The Debrief: PKGen Questions...Nick Hoffman
How long have you been a Traceur?
I started training in the summer of 2007 while living in The Gold Coast, Australia. I couldn't find any traceurs in The GC, so I travelled north for an hour to Brisbane, and met up with a small group. Because of the lack of other traceurs around, let alone experienced traceurs, my initial training was very experimental and uninformed, and I actually shudder a bit to think of how I trained.
What movements are you currently working on?
These days, my focus is on flow and balance. There's something so incredibly serene and enjoyable about spending an hour on a railing. As for flow, I'm bringing it down to the basics, and playing around with movements at different speeds. It's quite interesting to examine how body position, reach, and muscle control change depending on how fast or slow you're moving.
What percentage of your training is conditioning?
That's a tough question, actually. I tend to integrate body-weight conditioning into my training randomly. After warming up, most sessions start out with 5-30 minutes of conditioning, and end up having random pistol squats, muscle-ups, etc thrown in to the rest of the session between movements.
Favourite strength and conditioning exercise?
Without a doubt, quadrupedal movement. It never gets boring because there're so many variations that target so many different muscle groups. Forwards, backwards, up-hill, down-hill, with a push-up for every step, etc. And who doesn't love moving around on the ground like a gorilla?!
Who is your biggest influence?
David Attenborough's been a huge influence on me. His inquisitive nature and ability to deconstruct mysteries is inspiring. And his relentless quest to continually learn and test his boundaries is fantastic. Those same traits are fully applicable to pk, and many other aspects of one's life.
That'd have to be coconut, in nearly every form imaginable. My standard breakfast is 4 or 5 tablespoons of coconut oil mixed with a large bowl of high-fat coconut milk. Add berries, nuts, and coconut flakes, and you've literally got yourself a bowl of pure energy that's slow-releasing and won't spike your insulin levels. Oh, and is it tasty? Hell yes.
Three current favourite training music tracks?
Listening to music actually distracts me, so I don't have any favourite songs. Instead, I love the sound of nature when training.
Item in your bag you couldn't go training without?
I love me some water. Mmm, mmm good. Room temperature, though. None of this ice cold freeze-your-teeth-and-give-you-a-headache water. Hah
How do you approach breaking a jump?
Usually, I break down the jump into smaller, less intimidating jumps, and examine what's making me fearful.
Where do you see Parkour in ten years time?
In 10 years, I reckon parkour will be as mainstream as rock climbing or lacrosse. Everyone will know what it is when you mention it, but most won't have tried it. General acceptance will be much higher, but many people will probably still view it as an extreme, dangerous activity. I hope I'm wrong about the last point, though.
One piece of advice to Traceurs just starting out:
Take it easy, take it slow, and know your limits. Find someone who's experienced and good at teaching, and train with them occasionally. Just because you're new to pk doesn't mean that you should only train with others, so get out there and experiment on your own. That's how parkour developed in the first place.