Want to get into parkour but don't know your cat pass from your speed vault?
It was exactly five years ago in April 2013 that Jon Librandi decided to stop experiencing parkour vicariously through You Tube and give it a shot himself, and he’s never looked back. Today, we sit down with Jon to talk parkour for beginners and why this intensive style of obstacle course training is still inspiring him five years on.
What sparked your initial interest in parkour?
I was 15 (in Year 9) and I hadn’t found my passion yet. I was watching You Tube, pretty much like every other 15 year old kid at that time, and I came across videos of people doing flips off a building and other impressive moves, and I knew instantly that’s what I wanted to do. It almost just clicked straight away and I thought, “That’s it! This is my calling.” I’m inspired by internationally known parkour athlete Jesse La Flair. I’ve watched all of his videos and he’s a big reason why I got into it myself.
I still remember the date that I made my first parkour video; it was April 20th 2013. It received a tonne of hate online actually, but I didn’t care. It was insane, it was the start of a whole new journey for me.
Do you remember your first time doing parkour?
I was sitting back watching parkour You Tube videos and looking up the right type of shoes to wear etc, and then eventually one day I just called up my friends and got them to come out with me to a park to try it. I wanted a reason to go out to a park and just play, and that day changed everything.
For those wanting to try their hand at parkour, what is the best area within Latitude to practise?
Definitely the free jump areas and the The Grid ninja course at the Perth location. (Good news - The Grid is coming to Melbourne and Adelaide soon.) The padded blocks in the free jump zone are safe to work on and you’ve got trampolines on all sides, so if you fall it’s not going to be catastrophic. It’s not like you’re landing on concrete and there is so much room to play on. I’m showing you the basics today, but these are only a jumping off point. You can chain moves together, you can combine various moves into one more advanced move. There’s freedom here, hence the name ‘free jump’ zone.
So you’re five years into parkour, is there still much more to learn?
So much more, and it never hurts to continuously sharpen up your basic techniques. I’ve gone back to basics so many times, just to clean up certain moves. Maybe I want to use less energy in one move, so I drill that move until it feels second nature to me, so much so that I can throw with minimal energy expenditure. There’s a lot of different moves that require technique-based skills rather than just physical strength. Precision jumps are one discipline that I’ve tried to work on a lot. Getting your precision jump further and further each time is so difficult to master and it takes years of practise just to get a 3 metre jump and land standing.
It’s good to have that continual progression and that’s why I like parkour. It’s similar to all walks of life really, from your studies right through to something like parkour, it gets more challenging the more you progress up the ladder. I’ve never felt like I hit a wall that I can’t surpass in parkour and it’s a thrill to push my limits and challenge myself. This is why I love about parkour, there’s always something to work on and aim towards.