Skochypstiks Parkour Jam: An Adventure in Zadar

After 8 Years, It Happened Again

When my good friends from Athens, Panos and Anma, told me that Skochypstiks decided to make their second Parkour Jam in Zadar, Croatia (for free!), I knew I had to partake in it. After observing the brand grow and impact Parkour enthusiasts around the world, it got me curious to train with the people behind the brand. The last event had been seven years ago, so I was pretty thrilled that they were finally hosting another. What with the free accommodation and the splendid location, I certainly was motivated to train Parkour with them. I mean, who wouldn’t be?

Before the start of the event, I met up with some amazing people in the Old Town of Zadar, one group hailed from Sweden and the other from Italy. We spent a good amount of time geeking out about Parkour and our own experiences within the movement discipline. Through this little introduction, we all got really close in a short amount of time. That’s what Parkour does – it brings about lifelong friends. A friendship in bloom, we decided to explore the city of Zadar and observe what it had to offer. We went around the Old Town a little bit and decided to head to the beautiful beaches. With the breath-taking nature around us, we played, dipped in the clear and cool water and, overall, just enjoyed each others company.

Soon, we were notified by the organisers that there was going to be a little “pre-event jam” at Smiljevac, so we packed up our stuff and headed for our next adventure. Once we arrived at the spot, we were greeted with some familiar and new faces. The friendly atmosphere was infectious as traceurs met and greeted one another with hugs, smiles and hand shakes. It was like one big family of traceurs. Everyone started to warm-up and, slowly, traceurs started to play around with the challenging obstacles. It was so nice to observe and see the process of strangers becoming comrades and adapting to the terrain together.

After the pre-event jam, we were directed to the place where we would be resting and recovering: a massive sports stadium called “Sports Centre Višnjik.” Everyone started to settle down in a big room. Of course, yours truly picked the best spot to settle down in (duh!), just underneath a table. What can I say, I have a knack of turning places into my own habitat. As the night went on, more and more people started to arrive and the once-empty room became a home to traceurs of different backgrounds and characters. As the sky darkened, we all turned to rest and sleep. Before heading off to dreamland, I couldn’t help but wonder what adventures awaited us all for the Skochy two-day event. “I guess we’ll just have to find out tomorrow” I had thought to myself, slightly smiling before I drifted off.

Day 1 Of The Skochy Jam

“Bzzt!” “Bing!” “Beep!” Alarms of different sounds started to go off within the room. This signalled the traceurs that an adventure was about to begin. Indeed, it was. After getting changed, my group (composed of the Swedish, Greek and Italian traceurs) decided to head out and get some pre-event breakfast. As I asked what they were all getting, the Italians automatically responded “coffee!” whilst the others went for a fruitier and nuttier approach. With our bellies full of sustenance and with my fellow Italians smacking their lips with coffee, we ventured out to the event place which was the open basketball courts near the sports centre. Arriving on the scene, some traceurs already started giving themselves challenges to play around whilst others just watched in satisfaction. Truth be told, it is never a dull scene when surrounded by a community of movers.

Once the Skochy crew arrived, we were briefed that in the morning we would have numerous workshops, working on different objectives and challenges. Before that, we went through several warm-up protocols. The warm-ups included paired work, followed by a certain exercise. Other warm-ups included a more structured approach such as working on the bio-mechanics of the legs during a jump or seeing how many steps were needed to do a running jump. You can imagine people were sure to be warmed up after this. Roll on the main event!

We were then placed into groups of about nine people. With these groups and a coach, we had to go to different stations scattered around the area with their own challenges. Depending on how we performed as a group, we would be given different points. The more points a group had, the more “Parkour money” from a selected “bank” (guided by a Skochy member) they could make. From here, it was clear that the goal of every group was to get the highest amount of Parkour money in order to win the entire challenge of the workshops. Each group and its members started to get fired up and I remember the tingling sensation in my body: the competitive aura in the air was contagious!

When the event officially started, our group went to our first station. This station held a challenge with a time limit. We had to select a partner, and with that partner, go through a route with its sets of obstacles whilst holding on to a little piece of paper at either end. If we were to break the paper, or if either partner was to let go of the paper, we had to start from the beginning of the route. It was challenging, alright! This took a lot of teamwork, concentration and control to perform. You can imagine the members of this group had to delicately move, balance, duck, go over and even roll together in order to get to the end. As the time limit was nearing, all pairs in our group successfully finished the challenge in the station and was awarded with perfect points. This placed our group in a good starting position, however, it wasn’t just our group that got perfect points in the first station, so we had to make sure we kept this momentum up approaching our next station.

The next station’s challenge had us wear an eye patch and adapt through a series of obstacles to get to the end point, whilst holding on to a stick. Once we arrived at the end point, we had to take our eye patches off and were then tasked to spin around in circles 5 times before throwing a ball at a target. If we missed, we had to spin 5 times again in order to hit the target. Yeah, there was a lot going on within the time limit we were given. This was especially challenging for me as I don’t do well with spinning too much (I mean, talk about getting dizzy!) As I suspected, everyone managed to finish the challenge within the lime limit except me so we didn’t get our full points (whoops). I felt utterly bad for letting my group down. However, due to the understanding support of the group, I quickly bounced out from this way of thinking and got myself ready for the next challenge. Parkour is about resilience, after all.

In this next one, we yet again had to pair up. This time, our shoelace from one foot was tied together, and we were tasked to go through a set of obstacles the quickest way we could. The most challenging part I found with this was the rope swing where partners had to go together at the same time! Eager to prove myself and take the feedback from the previous challenge (taking my time to clear my head instead of rushing), my partner and I managed to do the rope swing on our first try! As if things couldn’t get better, the whole team managed to finish the challenge within the time limit.

We continued to do more challenges throughout the morning. This included a demanding backwards QM set, The Floor is Lava Game and getting the whole team over the wall using teamwork and communication. You can imagine after a couple of hours of doing all these challenges, we were all pretty exhausted (goodbye, legs!). When we checked on the other groups to see how they were doing, we found out that some groups that were struggling were being helped by others. This really showed me the camaraderie and kindness these traceurs exuded in this event, and by the end of it, every group seemed to have the same amount of points, which meant we more or less all won. To celebrate everyone’s victory, we all took a massive group photo showing our drenched, exhausted yet happy faces. Go team!

The whole crew proceeded to the beach to have a little swimming, diving, and calisthenics jam. It was such an awesome experience to be a part of. Just to notice people having fun expressing themselves with movement is something I’ll always take away from this event. Having said that, the day wasn’t finished! After the chilled and fun beach session, we all got ready to be part of the night life of Zadar. As we approached the Old Town, the big group dispersed to tinier groups so that they could eat what they fancied. Later, we all regrouped to a dance club to mingle and socialise. Unbeknownst to one of our particular friends, Daniel Timms, we threw him a surprise social gathering since it was his birthday! It was unforgettable!

To end the night, my friends and I decided to camp outside the centre.  Daredevils, I know. We all built our hammocks to nest in, and once we were all cocooned up in our hammocks looking like a little village, we drifted off to a well-deserved snooze.

Day 2 Of The Skochy Jam

Having had one of the best sleeps of my life thanks to the weightless sleeping experience of the wonderful hammock, I woke up from my cocoon-like habitat along with the others. We were all ready to take flight in the second day of the event (despite our crippling soreness). But first things first – “Coffee!” as my Italian friends so excitedly mentioned. We all got something to eat and drink then went off to the Old Town for the final event.

Day Two’s challenges were mainly focused on technique and refining our Parkour movements. We were given a choice of workshops to participate in. Some workshops included: handstand technique, height challenges or route and/or flow work. I chose doing route work because it is my favourite aspect of the movement discipline. Setting a starting point, an end point and seeing what my body can do to move through the obstacles in between these points, is such a thrilling and exhilarating experience. In this workshop, they emphasised on techniques such as rolling, transitioning between movements, foot placement, climbing and jumping to add to our routes.

After a good amount of time working on routes, the group headed to the monuments in Old Town to – you guessed it –  Jam together! This was where tourists in the area stopped what they were doing and were simply enchanted by traceurs moving and playing fearlessly. Since this was the last jam before some people headed home, I decided to partake in it, despite having very little energy to spare. It was yet another amazing experience as people broke jumps, made Parkour gains and simply had a good time.

Posted by Ezy Fres on Sunday, 16 June 2019

All too soon, it was time to say our goodbyes to some of our new-found traceur pals. For the rest of the day, I joined the others at the diving towers. Although I don’t do well with heights, I decided to spectate some of my friends who decided to have a go at the different diving boards. Yet again, traceurs were placed under the spotlight as they performed different acrobatic dives and displayed feats of athleticism, mesmerising members of the public. After the dive show, we finished off the rest of the day by staring at the sunset, which I considered the best way to finish any day!

Until The Next Adventure…

If I had to sum up the Skochy event in a nutshell, I would say it was one of the most fun and friendly experiences I have ever experienced in my life. It wasn’t even just the Parkour that made the event memorable, it was the people themselves. They made my stay in Zadar such a magical and unforgettable experience. I’d like to use this time to thank the Skochy team for hosting such a grand event. If ever there would be another Skochy event, I would highly recommend you attend it so you can have the Skochy experience as well. Till next time, folks!

Sources:

©World of Parkour

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