007. Finn Berggren: Gerlev Idrætshøjskole, sportification, and the Olympics

Episode summary

img_finn_berggren_250

Finn Berggren shares his thoughts on Parkour, explaining why he brought Parkour to Gerlev Idrætshøjskole in Denmark to replace the traditional gymnastics curriculum. We also discuss the “sportification” of Parkour and the Olympics, and he shares his story of the pivotal moment which solidified his decision to bring Parkour to Gerlev.

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Is there a story you’d like to share?

Craig: So Finn, is there a story that you would like to share with us?

Finn: Well, I think I have many stories. Really I could continue for hours, but let me give you one which happened. In fact, I have been writing this story in the newspaper. I was trying to explain in the newspaper what is Parkour, and then [00:20:00] I gave them this special experience I had many years ago. At that time, I had just built the Gerlev Parkour Park, so it was about 2006. I went to the city, the nearby city here. It’s a small city compared to the states, but it’s a small city. Anyway, I was waiting outside the local cinema and I was waiting for my wife. Then while I was sitting in the car, I [00:20:30] looked out and then I saw three young boys. They were being 10, 11, 12 years old, and they were just in front of my car. There was three stones, half meter high. It was put there to avoid that cars parked.

Craig: Right, keep the cars out.

Finn: Yeah, yeah. So it was three stones, and then after the stone there was a sign, a [00:21:00] pole with a sign saying, “This is the street,” and this and this. Those three young kids, they were jumping from stone to stone and then grab the pole, the sign, and swing around. Even my wife, she came but I said, “You have to wait,” I sat for half an hour enjoying how those three kids, they didn’t need anything else, that those three stones and [00:21:30] a sign pole, and then they had fun and fun and fun.

That’s my story.

3 words

Craig: Of course, the final question. Three words to describe your practice.

Finn: Well, I have tried Parkour. Well, the first word and the most fundamental word for me about Parkour, and maybe about sport in general, it is located in the word “fundamental”. It is F-U-N. Fun. If you don’t have fun, then you don’t enjoy what you … obviously, then you don’t enjoy what you are doing. You need to have fun to continue enjoying being physical active. So when we are all over the world trying to get people to be more physical active, fighting the sickness of inactivity, then we need to understand that fun is the best weapon against that. And here, once again about politicians, they are nervous about the word fun. It don’t give them voters, but it is the most used and the most strongest weapon. So fun is absolutely number one.

Second is the challenge, and in some ways is related to fun. You have to challenge yourself. You have to challenge your way of thinking. You have to challenge your … “They are doing this. How can I … When do I know that this is the limits of what I dare to do and all I want to do,” and that’s the perfect situation, that you challenge yourself but aware, “When do I have to stop?”

Then the last one is, for me, reflection. You have fun, you challenge, but you also have to understand that what you are doing is part of a bigger picture. It can be something which is very, very, very needful and helpful related to avoid diseases or to create health promotion. It can be a social part, so you have to think about or reflect about, “What is my sport, my activity, doing in this field in our society?” So fun, challenge and reflection.

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