019. Sandro Widmer: ParkourONE, studying coaches, and open minds

Podcast episode

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Sandro Widmer discusses ParkourONE’s TRUST concept, his current research and movement journey. Along the way he describes his time in America, and the struggles of studying parkour coaches. Sandro also reminds us to walk through this world with an open mind, as we can never fully understand each other’s experiences.

Is there a story you’d like to share?

Craig: I say all the time that one of my favorite parts of the podcast [00:22:00] is asking people to share their stories because when you hear someone tell a story, you learn not just the story, but you also get insight into the person telling the story. So is there a story that you would like to share?

Sandro: Yeah, sure. It’s basically the story of my first class of ParkourONE. We did with Felix and the other guy, Silvio. So Felix was, he was one of the first traceurs in Switzerland, or one of the main ones. And I was [00:22:30] really looking forward to it, to the class. And Silvio was also already an experienced traceur with ParkourONE stuff at that time. And I was a traceur as well at that time, for like two or three years. But I was never, or I wasn’t so much into classes, I was often being training by myself and training with other people.

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Craig: But you hadn’t been exposed to like a systematic classroom [00:23:00] setting, right?

Sandro: Exactly, exactly. So there were basically the two of us, and Felix was teaching. And everything was really okay, it was really good, and then we came to the conditioning part, and we did an exercise where somebody holds one leg of the person in front. And the person in front has to jump with the other leg, and the other person in behind resists. [00:23:30] So we were basically, Silvio and I were jumping, and Felix was standing beneath it and watching that everything we did, we did well. So yeah, and we did some other exercise, I don’t remember. But after this class, I was so tired, I was so … I was just finished. I think I never got to this feeling again anymore [00:24:00] than I was after this class. Because I was like, I was going home and there was like shaking of exhausting. Exhaustion. It was so crazy. And after that, I always knew I have to stick to the class because that’s what I want to do, that’s what I want to be able to do without getting this exhaustion afterwards.

Craig: Right saw something there that really drew you.

Sandro: Actually, yes. [00:24:30]

3 Words

Craig: And of course, the final question is three words to describe your practice.

Sandro: So that three words in Swiss-German would be Kraft, Nachhaltigkeit, Autonomie. So that will be strength, be strong, [00:27:30] sustainability, and autonomy. So there’s basically a story behind it. If you don’t mind sharing-

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Craig: I mean yeah, it has to be shorter than 23 hours. Let’s do that.

Sandro: So basically the “be strong” was really the thing I had in the beginning when I started parkour because I was always like the thin guy. [00:28:00] Really not able to do anything except running.

Craig: I don’t believe that, but okay.

Sandro: Yeah, it was. It was. And so that was quite a big topic when I saw parkour guys doing that stuff first in YouTube videos. When I watched all the YouTube videos, I saw basically very strong guys being [00:28:30] able to do things I was sure I was not able to do at any time. So I got started into it. And as I got started, and as I got further with doing parkour and doing all the stuff, strength went always a little bit more into the background.

Craig: Okay.

Sandro: For me still, it’s strength or to be strong is still a thing, [00:29:00] but not only physically, but also mentally. But it’s more strength or to be strong to be useful, to help other peoples, and not only with the background of physically helping people, but mentally be aware of other peoples. And that they have different backgrounds and that you might help them with being open, with an open mindset and being tolerant. So that’s basically the story about being strong. [00:29:30]

Sandro: And the second one, sustainability, is something I really admire people who are getting older who still deal with being able to move a lot. Maybe to say two persons I admire for that, it’s Ramon Siegenthaler, from Switzerland from ParkourONE. [00:30:00] And also Chau Belle, we had a workshop with him once. And especially or of course, also Sebastien Foucan, and the other founders. But I didn’t meet the other founders, so I cannot tell about them. But yeah, it was the ones I experience, and it’s really admiring how they still move in such good ways. And I think that’s something I want to keep for myself as well, [00:30:30] that I can be able as well in 50 years, maybe not to do so big moves, but to move as a person and to give that on to other people. And I don’t want to end up staying in the house and don’t move anymore at all. I think that’s quite a basic fear I have, being old and not being able to move anymore. [00:31:00] And so I don’t want to have that.

Sandro: And the last one, autonomy, is basically it came as the last part, or it came quite lately. And it’s something I want to share with my students especially. To be autonomous in their own practice. And also to think autonomous and critically, [00:31:30] not only of the practice, or of parkour or what we’re doing at class. But also doing or thinking critical and autonomous in life, when they’re acting-

Craig: -translating it.

Sandro: Yeah, when they’re acting in their life. That’s basically very important for me that my students don’t just look up to me, “Oh, that’s the teacher [00:32:00] saying these very important things.” But that they think of, “Oh, what is he saying?”

Craig: Right.

Sandro: “And does that work for me as well? And can I apply to this?” And I also always, or I try to remember them often that I think critically also about my lessons. And that I think about their feedback when they [00:32:30] are in my lessons. So that’s basically the one thing I want to give on to other people. Or to share with other people, that they start to think critically, and don’t just believe in things that are ….

Craig: Handed to them blindly, right?

Sandro: Exactly.

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