June 1st, 2013

Parkour + Movies: South Africans add skills at Tiger Muay Thai

From movie sets to Thailand, both Stuart Williamson and Ian Stock have had a busy year. The South African friends and avid Parkour practitioners finished their stunt work on the feature film “Kite,” starring Samuel L. Jackson just a few months back and have been looking for their next adventure ever since. They found it at Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Training Camp, Phuket, Thailand.

Originally, they came out to Thailand with the idea of training Muay Thai, but have fallen in love with the Muay Boran and Krabi Krabong training taught by popular teacher, Kru Oh.

“It has been great trip to learn from a master like Kru Oh, someone who helps you grow sa a human being, not just physically but intellectually and emotionally. It’s like a full experience,” said 24-year-old Ian Stock.

Stock and Williamson met when they were both just teenagers in the same of friends practicing Parkour and freerunning. Parkour is a training discipline that has grown into a sport in which a person’s intention is to move quickly and efficiently around several obstacles – usually in an urban setting – to get from one place to another. A good example of Parkour is in the first scene of the James Bond film “Casino Royale.” The sport started from a military training program in France and is now a practiced around the world.

“The art of motion, the freedom to move and being able to do a wide variety of things over any obstacle. Parkour is the art of getting from A to B quickly and efficiently with no flashy moves,” Williamson, 23, says, “You go against how man is structured to go over an obstacle.”

Jumping off of walls, leaping over entities, sliding under crevices, parkour training has given these Johannesburg natives a chance at a Hollywood career which they hope to take to the next level with their training at TMT. The Krabi Krabong especially give these two an edge as they plan to audition for the upcoming Star Wars films that the Walt Disney Co. plans to pump out for the next few years.

“We really want to get ourselves the best opportunity to get onto the film,” Stock said, “The more versatile you are, the more useful you become and the more work you can find.”

Williamson got his opportunity in the “Kite” film through a stunt coordinator friend of his. Stock, rather, was casted after auditioning for a small role. The two have been friends for years, with each finding their own path in Parkour.

While just a teenager, Stock’s girlfriend was murdered in South Africa. He took his frustration and anger out by training martial arts, but was still getting into destructive habits of using drugs and alcohol to cope. Then he met Stuart and other friends that would make up their group, the Concrete Foundation Crew, training parkour and freerunning in the streets of Johannesburg.

“Part of the reason we love freerunning so much is because it is constantly testing what the human body is capable of,” Stock said, “one can almost call it the art of progression. There is no end goal. It’s just forever evolving, adapting, growing. This taught me a great appreciation of life and time. Taught me a great appreciation for existence.”

Both men hope to give back to the youth in their home city by running free parkour and freerunning workshops to help channel their energy towards fitness.

“Can’t doesn’t exist in this world. It’s your movement, it’s your expression,” Williamson said, “and there is no judgement telling you how things are suppose to be done.”

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