My name is Stephane Vigroux, I started training parkour in 1998 in Lisses with David Belle as my first teacher.
Did your view on training and the discipline change from the time you did
the documentary (The Monkey’s Back) and if so, how and why?
Yes of course, the discipline evolved a lot since I discovered it in my early days. When I started, basically it was still something under construction. It was pretty raw and young, still looking at finding its direction. I feel very grateful to have discovered parkour before it got too much exposure in the media. It was then something very personal and honest in many ways. It was
not a job or a career, it was simply a quest for identity only few “crazy” souls would pursue. Everything grew so fast and wide all over the world since the movies, youtube etc…and it is good that more people got a chance to make their own experience of parkour but I still feel a part of the essence remains in the past and is somewhat forgotten.
When it comes to training, probably the hardest bit was the “15 days challenge” David gave to me when I was younger. I wrote about it on my blog and you can find more details about the story. My current challenge is not so much physical as that part is actually easier now with the experience I have. My current goals are more related to the art of happiness and well being. And in that area I am learning everyday and there is so much more to learn and share.
What is biggest difference training now when you are older (how old are you?), comparing to training in your young days?
I am 36 years old and still have two legs and two arms moving everyday 😉. Of course my training evolved during the past 20 years I have been practicing. A lot of the extreme things/jumps I had to do before had a lot do with discovering myself, prove myself and grow. I gained a lot of confidence through my early days. It was intense, extreme and mesmerizing. But it was serving a purpose and specific goals. My goals have evolved since then. I have less to prove to myself nowadays and I am more open to learning from new and different movement practises. Always moving and training most days but more with the idea of growing healthy for the long term in mind.
If you could affect people who are involved in the same discipline, what would you advised them?
When it comes to training the body I would recommend of course going gradually and preserving the body. Train smart to move long. It is not a race, you must be able to squat, jump, hang, crawl etc when you get older. I would also encourage to reflect on the “why” of their action. Why take risks? Why to train hard? What am I looking to gain? Those constant reflections will eventually give a better understanding behind the actions. The action without the growth of the mind is shallow. I would also advise to remain humble and keep an open mind. Always. The day you think you know too well it is the day you stop learning and growing. Lastly, I would encourage people to do things that lead to a better version of themselves. At the end of the day it is not the jump that matters but how they live their lives, happy with no regrets. And how other people benefit from your actions.
What do you think would you do if parkour / art du deplacement wasn’t
discovered, which job or sport?
Hahahaha I had this question few times in my life. And every time I start to think about it, I come back to that point: There is no need to think about it. I met parkour and parkour met me. It changed my life. I spent so many hours training it, teaching it. I can’t see it being otherwise…in this life anyway.
Big thanks to Stephane Vigroux for this interview.