When someone asks me if he or she or if this or that person can do parkour I usually instantly reply “yes” – “of course”. Usually with no further explanation except that it´s all about the way you approach parkour and that you should not compare yourself to others. Stephane Vigroux´s post on Instagram is more on point though.
Anyone can do parkour but parkour is not for everyone
Suppose you hate challenging yourself, you are afraid of even looking out of your very narrow comfort zone. Suppose you really do not like to interact with your environment or face your weaknesses and/or are mainly motivated extrinsically. Well I guess there might be better practices to pick up than parkour. It is still my deepest believe, and of many others, that any person regardless sex, age, gender, heritage, ethnicity, religion or any other social demographic variable, can practice parkour. Practicing parkour and progressing in parkour are not bound by these variables. What the real problem is, is the persons attitude toward him/herself, their expectations on what they have to achieve or deliver and especially their own fear on how they score in relation to what they see on social media and/or from others. For me there is only ONE single constant that I aim on scoring myself on. Do I progress in my training and my parkour practice? Progress can mean physical progress, technical progress or maybe mental progress, maybe even all of the above at once or maybe rehabing out of an injury, slowly and steadily.
So when someone asks me in the future if he/she can do parkour my answer is still “yes” – “of course” but I might think to myself – “do you think you have what it takes?” and I might make them ask themselves what they expect from practicing parkour.
I am well aware though that the realisation that stands behind these thoughts is nothing we can just tell someone or something we can teach solely by talking about it. I guess people have to make their own experiences and somewhere along the way honestly review themselves.
Thanks to Stephane for being so on point.
Find Stephane on [icon icon=icon-instagram size=16px color=#000 ] here: https://www.instagram.com/stephane_vigroux
As you know I am a great fan of interviews and in the past I dedicated a lot of resources towards conducting a variety of interviews with parkour-related people. Recently Skochymag lead by the awesome Andy Day has released interviews with Blane, Boki and Thomas Couetic.
Andy got a great sense for relevant and sharp questions and the three interviews you can find below are a great read. My last interview with Blane dates back to 200x, in the time between then and now Blane has totally changed his life to being a fulltime firefighter in London, leaving most of his coaching duties behind and living our well known motto “being strong to be usefull” to its fullest.
If you happen to don´t know Boki already, he is a Serbian traceur, Etre Fort sponsored athlete and one of the main influences of parkour in Eastern Europe.
Thomas is the second generation of traceurs originating from France and currently living in Fontainbleau. Along with others from his generation (Stephane Vigrourx, Kazuma, the Shintais and many more) he is a direkt link to the early phase of parkour, a still active practicioner and a soruce of parkour wisdom and philosophy, although he mostly keeps to staying in the background. Enjoy the interview.
The only thing I regret when reading the interviews is not having done them myself 🙂
The KRAP gym was one of the first of its kind and when earlier this year it was announced that KRAP will be undergoing fundamental structural changes the opportunity arose to get a glimpse behind the curtains of one of the biggest parkour and freerunning dedicated facilities out there.
Below you will find a firsthand interview with the people behind the Krapannone gym. At this point a HUGE THANK YOU to the team for sharing all the details you will find below.
A – Opening question
Can you introduce yourselves? Who are the people behind KRAP and what´s your story? Who are we talking to right now? 🙂
is a result of the passion for freestyle sports and parkour in particular of three young athlets: Riccardo age 20, Valentino age 22, Giovanni age 20.
Krap came out from a group of friends passionate in freestyle disciplines, skate, parkour, snowboard and more, we funded in 2008 a sport association called KRAP A.S.D. and started teaching skate in the city skatepark and parkour in a small municipal gym. In those areas we were not allowed to carry vault boxes or other parkour equipment so, after the first year, together with a small group of 30 students, we decided to build our own facility to train and also plan all the other associative activities such as workshops, events and shows, that’s when Krapannone was born, in October 2010.
My name is Valentino Di Lauro, President of Krap A.S.D. and I am proud to say that we made the Krapannone for ourselves in the first place because it was our dream to train also when the weather was bad and to keep progressing in our disciplines.
B – Gym infrastructure and environment
The KRAP gym is located in Santorso (Province of Vicenza) in the north of Italy. Santorso with its ~6000 inhabitants seems like a small village. The city of Vicenza (~120.000 inhabitants) being 25km away.
How well accessible was the gym in your view?
The gym location was due to a good (at the time) rental deal with the owner of the space which was not too far away from where we all lived.
How many classes did you run per week and how many people visited your regular classes (weekly)?
We have 15 different classes that people can attend 1 or 2 times a week, divided in 3 different level range and age from 4 years old up
Total number of participants per week:~200 of which 90 % are locals living within 10 km distance.
Could you characterise your main client groups for us? (In terms of age, where they came from geographically, level of experience in pk/fr, whatever helps to get a picture of who your regular visitors were)
As I think all gyms most of the people are kids approaching the discipline for the first time, from 8 to 14 years old.
How many events did you host / organise each year and what events were they? We know the famous Krapinvaders Jam, the KrapFreerunning competition, anything we missed?
Indoor main event is Krap Invaders Winter in Krapannone, that we did every January since 2011. We organize minor in-door events during winter mainly as guest in other structures. Main out-door event is Krap Invaders Summer + other minor events mostly in Italy as guests.
“Krap Challenge” Freerunning competition we organize only in case that we find proper sponsor, so it was done 2 times, 2013-2014
C – KRAP finances
On your website we found the statement that for financial reasons you have to move your gym to another, smaller location. A few questions that came to my mind were.
What were the overall monthly costs of maintaining the gym? [We provided various answer categories]
1.>4000 Euros per month,
How big was the space?
1100 square meters
Did you have fixed employees / a staff of members or coaches that you were paying?
3 fixed employees, 7 teachers paid by teaching hours.
How much did building the whole gym cost? (Equipment, restoration of the building?, creating the foam pit?)
The gym is 100% DIY, that’s were we saved a lot of money, I think that building the actual setup would be over 80.000€, that we managed maybe to spend half thanks for all friends working for free and self-planning and constructing everything
How did you finance the gym in general? Did you take any loans from banks? Did you have savings before? Did you receive funding? What about sponsorship deals or cooperation with other parkour organisations?
I believe that our project is unique first of all because our investemet was maybe the lowest ever, 5.000€ from our saving, that were used for paying the first months, then we used some scaffolding brought in our last event in the cit..
As we didn’t have significant funds to start with, we had to begin early the activity to earn some money for the second month! So after 10 days of forced-labour camp with little the help we cleaned up the structure, layed down the parquet in the small gym for kids and started parkour lessons, with in empty warehouse with one scaffold, a decathlon trampoline, and a few wooden vaults… no mats, no tumbling, no foampit!
We never had sponsors because in this small city they’re hard to found, we’ve collaborated with a lot of parkour organizations or athletes that came here and helped us with promotion and activities.
What were your main sources of income? (Classes, Events, Merchandise,…?)
Classes, Events and membership fees for the use of the Gym. Merchandizing sales a bit inside the gym, but krapstore.com is international oriented.
D – The KRAP image and events
How would you describe the KRAP image?
Since the beginning Krap mission was to spread the Parkour / Freerunning knowledge through events, courses in Krapannone and video activities in the web. Krap name and Logo has become synonymous of freestyle life. Sport garments and gadgets related with our name and logo has become the flag of a large community, I think our difference with the other teams/brands parkour related is that we embrace complete freedom, and we have space for every point of views or projects, Krap is a tool that everyone can use to build his dream!
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of your image? Do you think KRAP had an image problem?
Strengths is the one I cited above, and sometimes that’s also our weakness, as we embrace a lot of views and different activities sometimens we can appear disordered or we lose some focus in some…
Since the foundation KRAP made something in these fields:
- Classes in: Parkour, skate, bmx, breakdance, juggling
- Exibitions in the above disciplines
- Building parkour, skate, bmx structures
- Renting a warehouse and building a gym (Krapannone – 2010)
- Renting another warehouse and building a Skatepark (The Wall Skatekrap – 2014)
- Building an outdoor bikepark (Nanto’s Park 2016)
- Building structures and organizing contest and activities in big events (The Jambo 2013-2014 and more)
- Organizing our events and inviting people from all over the world, most of the time giving good athletes found on the web the chance to travel and be noticed in the parkour community
- Making HI quality parkour and events videos for Youtube and facebook (2009-now)
- Creating a clothing brand and made an online store: krapstore.com
- Sponsorship of famous or emerging athletswith our garments
- Enjoyed ourselves with all these activities
Do you think KRAP has influenced the world wide parkour/freerunning scene?
I think we’ve influenced a lot this world, more internationally than in Italy.
We have been among the first to produce great videos and invite international people in parkour events, expecially the Russians, our gym was also the first in Europe and I think our structures are also more elaborated comparing on what you find on regular events.
Events like KRAP Invaders and your competition are well known and some of the first of their kind. What is / was the motivation behind these events and how big of a role did they play in the financial maintenance of KRAP as a whole?
Gathering the international community, spread the name and logo Krap, spread the knowledge of our garments and gadget line www.krapstore.com is our main motivation, make a good job with this stuff and give people a good environment to train and have fun! Unfortunately Krap Invaders as self-financed event is not profitable (despite the high price), most of the times it’s an investment and a lot of people including us are working for free or very low money to organize and set-up the event.
Competition can be a better business when you do it in the name and with a good deal with a main sponsor.
E – Running a parkour / freerunning gym
The more people frequent a place like KRAP the more likely it seems injuries happen at some point. Did you have any serious injuries happening in the gym?
Injuries are part of the game in every form of sport activity. Our courses in krapannone teach to better understand the possibilities and the limits of our body, train mindfulness and movement creativity. I do not think that the rate of injuries in krapannone is an issue (we may count 4 or 5 minor accidents per year only one or two requiring hospitalization
What was your policy on handling the everyday dangers of providing a training space? Did you let people sign a waiver? Did you have a special insurance going? How did you manage people in classes vs. people who trained on their own? And especially: how did you manage underage kids and teenagers in that sense?
Everyone using the facility, either for the courses or free training, is requested to become member of a recognized sport association (KRAP) affiliated to a National Sport entity called UISP. Every athlete is covered by an insurance and for the events we ask the participants to sign a waiver both for adults and minors.
F – Closing questions
What are the the most important aspects of running a parkour-gym in your point of view? What are the main lessons learned?
- Dedication, entrepreneur mind, a community and a lot of volunteers.
- Lesson learned is common for every kind of social activity:
- Work hard, be creative, and be humble as somebody is always better somewhere! Learn from them and from your mistake.
Do you feel like KRAP failed or is it more an adaptation, maybe a welcome adaptation and a chance for new ways?
We have worked hard, sustained lot of pressure and economical adversities, but learned a lot and exposed ourselves to the International community. By enlarging the base of practitioners there will be more opportunities in the future and Krap aim is to remain a main reference for the international community.
Do you have any special projects planned in the near future?
We are working a lot to expand the quality and distribution of garments and gadgets on krapstore.com. And this summer we’re coming with 3 KRAP INVADERS events, that will be a great chance for everyone to join!, check out dates and places in www.krapinvaders.com
How will KRAP continue now?
Krap activities will continue and improve.We found now a new place for classes in 2016/17 Season, and we’re scouting new locations for Krapannone 2.0 which may be operative in 2017/18 Season
Thank you for your time and the interview in general. Good luck!
For an action packed tour through the current gym setup featuring the incredibly talented Krystian Kowalewski check out the latest video.
More Info on the gym and upcoming events at