With eighteen years of experience, Daniel Ilabaca is an outstanding “tracer”, excelling in Parkour, a sporting discipline that consists of successively overcoming obstacles with agile and fast movements without the help of equipment. Meeting with this acrobat who perceives Parkour more as a philosophy of life than as a simple sport.
As a good “tracer”, Daniel Ilabaca plays without a net. For over eighteen years, this athlete has been practicing Parkour daily and has been walking the streets and rooftops of the United Kingdom with jumps, slides and other acrobatic tricks to train. His talent finally opened the doors of the film industry to him. During his visit to the Misk Global Forum last November in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the free runner took the time to explain to us what Parkour is and what this sporting discipline means to him on a daily basis.
Parkour, a life experience
When you listen to him talk, you realize that since his early childhood, Daniel has had Parkour in his skin. Like Mozart and music, Einstein and physics, this young genius of movement discovered his talents at an early age. “I have always been active since I was a child. There has never been a day when I wasn’t,” he recalls. This trait of his personnality never left him, and then turned into a passion in high school, before becoming his real profession a few years later.
As with Parkour, however, it had to overcome obstacles and not without a good dose of perseverance, a spoonful of maturity and a zest of luck to reach the top of its category. “I would save money and go to London every week just to train. And it just so happens that I was in the right place at the right time. Finally, I started making music videos. Then I started advertising and auditioning for films, then finally I started working in the film industry as a stuntman,” he says with a smile on his face.
Today, if for many of us Parkour simply consists in being able to go from point A to point B as efficiently as possible by overcoming obstacles that stand in our way, for Daniel this sporting activity has become a real philosophy of life that applies to many situations. “What I have learned through the movements, I apply in sectors of activity or other challenges… You can physically overcome the obstacles, but you can also take them into sectors of activity and overcome these obstacles within a company. For me, it is therefore definitely part of my whole life experience,” he admits.
An open door to the world
Over the years, the free runner has had the opportunity to work with different tracers around the world. From Europe to Asia, via the Middle East, Daniel became aware of the unifying power of Parkour. “Egypt is a place I often went to before I discovered Riyadh. I had the chance to meet an important community and to learn from them. I was able to have excellent conversations because it’s not just about the movement, it’s also a philosophy to sit down and talk with people, to get to know their lives,” Daniel explains.
While Munich and Japan were his two favorites, Daniel remains fond of new cities like Riyadh, which are opening up more and more to this sporting discipline. “I know that here in Jeddah, there is a large community of people who practice Parkour,” he tells us. A sporting discipline, a symbol of a door open to the world and to many possibilities in which Daniel hopes to take part very soon in Riyadh. In the end, for the tracer, it doesn’t matter the city where you practice Parkour as long as you have a few walls and a welcoming community.