routes Yann did, secondly by the time I did my push ups, Yann was in demonstration mode again. Surprisingly some of the guys could keep up. This went on for 20 minutes until Yann gathered the group around and explained what the purpose of his session was. So no matter if we got the route right or we would bump into each other, each repetition at any given time and situation should be done with 100% dedication and 100%willpower (if that makes sense). I guess he supposedly tried to put some stress on us and see how we react. Anyway, hearing Yann explaining was inspiring even though he labelled our group as average overall.

Forrest was already awaiting us with a nice challenge. We did rail precisions as a group at the same time, from a wall to a long rail and were given the task to stick all of them and  precision back to the starting wall. If one fell it was ok to catch oneself on the rail, come back up and continue as long as no one touches the floor. If that happened we would all be awarded 30 small jumps (burning out our quads) and would then continue. The core message of the exercise was a question: If we are 100% physically capable of sticking a rather easy rail precision, why shouldn´t we be able to stick all of them, every time and whenever? After the exercise we wer challenged with a variety of different rail precisions that we could choose of (see the picture that Thiago from Brazil drew). Aiming on sticking them again.

thames pres

Session 2 – Blake Evitt / Jiho Kim (PKGen U.S. / PKGen Korea)

After a quick spot change we rotated to Jiho and Blake for a fun partner throwing session. We were shown 3 techniques of throwing partners and by doing so giving them a higher potencial for overcoming distances than if they just jumped on their own. The most recogniseable one and in my opinion the one that worked best was the 2 person slingshot method. Imagine being in a squat position leaning back, reaching out with with your hands to 2 people roughly your weight and size. You lean forward – JUMP and receive a massive pull that carries you farther than you could have ever jumped alone. Combine that with armjumps and precisioning up walls and thats it. Ideally though you have a nicely light guy/girl jumping and 2 strong people throwing, thats basically how we levitated Hector over a small wall to a 12 foot precision jump!

 

Session 3 – Adam McClellan(*) / Andy Keller (PKGen U.S)

Taking place at the main Vauxhall walls spot and being the first session after lunch break we started with a nicely weird warm up game. Movement through the space with the limitation of using your hands and feet in certain combinations only. For example after using your hand next thing to be used has to be a foot and so forth. The game was spiced up when we were teamed up in pairs and groups of 3 moving like the Parkour version of the human centipede. 😉

The next part of the session was really innovative and something I would like to keep in memory for my own coaching.

We were split into groups of 3 and could choose anywhere at the spot. We should work out a set of 3 movements and repeat unti we got it nice and flowy. After that 2 people of the group rotated to an other station and the remaining one would show the 2 new people that formed a new group the route that was previously developed. Practice time a few minutes and another rotation. This time the person that showed the new people the route had to rotate to an other station and would be shown a new route and so on. The concept is brilliant. Develop a route, teach it someone else and be tought a new route with new movements you would not have thought of on your own. Simple yet effective, and great fun.

Session 4 – Mikkel Thiesen / Mirko Svabric (Streetmovement Denmark / Parkour Croatia)

So….What do a danish bearded guy and a croatian Parkour veteran have in common? Both of them are beasts and both of them made a nice exhausting session with some good challenges in there. What they did was conceptualise a route around the back part of the Vauxhall walls, including a sketchy 180 cat leap to precision, precisions with high drops right after and probably the only swininging movement to be found in Vauxhall (danish style). The goal was not breaking the jumps though but to repeat the route as fluid and quickly as possible, making the usually longer decisions of slightly trickier jumps come natural with the flow. Some of the movement (the 180 to the wall or the swining move for example) I couldn´t do but overall it was a tiring experience with a high need for focus every time the route was done.

Session 5 – Chris Grant (Glasgow parkour Coaching) / Johann Vigroux

BREAKING JUMPS TIME! Having some really advanced guys in the group Chris and Johann took up the challenge and presented us 5 gnarly jumps we should work on. A 9 “foot” precision over a high gap to a brick wall. Same gap, same brick wall,different spot of the wall, this time doing a cat pass to arm jump. An other one was a precision at height to a small rail of a staircase. The first precision I described came easy but after that the other jumps were all … scary…. I seriously eyed up the cat pass to arm jump. I knew the distance was far but with a clean and nice take of should not be any problem. Long story short, I already saw myself bailing ugly, gave me the chills, too many people around, excuse after excuse, did not do it in the end… The session achieved an anxiety though andmade me seriously consider a jump that clearly was in the upper third of my performance range. To loosen things up we played a quick few rounds of tag before heading off to the Chainstore for the evening modules!

 

Module 1 – Chris Mc Dougall featuring the Vivo Bearfoot Team (Author of “Born to Run” and “Natural Born Heroes”)

I did not know Mc Dougall before but after this presentation I bought “Born to Run” and loved it! Chris introduced himself as a previously unhappy and injury ridden hobby runner who after spending small fortunes on the latest running shoe technology, that did not help him, just could not believe that the doctors adviced him to quit running. Why does running shoe technology advance so much over the years but injury rates amongst runners stay the same if not went up over the last years? These and other questions led Chris on a journey described in “Natural Born Runners”. A key message from his presentation was that it is weird how EVERY sport has techniques how to do certain things but as far as it concerns running “everyone has it´s own style”. The Vivo Barefoot team was present too, and they did video analysis of volunteers and their running styles, analysing frame by frame for example how long the feet touch the ground and how long the full bodyweight was pushing on the joints when jogging. They also performed a set of basic tests, like one footed balance with closed eyes, checking the deep squat position and many more, showing that even amongst Parkour people basic body functionality is not a standard (yeah, yeah, I know about my squat,…no need to get mean about it). Chris did a demo of what he developed as a “correct” running style over the last years, showing a very upright position with a  centered body balance and lifting his feet quite high, all while making very short contact with the floor. Nevertheless, key messages of the presentation were:

  • Running shoe technology is 99% marketing
  • A lot of cushioning is useless and potentially dangerous. For example when people tend to strike their heels when running, something no one would do when there was no cushioning at the heels (see running bare)
  • Our feet are the perfect tools for absorbing impact and shock while running

Generally speaking the presentation and the book both were very entertaining and thought provoking but it has to be said that for every theory there are many counter theories, and I believe it is the same with some of Mc Dougalls statements. The Book for example, follows along something called the endurance running theory arguing that human´s main advantage over any other mammal species is the ability of long distance running and that we evolved into the perfect running machine.

So yeah, great presentation paired with some nice practical examples and me resulting in having an amazing read after my London trip and enjoying running a little more. Thanks a lot Chris!!

 

Module 2 – Andy Pearson / Thomas – Infiltration/Exfiltration (TBW Docks)

I´ll make this a short one. The guys presented us with 3 challenges of getting into certain areas that were not directly accessible. Some were fenced with barbed wire, others were secured by a bridge over water or both. Our job was to scout the situation, evalute access points, assess any risks just by looking and then react to anything ad hog. Additionally Andy threw som curve balls at us in the form of hidden security measures like chalk behind certain bars where we used to grab representing, for example preassure triggers of alarm systems or whatever sensors are out there. It was a fun topic with a serious background. Anyone willing to put himself in the line of risk when entering sealed off areas like construction sites, cranes or private property might overlook many of the dangers that these places hide. Alarm systems being the harmless ones, other ones would be being able to enter a place but not being able to exit it again. After the challenges Thomas gave us a crash course in tactical group movement that he was tought in this time in the french military. Interesting stuff.

 

Module 3 – Kristian Mc Fee – Powerlifting for Parkour

Kristian is a traceur / professional weight lifter and allaround awesome guy. He is currently training in the british talent suqad if I got that right. For an interview about his training experiences check: http://www.powering-through.com/2014/02/interview-kristian-mcphee-talks-gb.html

In his session Kristian introduced us to some weight lifting basics, showed us basic technique and explained us the benefits of each exercise for our Parkour performance all while letting us test the stuff we were talking about with unloaded bars.

 

Module 4 – Blane – Offground Challenges in the Chainstore

Blane showed us 3 stations with a variety of offground challenges. One of the challenges was like a mini Ninja Warrior course AND we had Teige Palmers (Teghead), who actually competed in Ninja Warrior to demo the route for us. It was quite hard consisting of small pieces of wood on ropes to be used as grips, swings on bars and a lot of traversing. It was fun but I was already really really tired.

I was happy when the sessions came to an end and knew the next day would be physical. I got “home” as quick as I could, took a shower, ate something and dropped dead just to get up a few hours later with a worse than ever SERIOUS muscle ache that now had me tortured for a few days already. LET´S DO THIS! -> Check part 3 (and last) for what happened on the final day of RDVX!

Das folgende Interview ist auch auf ENGLISCH verfügbar.

 

In den letzten Jahren ist ETRE FORT zu einem allseits bekannten und sehr wertgeschätzten Teil der Parkour Szene avanciert. Die EF-T1 Jogginghosen werden von Traceuren in allen Teilen der Welt getragen und geliebt und die Organisation ist regelmäßiger Partner und Supporter von Events auf dem ganzen Globus. Was ETRE FORT so besonders macht ist, dass die Firma aus den Bemühungen und Bedürfnissen 2er immernoch aktiver schweizer Traceure (Roger Widmer und Felix Stöckli-Iseli) hervorgegangen ist. Das folgende Interview behandelt kurz wie ETRE FORT entstanden ist, wie sich die Firma entwickelt hat, wie Roger und Felix ihre Marke in der Parkour Welt platziert sehen und gibt eine kleinen Ausblick in die Zukunft.

 

 EF_team

Alex: Wie ist es zur Idee Etre Fort gekommen?

EF: Es begann Ende 2008 als Projekt, wir haben zu dieser Zeit immer breite baggy Hosen von Nike getragen, waren aber nie ganz zufrieden mit den Hosen. Wir entschlossen uns einfach selbst Parkour- Hosen zu produzieren, somit könnten wir alle Features und Gadgets einbauen die wir als wichtig erachten. Für uns war klar, dass wir keine Merchandise Produkte herstellen wollen, also fertige Produkte die mit einem Team-Logo oder mit einer Parkouraufschrift versehen werden. Es sollte eine eigenständige hochqualitative Marke sein. Anfang 2009 stand der Name fest und wir hatten die ersten Logo und Designentwürfe von Mathias Fritzen. Während einer langen Entwicklungsphase entstand ca. 90% die heutigen EF-T1 Parkour Hose. Wir kämpften anschließend mit verschiedenen Problemen, das größte war eine Produktion zu finden, welche ein solch spezialisiertes Kleidungsstück in kleiner Auflage und top Qualität produzieren kann.

Anfang 2010 mussten wir das Projekt auf Grund von Personal-, Zeit- und Geldmangel bis auf weiteres auf auf Eis legen. Mitte 2011 standen die Zeichen besser, wir sind durch Zufälle immer wieder an das Thema Parkour-Kleidung gestoßen und hatten verschiedene Produzenten kennen gelernt. Also entschieden wir uns die Marke nun endlich ins Leben zu rufen und starteten mit der Firmengründung im Mai 2012 durch.

 

EF-1_sketchAlex: Wie lang hat es von der Idee Etre Fort zur tatsächlichen Firmengründung und zur ersten Produktion gedauert und was waren so die Meilensteine dabei?

EF: Siehe Frage 1

 

Alex: Habt ihr euch ausschließlich durch eigenes Kapital finanziert oder habt ihr versucht wie ein Start Up zu agieren, Investoren an Land zu ziehen etc.? Möchtet ihr in Zukunft mit der Hilfe fremder Kapitalgeber expandieren oder bleibt Etre Fort ausschließlich ein 2 Mann Unternehmen?

EF: Wir haben alles selbst finanziert und wollten auch von Anfang an Unabhängig sein. Dies soll auch bis auf weiteres so bleiben… From Tracers for Tracers…

Alex: Habt ihr Mitarbeiter im klassischen Sinn?

EF: Nein zur Zeit nicht im klassischen Angestellten Verhältnis, es sind alles Freunde und wir haben Special Deals. Zur Zeit arbeiten wir aber daran, auch Mitarbeiter einstellen zu können.

 

Alex: Könnt ihr uns Details zu eurer Marketingstrategie zu Beginn verraten? Wie wichtig war und ist Produktsponsoring, Social Media, etc.?

EF: Wir haben den Release der Marke mit einem Trip „gefeiert“ , dafür haben wir verschieden Athleten und freunde eingeladen, welche als gesponserte Athleten unsere Markenbotschafter wurden. Aus diesem Trip ist auch die aktuelle LYCZ Kampagne entstanden, welche wir im 2014 und 2015 erfolgreich durchgeführt haben. Man kann auch sagen, wir haben uns mit den LYCZ Days ein wenig einen Bubentraum erfüllt.
Social Media ist sicherlich sehr wichtig, wobei man sich nicht nur darauf versteifen sollte, all die Reisen, Workshops und Trips welche wir in den letzten Jahren unternommen haben sind genau so wichtig.

 

Alex: Was hat sich an eurer Marketingstrategie grundsätzlich verändert seit dem Start?

EF: Wir wurden nun etwas konsequenter und versuchen bei einer Idee, alle wichtigen Punkte mit einzubeziehen. Vorbereitung, Hauptteil der Kommunikation und auch Nachbearbeitung. Früher haben wir uns oft nur auf den Hauptteil konzentriert.

 

Alex: Etre Fort war und ist nicht als reine Parkourmarke aufgesetzt sondern sollte von Anfang an eine breitere Zielgruppe ansprechen(wenn ich das richtig verstanden habe). Wie hilfreich ist das Parkourimage außerhalb der Szene?

EF: Das hast du richtig verstanden, Parkour ist unser Herz und von da kommen wir. Wir wollen aber mit der Marke alle Bewegungsbegeisterte vereinen, welche wissen was es heißt hart zu trainieren und die Komfort Zone verlassen zu müssen um im Leben was zu erreichen.

Das Parkourimage ist sicherlich ein Vorteil außerhalb der Szene, wobei der Hauptteil unserer Kunden noch Traceure und Freerunner sind.

 

Alex: Wenn ihr eure Geschätstätigkeit in ein Verhältnis stellen müsstet, Parkourszene intern vs. der Markt außerhalb Parkour, wie würde das aussehen? Kann man das überhaupt trennen?

EF: Das ist schwer zu sagen, im Moment konzentrieren wir uns noch sehr stark auf die Parkour und Freerunning Szene. Bei uns steht aber noch dieses Jahr ein großes Strategie Meeting an, bei welchem wir genau solche Fragen besprechen werden. Schlussendlich ist es unser Ziel über die Szene hinaus die Marke EF bekannt zu machen.

 

Alex: Könnt ihr uns eine grobe Einschätzung des Marktes “Parkour” geben bzw. eure Gedanken mit uns teilen? Wieviel ernstzunehmende Konkurrenz gibt es? Seht ihr euch mit Etre Fort gut platziert?

EF: Ich denke das ist immer noch ein sehr ideeller Markt, wir sind in der Szene zu Hause und haben den nie so konkret gerechnet. Es ist ein sehr junger Markt und alle Traceure wollen kaum Geld für Kleidung oder ähnliches ausgeben, nichts desto trotz haben wir uns mittlerweile als qualitativ hochstehendes Markenlabel im höheren Preissegment etablieren können.

Bezüglich Konkurrenz können wir nicht wirklich Angaben machen, wir sehen eigentlich keines der aktuellen Parkour – Labels als Konkurrenz, viele Labelgründer sind sogar Freunde von uns. Außerdem verflogen die meisten einen anderen Stil oder ein anderes Ziel und wir können sicherlich von einander profitieren.

 

teamtripAlex: Wie kam es zur Partnerschaft mit GUP (Galizian Urban Project)?

EF: Wie bereits beschrieben, haben wir im 2012 den ETRE-FORT Trip mit Freunden organisiert, Sergio war der einzige den wir nicht schon persönlich gekannt haben, Felix hatte sich mehrere Male mit Ihm unterhalten und er war von Anfang an Begeistert von der Idee. Währen dem Trip ist einen sehr gute Freundschaft entstanden und wir haben nach und nach alle weiteren Members von GUP kennen gelernt. Ein weiterer wichtiger Punkt ist, das Felix spanisch spricht, dies hat sicherlich vieles vereinfacht.

 

 

 

Alex: Welchen Tip könnt ihr all Jenen geben, die bereits ein kleines parkourorientiertes Bekleidungslabel haben bzw. ein solches Eröffnen wollen?

EF: Was wir jedem Jungunternehmer raten können: tu das was du tust mit Leib und Seele und lasse dich nicht vom Weg abbringen. Bleib am Ball und gib nicht auf. Ganz einfach „être fort“!

 

Alex: Was sind eure langfristigen Pläne für die Zukunft?

EF: Wir arbeiten an verschiedenen Projekten. Noch einen Schritt weiter zur 100 prozentigen Nachhaltigkeit:Zur Zeit arbeiten wir daran die erste 100% organic, fair, ecological, CO2 neutral und transparente Kleidungsstücke anbieten zu können. Die Transparenz erreichen wir dadurch, dass jedes Produkt einen Herstellungscode enthält und dann auf unserer Seite die gesamte Produktion nachverfolgt werden kann. Hierfür haben wir einen neuen Partner: REMEI (bioRe: http://www.biore.ch). Unterstützen der Parkour Communities:Nebst den gesponserten Athleten haben wir unter der Kategorie Friends verschiedene Parkour Communities welche wir unterstützen. Unser Ziel ist diese Communities in Zukunft noch stärker unterstützen zu können.

Und noch vieles mehr

 

Alex: Gibt es etwas was noch unbedingt erwähnt werden sollte?

EF: TRAIN HARD – TAKE CARE! Vielen Dank für Eurer Engagement und beste Grüsse Roger und Felix

 

An dieser Stelle ein großes DANKE an ETRE FORT für die Zeit die sie sich trotz der laufenden LYCZ days genommen haben um unsere Fragen zu beantworten.
Für mehr Infos besucht http://etre-fort.com/de/ und http://etre-fort.com/de/lycz/

The following interview is also available in GERMAN.

 

In the last years ETRE FORT has become a well known and highly appreciated part of the Parkour scene. The EF-T1 pants are worn by traceurs in all parts of the world amongst athletes of all skill levels and the company is a regular event partner and supporter all over the globe. What makes ETRE FORT special is that the company evolved out of the scene being brought to life by (still active) traceurs Roger Widmer and Felix Stöckli-Iseli based in Switzerland. The following interview briefly covers how ETRE FORT developed, how Roger and Felix see their brand placed in the Parkour world (and outside) and what we can expect for the years to come.

 

 

EF_team

Alex: How did the idea “ETRE FORT” start?

EF: It all started in 2008 as a project, at that time we were always wearing these baggy Nike pants but were never truly satisfied with them. We simply decided to produce our own Parkour pants, this way we could incorporate all the features we considered important. It was clear to us that we did not want to produce any merchandise products, meaning products that already exist and just putting our team logo or the word “Parkour” on it. It should be an independent high quality brand. Beginning of 2009 we had the name and first logo and design drafts from Mathias Fritzen. During a long development phase 90% of the EF-T1 Parkour pants as they exist today were being shaped. We were fighting with a variety of problems after that, the biggest being finding a production that was suitable to produce such a specialised piece of clothing in a top quality and a small quantity.

 

Early 2010 due to personal reasons, a lack of money and time we had to freeze the project. In the beginning of 2011 the signs were better, by chance we encountered the topic of Parkour clothing various times and got to know different producers. That´s when we finally decided to bring the brand to life and kick it off with the creation of the company in May 2012.

 

EF-1_sketch

Alex: How long did it take from the idea ETRE FORT to founding the company and the first line of production and what weresome of the major milestones on the way?

EF: See question 1!

 

Alex: Did funding work through private equity (Eigenkapital) or did you act like a start up trying to get the interest of investors? Is it part of the plan, at some point, to expand through external capital (Fremdkapital) or will ETRE FORT exclusively be a 2 man show?

EF: We financed everything ourselves and wanted to be independent from the beginning. This should stay like that…From Tracers for Tracers…

Alex: Do you have employees in the classic sense?

EF: At this time we don´t have employees but many friends and special deals. We are currently working on providing employment though.

 

Alex: Could you reveal some details about yourmarketing strategy in the beginning? How important were and still is product sponsoring, social media, etc.?

EF: We “celebrated” the release of the brand with a trip where we invited various athletes and friends who would later become sponsored athletes and brand ambassadors. A result from this trip is also the LYCZ (Leave Your Comfort Zone) campaign we successfully did in 2014 and 2015. One could say we fulfilled ourselves a boy´s childhood-dream a little bit with the LYCZ days.

Social Media plays an important role for sure but you should not overrate it, all the trips, workshops and travelling we did were just as important.

 

Alex: Have there been any major changes in the marketing strategy if you compare it to the beginning of ETRE FORT?

EF: We have become more consequent and try to take all the important aspects into account when we have an idea. Preparation, main part of the communication and post production. In the past we often just focused on the main part.

 

Alex:ETRE FORT was and is not solely a Parkour brand but should aim towards a broader target audience (if I got that right). How helpful is the Parkour image outside of the scene?

EF: Yeah you got that right, Parkour is our heart and that´s where we come from. But with our brand we want to combine all movement enthusiasts who know what it means to train hard and leave ones comfort zone in order to achieve something in life.

The Parkour image is beneficial outside the scene, but our main clients are Traceurs and Freerunners.

 

Alex: If you were to put your business into relation of Parkour scene vs. the market outside the scene, how would that look? Can you even separate it?

EF: That´s hard to say, at the moment we still strongly focus on the Parkour and Freerunning scene. This year still we will have an internal strategy meeting though where we will especially discuss questions like these. In the end it is our goal to grow EF into a brand recognised outside the scene as well.

 

Alex: Could you give us a raw estimation of the market “Parkour” and share your thoughts with us? Is there any tough competition? Do you see your brand placed in a nice spot?

EF: I think it is still an idealistic market, our home is the scene and we have never actually calculated the market a lot. It is a young market and not a lot of Traceurs are willing to pay for clothing or the like. Nevertheless we have managed to establish ourselves as a high quality brand in the upper price range.

In relation to competition we can´t really make any statements, we don´t see any of the existing Parkour labels as competition, many founders of labels are actually friends of us. Besides, many labels follow a different style and/or different goals, we are sure we could all benefit from each other.

 

teamtrip

Alex: How did the partnership with GUP happen (Galizian Urban Project)?

EF: As we described in a previous  question we organised the ETRE FORT trip with friends back in 2012, Sergio was the only one we had not met personally yet at that time. Felix talked to him multiple times already and was excited about the idea of having him. During the trip a strong friendship developed and over time we got to know all the members of GUP. Another important point is that Felix speaks Spanish making many things a lot easier.

 

 

 

Alex: Do you have any advice you can give to people wanting to start their own Parkour related fashion label or already have set up something in that way?

EF: What we can advice any young entrepreneur: do what you do with passion and soul and don´t let anyone set you off. Stay on track and don´t give up. Simply „être fort“!

 

Alex: What are your long term plans for the future?

EF: We are currently working on different projects.

A step further to 100% sustainibility:

At the moment we are working on providing the first 100% organic, fair, CO2 neutral and transparent pieces of clothing. We reach transparency through fitting our products with a code allowing anyone who wishes to trace its entire way of production online on our website. We partnered up with REMEI (bioRe: http://www.biore.ch) for this cause.

And many more.

 

Alex: Anything else to add?

EF: TRAIN HARD – TAKE CARE! Thank you very much for your effort and all the best from Roger and Felix

 

A big THANK YOU at this point to ETRE FORT for taking their time despite being in the middle of their LYCZ days at the time the interview was taken.
Check out: http://etre-fort.com/de/ and http://etre-fort.com/de/lycz/

About 10 years ago the first so called Rendezvous (an annual Parkour workshop event featuring some of THE best coaches in the discipline) was held in a tiny gym somewhere in London. Amongst the 30 participants were legends like Yann Hnautra, Forrest Mahop, Dan Edwardes, Daniel Illabaca, Stephane Vigroux, Kazuma, Owen Covill, and so many more that I can’t recognise on that video.

 

August 2015: After having spent some days training in London already, muscles slightly aching, I was finding myself in the Chainstore waiting for the official opening of RDVX. It was great catching up with a lot of people again that I got to know back in 2013/2014. In fact there were too many to have a serious conversation with as every minute new people came droppping into the Chainstore. Amongst them were so many great characters that at some point I just sat there breathing in the awesomeness that gathered for what would become an intense 3 days. All the international PKGen branches were present and some additional international coaches from Brazil, Korea, the U.S., Germany, Scottland, etc. as well. Special guests included Yann Hnautra, Stephane Vigroux, Johann Vigroux, Thomas Couetdic and Christopher Mc Dougall (author of Born to Run, and Natural Born Heroes).

 

It was my first time seeing Yann and Stephane and I was excited to hear they were coaching. The procedure so thoroughly planned by Blane would be similar for the 3 days to come. The ~150 participants would be split into smaller groups depending on their experience and/or energy level. The groups get a session of coaching (usually 1 hour) and the rotate to the next coaching team. For day 1 (as it was an optional day, main seminar would be the next 2 days) people were split into beginners, intermediates and advanced. I did not feel too sure of where I belong as many of the PKGen core team members + some really good guys from abroad were actually participating themselves, thus making quite the hell of an advanced group. But I chose this one and was more comfortable with the idea of downgrading than not having tried to get along with the level. Physically I felt comfortable, but technically these guys were a few dimensions away from me.

 

Day 1 (Friday) – Location: Chainstore and areas around

Session 1 – Adam McClellan (PKGen U.S.)

After a short warm up by Dan Edwardes Adam´s session was my first RDVX session. And it can be briefly described as “jump/sprint/jump/sprint jump somer more and sprint some(correction: a lot) more”. Followed by some jumps and QM movement instead of sprinting. The thing was, everyone could push themselves as hard as they chose to. After sticking a certain precision one was awarded by a (roughly) 60metre sprint and then came back to the same precision (basically). Stickig precisions after sprints is a good one, though we had some rest period as we waited in line for our turn. Overall it was a solid session that tired us out and gave me an idea of how smooth Yann was in moving QM style. (he was participating)

 

Session 2 – Ben Scheffler (Parkour One)

After a session packed with short term power outbursts over a long periode of time Ben had another kind of endurance challenge for us. He showed us a route that mostly consisted of jogging and included around 15 Parkour movements (a wallrun wth climb up, a demi tour, a cat pass next to a drop, an underbar, a palm spin, rolls etc etc.). We would repeat the route steadily without stopping running for 30 minutes, choosing our own speed. 1 lap took me around 4 minutes I think. The challenge was great and I found my pace. Doing these challenges makes one realise how energy consumptive certain types of movement are and teaches one how to be more energy efficient overall. I really liked the session, and it was my first time talking with Ben whom I had scarcely met at a badly organised Parkour workshop in Germany in 2007 (I think).

 

Session 3 (and last for day 1) – Stephane Vigroux

This was the only session that day that was in the Chainstore and I was looking forward to finally getting coached by Stephane. I was not disappointed. We were offered to choose a rail precision somewhere in the Chainstore that was well in our comfort zone. The goal was to do at least 50 repetitions and try to stick as many of them as possible. Something awesome happened. After having a success rate of <10% with my first 30 tries I got so comfortable and close with the jump that in the end I nearly sticked every one of them, no bad landings, no mid foot. Stephane´s goal was to get us into the zone and get us to a state of mind where the jump just became natural, something I think he achieved (at least with me). After these precisions we did a 15 minute balancing session on the rails. Similar feeling, similar goal. Keep balancing on a rail without falling for 15 minutes (or 30, or 60).

 

In part 2 I´ll cover the second day of RDVX, including 5 really creative sessions and 4 amazing (optional) modules in the evening. Day 2 went from 9:00 to 22:00 making it about 10 hours of pure training.

What follows is the first review of one of the original participants from Night Mission II that I hosted in 2015 in Vienna. Enjoy the read!

Night Mission Beta

It’s 9 pm in Vienna, and we’re just standing around at Donauinsel. Would we’ve been aware that these were our last moments of idle rest for a long time, we probably would’ve enjoyed them more. After all five participants gathered, Alexandros looked us in the eye, smiled from cheek to cheek and proclaimed: “Night Mission Beta has officially started.” He briefed us on the mission’s toughness, encouraged us to drop out before we pass out. And then we ran into the dark.

On the one hand, I expected an adventure. Cities the size of Vienna burst with hidden corners and secret places. I knew Alexandros wanted to explore those with us. Secondly, I expected a challenge. Back then I was sleep-deprived from the start, so I knew this mission would push me to my limits. In both cases I was right. Especially as my physical limits got a good kick to the teeth.

The first surprise was the sheer lack of motorized transportation. We ran the city. Now I’ve always perceived Vienna as a mosaic of metro stops. Now I visited all these hotspots – Donauinsel, Stadtpark, Schottentor and others – by foot, and I saw Vienna as a whole, interconnected and fluid. This alone gave me a new feeling for my city. We made around 20km that night, jogging, walking, breathing, repeat. Alexandros didn’t want us to get cold or tired, and even though my body hated him for that at some point, I knew he was right. Too many breaks would’ve broken us. And with the challenges at hand, we couldn’t afford to go down.

The ~18 challenges demanded both physical and mental strength. I climbed walls in 8m height, with just the arms of our comrades as safety nets. I carried an 84kg man on Vienna’s most beautiful staircase, up and down. I stood on a railing, fell, got up again, fell, up, fell up, for 15 minutes all in all. And all that with my body wondering why the hell it wasn’t lying in my bed as usual in the middle of the night.

Towards the end, when we ran up a mountain, sleep deprivation almost got the better of me. My eyelids weighed tons. I slept for split-seconds while walking in an involuntary zig-zag, looking like a drunkard. All the time I knew I would pull through, and I felt Alexandros watchful eyes on me, ready to step in. But Jesus Christ was I tired. Going in there without sufficient sleep was my mistake. A Night Mission demands top-notch fitness.

We all were struggling at some point. But the group generated a force field of determination, which fuelledevery single one of our cells. With a healthy mixture of competition and support, we battled those weak moments we all had individually. And thus we achieved feats I would’ve deemed impossible otherwise. The Night Mission Beta was not so much a feat of strength as it was one of endurance. While I ran, jumped, balanced and carried, 95% of my brain was occupied with a simple mantra: “One more step. One more push-up. One more minute.”

But the other 5% were all like “Hell, I can’t wait until tomorrow when I grasp what I’ve achieved here.”

And indeed, when I woke up the next day, I was physically crushed to pieces – but my mind fired endorphins in all directions. I bathed in my glorious pain, knowing that’s how it feels when limits break.

We started at 9pm. At 6am I collapsed into my bed. 9 hours, 20 kilometers, 18 challenges, 6 warriors, 1 goal. The Night Mission Beta showed me the power of comradeship, it gave me a new perspective on my city. And I got a glimpse at the potential of body and mind. It’s an experience like no other. If you want to see how far you can push yourself, go for it. Just make sure to take a nap beforehand.