Updates on: NZ documentary on parkour, parkour research, and fundraising
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Quarter 3, 2015

The Jump

The quarterly newsletter for NZ Parkour members.

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Results of the #Overcoming Obstacles Fundraising Campaign

The #OvercomingObstacles Campaign was NZ Parkour’s first official fundraising campaign since becoming a charity at the end of 2013. We ran it from April – July, highlighting pictures and stories of NZ parkour practitioners and the positive benefits from parkour in their lives. This was followed on with the opportunity to donate to NZ Parkour to help us create more stories like these through our work in the community.

We set ourselves a very ambitious goal of $30,000.00 to go towards my wages. The final tally was $4,527.00, or just over 15% of our goal. With this being our first campaign, anything we raised was going to be amazing, but we were really blown away by the support we received, while still being mildly disappointed that no rich uncles came along to fill in the gap.

We’ve learned a lot about the fundraising process and it has created an excellent platform for us to build on for future fundraising campaigns. We will continue to work towards my fulltime employment and ultimately bringing on new staff members in the future, though we hope to focus on more tangible projects in later instalments.

We want to give a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the campaign and shared it with their friends and family. It wouldn’t have happened without you!

Don’t forget, you can always donate to NZ Parkour here and we do hope you’ll continue to support us in future campaigns.

by Damien Puddle

Damien is the CEO of NZ Parkour.

We need your vote!

Kia ora!

Our CEO, Damien Puddle is up for an AMP Scholarship and we need your help to get him the win. If he wins, 50% of the $ would go towards his wages and 50% will go towards our projects. Please vote and share with your networks!

Vote here (NZ Residents Only)

His Goal
Parkour empowers/enriches the lives of practitioners and their families. To change more lives I will make parkour known + accessible in New Zealand.

His Story
In 2008 I met Barnaby Matthews, one of the first parkour practitioners in New Zealand. He took me under his wing and we trained regularly together for the next 4 years. During that time I helped set up the New Zealand Parkour Association (in 2011) and as my passion grew so did the opportunities for me to step into higher and higher leadership roles. I am now CEO of NZ Parkour. Sounds fancy, but I work full time for part time pay and do just about every job in the organisation too. The first year of my role as CEO was full time and entirely unpaid, but it has been worth every minute as I have been the catalyst for positive change in the lives of young people around the country.

Many thanks,

- The NZ Parkour Team



Research from New Zealand Analyses the Effectiveness of Parkour Landings

Earlier research that I completed as an undergraduate was published in 2013 and our discovery was that parkour landings – precisions and rolls – seem to be significantly safer i.e. less force acting on the body, than traditional toe-heel landings, when traceurs perform both landing strategies.

This was a great first step, but is that significant difference still there when the landings are performed by traceurs and non-traceurs?

In order to answer the question, we began working with Wintec on a new parkour research project, investigating the differences in landing kinetics (the causes or things that act on a motion) and kinematics (the motion itself) between traceurs and non-traceurs using their preferred landing method.

The results are remarkable:
  • Habitual traceur landings were observed to be safer landing techniques in comparison to those utilised by recreationally trained individuals, due to the lower maximal vertical forces, slower times to maximal vertical force, lesser loading rates and lower maximal sound.
  • Traceurs predominantly landed with the forefoot only, whereas recreationally trained individuals habitually utilised a forefoot to heel landing strategy.
  • The habitual landing techniques performed by traceurs may be beneficial for other landing sports to incorporate into training to reduce injury.
It now seems clear that parkour landings truly are safer than what other athletes and the general public use in their day-to-day lives.

We at NZ Parkour and traceurs all around the world probably assume this to be correct already, but now we’ve got scientific proof.

The research is available now (see below), though official publication is not until December.

We will continue to explore this research avenue and promote the benefits of utilising parkour landings in parkour and elsewhere. More specifically, we hope to engage Sport NZ with their new physical literacy framework and help develop and promote foundational movement skills at all levels of activity.

Parkour has a lot tell us about moving safely and moving well and we’ve only just scratched the surface!


by Damien Puddle

Damien is the CEO of NZ Parkour.


Documentary on New Zealand Parkour Aims for International Film Festivals

MOVE (Flow Like Water) – A Parkour Documentary

Two years ago, in November of 2013, I had an idea. The idea was a simple one: make a short, low-budget documentary on the philosophies of parkour, and weave throughout it the stories of the Wellington practitioners these philosophies have helped. But really (and as I should have anticipated) – when has any spark of a creative idea ever begun and continued to remain a simple one?

Hey all. My name is Michelle Kan and I'm an independent filmmaker/videographer and writer based in Wellington, our windy little capital. If you're a part of the parkour community or happen to be active on either the Wellington or New Zealand Parkour and Freerunning Facebook groups, you've probably seen me or my name around before – either I've been uploading parkour videos I've made from various local or national meets, or I've been posting about my documentary, be it calls for submissions, requests for interviewees, or progress updates. 

Even if you haven't, you might have heard (or at least deduced by now) that up until recently I was working on a documentary about parkour – and far from being the simple experiment in documentary film that I had initially intended it to be, it soon grew to become MOVE (Flow Like Water) – A Parkour Documentary, a feature-length project utilising Maori and Chinese themes and motifs to illustrate the history, principles and philosophies of parkour, and featuring footage and interviews of not just the Wellington parkour crew, but the greater New Zealand community. 

MOVE (Flow Like Water) marked a lot of "firsts" for me. It was my first major project, my first feature-length film, and my first time experimenting with documentary. Fortunately I wasn't entirely out of my depth – being a filmmaker/editor and writer meant I already knew how to craft a visual story, being a videographer meant that I was familiar with a smaller scale version of documentary format and making quick cinematographical decisions, having done postgraduate studies at university (Film Honours at VUW) meant I knew how to research and write analytical texts… and, of course, being a practitioner of parkour myself and having written a short essay on it in September 2013 meant that I knew that I could discuss it and how I was going to go about things.

Still, the speed at which it snowballed from its original concept (a 20min short on the Wellington crew) to its end product (a 75min feature on the entirety of the New Zealand community) is pretty overwhelming in hindsight. During the production period (beginning July 2014) I was only working on it part time, filming once a week every week for six months (with the exception of the national meets I attended, MOVEFest, WellyJelly and NatGat), but come post-production in December I was working on it virtually full-time, editing day in and day out for the better part of the next six months and then some. In the end my original deadline of February 2015 had to be postponed several times due to the sheer amount of work involved, which made things… interesting when it started to contend with the looming final manuscript/publish deadline for my first novel around June.

In spite of the stress, I was able to end up with an end product that I'm truly proud of, and the amount of challenges that that progression from experiment to feature suddenly threw at me were immensely fun to tackle. Even if I didn't always do things right I gained so much experience from them, and I have a new wealth of knowledge that I can apply to future projects. But that's so much in the spirit of parkour, isn't it? Having the courage to take on new obstacles, even if we might not be able to pull it off on the first go, and being able to learn from those experiences to become wiser people. It was that kind of mentality that enabled me to carry my film through from inception to completion, even when I was afraid that others might not find it any good in the end.

On September 12th, I was finally able to show a finished cut of my film to an audience of my peers, at a private "red carpet" premiere held at the Memorial Theatre at Victoria University of Wellington. The week preceding I learned how to work the theatre equipment myself (for peace of mind), and come screening day when I wasn't working the controls I spent most of the film nervously pacing the back of the hall in typical Creative's Anxiety fashion. Fortunately for me however, it seemed my fears were unfounded – the end credits rolled to enthusiastic applause and warm reception and the feedback I've received so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Phew!

There's absolutely no way I could have finished this film entirely by myself though, and I have a lot of people to be thankful for. Firstly my family, who support and encourage and love me always, even when I make ridiculous decisions like choosing to direct, shoot and edit a feature-length film largely on my own; to my friends who spurred me on with great enthusiasm all the while; to Aaron Ly, Dr. Paul Wolffram and Maddi Baird, who gave me technical assistance and offered me honest feedback; to Stephen Riddell who came in late in the game to contribute his sound mixing skills; to Damien Puddle and the New Zealand Parkour Association for their support and resources given throughout the project; to the wonderful parkour community both in Wellington and the rest of NZ who submitted footage, allowed me to film them, agreed to interviews, and with whom I am lucky to share the same training spaces; and also to parkour, the discipline which helped me through the worst of my depression and anxiety two years ago, which improved my self-confidence, and continues to help me still. 

The last two years I've spent working on MOVE (Flow Like Water) have been such a blast. I've met so many cool new people, heard so many interesting stories and have learned so much – not just about parkour and the community of people here surrounding it, but also about myself and my own capacity as a filmmaker, and the kindness and generosity of those in the New Zealand community that I was lucky enough to interact with, be it online or in person. In a way, this documentary was a means through which I could not only advance the general public's understanding of parkour, but also to give back to that community, as well as to parkour itself. 

But again, in the nature of parkour and the nature of creative ideas, MOVE (Flow Like Water) has progressed to being potentially so much than just an experiment in documentary or a simple gift made by, for and from the parkour community. In recent talks with the relevant people, it seems like with some polishing there's a good chance of my documentary making it into not only local film festival circuits, but also a few internationally – how about that! The opportunity to go international with a project like this is a concept almost unfathomable in its scope, but the things it could achieve is also incredibly exciting to consider, and I heartily welcome the new experiences it could bring and doors it may open for not only myself as a filmmaker, but also the local and international parkour communities.

Two years ago, in November of 2013, I had an idea. The outcome of that idea was even bigger than I could have imagined. But really (and as I should have anticipated) – when has any spark of a creative idea ever been less than the first step of something even greater?


by Michelle Kan

Michelle Kan is a traceuse, filmmaker and writer. Her work can be found at Fish and Swallow.

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