Why do you do parkour? Why do you train the way you do? What do you hope to achieve? These are all very important questions that I think about not just relating to myself as a traceur but also to those I teach as a coach. In a documentary Stephane once did he spoke a little about this:

“You have to ask yourself what do you want with parkour? It’s a leisure or you want to be a real and professional athlete in it, and its totally different you really have to make the difference, to see the difference between them. It’s a leisure ok stay ground and have fun, you can have fun no problem like every sport some people practice football or tennis for just fun but if not if you really want to be professional, a real athlete like performance and everything you have to consider all the investment you have to do, and to give up yourself to reach this goal. It’s really not nothing because parkour is a very, very hard sport and physical sport so you have to think what do you want for you?”

Sometimes I feel I can see this in people, I can see those who are just there to enjoy themselves which is fine but then sometimes I can see those who want more. The signs aren’t as obvious as you may think and it has nothing to do with ability or skill level. The people that have that fire are those that are constantly pushing themselves past what is required and I’m not talking about during the easy stuff or the fun stuff but the opposite, the times when its hardest, the times when its boring, the times when every urge they have is telling them to stop and rest or just simply give up. It’s these people that have my respect and in which I see such potential to be good.

The best combination would undoubtedly be someone with natural talent who also had that drive and desire to work hard and improve but sadly this is a rare occurrence. More often than not and something which I have witnessed countless times is that people with natural talent never really push themselves to their limits instead being content with simply being level with or better than the rest of their group. And it's sad, it’s sad that they put a cap on themselves like that, that they define their own progress not on what they themselves are capable of but based on the progress of others. Sometimes I will look to push these people more, not because they did something wrong but because they have the potential to do more. But as they say “the nail that sticks up is the one that gets hammered down” and its here where I can see the difference also. Those who want to improve and learn everything they can accept advice, criticism or critique as they understand that in the long run it’s only in their best interests but then there are those who don’t take this kind of stuff well preferring instead only to hear when they are being praised or excelling in something. I see no point in this, why repeat something 10, 30, 50 times if every time you are doing it wrong or could be doing it better? All you do is reinforce your bad habits or techniques never really improving.

The devil is in the details and at the end of the day that is where the difference in people's goals is clear. It doesn't take too much skill to imitate something or copy a route/movement but to do it well, really well that is something else. It may involve changing a foot placement here or jumping off a different leg there but it adds up. However like i said for some people it's irrelevant and of little consequence to them they just want to be able to do it roughly, to appear to do it well for the most part. So again it comes down to they question, are you doing in for the moment? For now? To show off? Or are you doing it to improve?

But to each their own, live your life but just think about it and be honest with yourself “what do you want for you?”