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Urban Movement Interview - Desmund Mitchell

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Desmund Mitchell
Coach, Urban Movement
A.D.A.P.T. (Parkour) Level 1

Q: How long have you been practicing Parkour / Art du Deplacement?
A: I started doing parkour back in 2007. I didn't get started seriously training until 2008 after my first major parkour gathering.

Q: How did you get started?
A: I was led to a video online of Cyril Raffaelli titled, "Most Amazing Stuntman Ever"(Seriously who wouldn't watch that?). After looking up more about this guy, I found a movie he did with some guy named David Belle. I was fascinated with the way they moved and after learning a new word (Parkour), I had to know more. Once I found out regular people do this too, I looked up parkour in Texas to see how close to home I could get. The following week I met up with a group of about 4 others who were just as wet behind the ears as I was, but we learned alongside one another.

Q: Who are your influences?
A: Everyone. Expression through movement is so diverse, I enjoy adding bits and pieces of all the unique disciplines and characters I've met along this path into my training. Though my early training was heavily influenced by Stephane Vigroux, and the SA Crew in San Antonio, I still think lots of that shows still to this day.

Q: How often do you train?
A: Every day is training day. If not conditioning, I'm doing something to just play. If my legs are sore, I stretch or I train my other half. If I am injured, I rehabilitate through some movement. I'm always striving to get closer to an imaginary perfection. I'm all about constant progression. I believe it was Émile Coué who said, "Every day, in every way, I'm getting better and better."

Q: How do you deal with the fear experienced while training?
A: I don't really know. Sometimes, I look at a jump and I say, "No." Other times I can see a jump and I'll say, "Maybe, not today." Then you see a jump and your heart begins to flutter, and stop and think, "Okay, why am I afraid? What changes this jump from that jump?" And then you either go, or you don't, but I never stand at a jump for very long wondering in fear. I used to do this when I began, and now I think this is not good for training. Now I'm more relying on the instinct, than I am thinking too much about things.

Q: What do you do when you're not out training (or thinking about) parkour?
A: Haha I'm probably at the library,  practicing Capoeira, or maybe learning a new language, or possibly somewhere performing magic or hypnotizing someone. I have a lot of hobbies, so I stay very busy.

Q: What foods can you not live without?
A: Fruit. I love all fruit; I have a special place in my heart for apples...and cheese. I'm pescatarian, but before that my favorite fruit was bacon. So I've learned that most things you think you can't live without, will do you no harm once you get rid of them. So, who knows, maybe six months from now, I'll be vegan, and not even like cheese.

Q: What kind of shoes do you train in?
A: Aasics. Specifically the Onitsuka Tiger Ultimate 81. These have been my shoes for about 6 months now and they haven't failed me yet. Love this shoe.

Q: How do you explain parkour to people who don't know much about it?
A: This one definitely depends on who's asking and the genuineness of the inquiry. The most basic version is, "Just utilizing the urban environment to overcome obstacles and move in a new way."

Q: Parting words for the new practitioner?
A: Keep progressing, keep moving forward. Don't stop moving. As long as you're moving forward you're heading in the right direction. Most of all, be happy; find the joy in whatever it is you do, and never stop seeking that happiness.

Click here to read Desmund's bio on the team page.

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