Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Streetmovement & Streetcamp 7

Streetmovement was started in Copenhagen in by Peter Ammentorp, Martin Kallesøe, Sebastien Louis Peronard and Mikkel Thisen.  They achieved early notoriety in Denmark with the release of Kasper Astrup Schröder’s documentary “City Surfers” in 2007.  The film that highlighted the growth of the young men and the inspiration that they took from the Yamakasi founders in Paris, most notably from Yann and Laurent.

Today, both Martin and Mikkel are still with Streetmovement, which has had a huge influence on the Danish parkour scene.  The addition of Mikkel Rugaard and his architectural and performance experience to the team has also created a number of opportunities for the company, which routinely does workshops and performances throughout Denmark and Northern Europe, in addition to a large amount of work in the regions in and around Copenhagen.

My introduction to the Streetmovement style of training was really during Streetcamp 7, which coincided with my first few days at Gerlev.  “Streetcamp” is a 4-day bi-annual event that is offered to the youth of Copenhagen and gives them a glimpse at the lives they would lead as students at Gerlev (including a few days of the amazing food that Gerlev is renowned for).  The course features lots of training time with the Streetmovement instructors, as well as a guest instructor that is usually brought in from Parkour Generations.  For Streetcamp 7, this happened to be the one and only Brian Appiah Obeng, who turned out to be a huge hit with the young traceurs.

The thirty or so participants in Streetcamp 7 ranged in age from 13-18 and included a wide variety of skill levels as well.  While a few of the participants had only been training for a short time, many of them had been training and participating in earlier Streetcamps for much longer, some even for a few years.  Throughout the week I was repeatedly impressed by the levels of determination and drive that the kids showed, and their ability to maintain high energy levels throughout a weekend full of long days of intense training interspersed with lots of socializing and a bit of sleep. 

A hill workout- the "welcome" to Streetcamp.  Photo courtesy of Martin Kallesøe.

The kids getting aquainted with Brian. Photo courtesy of Martin Kallesøe.  

Photo courtesy of Martin Kallesøe.

Building confidence with some mental challenges. Photo courtesy of Martin Kallesøe. 

A group warm-up on the last day. Photo courtesy of Martin Kallesøe. 

Tired but still pushing through the last workout. Photo courtesy of Martin Kallesøe.

The Streetmovement style of training includes a large amount of conditioning and strength training, and the Yamakasi influence is very evident.  That being said, the Streetmovement guys have combined the French founder’s tradition of “strong mind, strong body” with the advances of modern sports science to create a very intense but well-structured training program.  For me it made for an interesting combination because I had been exposed to many elements of it while training for high-level track/athletics.  During Streetcamp I was struck by the fact that not only was the Streetmovement method of training very effective for adults, but it also seemed to appeal to many of the kids, who completed workouts that would have “broken” many of the older and more experienced traceurs that I’ve trained with over the past year.  The interesting thing was that to these kids, this sort of training was hard, but not discounted as useless “overexercise”, as I have seen in a number of situations where people are faced with these daunting workouts without understanding the long-term benefits.  While I’m sure that the Streetcamp participants are a self-selective group, I think that it is also promising for the next generations of traceurs.

A highlight reel of the event made by Nicholas Bluff.

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