„Burner Parkour“ – Interview with the author Roger Widmer

As a Traceur since 2000 Roger is regarded as one of the first Parkour pioneers outside of France. Since obtaining his degree in „Art education – dep. culture analysis and mediation“ (2004-2008) and his qualification in adult education SVEB 2, he relentlessly advocates for the understanding of Parkour in its entirety. In 2008 he made his hobby his profession and together with Felix Stöckli founded the ParkourONE Ltd.. As head of the ParkourONE Academy – the worldwide first institution, which researches Parkour with a holistic demand – he has compiled all the experience with TRuST.

Roger, who do you address with this book? Who is your audience?
Roger: „The book addresses teachers and people who work with movement and are in search of a creative approach to movement and want to foster it. Since the book is inclusion orientated, the book addresses everyone, no matter the gender or athletic ability. Basically the exercises can be executed with all group ages. Dependent on the age or audience, more detailed instructions by the teacher or coach is necessary. Ideally the exercises appeals to adolescents aged 12 to 16 years.“

As a teacher or coach, is prior knowledge necessary to be able to work with the book?
Roger: „No, Parkour knowledge or any other foreknowledge is not required. One can open the book and immediately begin. You will be guided through the 4 phases of TRuST in a simple and clear structure. Due to the modular idea of the book, complete lessons can be filled with the exercises or just specific exercises used perhaps for animated lessons. Planing the lesson is facilitated by the time frames stated in the book. The exercises are not didactically exaggerated, they are practical and authentic, so as to facilitate the approach for the trainee and the teacher.“

You mentioned the four phases of TRuST – can you tell us more about the content and the layout of the book?
Roger: „TRuST describes how we at the ParkourONE Academy understand and teach Parkour. According to the teaching method of TRuST one teaching unit is segmented in the following four phases: introductory phase, initiatory phase, main phase and concluding phase. The book is structured according to these 4 phases, with exercises to be found suitable for each phase. This setup is similar to popular general didactic models such as the AVIVA model to promote the competence-based… The exercises of the book therefore can very well be incorporated into the ordinary structures of the lessons. The exercises are plain and overseeable, there’s always an introductory paragraph explaining the use of the exercise and how it can be modified. The book provides an unconventional, practical and solution-orientated approach to Parkour for schools and classes. Parkour as a subject in this teaching aid „Burner Parkour“, wasn’t chosen from the perspective of trend sports but rather draws on movement as a basic human need: the movement generates an idea, a game, a purpose. Values of how to interact within a social group originate through the movement. That is Parkour in its purest manner.“

Wherein do you see the added value of the book in lessons, schools and training?
Roger: „The added value of the book surely is that it can be implemented interdisciplinary and that it fosters expertise. The exercises shall convey the joy in movement, detached from athletic performance. The exercises pursue an experiential educational approach and exceed the sheer physical activity, as it not only addresses the physical activity, but also the mental plane, creativity and personal maturity. Teachers and coaches can promote the solidarity within a group, the self-reliance of individuals, the creativity and solution-orientated thinking through these exercises. Due to the fact that the exercises have a non-competitive approach, everyone can participate no matter their athletic ability or gender. The exercises can be used for motion learning, during breaks, in lessons or project weeks.“

Do teachers and coaches have an opportunity to test the teaching material within the framework of a course?
Roger: „Yes it is possible. So far we have three courses in Basel, Bern and Zurich planned, at which interested parties can be introduced to the simple, attractive play and exercise varieties for efficient movement in an urban context.“

Finally: What are your ambitions, hopes and aims with this book?
Roger: „A big desire is to promote the joy of movement detached from achievement-orientated thinking through this book! The book delivers an unconventional approach to Parkour, as it doesn’t build on the usual expectations coined by the media. I view the book and its content as a chance of social togetherness to stand above competition. I hope that the book creates a space where adolescents, participants and trainees can develop according to their personal potential, since the exercises offer an alternative entry to movement without pressure and evaluation. The exercises can forster the creativity and assist young folks to pursue their path. Considering the entirety, I hope that through this work and others Parkour will be viewed as a tool for personality development. For us Parkour is a school of life that we want to share with all who are interested. I want to thank Burner Motion, Hoffman-Verlag and all who helped enable this publication! ONE for all – all for ONE!“

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