Every month we will interview the boldest craftsmen who are living the Pig & Hen lifestyle. This month, we have interviewed…
BART VAN DER LINDEN – FREERUNNER
First things first: could you tell us how your love for freerunning began and when? Did you always want to be a professional freerunner?
As most boys growing up in the country my life was all about football (soccer). But when there was no practice I would be off climbing something, anything would do: trees, playgrounds, garages and eventually small buildings. Then as a reward I would jump down somehow. Jumping off things was the coolest thing in the world to me, it made me feel like I could do anything. I was always looking for the next challenge and this was before I even knew what Freerunning was! Then I saw the French movie Yamakasi which is a modern Robin Hood story that features some of the first ever Parkour practitioners. That movie changed my life, it showed me that there was a whole culture surrounding the thing I love most: jumping things. Guided by video’s I found on the internet (before youtube ever existed) I started my journey to become worlds best Traceur*. I told my local friends about it and we started doing parkour. Looking back I laugh because we had no idea what we were doing. I was 12 and had a mission. As soon as my parents let me I take a train to Amsterdam to train with people I met on a forum, they showed me what Parkour really was about and it never got boring. Parkour took me all around the world. I created a sustainable lifestyle for me and my family by doing Parkour.
* French word for: path finder. a.k.a. Parkour Athlete
Does it take a lot of time and passion to be able to succeed as an professional freerunner? Do you have a trainer or do you teach yourself?
When I started training Parkour there were no classes, we would just organise training sessions where everyone would be welcome. We were just trying new things and everyone would learn from everyone. The sport is so free that when you look at a training session it’s hard to define what is training and what is playing. Imagine a group of grown muscled men playing the floor is lava in the middle of the city. The harder the challenge the better. The more you train the more possibilities you see. The definition of what is possible is limited by the mind not the body. It’s creating something out of nothing with the tools I have (my body) that attracts me to Parkour. That’s what I am passionate about.
Freerunning is an extreem sport – To do the impossible you must challenge yourself. Have you ever broken anything or had to go to the hospital?
Yes. Even though Parkour is all about control accidents do happen. I have to say that I suffer remarkably fewer injuries then I did playing football but the risk during some Parkour jumps is much higher. Thats why most parkour athletes train techniques that will break their “fall”. For example there are ways to catch yourself when you come to short on a jump. You didn’t make the jump but you can still walk away without a scratch and try again. But even then you can trip or slip or not be focused enough. Most of the time it are just bruises and scrapes But I also have had my shins open to the bone and broken my ankle. It’s a wake up call to stay focused and check your surroundings before you jump on them.
What is your favourite place to free run? Do you travel a lot for projects or join free run competitions?
My favourite place to jump is Santorini, Greece. It’s truly a magical island with a surrealistic feel to it. It also has special meaning to me because I won the biggest Freerunning competition in the world there. Parkour brought me all over the world for numerous reasons: Competitions, Video’s, shows or Masterclasses. Everywhere I go I feel amazed by the fact that I get to travel the world because I got really good at jumping on walls. It’s a lot of fun!
What project or achievement are you most proud of up until now?
I am most proud of the fact that I won the biggest competition of my career 1 year after becoming a father. After coming from a rough period in my life with a lot of injuries I managed to get myself together as a father and a professional athlete to achieve my biggest title yet. I am really proud to be a part of this culture, the Parkour culture.
Bart is wearing:
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