YouTube flips for self-taught parkour teens on northern Manitoba reserve

Two teens on Pukatawagan First Nation in Manitoba are conquering environments in their remote community by jumping, flipping and climbing on any surface they can and now thousands are watching them do it.

Despite frigid cold, they went out to practice parkour and make a video, which has 11K views

A pair of Pukatawagan teens are getting a lot of attention and accolades for parkour stunts they've recorded and posted on YouTube. 0:45

Two teens on Pukatawagan First Nation in Manitoba are conquering environments in their remote community by jumping, flipping and climbing on any surface they can, and now thousands are watching them do it.

By watching YouTube videos, Justin Bighetty and Anthony Francois, both 18, taught themselves how to do parkour — the act of moving from point "a" to point "b" using obstacles in a path to increase efficiency, according to the World Freerunning Parkour Federation (WFPF).

Francois said he started doing it when he was around eight or nine years old and improved when he saw videos online of other people doing it. Then, at 16, he met Bighetty.

"He already knew what [parkour] was," Francois said.

"We pretty much flipped around on the first day we met."

On Friday, Bighetty and Francois ventured outside in –30 C to do flips on playground structures, metal poles surrounding a fire hydrant and wooden ramps leading up to houses in the community, which is part of Mathias Colomb Cree Nation.

That night, Bighetty edited footage Barb Francois shot of them that day using an ion air pro camera — another skill he taught himself, having never taken a video production class or been shown by someone how to do it.

"I pretty much just showed myself," he said.

"Just do it, I guess. Just get some videos from filmmaking, go record and then just upload them onto a computer and go on Movie Maker and just mess around with the video until it looks cool."

When Bighetty woke up on Saturday morning, the video had thousands of views.

"We got plenty of footage of us flipping around. We just didn't know this video would blow up like that," he said.

"I was pretty surprised, I could say."

No obstacle too great

Parkour is as philosophical as it is physical.

The WFPF describes the discipline as based upon the philosophy that in life, there are no obstacles  — including in the physical world — that cannot be overcome.

Bighetty learned of the philosophical aspect of parkour after the physical. In fact, he had taught himself a number of tricks before ever seeing it on the Internet.

"People slowly started coming out of nowhere with parkour and I was like, 'Hey, I know how to do it. Might as well just train and do it more often,'" he said.

He then learned about the ideas at the foundation of the practice, which he said are as important to him as the physical aspects.

"They are pretty inspiring.… It gets me to want to go do more stuff to challenge myself; to push it, to keep going forward," he said.

"I try to go inspire some kids, get other people moving; I try going and inspiring my friends, family, whatever."

And his family is inspired, he said, encouraging him to keep teaching himself about the practice.

"They think it's so great. They think it's awesome that I do it, and they always tell me to keep doing it."