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You’ve probably seen that we (Know Obstacles)

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are trying to crowd fund a film about parkour and the water crisis in South Africa.

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This is a project we have been passionately working on and one that makes perfect sense to us but may not make perfect sense to you.

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You might have seen it and asked yourself, “What does parkour have to do with clean water?” or why are they asking a bunch of traceurs – who, let’s face it, aren’t the most affluent group of people on the planet – to help them make a film?”

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These are good questions and we wanted to take the time to share a bit more about how this project came about.

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So let’s get started…

“What does parkour have to do with clean water?”

Francis (the co-founder of KO) and I have been talking for years about taking KO (and parkour) in a different direction. We both believe that parkour training can change lives, and when Francis traveled to South Africa in 2014 to work on a clean water project with Global Water Challenge he saw an opportunity to help. While most of us know that people around the world struggle to obtain clean drinking water and proper sanitation we don’t really have the faintest idea what that means on a day-to-day basis. We realized we could change that, at least within the parkour and movement communities. By teaming up with two amazing American Ninja Warrior athletes (Meagan Martin and Nicholas Coolridge) and one of America’s most innovative parkour educators (Jesse Danger of The Movement Creative).

We could use parkour as a vehicle to inform thousands of kids and adults. Then, by traveling to South Africa, we could learn more about this issue firsthand – from people who have been affected and from specialists in clean water and sustainability fields. At the same time, we’d be able to work on rebuilding playgrounds and sharing our love of movement with schools we visit. In a part of the world where children are facing devastating challenges on all sides, we believe that parkour is something that can introduce some peace and control in their lives; it can simplify life’s challenges (if just for an hour or two) to vaulting a wall or jumping to a rail. And maybe the confidence, self-assurance, and problem-solving skills they build through movement will help them deal with the difficulties they face outside of training…difficulties most of us know nothing about.

“Why are we crowdfunding a film?”

While parkour training can inspire people to make huge changes in their life, it also offers access to a platform of passionate people of all ages. Our hope is that a film about the essence of parkour training and the global water crisis would reach and inform these thousands of passionate people who otherwise would stay vaguely informed and largely uninspired. I was one of these people. I knew about the water crisis but I never really understood the urgent attention this situation demands.

We don’t expect every parkour athlete to immediately become involved in sustainability projects. But we do want to offer them knowledge so they can make the decision for themselves. Crowdfunding helps expedite this process by introducing an issue (in this case, the water crisis) to people on a wide scale before any action has even been taken. This has already led (through our association with The Movement Creative) to several opportunities to share information about our project and, more importantly, the issue of water sanitation with public students in New York City

Additionally, crowdfunding a project like this gives people outside the parkour and movement communities an idea of what we’re really about. Parkour hasn’t always had the most sterling reputation and in many places people still view it as a destructive, extreme, “fringe” sport. We’re hoping that getting the parkour community to support beneficial projects like this can help convince any doubters that parkour is a safe, constructive discipline with a genuine philosophy of helping others.

Crowdfunding is also a way to keep projects like this from being funded by large, interested corporations that may not have the good of the parkour community at heart. The more money people who are actively involved in parkour invest, the more accountable the project is to the community.

Finally, we wanted to crowdfund this project because we think we have really good gifts to give people that contribute! I have been working with Francis and a bunch of other athletes on designing the new KO “Drop” shoes for months, and we are really excited to be able to finally share them as a gift for contributing to the RocketHub campaign. People have been asking for new KO’s for the past two years and we thought this was a great way to make contributing to our project feel less like donating and more like an exchange. We didn’t want this project to feel like charity, particularly since we’re funding a film, and so we tried our best to have gifts like the shoes, new socks, and sunglasses that would make people feel comfortable with contributing. This way, we get to share some of our new gear with you and you get to help fund a project that could change lives.

Thanks for reading this, we hope it helps clear up any questions you had about the iKnowObstacles: Water Crisis project. If you feel inspired to contribute to this amazing cause, be sure to head over to our RocketHub and check out the various donor levels and their associated gifts.


If you’ve read all this and don’t have the money to contribute, we hope you’ll help us out by spreading the word about our project! Or even by researching some facts about the water crisis on your own. After all, there’s no reason to wait for the film to be made to start raising awareness!

–Max Henry

Max Henry is a Parkour athlete and instructor in New York City. You can read more of his posts on his blog, and follow him on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @MaxHenryParkour.

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