So it was a Sunday morning and I headed out to the Imax spot in London, to meet the infamous Arthur Franks. If you do not know him then you should totally continue reading and go and follow him.
At only 16-years old he has already pulled off some gnarly stuff since he started parkour about four years ago. Regardless of this, he remains humble, full of laughter and happiness and an all-around good human.
The Starting Point:
For Arthur, it was the parkour videos that first caught his eye. There were three videos that he mentioned these were:
- An amazing stunts video which he described as “this 10 minutes long parkour compilation of really bad parkour. So that was the first thing I saw.”
- Callum Powell’s 2012 video, which he said: “just amazed me.”
- The final video that he not only enjoyed but made him think that: “I just got to try it” was Long Hair, Big Chief featuring Phil Doyle and Kie Willis.
After watching these he went and found parkour lessons. He said that he “went to Chainstore and had a lesson with Kevin (Francome) from Parkour Generations and started from there.”
A little help with aerial awareness:
At 10 years old, Arthur did gymnastics for just under a year but he said:
“I didn’t really enjoy it because of all the rules. So I quit that and now I do parkour. I think gymnastics helps a bit with aerial awareness but in general, I think I built my parkour from the ground up. It has helped a bit but not a crazy amount.”
A Storror Influence:
Arthur’s biggest parkour influence is Callum Powell. This is because:
“His mentality about parkour is really good. He’s always just aware of what he does. He’s always just clear when he does anything scary. In my opinion, he’s just the person to just look up to because he’s just a good human.”
Watching Arthur train, I could see that he is continuously aware of other people and avoids blocking pedestrians regardless of how big or gnarly the jump or line (sequence of movements) is. Whether or not this is Callum’s influence, it is certainly an admirable trait.
Hitting those Milestones:
Along the way, Arthur has met a number of his own parkour milestones. His biggest one was the kong-pre at the Imax spot, which he did earlier this year, which he described as: “probably the biggest and scariest thing I’ve done.”
Another milestone which he has been conquering is: “trying to train every day, and trying to progress every day.”
But for him, it’s every time he does something new and he said that when he does that: “… it’s always like a big milestone for me.”
Finding time to train:
Arthur said that during Summer time he “tried to train every-day I could. I think I rested twice round the whole of summer.”
However, as a college student, Arthur has a much busier schedule during term-time. Arthur told me that, “College, it is kind of taking up a lot of time, so I can’t train every-day unfortunately but I’m managing to find the time and it is working. It’s going well but it is hard to find time to train every-day but I am trying.”
Injuries and getting through them:
The most challenging thing in parkour for Arthur is “injuries.” He said that it is “probably the worst thing to ever happen during parkour.”
His worst injury was in fluidity when he was swinging on a bar and his hand slipped off, which caused him to land on his head, resulting in a concussion.
When he does get injured, he still trains but makes sure to only do things that do not provoke his injury Alternatively, he’ll find a way around it by training smaller technical movement.
The only time he will stop and take a long rest was after the incident at fluidity where he sprained his neck and hurt his ribs because he was unable to turn his neck or do much else. This meant he had to rest for about eight weeks or so.
A quote from Arthur:
“Injuries are not fun, so take care of yourself. Enjoy not being injured. Don’t take it for granted because it’s annoying.”
“The parkour community, I think is the best community in any sport ever.”
- It’s supportive- “there’s always someone who’s going to be there to help you with whatever you’re doing. “
- People are understanding– “No matter what your level is everyone has been at that level at some point in their training. It’s like everyone understands if someone’s struggling.”
- Non-judgemental– “If I’m trying something that someone else finds really easy they’re not just going to be like oh you’re so bad. You can’t do this I can do it. No, it’s not like that. Everyone’s been there. It’s not like you just start at a certain level. So everyone’s really supportive with any challenges you’re trying to do, any struggles, and any injuries you have.”
Progression with Friends
Arthur regularly trains with his friends and teammates from Team PHAT. Some of the things they do are:
- Doing challenges together
- Suggesting things to do
“Training with all the people I’m already training with. That is what helps you progress. I’ll train with anyone but I’m not just going to push myself off on random people. When you’re training with everyone you know it helps you push a lot but in a good way.”
The next event that Arthur is hoping to attend is 4 the Love of Movement Winter. He told me that he would really like to attend. “It’s looking promising. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to go to that.”
So if you are going to 4 the Love of Moment Winter 2018, maybe you’ll catch Arthur Franks there.
If you want to check out Arthur Franks and keep updated with what he’s doing follow him on:
Feature Image was taken by Claudiu Voico
©World of Parkour 2018