Meet Chris Murphy, an IADT graduate who now works for technology company Engine Yard. During his time in college he became deeply involved in the Free-Running and Parkour Society, an incredibly unique activity which he is still involved with today.
Parkour is a holistic training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training which involves using only their bodies and their surroundings to propel themselves. Free-running is also a military discipline of expressing oneself in his or her environment without limitation of movement.Hannah Popham: How did you become involved in the society?
Chris Murphy: I saw the poster for it before I joined the college when visiting a friend. It was a pretty big influence on going there as no other college I knew had one on offer so I found them at the signup day and joined then.Tell me a bit about the society. How do people join?
So it's called the Free-running and Parkour society. There is a distinction between the two but not enough of one to require different societies. The society was setup nearly eight years ago now by two animation students, one of them is still around and very involved. Those that graduate the college tend to stick around as there aren't many other options to train reliably. The college gives it what funding it can, more than most as we were much more organized, proved that we were meeting regularly and were spending the money pretty responsibly.What was the highlight of your involvement in the society?
In my second year of college we were getting pretty popular, we had a reliable class going of about 20 people twice a week and growing. We had the classes out in Dun Laoghaire when we could depend on the weather. We got a fair bit of attention and were approached by RTÉ to go on one of their shows (TwoTube? I think it's still running) and talk about it as an alternative, non-competitive sport. After that our class went up to like 40 people, we needed to get more of the guys teaching the class and splitting it up into two groups, was a pretty good problem to have and was a great time, seeing so many people interested.What kind of events did you get involved with?
I was involved in organizing all the classes, the plans of what we'd do each night. The signup days, there were usually two a year, we'd get some big tvs and people around talking about the society and what we did. We'd get any of the girls in the class wearing our t-shirts out talking to people. We didn't have much budget and all wanted to be able to go on trips so a lot were paid through that €2 signup fee.Why would you recommend joining this society?
It was a great way to meet people from outside your class in college, it was also loads of fun and there was a great buzz every night. As well as just teaching people moves we also focused a lot on conditioning so it was a great way to stay fit. We catered it to different levels but everyone constantly pushed each other so the level of fitness got pretty high. That kind of positive motivation was part of the fun and meant everyone stayed in pretty good shape.Did your involvement teach you any skills that you brought to your career?
Yeah definitely helped me organizing conferences and working at them, a lot of the organizing people and things at events with work is directly lifted from teaching and running the classes.
I always took the lesson that if you ask 100 people to attend something, 60 will say they're interested. 30 will confirm and 20 will show up. Always use that rule of thumb.Do you still keep up contact with the society?
Yep, other guys have taken over since but myself and previous heads are always on hand to run the class or give advice if needed. We still train with them twice a week too.What kind of students would you recommend join the society?
Anyone with an interest in keeping up fitness or moving around and a good attitude. The class is great craic but obviously if you're not interested in it at the core you'll just end up standing around. That was usually the factor that meant people kept coming back each week. We had members who mightn't have been the most athletic but were determined, there were a few occasions when someone might pass comments or laugh. These people were immediately told where to go and not come back. We took a lot of pride in being able to teach anyone motivated enough to learn so if that core interest is there it's usually a great fit.Were there any trips away involved?
We had one trip abroad a year, France usually to show people where it all started and train with some of the guys who created it. This let us meet big names in the sport because the community was so small. Went to Copenhagen two years too. We always met other free runners on the trips and stayed in contact. As an offshoot to the society a lot of our members were interested in races so went to a couple of them down in the country or in England.What did it add to your time in college?
Opened up a bunch of my interests, went to a big sports school and had zero interest in staying active until I joined the society and was trained by the guys. It was also a great way of becoming close friends with people from other courses and helped me meet some of my really good friends.
Follow Hannah on Twitter: @bananapop2.
Check out the long-lost TwoTube clip below. And yes, it's still running.