What is your name and current occupation?
Allen Henton and I work in the medical field.
How old are you this year?
This year, I am 30 years of age.
How long have you been doing Parkour/Freerunning?
I started doing Parkour back in May 2014, so I’d say that puts me at about 9 months.
How did you first hear about Parkour?
I’ve seen Parkour off and on over the years, people doing it, I just didn’t know that’s what it was called. Seeing it movies, tv, etc. A long time ago, I ended up buying this game when it came out, called “Mirrors Edge”. I thought it was the coolest thing ever! After doing some reading about the game and its development, it lead deeper into reading about something called “Parkour”.
Why did you decide to start training?
It’s always something that I thought would be cool to try, I just never made it happen. When I started in May, I figured it was the right time. To be quite honest, I was going through a really difficult time in my life. Probably one of the hardest I’ve experienced yet. Aside from deciding it was time to try something I always wanted to do, I started because I figured it would be a distraction to help get over that period of my life. I also wanted to be more active and healthier than I was at the time. Little did I know that it became so much more than what I originally intended it to be!
Describe your first Parkour training session ever.
One of my friends put me in touch with a guy they knew who was a Traceur. We talked a bit and it turned out that he was up in Toronto, which isn’t super far from me, but it’s not closer either. So he suggested that I try this forum on a website called “APK”. I looked for some local guys in Michigan and got in contact with Wenxin Yang. He invited me out to session in Ann Arbor and it just went from there. After meeting everyone (of which were extremely friendly and helpful), we started with warmups, then worked on basics such as proper landings, etc. I think the first thing I learned that day aside from landings was the safety vault.
What was it about Parkour that got you hooked?
Well as I said, it started out as a distraction and just something to do. But it soon became sooooo much more than that. It really did change my life for the better in all aspects.
Aside from the health and fun benefits, I met some really awesome people through it. And while everyones interpretations may be different, from what they get out of Parkour, for me it has instilled a lot of values that I needed reminding of and also learning anew. Hard work can accomplish anything if you keep at it and don’t give up. Although your fellow Traceurs/Traceuses want the best for you and to see you succeed, no one can get you over that wall or across that gap except for yourself. They will cheer you on, but ultimately you must do it yourself. You have to work hard, strengthening your mind and body. Perseverance as well. It may take you a day, week or even months to accomplish what you were trying to get. Eventually you’ll achieve it. And so forth. These are all things that can translate to the school, working, etc worlds.
One thing that Parkour really helped me with was a fear of heights. I had a true fear and it was something that could bring my to my knees, literally. With time and building up my confidence, I was able to pretty much conquer my fear of heights. I now have no problem looking over railings from a 2+ story building anymore or looking out windows from a high rise.
Any advice for other folks in your age demographic looking to get into Parkour
I’d first say that you are NEVER too old. I started just before I turned 30 and it’s something that you can take it at your own pace. First and foremost, have fun! If all you can do is a small jump from a curb down to the street…if you enjoyed yourself, that’s all that matters. You can do as little as you like or take it as far as you like. It’s completely up to you. Secondly, for us older folks, staying in good health and shape is harder than when we were 18. Parkour is an AWESOME way to strengthen your mind and body. I’d also say that if you have a family of your own, Parkour is something that’s positive and clean, something fun for the whole family to do together. Also, don’t worry about making mistakes or worrying about what you look like. More people than you think want to try Parkour or even many other things in life, yet those two things hold them back from ever making it happen.
Some fun questions, what is your favorite move?
Now that’s a really tough question! If I am only allowed to pick one…it’s going to have to be tic tacs. I absolutely love the feeling of using your momentum off of one object to reach another. Precisions are a very close second!
What is your top 5 favorite or most influential Parkour videos?
- Any of the David Belle videos get me inspired and excited. The flow, the speed and lines are just awe inspiring.
- APK’s “Why Do We Do Parkour?”
- “Parkour With a Shirt On”
- Wenxin Yang – 2011 Sampler – Wonderboy
- “People In Motion” documentary
Any last words for our readers?
If you’re experienced in Parkour/Free running, keep on training hard! If you’re new to it or even thinking of wanting to try it, give it a chance. You won’t regret the positive benefits that it can, and will, make to your life. I’d also like to say thank you to APK for the interview, it’s humbling to have a chance to tell of my story into Parkour.