Team Adrenaline and the birth of parkour
What is Parkour?
Parkour is an extreme movement discipline where the goal is to get from point A to point B by overcoming all the obstacles that are in our way, assuming that no fortress is impregnable. It involves agility, explosivity, speed. It’s a question of logic: how I leave this place, climb this wall, natural movement of the human body.
I never liked to do things like everyone else, to follow the mass. My twin brother Stéphane and I didn’t want to do football like everyone in the recreation fields. we always wanted to do things differently. Doing martial arts, splits. So Parkour was a revelation, but it was also logical for us.
With our friends, we were already playing with hip hop, diverse martial arts, and capoiera. We amused ourselves in the streets, jumping over things. But we didn’t have a name for it.
In 1998 on December 7 there was a French TV show about hip hop, and they spoke about Yamakasi and their discipline. That was the first time I heard the term ‘L’art du displacement’ (the art of moving). A revelation. There were video clips and I recognized the locations, La Défense and Evry (the home town of Yamakasi).
I was already a gymnast. After the show, I planned a challenge to myself to make all the same movements.
We began in 1999. We made « soirées bitume » (hard ground). With my brother Stephane and other friends, at a place near a station in Gennevilliers. We played music. We were friends who trained capoiera. We made hip hop, capoiera, and eventually the movements of parkour. We learned alone, without help.
At first we were Stéphane, Daniel, Otmane, Raimundo, and Nabil. Later came Cyril and Niemoul.
I proposed that as a team we would live adventure, blog, film, internet, to become known.
I had the idea to find a name, and I thought of « The Shadows ». But there’s a problem with people who mispronounce in English. And when they mispronounce it, it’s a name of laundry soap. One time Stephane and Raimondu saw a capoierist with pants with the word Adrenaline. It’s a logical name. At first we were just called ‘Adrenaline’. Later we became ‘Team Adrenaline’.
Yamakasi’s terrain was Evry. There was Paris 13, the Chinese Quarter, which became known as a spot for Parkour. We didn’t want to train our own district at first, because we didn’t like it. So La Défense became the quarter of Adrenaline. The first TV video of Yamakasi in 1998 was filmed there and I went there to copy everything, to create evidence to prove ourselves. We trained a lot at La Défense. We met people there who didn’t know Parkour before and discovered it through us.
One of our guys, Raimundo, had a blog at a French site Skyrock, where he introduced Team Adrenaline. The people adored our blog because we were the first to show gifs of Parkour. Skyrock had « blog of the week ». For two weeks we were the top blog. Many people thought that Adrenaline opened the « generation Parkour Skyrock », because many people discovered the Art of Displacement through our blog.
There was a site le-Parkour.com. Bruno managed that site. He was in contact with David Belle and others. One day we sent a message to the forum to say hello to the practicants. And we received a mail from Bruno, who was very happy to hear from us because he had heard we had a super level. He asked if we had a video. And at that moment we had a video of our training. Stephane had amused himself making an edit, called 15.17. We sent a shorter version called Adrenaline L’art du Displacement to Bruno and he adored it. He said he had never seen a video made like that, it was truly different. He put it on the site and the server crashed because so many people downloaded it. And after that many people knew us. I think that first video was 2004. Later we put 15.17 on the internet too.
We made another video before, Vertige, but it was never online. It was long. It was when we were 7 members. No one else has seen that. Another video that was never on the internet was Adrenaline No Limit. We showed it at the festival, la Folle Journée du cinoche.
I did the videos, writing and editing. I directed and proposed movements. I did post a teaser for Adrenaline No Limit and people adored it. They said « we can’t wait for the video. » In 2006 was « Adrenaline Next Level », and the practicants of Parkour paid attention it. Generally Parkour videos used rap music, but I had the idea to use music with voice, like Carmina Burana. Afterwards, other people started to use this kind of music.
Did you have the sense of an audience? We had friends, who made lots of sports and pleasure, and they filmed us training. We didn’t plan anything. Today in youtube people are looking for buzz. Generation « you see me ». But we didn’t have this idea.
I started a blog, also on Skyrock, with the name ‘Adrenaline Team’, because the first blog was really Raimondo’s and I wanted a blog specifically for the group. It’s still there: https://adrenaline-team.skyrock.com/
Yamakasi become known through television, not through blogs or videos. In 2001 Luc Besson produced a film about them, Yamakasi. And they were in a film of his called Taxi, doing a scene of Ninja. It was sort of a test, and after he proposed the film Yamakasi. At that time I was working near a big cinema and I saw the poster for the film.
In 2002 we met Yamakasi. There was a day organized by Jann, from Yamakasi, for young people, and they made a show. He didn’t know us before, but he proposed to Stephane, Raimundo, and me to be in the show. We said ok, but he had some fear because he had never seen us perform. We said « don’t worry, give us your confidence. » During the show he was like « wow ». And I have a video of that show.
In 2003 there was a big show organized in their town Evry, for presenting the Art of Displacement. And we Team Adrenaline we were among the people, with Yamakasi, who presented the discipline to other people. It was in a hall, there were about 100 people there and a television channel. So then we met all the Yamakasi. On that day the agent of Yamakasi, a different Bruno, gave me a copy of their film from 1997, called The Message.
Parkour Day was organized by practicants through the internet. It’s not official, it’s informal. Adrenaline organized a Parkour Day in Paris at La Défense, but I don’t remember the year. People came from other countries.
We heard from people everywhere in the world. At the beginning we didn’t really know that. One day someone said « You are the reference #3 for Parkour: Yamakasi, David Belle, and Adrenaline. » We didn’t know! We were like children, playing. When people started paying us, we were really surprised. « Pay? Cool! » It was really for pleasure. Getting paid was a bonus.
We also got invited for teaching, in Belgium and other places. Generally it was a city who contacted us for giving a one-day course. And they paid.
Then we got proposals for commercial projects, usually outside of France. But it was mostly thanks to Bruno, because his site was really well known. So producers from other places contacted him, and he connected us with the projects. He was unofficially our agent.
The first project was for a teaser for the television channel XN in 2005. (Here’s the Making Of.) After that we worked for Dannon, energy drinks for a German company.
In the team, Raimundo and I received the invitations. This created tensions with the others who did not receive the invitations. I always said « yes ».
We continued to make the discipline of Parkour known throughout the world. We were invited to participate in films, commercials, and to perform live shows.
It was Bruno who posted my photo of the back flip. He put it on his site and people all over the world downloaded it, and now it’s still used very often, for many things, from Red Bull Parkour competitions to pizza boxes. The photo has been all over the world. And I asked him later for the high-resolution copy and he said he didn’t have it. The photo was taken in 2003. I also couldn’t find the photographer. His name is Mark.
Art of Life
People called me Daniel of Adrenaline. So eventually I became Daniel Adrenaline.
For me, personally I elevate Art of Displacement to Art of Life. It’s not just a discipline to do Monday morning from 0900 to 1200 and then remove my outfit and it’s over. For me, I am permanently in Parkour. I am Art of Displacement. It’s my way to move around. I use my discipline for everything. For pleasure, or in case of danger. I am training even when I’m not specifically training. Every day, I move like this. Over and under the barriers, up the walls.
It’s my style to move in adaptation to the environment, where most people are confined. I am also confined, but I create my universe of obstacles. I am permanently finding pleasure with everything I find in my life.
I permanently, all the time, I use my discipline to express myself while moving. I do not follow the paths established by society, I decide myself which path to take and how I will follow this path, So I divert the city from its ordinary way of being. I redraw the city with spectacular flights of fancy.