When we got to the venue for Day One of the event, a small selection of people had already arrived and gathered in a group.
Then the little group from London gathered, and it was not long before Richard Thompson was challenged to ‘the odds game (A game whereby you say a number based on how likely you would be to do something),’ by Haroon Hanafi to jump to a rail just over the water. To put it into perspective the rail was wet as it had been raining during the night. So there was maybe a chance he would slip and fall in. This anticipation made people gather around to see if Richard would lose the odds.
So the odds were 1 to 5.
3,2,1…… “4!” They said in unison.
As Richard lost the odds it meant he had to do the jump. He did a bit of preparing and a few people got out their phones in hopes of possibly recording something exciting or funny. Richard made the jump with ease and the Parkour Park began filling with people of all shapes, sizes and ages. There was a lively vibe as the various participants and coaches climbed, jumped, balanced, tried on their new purple t-shirts and talked amongst themselves.
After a while we were summoned for the Warm-Up lead by Sam. It was in Dutch so we had to find a translator for parts of it but for most of it we just copied what everyone else was doing. The 2 most memorable parts of the warm-up were:
- Pairing up and going into a press up position and walking your hands onto and off the other persons shoulders (who was also in press-up position)- We did this until he said to stop.
- Getting into groups and carrying one person from one end of the beach to the other and switching the person being carried each time. This was a little difficult but also fun.
We then split into four groups based on level and I headed into the 3rd group which was intermediate.
Feel the Flow
Run by Pim de Vos our first coached session was a mix of creativity and flow. We had to first go from A to B in whatever way we wanted, we did this three times, each time trying to do something different. It was interesting to see the various ways in which people moved and the different techniques they used to get to the end.
For the second part, we got into groups of about three and worked on flowing and moving for 10 seconds per person. We did this for around five minutes then we would change area. What I liked about this section was that I gained an insight of the techniques and what flowed nicely together as I watched and then tried to see what worked and did not work for me.
The last part of this session involved us forming a huge circle around the walled section of the park and we had to flow through it and tag another person. After a while an extra person was added and then you had to be aware of the other person, then a 3rd was added. It was a lot of fun. Having to adapt and be vigilant of where others were at all times so that you did not bump into them whilst trying to flow smoothly through. At times this was a challenging as well as entertaining task to perform and observe.
Within the Parkour Park, there are a number of tyres placed at odd angles. First off Sam Wezer got us to test our surfaces, checking and precisioning to the tyres.
Then we did the following:
- 180 standing jumps to and off the tyres x 3
- Once you got the 180 then you could do the 360 jump onto the tyre x3
- Jump into the centre of a tyre x 3
- Bit of exploration: Find our own running jumps, precisions and other things.
What I noticed with the exploration section is that people would pair up and challenge one another to do various different things or they would look at something and if they liked it also try it out.
Climbing up and under
For this section, there were a number of outdoor gym apparatus that we had to try to go under without touching the ground and back over.
I found this quite a challenging exercise personally, and attempted to mimic other people’s technique but for me this did not always work. It was interesting to see what did and did not work and try to figure out what was the best way to get around the obstacle.
Other people in my group set challenges for one another to make it even more challenging.
Balance, Flow and a game of Chase Tag
This session was three different parts.
The first was led by Rogier Helvensteijn and it involved balancing on a rail, moving across whilst being aware of those around you and if you chose to do a pre to another rail, then to make sure you did not hit anyone. After moving around and getting comfortable on the rail, we had to find a bar to do a standing pre to, which we did about 20 times or so.
The second part was to do with flow. Jimin Van Der Heijde the coach for this section showed us a route which involved going under and over in a very fluid movement. I did not manage to do it anywhere near as smooth as Jimin but after a few goes it got smoother.
After we were all relatively comfortable with this, we did it with our eyes closed a few times which was hard the first time but easier the second time.
Last but not least was a game of Chase Tag, everyone got a go and it was a load of fun to do as well as watch.
Free For All and Lunch
After the sessions it was lunch and free training time, or chill out time. We went to the Wet ‘n Wild café which was pretty much next to the Parkour Park, got a sandwich which was provided by Parkour Disciplines. Then I ordered a hot chocolate from the café/ restaurant and some others ordered themselves hot food.
Our first session after lunch was Zombies, the groups seemed to have changed slightly but I am not entirely sure how exactly. I think the memo was to have groups of roughly the same size regardless of level or age.
Zombies was a game in which there were a number of Zombies hidden throughout the wooden area, our goal was to save this one person without getting caught and within a certain time limit. If we got caught we had to sit in the chair position until it was over. I got a bit baffled and was not too sure if I actually got out or not in this round.
Reggy Laatsch who was in charge of the session then told us in the next round we could be turned into Zombies and we had to work as a team to get the person to the safety zone and we had to try and get as many of us to the end as possible. This was pretty difficult, we managed to get the guy but we ended up running out of time.
Last but not least, we had to try to get to the end without getting caught and if caught we’d be a Zombie but we no longer had to save anyone. I managed to evade the Zombies and reach the end. This round was interesting as you heard people shout Zombie and everyone would dart away.
All in all this was a really enjoyable session if you really got involved in it.
During this session Glenn Kaas and Stephane Boeltjes went through a number of various sections on walls and gym apparatus involving traversing, dynos, and swinging, each one harder than the last.
It began relatively easy but as it went on the more attempts it took to complete. Both coaches went around helping and giving advice on technique.
Get that LACHE tech!
As we had quite a large group, Jordy Sie split us by age, I guess it was 16+ in one group and 16- in another. Our group was led by Jimin and Richard. First we worked on just getting the lache. Which is pretty much what I worked on for the entire session. Then we moved on to releasing and catching a bar to the side and finally releasing and catching a bar opposite.
There was definitely a fair bit of visual and mental progress in this station.
To be honest I was slightly nervous when I first went to this station because I am used to doing flips into a soft foam pit where there is hardly any chance of getting hurt although to be fair this was with a spot in some sand so it ended up feeling just as safe really.
We warmed up with some core excises. Then we started off with backflips. Those who could flip without a spot went into another line and those who needed a spot (like me) went into the line where there was two spotters (Andre Sannikov and Troy Coenraats).
After about three backflips we moved onto sideflips with were a lot of fun, as we got a little boost from the spotter.
There was a period of free time where we could chill, talk to coaches and challenge each other before heading to the sports hall.
A few other adults and I stayed at the park to have a hot chocolate, and play for a little longer while no-one else was there. It was pretty nice to have the park almost all to yourself and have a look at some of the challenges from earlier that day.
We then walked to the sports hall.
When we got to the sports hall, we saw participants training on various equipment that had been set out for them. There was also a merchandise stand where you could buy t-shirts and snacks. It was not long before the last session of the day began. It was a game whereby groups had to go outside and look for clues. We were then split into 4 groups and sent out one group at a time, however the last group (my group) was unable to go out due to a small incident.
We then rested up for the next full day training.
All in all day 1 was a lot of fun, looking back on it we got through many activities, and learnt with people of all ages which was an experience within itself.
©World of Parkour 2019