Frequently Asked Questions.

 

All of the following questions are ones I’ve been asked in emails, private messages, Facebook or/and in person. So these are some of the questions and answers for you as the viewer, may have been thinking yourself.

 

Who are you?

My name is Luke ‘Zade’ Callinan, I was born in April 1986 and I’ve been practising Parkour since 2004.

 

What is this blog all about?

This blog is a way for me to record and share my experiences within Parkour. It started off as a way for me to log my progress. Store photography. As well as to document past experiences and to keep friends up to date with what I was doing.  Gradually, over the years it has grown to include articles and personal thoughts that I hope may help others with their own training.

 

How & why is your nickname Zade!?

I get asked this a lot when people first meet me. Some even think Zade is my real name because so many call it me, rather than my real name Luke. I prefer and am that used to being called Zade now, the only people who still call me Luke, are my family and people who knew me before Parkour.

It started many years ago when I was in Junior school and Lucozade had started to be widely advertised on the TV and sponsoring various events. Kids being kids, thought it was funny to tell me how that drink had my name in it and that it should be my drink.  I always used to drink LOTS of Lucozade too, even before the jokes. The joke did get ‘old’ but was always there for people to call me ‘Luke-o-zade / Luka-zade’.

Over time, it was still too long for people to say with one syllable. So people kept shortening it to various other variants, such as ‘O-Zade, Lucus, Luka, and Lucose until eventually it just became Zade and it stuck from there. When I was older, I started to promote it more as a nickname on various on-line forums and net names on game sites, as well as use it more in real life.

 

What is Parkour and why do you do it?

Parkour is a method of training your mind and body to quickly find ways of overcoming physical obstacles, in a safe and efficient way. The skills learned through the discipline can then be put to use in a range of circumstances, from aiding you with simple daily tasks, to the more extreme possibilities of needing to escape from danger, or reach and rescue someone in need of help.

It is a pursuit to become stronger in every sense of the word – to challenge the mind and body in a variety of ways. We are each given an amazing tool, that is the human body and can choose to do with it whatever we wish, but I feel an overwhelming obligation to use mine to better the lives of the people I care about and who share the same passion for movement. I feel this can best achieved this by practising and teaching Parkour.

What started as a mild past time, soon turned into a way of life, I never thought it would get to this stage from the on-set. I wanted to move in a new exciting way like I had seen in videos, and face daily challenges mentally and physically. Since then, I live and breathe training, conditioning and general fitness.

 

How long until I’m good at Parkour?

First of all, this question is one which annoys me! New people ask me this question when they first start training or after a few weeks(months). If you are asking someone how long it takes to be good at something, then it indicates that you really don’t want to learn! You are thinking of the process, time and effort and if it is too long for you personally, then you will not be bothered to put the hours in to get better.

People always want to be skilled at something instantly and forget no one is born or given the skill to be good at something instantly. They only get to that stage through many hours of practising their craft. Through, tiredness, passion, pain, all weather and determination!

There are different meanings to the statement as being ‘good’ could differ from person to person for example… Do you want to just master the basics? Master doing things at height and long distances? Knowledge and understanding of all movements fully and how the body works? Understanding the philosophical side of Parkour? These are just a few examples of some of the questions that could be asked.

Too many people who start compare themselves to others who have more experience and training and so get disheartened and then quit. Which is not the right attitude to take. You should be overwhelmed but also take on board everything and then think ‘Right, some day I will be that good! Now where to start to build up to get to that stage?’

If you are wanting to learn something, you will not ask how long it takes at all, you will be passionate and keep trying and progress regardless of how long it will take you. You will not be worried what others can or cannot do and will not compare your own abilities to theirs!

 

What did you do before Parkour?

I have always enjoyed being active and have played many sports on and off throughout my life such as; basketball, tennis, skateboarding, darts, pool, cycling, badminton and athletics all of which, never really fully satisfied me and I always felt there could be something better out there for me. Once I had found Parkour, everything else diminished and I dedicated more time to my Parkour training.

 

How did you discover Parkour and when did you begin training?

My first experience of Parkour was seeing the BBC advert known as Rush Hour, featuring David Belle. It immediately sparked my interest but at the time I had limited internet access and couldn’t find any further information. Nor what the athlete was doing and so I forgot about it completely. I later saw a trailer for a documentary called Jump London and realised that this was the same thing I had seen before.

I watched the documentary and knew that this is what I had been searching for throughout my years doing sports. I believed that this might be something I could do after all, so I began my training the next day! I researched online for as much information about this new discipline as I could to aid my training.

There was next to none at the start of my research, yet over time, more and more things became available and I was able to understand it more and find more people who also undertook the discipline.

 

What do your parents/ relatives they think about your pk training?

At first they thought it was silly and dangerous and did not understand it too much, even though they had seen the documentary. They thought it would be a passing fad like everything else and not what it has come to be today to me. Over time they were less worried and respected what I was doing and could see how it was changing me.  If not taking over my life! They fully support what I do so long as I am happy.

 

What do you think of the work of Urban Freeflow?

There’s no bad blood on the whole. I’ve been around long enough to see members come and go, and see all the debates about UF. Although, I find their business methods, approach, morals and teaching standards to be questionable at times, they have brought a lot of worldwide attention to Parkour and the other practices so there are two sides to the coin. Good luck to them. If nothing else, they’ve built a highly successful business from the ground up that seems to be doing well, I just wouldn’t recommend them to anyone.

 

What are your personal training goals?

My long term physical goal is simply to continue on the same path of increasing my own strength and to improve my technical skills. But for me, the mental aspect is something that I find more interesting than the physical. Will is everything and with the right mindset I feel I can achieve anything, even things that at first might seem impossible. I feel there is no point in having a strong body if I haven’t trained my mind to use it to its potential. If I’m too scared to act in a dangerous situation then all of my physical training will be useless, so I try to continually challenge my mind and do things that scare me.

 

How do you approach physical training and conditioning?

My goal with physical training is to increase my strength, speed, power, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance and flexibility. I try to be intelligent in my approach. I choose exercises that will have a direct positive impact on my ability to move and supplementary exercises to maintain muscular balance, prevent injury and protect my body.

Regular training of your entire body will help to strengthen and protect all the muscles, joints and bones from the impacts and stresses found in Parkour. My physical preparation and maintenance, amounts to over half of my total time spent training. I also like to stretch and do flexibility exercises every night for thirty minutes. I also spend at least one to two hours daily conditioning, doing weight training, skipping, and body weighted exercises to help maintain a healthy body.

 

Is weight training suitable for Parkour?

Your body does not know what a dumbbell is. It simply responds to stresses on the muscles by rebuilding them to be stronger, to prevent them from as much damage during similar exercises in the future. So lifting weights is a good way to build muscle and increase strength and endurance.
I find the problem with weightlifting is that it can be difficult to directly judge how much the gains in strength and endurance are going to affect your movements. Such as the strength may be there but how functional is it in comparison to Parkour?

With bodyweight exercises (which can be modified as you progress to become increasingly difficult), you are always working with your body and can feel your progression in a more natural manner, there is more regular feedback.
Doing squats with a heavy weight will improve my leg strength, but I wouldn’t know how much further I could jump with this increase in strength. Where as if I’m training, my legs with jump repetition I can see and feel the results directly, as I increase the distance I can jump.

A lot of athletes use weights successfully, I to prefer to train in the way that I do incorporating both bodyweight, weights and repetition training and have had great results from this so far. If anyone else wanted to get a boost with Parkour strength, I would suggest doing some weighted workouts.

 

Can you describe a typical week of training for you?

Not easily! I do a 15 week cycle to do with weight training. I will be working 4 days a week for one hour on specific muscle groups; Bicep/triceps, chest and forearms, back, shoulders and neck, and legs and abdominals.  I try to improvise and find new ways to challenge myself, such as I am always changing the exercises I do with weights and making different circuits for my legs and abs every 4 weeks.

I try to do skipping  for 20-30 minutes (changing speeds and type of skips throughout) every other day. The same goes for my abdominals as they heal faster than the rest of the muscle groups.

I train Parkour Saturday and Sunday all day and don’t do any sort of  weighted training after. I usually finish these sessions with a bit of additional conditioning with so many repetitions of body parts I feel have not been well worked. I tend to try and take one day off from training per week to rest and relax, although, this doesn’t always happen, in which case, just doing abs and skipping is enough to be classed as a rest day for me, as it does not tire me as much as other types of training.

Some weeks I add a bit of  gymnastics to the mix for an hour, doing various moves repetitively, although, this is done sparingly, as it is not my main focus.

My training methods are constantly changing and evolving and I experiment a lot to see what works best for me. I read to learn more about the body and retain the things that I find useful, whilst discarding the rest and keep looking. Over time I’ve built up a method of training that suits me but this is an ongoing and organic process that must constantly be updated to ensure I continue to progress.

 

What equipment do you make use of?

It is a common misunderstanding that you need special or expensive footwear to practice Parkour but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The ones I use are nothing special. Being Kalenji Sucess, Kelenji Ekiden 50 costing £10 (seems to be what all people that practice Parkour/Freerunning wear nowadays). In the past, I have worn and used Nike Darts (around £30 or £15 when a sale is on). I also use a few additional pieces of equipment that I find help me with physical development. The two most valuable being a 10kg weighted vest, dumbbells with various weighted plates, some press up bars, skipping rope and finally a pull up bar.

 

How do you stay motivated to train through difficult times?

When I’m tired or when it’s wet and cold outside, or if I have other things on my mind, training can sometimes seem less appealing. If I do not feel like going outside when it is a horrid day, I could be in the mood when I got out there, I will instead do home workouts so I have not had a total wasted day. If you constantly ask yourself why you are training and answer them honestly, you can prioritise it appropriately and dedicate the necessary amount of time to it. Sometimes when tired, you are limited in what you can do, in that case you have to work on the smaller things and just linking them together, doing various repetitions. Any small victory will make you feel great and the day worth while after all.

 

How has Parkour affected other areas of your life?

Parkour has had a huge influence in shaping who I am and my life today. It has made me a healthier, more confident person and introduced me to many great people, some of whom have since become my closest friends. The travelling, the camaraderie and the feeling of being part of something positive is rewarding and it’s a really exciting thing to be a part of.

There is another side to the story though. Parkour demands a lot of you and you quickly begin to realise just what you would need to sacrifice to reach a good level. It begins to affect everything in your life from your diet, to how much free time you have, your relationships with your family, friends and partner and like anything worthwhile, it takes a huge amount of time, hard work and dedication to excel in.

This can be hard for some people to grasp when you often have a very limited social life as everything in it revolves around your own training. I try and spend at least some times away from training to do ‘normal’ things and spend time with the ones I love.

I carry the leather calloused hands of a man twice my age and live with almost constant muscular pain from some part of my body healing from a training session. I spend a lot of time explaining where and how I have that bruise, this scar, the various cuts or some hole in my leg. When I think about everything I’ve given so far and look ahead at what I’m going to need to do to get to where I want to be, it’s not a very long road, but one that is worthwhile, rewarding and a LOT of fun at times. The good points outweigh the bad tremendously!

 

Does Parkour help you to deal with problems in other areas of your life?

Yes, when you think about some of the obstacles you’ve overcome and the process you used to do that, you begin to treat other problems in the same way. They are no longer met with panic or dread – you just begin to look for logical ways to overcome them. You think of how you managed to bring yourself to jump so far from a wobbling rail to a far wall and realise that this problem in comparison is not so bad at all. If you stop and think about it, break it down and analyse it rationally, you can come up with a solution to this to move past it in a similar way.

 

Does your training change in the winter?

Yes. Not so much my methods but there are additional things that become important in the winter. I spend more time warming up, double-check any surfaces I’m working with for moisture, moss or ice and since it’s darker I know my depth perception will be altered and I need to compensate for that. I have to wear more layers of clothing to keep additionally warm. More of my time is spent doing conditioning and repetition then doing bigger movements like in summer.

I also tend to do more gymnastic training in winter as outside is always very dull and wet and so being indoors conditioning and keeping up with tricking is an extra motivational thing to be doing when the weather is totally inapt.

There is always a way to train and in the winter, even the smallest, simplest things are suddenly great challenges for you to face. Use it to your advantage, realise that if you can do this jump now when it is so difficult, you will learn more than if you wait until it’s easy.

Sometimes I think that I would prefer to live somewhere where the weather is hot and dry for most of the year but the truth is I don’t. Parkour is a discipline that revolves around facing obstacles and finding ways to overcome them and I can think of no greater obstacle than a harsh cold winter!

 

Who or what inspires you?

Music can be inspiring, I used to use it a lot when I first started to block out the background noise and to really focus, getting it to pump me up before doing bigger movements. I don’t use it at all now days and just use my own mind to have the same effect, that and I’m far more relaxed to my approach to doing things than back then.

In Parkour, I’m inspired by other practitioners, particularly the original French traceurs who I thank for their hard work and dedication throughout the years. Without their efforts, I wouldn’t be doing what I do today.

Less experienced practitioners often inspire me too. Anyone who shows a lot of passion for what they do and works hard to achieve their goals has my immediate admiration and respect. They often also see things in a new way, which gives me ideas for training.

 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to improve their Parkour?

Regardless of what level you are at, the main pieces of advice I would give to anyone wanting to improve their Parkour is:

  •     Avoid injuries.
  •     Find something difficult but within reach and repeat it until it is easy.
  •     Always remain positive.

They sound simple but can be expanded upon;

To avoid injuries, you need to be careful and focused at all times, know your limits, condition your body to protect yourself and listen to your body when it needs to stop and rest. Obviously never do things for show or be pressured into doing something just because someone else you know can do it as it might not be in your range.

Finding something difficult and repeating it until it’s easy applies to almost everything. Whether it’s a new jump that is on your limit or a certain number of climb up repetitions, confront what you find difficult and work on it until you find it easy. Then find something new! This ensures you’re always pushing yourself to improve at everything and should help you to avoid plateaus. Once anything becomes easy then it’s time to find a new challenge to stop your training becoming stale and boring. There are no short cuts I’m afraid, just keep training hard and try to improve a little each time you go outside and the rest will take care of itself.

If you do not remain positive you will never continue your training and only get disheartened. Everything happens for a reason so if you can not do something now, build up to it until you feel, see and know you can do it.

Another good point to remember if you are feeling down about a certain thing, is to think how far you have come on your journey, all the things you have achieved and thought were impossible to which you now can do with ease. How much further you will progression the future and what other things might open up to you.

 

Why do you make videos?

I enjoy making videos and sharing ideas with people. It was a video that inspired me to begin training, so I value the power of that and if someone else sees a video of mine, likes it then wants to find out more or tell their friends about it. Some may watch a video of mine and feel inspired which is great.  Either way I hope it helps the growth of Parkour and if other people make videos, then we can all share ideas, training locations and methods.

 

What video camera do you use?

I currently use my Canon EOS 600D camera (May 2012 onwards). Anything past then I used an old JVC GR-D370 camera which discontinued many years ago.  It takes DV tapes which I feel are better to record on as you get to keep the footage, unlike modern day HD cameras which you have to take the footage off then store on a PC. With a DV tape you have the footage forever to view at will.

 

Why do you not have loads of videos on your YouTube channel?

I feel that videos are not important to me at the present time. I have different goals and directions as does everyone and will take my own path. I am not saying I am closed on the idea of making videos, just that I prefer being out there training rather then worrying about getting everything filmed for a video. In a lot of cases after making a video it ends up getting negative comments from people who have nothing else better to do then post random things.

 

What photography camera do you use?

I currently use a Canon EOS 600D (May 2012 onwards). Anything past then I used to use a fujifilm finepix S7000 digital camera. I brought this not long after starting Parkour as a beginner camera and so as you can imagine I have really grown out of the camera.

 

Why are you interested in photography?

This is a great question! I think what started it was as well as training and wanting to document things video wise, I also wanted to be able to take pictures which I could keep long term and had always wanted one. Once I got one, I couldn’t stop taking photos I would snap away all the time at all and everything.

Over the years my snap happy days have calmed down and I am much more precise in what I take photos of and how many.

 

Why do you not practice flips or acrobatics?

I’d rather spend my time training other things. These things look good and are fun but I’m not doing this to impress people. I have a goal of learning how to move as safely, efficiently and as quickly as possible over obstacles and to me, acrobatics just add unnecessary dangers to that.

I have every respect for people who train really hard and practice acrobatics but to me, it’s a completely different activity. In the same way that an animal wouldn’t consider adding any unnecessary flair or danger to getting its prey, I try to find challenging jumps, obstacles and routes that force me to face my fears and push my limits using just the most basic of techniques. Sure, in the past I have followed suit and learnt some acrobatics. I was more into them when I had first learnt because it was something new, but over time they had become tiresome and boring to me. For this reason, I don’t really practice them now as much, if ever.

 

What is your opinion on the differences between Parkour, Freerunning, L’art du deplacement and the politics that are so often argued over?

I try not to get involved with or think about these things too often. They all stemmed from the same place, the same people and essentially they are all very similar, with slightly different ideas behind them depending on who you ask.

I know what it is that I want to do and have my own goals and ways of getting there, so whether someone else calls that Parkour, Movement, Freerunning or L’art du de placement is not important to me. I personally train in a way that I believe is very close to what Parkour was intended to be when it was developed, and yes, I call it Parkour, but the name is not important to me, only that I continue towards my goals.

The real issue I have problems with is when people do reckless things that can then influence other people to think that is what it is we all do. We do not do stunts, daredevil jumps or jackass pranks and that is not Parkour.

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