A few weeks ago, I had the chance to interview the very talented Lynn Jung, one of the leading female athletes in the parkour community today. With her graceful yet powerful movement and her humble, hardworking attitude she has been working as a professional athlete and is part of one of the oldest parkour teams in the UK, Storm Freerun.
The Starting Point:
Lynn: I came across Parkour in 2011, maybe even 2010. For the first year or two, I attended the local training sessions ran by Lukas Steiner. I didn’t train daily at the time but that is when I was first introduced to Parkour. Before I started Parkour, I didn’t know about it at all. I just went to the first session because a friend of mine was going and me and my sisters tagged along. All I knew was that there would be a foam pit and that sounded fun so I agreed to go with them.
The First Session:
Lynn: My first session was in Innsbruck, Austria where I studied at the time. Innsbruck has quite a big community but I’d say they stay very much to themselves. It’s a very close-knit community. Lukas Steiner, who runs the sessions built the local community and his facility from scratch.
Innsbruck now has a proper parkour gym with custom-built structures, but when I lived there, we just had the gymnastics gym that was rented out to free-runners a few times a week. As the community grew, so did the financial resources and eventually, we got a parkour section within the gymnastics gym and now, just a few years later, there is a proper parkour facility in Innsbruck.
Do you still go back quite regularly?
Lynn: No, unfortunately not at all. I’d love to go back once a year, but I haven’t been for over two years now which is a shame. I haven’t even seen the new gym yet and I miss training with people there. Innsbruck is an amazing place and I really want to go back soon.
The difference between the Innsbruck, Austria parkour community and the UK community:
Lynn: I can only talk about the community in Innsbruck because Austria, like the UK, has many different local communities and of course they know each other but they are physically apart from each other, so they do develop in different ways. I am not sure about how the community has changed since I have moved, but Innsbruck always had a very close-knit community. Quite a large community with lots of kids involved. That was probably because of the gym we had early on. Parents would take their kids to the gym at set times and because it was mainly an indoor community it’s a very safe space to learn parkour at a young age. Most people mainly trained indoors and I think that is still true now, but I don’t actually know for sure, it might have changed. In Brighton, we train outdoors mostly, simply because we do not have a gym we could go to even if we wanted to.
The Brighton Community
Lynn: There are lots of people training in Brighton but I usually train with the same group of people. Obviously Kie is one of them as we live together, Callum is another fun one to train with and so are Joe, Jai and also Tom who recently moved here. All of the Storror boys have moved to Brighton in the past year, so lots of incredible athletes training in Brighton, which is cool. Summer is always amazing in Brighton. Lots of people come to visit and there isn’t too much that can beat a day of training by the sea followed by a bbq in the evening.
The people during training who push you to do better
Lynn: There are quite a few people I have good training sessions with. A lot of my favourite people to train with live in different countries, mostly America which isn’t ideal obviously, especially in 2020. Sydney is definitely one of my favourites to train with because obviously she is an incredible athlete but also because she’s a really good friend. So are Kristine Dietrich, Vreni, Pam and Katie. Flore is another fun one to train with but really there are so many people that I enjoy training with and it is impossible to name them all. I do appreciate training with women, maybe because it is so rare that we get together and have that opportunity.
In Brighton, the person who has the ability to push me most is definitely Kie. He believes in my abilities more than I do which is great and also helps me progress mentally quicker than I would if I trained on my own always. A lot of people push me to do better simply because they inspire me. Some of them I haven’t met in person and maybe never will but seeing their training clips online is definitely motivating me to work on my skills more.
Training during lockdown: Has it differed.
Lynn: Not really. It’s actually been quite nice because a lot of the spots that we’d usually get kicked off of are now ok to train at. The weather has been nice so I’ve been out more and I’ve definitely lifted less since lockdown which might not be a bad thing. I think I might have gotten into lifting a bit too much before lockdown. Mainly because of winter but also because of my injuries that I have struggled with in the past. I think putting a lot of emphasis on strength training made me feel more prepared and less prone to injuries.
Lifting at home is just not quite as fun so I lift less and maybe I have lost some power during lockdown but I have gained more confidence in my movement again and my body feels less tired which makes my parkour training a lot more enjoyable. I have also enjoyed the solo sessions quite a bit although I do prefer training with people. Training on my own feels less rushed. I don’t feel like I am in anyone’s way and you can take as long as you need to work up and complete a challenge without the stress of people wanting to move spot or feeling self-conscious about your movement. Which I try not to anyways but I think most people do at times and that is removed when no-one is watching, which can be nice sometimes. I am more likely to work on skills I am really bad at when there is no-one around. I thought about this more recently and I do not like that habit so I am actively trying to change that now. Being bad at something or failing should never be associated with a negative emotion, it’s a natural part of progressing and I want to embrace that.
Lynn: I’m probably going to go home first. I say home but Brighton has become my home now. So what I mean is I will go see my family in Luxembourg. My sister just had a baby in February and luckily this was before lockdown so I did get to meet my niece, but I was meant to go back in April and obviously couldn’t so that is at the top of my list once the travel bans have been lifted.
Work-wise, I have a feeling my next trip might be Dubai because I was meant to go to Dubai a day or two before lockdown. So I think that might still happen at some point in 2020. To be honest I’m not in a rush. I quite enjoy the way life is at the moment. Obviously, 2020 hasn’t been ideal work-wise but it also hasn’t been terrible at all. And I did enjoy the time spent in Brighton without having to get on a plane since February. I cannot remember the last time I was in a place for this long and maybe I needed this to wind down and refocus. That said, I am definitely looking forward to traveling again in the future.
Hands down, Own the Spot in Eindhoven last year. It is a very loosely structured event and maybe the most authentic event I have been to. People just come together in Eindhoven and train around the city, it’s amazing. Seeing so many familiar faces without the whole structured and artificial setup of usual events – it’s amazing and I hope there will be more in the future. There was a competition and a panel of judges which I was part of but it didn’t feel competitive at all. It was a video competition and people could film at certain spots and submit their clips on social media by using the event hashtag.
Whoever “owned the spot” got a little trophy at the event party on the last day. Usually, the clip with the “most magic” took the win. It was great fun! Maybe we need less traditional competition formats and more like Own the Spot. Such a nice way to bring people together and push them without pushing the competitive aspects of the sport too much. I do believe that competition can bring out the worst in people and I just wouldn’t like to see parkour go down a similar route to gymnastics or any traditional sport really. That said, I am not anti-competition at all, just not a fan of competition culture if that makes sense.
If you have the chance to go to the event in the future, you should. I think it might be a bit weird for people to go if you’ve never been to an event before and you don’t know a lot of the people yet. Especially if you go on your own because it is sort of loosely organized and for me, it was a get-together with all my friends and train outside and have fun.
For other parts please see below:
To Follow Lynn:
- Facebook: @lynnjungathlete
- Instagram: @lynn_jung
- Twitter: @LynnLjung
- Website: https://www.lynnjung.net/
- Youtube: Lynn Jung
- Feature Image was taken by Kie Willis: @kieparkour
Instagram: @lynn_jung and @lukas_steiner_pkfr
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