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Urban Movement Interview - Wes Hamner

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Wes Hamner
Director, Urban Movement
A.D.A.P.T. (Parkour) Level 1, MovNat Level 2 (Combatives), L.Ac., Dipl. Ac., M.A.O.M.

Q: How long have you been practicing Parkour / Art du Deplacement?
A: About 3 1/2 years. Prior to that I studied various martial arts and did my own conditioning.

Q: How did you get started?
A: I stumbled across an article about parkour and thought it sounded interesting. Some time later I found out there was a local community and tried it out. After that first day, I was hooked.

Q: Who are your influences?
A: The usual suspects, of course - the Yamakasi, ADD Academy and Parkour Generations, especially those who I've had the pleasure of training with: Laurent Piemontesi, Chau Belle, Yann Hnautra, Tony Thich, Ben Odoyer, Dan Edwards, Blane, Shirley Darlington, Dominic Willoughby, Annty Marais. The local community and the other UMove coaches are also huge influences on my training in both style and pushing boundaries.

Q: How often do you train?
A: At least 4 days a week, sometimes more, rarely less. My training sessions themselves usually vary between 1 1/2-3 hours at a time. Since I often utilize movements from my training in every day life, from another perspective, I train everyday.

Q: How do you deal with the fear experienced while training?
A: By breaking the movement down as well as trying to understand the "why" of the fear. Once the why is found I attack it as directly as I can. If it is something I am genuinely unsure of my ability to accomplish I break it down smaller or find a "safer", or at least less scary, way to train the movement until I'm confident I have it. Of course, some fear is your body's own warning that you are too tired to attempt it, so that has to be taken into account and accepted if it is the case as well. If it is something beyond my current capabilities physically I just keep on trying to advance my conditioning and accept that it is something I'll have to come back to.

Q: What do you do when you're not out training (or thinking about) parkour?
A: I like being at home with my partner, Marie, and our dogs as much as I can. I am also a licensed acupuncturist.

Q: What foods can you not live without?
A: That is a hard one. I'm a big fan of a variety of foods. If I had to live life without ever being able to eat arugula again I would be sad, though the same could be said for a number of other sources of deliciousness.

Q: What kind of shoes do you train in?
A: I generally wear Vibram FiveFingers whether I'm training or not...if I'm not somewhere I can feel comfortable or safe going barefoot. Though when I am downtown, or training somewhere that has surfaces that tend to be especially rough on shoes, I wear Feiyues. They are much more affordable to replace than Vibrams and are still relatively minimalist.

Q: How do you explain parkour to people who don't know much about it?
A: My usual go-to quick description is that it is the Art of Movement (Art du Deplacement) including running, climbing and jumping. I'll relate it to any of the many movies that have included it for a more visual reference and, if there is more time to get into more detail I will go into the philosophy of "etre et durer" and being strong to be useful, efficient movement and the rest.

Q: Parting words for the new practitioner?
A: Drill, drill, drill the basics and condition often. Too often people who are new to ADD/PK want to skip straight to big jumps or flips or other more "flashy" movements rather than getting something more essential like a Safety (Step) Vault down. The pioneers of this/these art(s) made themselves strong first, then added on bigger/"fancier" movements. That is why they are still at it after decades.

Click here to read Wes' bio on the team page.


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