Videos

Training

This site features actual training videos. The examples show how you can arrange your training session in the forest, city and swimming-pool.

Hébertisme Asse
Uitgezonden door VRT – programma 1000 zonnen.

Training Forstenrieder Wald
Training sessions in the Forstenrieder Wald forest in Munich, Germany.

Snow & Winter Training
Compilation of exercises for training in winter.

Training Session Example Swimming Pool
An example training in the pool with John Edouard Ehlinger

Training Session Example Swimming Pool II
The group in Munich at one of their monthly swimming pool sessions.

Training Session Example City
An example training in the city with John Edouard Ehlinger

Gym Session
An example of combined outdoor and gym session with an obstacle course

 

Interviews

A collection of some good interviews

Erwan Le Corre
Part 1:

Part 2:

Hébertisme ROSKA vzw Asse
Hébertisme Roska – Interview with Frank Mattens

Techniques & Motivation

Videos about one specific training aspect or videos to motivate you.

Barefoot Running

Belvaux s/Lesse – Camp scout 1937
Camp scouts trained Méthode Naturelle too.

Jump training

Sprinting workout routine

71 years old man ghetto workout training

Inspired by MN

MovNat – Erwan Le Corre – True To My Nature

This is one video which opened many Parkour practicioners eyes for training in natural environment.

Back to the roots – Natural training in the city
Nadja shows that a natural training can also be practiced in big cities like Munich

Natural skill training – inspired by Methode Naturelle
Tom climbs and jumps over trees in the beautiful scenery of Guisborough forest.

Méthode Naturelle in Stockholm

 

Nadja’s FAQ

Hi, I am Nadja Hahn, and in this short FAQ I would like to share my experience on how to start training Méthode Naturelle (further MN) and how to start a local MN training group.

First, shortly about me and the Munich group:
I have been doing parkour since 2008 and then become interested in the origins of Parkour. You can read more about my background and how did I learn MN in my interview from 2013.

When I started with parkour, I didn’t have any coaching experience, after one year of training I became an assistant coach at the weekly beginners workshops, and one more year later I started my own weekly beginners training. So before I started my own MN training in Munich 2011, I had been coaching weekly parkour sessions for beginners for 1.5 years already.
This parkour training for beginners was transferred into MN Training, but as except for two people everyone else jumped off within three weeks, the training was basically started from the scratch. Until now, Méthode Naturelle München remains the only new group worldwide founded apart from existing MN groups, as far as I know. After three years, we have over 30 members now, aged 2-48. We have four coaches, and offer five weekly trainings: 4 outdoor + 1 swimming, with 4 – 10 participants per training.

We travel together to visit other groups and learn MN from them: to Belgium, France, Italy. This year we organized a big Summer Festival with over 30 participants from different countries. We have a thriving social live with X-Mas and BBQ parties, and lots of extra trainings such as hiking and snow tours, bouldering, Tough Mudder or Spartan Race runs. And we do not forget the “being strong to be useful” part, and do volunteer work together, such as blood donation, helping out at wheelchair sports event, or assembling furniture at a juvenile shelter etc.

When you consider starting your own group please keep in mind that thank to parkour I already had some background both in MN and sports coaching. However, I am pretty sure that everyone – regardless of background – can start an own MN training, as long as the motivation is right.

Oh yeah, here I only speak to the people who are willing to do the real MN, with its altruistic spirit, and as a part of the good old MN family. If you are thinking about taking the idea of Hébert, adding some stuff and calling it your “own” training, and taking money from the participants, go do your own thing, and please don’t bother reading, it won’t any help you.

So first, some questions about how to start at all:

How do I start with Méthode Naturelle?

You probably have heard about Méthode Naturelle because you had been doing Parkour, or martial arts, or some kind of modern training as MovNat. So you already had been doing MN, more or less, then keep on, and gather more information. Whether yes, or no, in any case, you can:

Just go out and move naturally: run, climb trees and walls, throw things, carry stones, jump over benches in the park, balance over rails etc. Find a playground and play around there, it is all good
Read books of Hebert, information on this website and blogs in several languages
Watch Youtube videos
Ask questions and follow posts in the Facebook group
Visit any training of a certain family, such as running, martial arts, attend swimming or bouldering courses etc. You can also get in touch with the local parkour community.
Don’t forget the “be strong to be useful” part: attend a first-aid course, make a life guard license etc.
The best thing you can do: visit an existing MN group and train with them. Do it! I mean it!
MN training will not cost you anything, so you might as well spend the money for travelling.
Soon we will publish a beginner’s guide on how to start with Parkour, stay tuned.

How do I know if what I am doing is right?

Méthode Naturelle is not training in the nature, the nature and outdoor are only used as means of resistance training. “Natural” part here refers to the natural movement, the movement that is natural for our bodies. It is not natural to do a douple side flip.

So listen to your body. It will tell you what is good or wrong.

If something hurts or doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. After the training, you should feel tired in the entire body, though refreshed and relaxed. It is not good to feel pain in one muscle part or exhausted. Please refer to Héberts “Practical Guide of Physical Education” for more considerations about this topic.

Can I start with Méthode Naturelle even if I have never done any sports? (have injury, just recovering after operation etc.)

Yes, Méthode Naturelle is for everyone. Literally.

Where can I find more information in English and other languages?

Here: www.methodenaturelle.de/en/methode-naturelle/more-information/
There are also some blog available in Italian and Spanish, check out under “Groups”, we will soon update the list.

Where from can I get Hébert’s books in French?

On the Ebay.

And now let’s talk about how you can start a local Méthode Naturelle group.

What is the most important?

Clarify your goals and motivation.

So what is your message?

This might sound unnecessary and cumbersome, but believe me, it is very important. Ask yourself all that questions and think about them properly. Otherwise, you will get stuck and frustrated sooner or later.

Why do you want to establish a new group? What is your purpose? Is it more about you, or about other people? What kind of training can you offer? Do you think you are doing a good thing? Why is it a good thing?

What do you want to achieve and why? For whom will be your training in the first place?
Do you want to show someone who never did any sports the beauty of healthy movement? Or do you want to go back to the initial meaning of parkour together with other well trained traceurs? Or to prepare people for the ultimate obstacle run? Or to build a strong group of people that help each other and spend a good time together in the nature doing group exercise?

Even within the existing MN groups, there are somewhat different realizations of the training. They vary in intensity, locations, fun factor, techniques that are learned.
But! No matter what your motivation is, your method of training should be the same – Méthode Naturelle.

Depending on your answers, you will gather certain people around you. The utter goal is that you can offer such a training, that people with different motivation and of different levels will be satisfied. This is very challenging, and comes with experience and instant feedbacking to oneself.

It is easier to offer the training just as you wish for yourself, and gather people with the same motivation around you. But not necessarily. I train a lot of parkour, and for myself I wish a hard training and improving in techniques and in swimming, running and self-defense. However, my motivation for starting MN group and coaching sessions is to offer people a healthy sustainable training, especially for those who never did any sports. I want to help people to reveal their own hidden abilities. I do work with them on certain techniques, but my priority is to improve their coordination, balance, resistance, endurance. The social component is also very important for me: to improve people’s teamwork, offer them a hold in the group and give them a feeling of acceptance as they are, make them aware of how they can be useful, also by engaging them in volunteer jobs. My motivation might sound good here, but it doesn’t have to be your motivation.

Where do I find people?

Well, your friends might be a good start. You might share information about your training in forums about running, or natural fitness etc, or Facebook groups. You might ask a local newspaper to print an interview with you – works good in little towns, as MN is really something special, and when your sessions are free, it is not even advertising. You might print flyers and ask the local doctor if you can leave them at the waiting room of his praxis.

In Munich, we didn’t really do any advertising. Together with Johannes Mikulash I run a webpage about parkour in Munich, and we linked that my basic training for parkour is now MN, and is also good for parkour. This is how most people came to my training in the first place.

What is most hard about starting the training?

Not to get frustrated and give up too early. You should have a lot of frustration potential. I remember the first cold and snowy winter when we were just two people again and again. I remember some trainings where I had the feeling no matter what I did was just stupid and not good. There were many moments I were asking myself if it all made any sense. When it comes to the point you start to doubt, do not give up. Change something, but do not give up. Think in long term. Appreciate every single person that comes to your training. Do not expect 20 super motivated people standing there in the rain. If only one shows up, be the most happy person in universe.

Do I need a certification to become a trainer in MN?

No, you don’t. There is even no such a thing as an official MN coach certification.
Teaching MN has two components – first you have to teach, and second – you have to teach MN.

So first, you have to know what to do being a coach in general, how to do the warm up, how to feel, guide and organize the group, how to react in certain situations, such as injuries, how to make an exercise interesting, and adapt it to the level of participants, how to ask for and accept the feedback etc.

You can surely profit from some general sports trainer certification that might be offered in your country, check it out. It is offered in Germany as 120 hours (!) of presence workshops, followed by an exam. Me and two other trainers in our Munich group did it, and really learned a lot from it. It is not bound to any specific sports, and costs around 600€, what is really fair – and our sports club paid for it.

The second part is to know what MN is about. You don’t need to know all the movements, you don’t even need to be a good runner or jumper, but you have to understand the method.

True followers of Hébert in Belgium – the Fédération Belge d’Hébertisme et de Yoga – offer the only one available certification as a MN coach. They designed it for their own trainers within the Fédération. They are so kind that May 2015 they will offer that certification for “foreigners”, too – for free (except some small fee for printouts and stuff). Several people from Munich and Italy will attend it, me too. They might invite you as well – if you can convince them that you are also a true Hébert follower.

You might have heard of MovNat certifications – I don’t think you need it. You can do it, if you wish and have money, it surely won’t harm. I did not do it and do not plan.
Please be aware that the fact that you are good in sports doesn’t automatically make you a good coach. Here in Munich, we even do not dare to teach our own people swimming. Sure, we have swim trainings, where we go through different exercise, but we strongly recommend our participants to go learn swimming in a special course in the first place.

But even if you never did any coaching, and never did any MN, do not let that fact intimidate you, just start training with your friends.

How do you organize all that? Insurance and stuff?

Keep in mind that as soon as you offer a training and call yourself a coach, you get responsibilities. The laws differ from country to country, so you have to check the issues about the insurance of participants, your own liability, private grounds, if it is ok to do sports at playgrounds and parks etc.

It is not always easy to recognize private property, so you better check in advance if the forest or meadow you are planning to train is public or not. If you occasionally end up training on private property and they ask you to leave, do excuse yourself and leave.

Here in Germany we train at public parks, forests and at public sport grounds.
Méthode Naturelle München is just a section within a typical German non-profit sports club that is supported by the state. The club has about 500 members and offers other sports, such as yoga or triathlon. I am very happy with that solution, as they offer the participants insurance for every training. The membership fee is 75€ per year, 35€ for students and kids, own kids are free. That is really fair. And I do not have to think about membership management, it is all done by the club management. The club also pays for us for the first aid courses, for the sport license certification, balls and ropes, supports with money for example for the BBQ Party during our summer festival. They pay us coaches 14€ per hour, as it is normal in every sports club in Germany. In return, we help all together in organizing a local big running event held by our club every year. We have a good family feeling in our club.

This solution might not be available in your county. You have to find your own.

Is there anything I absolutely should not do?

Yes, making your living from Méthode Naturelle

What shall I avoid?

Adapting your training to the ideas participants have about MN. I do not mean that you should not listen to the feedback about warm up, exercise, and your coaching style.

What I mean is, in my experience, from time to time I had new participants with a precise idea what they want to do. Some wanted just pure parkour in an urban area and were bored by carrying and throwing things. The others didn’t want to get wet or dirty during the training, or they wanted hard work out as they knew from crossfit. I made a mistake to adapt one or two trainings to their wishes, but always regretted that afterwards. Such people will jump off anyway, and you risk to disappoint other participants who truly love Méthode Naturelle.

So stay true to yourself and do what you think is right. The people will follow.

Is this FAQ didn’t answer your question, do not hesitate to ask them in the Facebook group, or just contact me.

Good Luck!

History

Georges Hébert – pioneer of the Méthode Naturelle

Georges Hébert (* 27. April 1875 in Paris; † 2. August 1957 in Tourgéville) was an officer in the French Navy and founder of the Méthode Naturelle.

The volcano Mont PeléePrior to the First World War, Hébert was stationed in the town of St. Pierre, Martinique. In 1902 the town fell victim to a catastrophic volcanic eruption. Hebert coordinated the escape and rescue of some seven hundred people from this disaster. This experience had a profound effect on him, and reinforced his belief that athletic skill must be combined with courage and altruism. He eventually developed this ethos into his personal motto, “Être fort pour être utile” (“Being strong to be useful”).

Hébert had travelled extensively throughout the world and was impressed by the physical development and movement skills of indigenous peoples in Africa and elsewhere.

Upon his return to France, Hébert became a physical instructor for the French marines in Lorient, where he began to define the principles of his own system of physical education and to create apparatus and exercises to teach his Natural Method.

Contrary to the widespread belief that his approach was exclusively based on his observations of the natural movements of indigenous people, his method is a synthesis of various influences like classical representations of the human body in Graeco-Roman statuary and works of his predecessor Francisco Amorós, who published in 1847 Nouveau Manuel Complet d’Education Physique, Gymnastique et Morale and which encompasses already the full range of practical movement aptitudes and many others.

Georges Hébert’s teaching continued to expand between and during the two wars, becoming the standard system of French military physical education. Military obstacle courses and parcours, as well civilian fitness trail and adventure playgrounds are based on the Hébertisme-Parks. He also was also an early advocate of the benefits of exercise for women.

A big park and athlete centre was build in Reims, France. Here you can red more about it (in French).

1955 Hébert was named Commander of the Legion of Honor by the French government in recognition of his many services to his country. In 1957, George Hébert, by then suffering from general paralysis, cultivated the admiration of his courage by relearning how to walk, speak and write. He died on the same year.

Modern progression

At the second half of the 20th century Méthode Naturelle was known mostly through various fitness trails and obstacle course parks.

In the early 2000’s there were only some Méthode Naturelle Communities left in Belgium and France and Hébertisme was almoust forgotten..

Due to the actual trend of ‘outdoor fitness’ the public’s attention to Méthode Naturelle is rising again.

But in most cases the name “Méthode Naturelle” is being heard in context with Parkour. At the beginning of the new millenium David Belle and his friends made the teachings of Georges Hébert famous to many traceures all over the world – as the origin of Parkour.

Source:
Most parts of this text were taken from Wikipedia Géorges Hebert

Elements of the training

This article gives information about the actual Méthode Naturelle training.

Theory

Méthode Naturelle is a hollistic approach to training and covers following fields:

The ten familiesphysical component, containing of ten families: marching, running, leaping, climbing, carrying, throwing, balancing, self defense and movement on all fours (quadrupedie).
moral component: courage, helpfulness.
energetic component: endurance, rapidity, strength, resistance.

Furthermore, there are three important aspects to take care:

1. Entirety of the training

During a training session one should train as many as possible different families. Even in the pool one can train not only swimming but throwing or running in the water as well.

Every family is ‘all inclusive’ and contains many variations. For example the running family can also mean jogging or sprinting, endurance run, stair run or mountain jog. Moreover one can train running with his backpack on or his shoes off (barefooted), in the snow or rain or darkness, etc.

The mental components should be included in every training session: Giving assistance when climbing or doing strength exercises, as well as rescue exercises in the water contribute to being helpful. Balancing in a (yet safe) height against vertigo, or running barefooted for inurement.

2. Freedom of decision

No pressure to perform, no competition. Everyone can decide for himself on which level one wants to train and which exercises one can perform. The main goal of training should be to prevent injuries and to foster one’s health. This attitude allows to train even with health issues.

For example if one has a knee injury he can simply walk while the rest of the group runs. He won’t stay alone because the group will run back and forth.

3. No competition

One does not compare to others but with himself, with his old ego. Though some clubs actually measure time while running a course only the difference between one’s old and new time counts. At Méthode Naturelle no one is better or worse others and everyone will be treated with equal respect

Praxis

Method of training

Sorry… We are working on the translation!

Wichtigste Methode beim Training ist die Abwechslung der Intensität und der Übungen. Es werden keine Pausen gemacht, sondern sich während des Trainings, durch entsprechend leichtere Übungen, erholt.

Die Intensität der Trainingseinheit nimmt am Anfang wellenartig zu: intensive und erholende Übungen wechseln sich in Phasen ab (dabei darf gerne die Übungsfamilie gewechselt werden), jede nächste Phase wird intensiver. Nach der intensivsten Übung nimmt die Intensität der Übungen wieder wellenartig ab.

Genauso wechseln sich die Übungen nach Körperbereichen und Arten ab, nach dem Oberkörpertraining wird gesprungen, nach der Koordinationsübung folgt Krafttraining.

Wo trainieren

Überall. In der Stadt, im Wald, am Fluss, in der Halle oder zu Hause. Am besten aber in einem Wald oder Park entweder spontan oder an einem Trimm-Dich-Pfad oder einer Kraftstation. Wichtiger als der richtige Trainingsort, ist die Berücksichtigung der Trainingsaspekte und Methoden.

Was man für das Training braucht

Bequeme Kleidung die auch dreckig werden und kaputt gehen kann. Laufschuhe mit wenig Dämpfung, damit der gesunde Laufstil gefördert und das Umknickrisiko minimiert wird. Extras aber kein Muss: ein Ball zu Wurfübungen, Gummiseile für den Hochsprung, ein tragfähiges Seil zum Klettern und so weiter. Man findet aber auch genug in der Natur: Schneebälle oder Baumäste, über Gebüsch springen, einen Baum klettern und so weiter.

Das Training mit einem Partner oder in der Gruppe ist vom großen Vorteil.

Interview with Philippe Compère

Philippe CompéreName: COMPÈRE Philippe

Age: 52 (1961)

Country: Belgium

City: Plainevaux-NEUPRE

Sport club or group: Sport’nat Esneux (formerly Centre Hebert Esneux – CHE)

Position: Secretary

Email: todo

Tell us about yourself

1. Please introduce yourself. What is your name, age, profession, where do you live, your hobbies etc.

Profession: I’m International Account manager for the STAR-APIC group, working in this group since 1983. See www.star-APIC.com.

Hobbies: Besides Hebertism, my main hobby is singing ! I am singing since more than 25 years in the PQF (Pour Quelle Fete – www.pqf.be) group in Liege, as bass.

And since summer 2011, I joined the “Eclats de voix” troup of Antoni Sykopoulos, and took part in many shows of Amelie Productions/Eclats de Voix in our region, such as “Les chansons des Misérables” (the comedy), “HAIR” (where I am Claude Bukowski), “The best of Queen”, “Ce que change GOLDMAN”, “RAPSAT FOREVER”, and the new one, “Sur les pas de FUGAIN”.

2. How long have you been doing méthode naturelle?

Since about 30 years. I started when I met Dominique, my wife, who is the daughter of Charles Demelenne, the founder of the “Centre Hebert of Esneux” and one of the pioneers of Hebertism is Belgium. When I married Dominique, I also married with Hebertism… ;-) At start, I was just a “normal” hebertist, following the lessons of my father-in-law who teached me all about MN. Then we had the chance, Dominique and me, to follow the first-level training of the federation (aide-moniteur). Since last year (2012), we are now instructors (level 2). Now, we are in charge of Sport’nat Esneux since Charles (who is now 81 !), can not assume it anymore.

3. When did you first hear about méthode naturelle? What raised your interest in it? Where or how did you learn it?

See 2/ here above.

At first, I discovered Hebertism as a adherent. I was not practicing any sports (unless some swimming, and lot of tennis and bicycle when I was much younger, in Congo, and Dance courses for 9 years when I came back in Belgium in 1975) before I started Hebertism. Of course, I had very good coaches in Charles and Dominique !

4. What were your first steps in training? Is there any person, group or location that influenced you when beginning?

If I did not meet with Dominique, probably I never had the chance to learn about Hebertism… Who knows? See 3/ here above.

5. Can you say that Méthode Naturelle and all the training changed your life in some way?

Yes, of course !

First, because thanks to Hebertism, I feel today in a much better shape than if I did not practice any sport… Especially since about 45, and these last years, since I am 50, I can really feel that I am losing much faster my breath, and I have less and less endurance… This is why it is important to maintain a regular practice, to practice my breath…

Secondly, it also changed my life progressively when I started becoming an instructor/coach…

Dominique and me, we gained our certificate as “aide-moniteur” (Instructor level 1) in December 1990. Since then, and even before, we used to assist Charles during our weekly courses. We just finished (Feb to June 2012) our training to become Instructor (formation Niveau 2 / training level 2 FBHY & ADEPS).

Since about 5 years, we are progressively taking over the lessons of Sport’nat Esneux.

Charles is now 81 ! And yet, he still took part to our weekly lesson until not long ago but at his own rhythm… And he still practice Hebertism ever morning ! It is called “derouillage matinal” (literally, morning derusting). For about 15 min-1/2 hour, a succession of exercises of the 8 main families.

6. How would you describe in your own words what méthode naturelle is? What does méthode naturelle mean for you? What is your motivation? What do you love most about it?

So much to tell about these 4 questions !

MN is a UNIQUE…

MN is a unique method to develop your body in a very harmonious way, in harmony with the nature and your own nature.

Tell us more about your vision of méthode naturelle

7. How can you describe the evolution of méthode naturelle as you witnessed it? Why do you think it is not so popular any more as it was? How do you think méthode naturelle can get more popular again?

From my point of view, the success of MN in the past was due to the fact that people used to share activities together… There were no TV, no Internet to play virtual games, no DVD to watch videos and movies all day long…

When I was young, we use to play outside, with our bycicles, with balls… Very simple things…

We all went to the scouts,…

MN fit perfectly in his frame.

Today, they are too many occasions to avoid placing a foot outside, and the tendency is for individual activities. How many people prefer to take some time to go for a footing with their IPod or IShuffle, with headphones in their ears, instead of sharing a social moment with new friends ?

May be we are all too much seeked…

What we realised in our Center is that parents often come with their children when they are young… The children are pulling the parents outside to come at Hebertism (it’s hard to wake up on the Saturday morning to be in time for the lesson… Especially when it’s cold and rainy outside, during the Fall or winter) ;-). But the children are growing up. When they become teenagers (11-12), they stop coming because at this age, they expect lot of competition, and Hebertism do not offer them what they need, especially for the young men. When they get older, as adults, they often come back, remembering the good things and good moments spent with Hebertism when they were young.

I have the feeling that MN can get back because MN offers many unique strong points in today’s way of living. With the financial crisis, many people are looking for a very inexpensive way to practice a sport… Isn’t this MN ?

8. Méthode naturelle is over 100 years old. Do you think that it should be preserved for future generations? Do you think there is something to be added to or changed in the philosophy or training?

Of course, it must be preserved for the future generations. But not preserved… MN must improve to adapt itself to the new conditions and environments.

Definitely, what MN has to change is its image of “old thing”. Hebertism does not mean anything to the teenagers and young people anymore. It sounds as an “old-fashioned” thing… How to motivate young people, who are only thinking at competition, to practice the Hebertism ? Certainly not with the old films of the beginning, and with the old logos and brochures.

This is why the Hebertim section of the F.B.H.Y. ( Belgian Association for Hebertism and Yoga) has decided to adopt a new name, more fun and which sounds much “younger”. This name is Sport’nat. This major change took place in January 2013.

A new branding is in preparation, thanks to Aurore COMPERE, 23, our oldest daughter, born in a family of instructors in Hebertism, and now, instructor herself.

Thanks to the new branches of MN (MovNat(c), Parkour in Germany and elsewhere, I am sure that the MN will survive and improve to adapt itself to the future ways of practicing.

The recent 70th Anniversary of the Centre Hebert of Nantes was a good occasion to see that MN is not dead… And it still has a great future !

9. How do you see méthode naturelle in the future? What are you dreaming of?

My dream is that we create a European federation (Sport’nat Europe) together with our friends from Germany, Italy and elsewhere (I truly believe that they are many people, exactly like Diego Carusso in Italy told us, that are practicing MN in different places, without knowing its name and origin…

I also dream that after Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, all the other countries of Europe will join our European federation, and that the MN will get a much larger expansion.

10. Have you ever heard of parkour? What is your opinion about it?

I only heard about Parkour a few ears ago, when we got the 1st visit of Nadja and folks. I was surprised to learn that Parkour had the MN as origin…

Although they are many ways of practicing Parkour, I think it is a very good thing since it helps young people to feel good, to practice and train together, outside and if possible in the nature…

11. Why do you think parkour became so popular in the last 10 years? Do you think parkour practitioners have an adequate idea of what méthode naturelle is?

11a. As mentioned earlier, teenagers and young adults prefer sports with competition and it is more exciting for them to compare with their pairs. This is why they need to show others that they are the best, that they are capable of doing this or that… Parkour is a non expensive and exciting way for them to do this. This is probably why it is so popular. But I don’t know enough about Parkour to make any significant judgment.

11b. No, I don’t think that most of the Parkour members know about MN at all…

12. Is méthode naturelle a “sport for everyone” as stated by Georges Hébert? What do you think about the commercialisations of méthode naturelle like MovNat or other groups do it? How much does méthode naturelle cost you per year?

12a. In theory, yes. But as stated before, in practice, they are some limitations… First of all, MN do not satisfy the teenagers and young adults searching for competition… The question is : Should MN adapt itself to satisfy this portion of population, or should it remain as it is, with its principles, even if does not satisfy every one ? My answer to this question is the second…

12b. I remember when MovNat was created by Erwan Le Corre, that all the “pioneers” (including Charles Demelenne, my father-in-law), where completely against it because it was not, according to them, in the “spirit” of George’s Hebert to make money with the MN. One of the first principle is the altruism and most of the instructors of the Belgian federation are volunteers (still today, at Sport’nat Esneux for instance). But on my point of view, I find Erwan very smart because he was able to imagine a complete concept, taking the best of MN (and other “therapies” starting with healthy nutrition, etc.) to create a complete “product”, and especially was able to market it correctly, with the success that he is encountering today.

I think he was lucky to do it in the US and Canada, because I don’t think that many people are ready, in our “old Europe” countries to pay a lesson of 1-2 hour more than 300 € ! But if he is succeeding in proposing weeks in Jamaica or elsewhere, why not ? Apparently, there is a market for it, and he fits perfectly in this market niche.

12c. Registration for 1 year at Sport’nat Esneux is very affordable, only 70€ per the complete year (degressive pricing after Christmas of Easter. See more at this page : -French only, sorry- But as mentioned here above, instructors are all volunteers (5 instructors in Esneux !). This cost mainly covers the insurance, and the general fees. We are thinking of may be increasing the registration fee and cover at least the normal expenses of the instructors, as the law in Belgium allow us to do so.

13. “Être fort pour être utile” is the motto of méthode naturelle. What do you think about it? Did méthode naturelle make you stronger? Have you ever had a situation where you used your strength and skills to help someone?

13a. This is the catchword of Hebertism since the origin. It’s a fact. And I think it must remain as is for Hebertism since Hebertism is referring to Georges Hebert, and it is “his” word. It is similar as a quote. You can not change it.

But on another hand, you can change the name, and then change the quote, make your own quote. Nobody can say anything in this case.

This is what we did in Belgium. We did not “change” Hebertism in Sport’nat ! We created Sport’nat as a new “entity”, referring to Hebertism and its unique method…

Sport’nat, as a separate entity, may communicate with his own “slogan” (catchword)… We are still searching for it… We used to use “L’Hebertisme, une autre idée du sport” (An other way to practice sport, another vision on sport -I personally prefer this notion of vision-), but nothing is decided yet for the new catchword. The “ancients” are willing to use this previous catchword.

At Sport’nat Esneux, we also use “Le développement durable de votre forme” (sustainable development of your health ?)…

13b what do you mean by “make it stronger” ? From my point of view, this catchword, emphasising on the “utility” aspect of the method is emblematic of the period of G.Hebert. At that time, in people’s mind at least, it was probably more important than today to be able to assist each other, to be strong to be able to assist others… There was also a subjacent “religious” aspect also… You “must” assist others because God ask you too… Today, with our individualist and technological world, it’s very different, and we certainly can not use these criteria anymore to “market” our method. We must “adapt” it to today’s issues. But on the principle, of course, the idea remain… You need to be strong and well trained to be able, in case of necessity, to assist others… Good example : Méthode Naturelle München team going to assist after flooding disaster in Germany.

With the global warming, I believe we unfortunately may have to face dramatic situations in the future where this catchword, even if not really “in use” anymore, will take full signification !

13c I had no specific situation, as far as I remember, to illustrate this.

14. Is méthode naturelle indeed free of any competition?

It depends on what we mean by competition…

MN is a competition against ourself ! While practicing MN, we have to overpass our fears and our limits to let our body experiencing new muscles and exercises… It’s is by itself a “competition”… Just running for a certain time is a competition… Against our human natural laziness ! ;-).

In the Belgium centres, we use to organise what we called “challenges”. During the challenges, a Center was inviting all the others to come and participate into a “competition” such as the so-called “parcours chronométrés” (stopwatched courses ?). The principle is that you must make the parcours as fast as possible, including a serie of exercises according to your age and sex. Each participant is controlled by a controller who verify that the participant do each exercise correctly, and assist him in telling him what are the next exercises. The timing of each parcours is measured and noted. This way, it is possible to measure the evolution of each participant, from one challenge to the next one (and not, compare his results with the other participants… In theory).

At Sport’nat Esneux, we decided to organise a similar “internal” challenge twice a year (June and December) to measure the improvements of our members, and this way, assist the instructors in highlighting the eventual leaks, and plan exercises to improve the capabilities of the members according to it.

Previously, Charles was organising every year the “performances”,a set of exercises also depending on the age and sex, in each “family” of the MN, but the field (his garden) had to be well prepared before proceeding to these “performances” and Charles is not able to maintain this field anymore.

15. What advice would you give a beginner? Some books to read, places to visit?

The best advice is certainly to test it by himself in an existing centre.

We are lucky in Belgium to have 9 (soon, 10 or 11 may be !) centres, with different opening hours and situation, almost all over the French speaking part of Belgium (Wallonia).

In other places, it is not that easy.

Books can help, but I doubt that a beginner will have a good feeling of what MN is just by reading a book…

Tell us about your trainings

16. How often do you practice méthode naturelle? Do weather conditions make a difference to you?

All info on our website at www.sportnatesneux.be or www.centrehebertesneux.be (French only for the moment, sorry).

Weekly, whatever the weather ! Usually, at Sport’nat Esneux, we are closed during summer (since the instructors are away, and for security reasons it is not allowed to practice without any instructors), but this summer 2013, we decided to stay in activity, based on a Doodle. And it works well ! In July, we had sometimes more members at the course than during other periods (but July this year was exceptionally sunny and beautiful also).

Of course, when the weather is cloudy and rainy, or cold, they are less attendees… It’s a question of motivation… But even though… Members are present.

17. Where do you train? Do you have any special location or do you just go out? Do you have access to any Hébertisme-parks and how often do you use them?

Since about 40 years, we train in the wonderful forest of Esneux, in a very big an illy site, which offers plenty of possibilities to exercise… No need to look for other places… Since 2009, we have a wonderful obstacle runway with 15 obstacles (1.2 km), built by the municipality of Esneux based on our design (Charles and Dominique). This obstacles runway was launched on 9 may 2009 (see pictures at this page).

Since we started training with this new obstacles runway, we decided to switch every two week the “rendez-vous”. This way, we do not train every week with the obstacles and we still train directly “in the nature” as we used to do before. This “in the nature” training forces the instructors to a lot of creativity, taking advantage of any “natural obstacle” to organise the training, and I love it !

On the “parcours”, although it is also possible to train and do many exercises on each obstacle (*) (every “parcours” training is different), we tend to repeat often the same exercises.

(*) As instructor of a training, a few weeks ago, Aurore made a complete training on the parcours forcing to make different exercises on each obstacles than the “normal” one… Jumping on the “quadrupedie tunnels”, etc…

18. Do you manage to train all 10 families during one training session? Or do you have special session for swimming etc.?

We do not have any swimming possibilities in the Esneux forest -unless 2 lakes, but not really clean… ;-) -, so we have normally special sessions for swimming once by quarter. The problem is to find a public swimming pool who is accepting that we do a specific training… Because during these swimming sessions, we tend to train every family in the water.

19. Is self-defence as much important to you as other families? Don’t you have a feeling it is being neglected nowadays comparing to the meaning it had according to Georges Hébert?

Yes, self-defense is part of the MN, so we practice it as much as we can, at every weekly training or almost. But some time, it is only simple exercises from the books of Hebert. Not “real” self-defense…

Our members do not really like these exercises, so we do not “force” it…

Yes, I think again that during G. Hébert time, it was much more important than today, because Hebert was trained as a military and in this time, there were still a lot of wars and battles…

20. What clothes and shoes do you wear? Do you need any gear?

In terms of clothes, nothing special… Since we train in the forest, we do not need to make any specific effort in dressing.

However, we at Sport’nat Esneux decided to produce specific tee shirts, and recently new sweatshirts with the new Sport’nat Esneux name and logo, that help us feel good everywhere, in the forest but also, we are very proud to wear them when visiting other centres for any event ! ;-)

Most important are the shoes. Training in the forest may become dangerous, so each member need to have very good shoes. We are very careful for this, as instructor.

21. What do you think is special on your personal training? For example, do you make a lot of stretching, running, breathing techniques etc.?

One of our “specialties” at Esneux, besides our parcours, one of the most impressive in Belgium today, is the use of the jumping poles !

We learned it, Dominique and myself, during several sessions of 1 week at the Centre Hebert de La Brede (Bordeaux – France) with Pierre Barron, when he was still instructor and president (unfortunately, Pierre is now dead :( ).

22. Georges Hébert developed a table with scores to control the results of the training. Do you use it?

This is what I mentioned by the “performances” here above.

Yes, we used to use it, and the real expert of it is Charles Demelenne.

Charles made a thesis specifically on these tables to measure the training results.

More later… (And when this excellent job of Charles will be translated in English!).

23. Do you think méthode naturelle keeps you fit and healthy? How do you feel right before, during, and after a training session? Have you ever injured yourself when training méthode naturelle?

This question finds me today lying in my bed, with the “gout”. Impossible to walk on my left foot… Now that I am 52, and since 2-3 years only, I can feel that my body do not “answer” as before, do not support as he used to… I must adapt myself and accept that I am getting older, and can not ask my body the same behaviour as when I was 20 or 30… As mentioned before, I am losing my breath much faster, have less endurance than before… But this is due to the age… Nothing to do with MN. I am sure that if hadn’t practice MN disputing all these years, I probably will have these health problems much earlier… And the fact that I continue to practice every week helps me fighting against these effects.

No, I never had any serious accident or injured myself seriously during any MN training. We had some accidents (light ones) during our trainings, some times, but more because of young kids who are thinking that they are capable to do more than what their physical condition really allows them to do.

24. What does a perfect training look like for you? What does/should it contain? What is mostly important for a good training?

For me, a good training is when, at the end, all the participants are happy and smiling…

If all of them have the impression that they all got a good training, adapted to their level and expectations, it’s already a good sign. Besides this, of course, a good training is a good balance of exercises of each of the 9 “terrestrial” families, at least, with some games and fun, with a good use of the field and its treasures…

For me, the most important in a training is not really the level of exercises and the number of muscles in action, but the happiness of each participant, to maintain his/her motivation and make sure he/she will have a lot of pleasure to come back, and will speak about our trainings in good terms to his/her friends. This is how we got most of our new members.

25. Athletes of what ages / gender do you usually train with? How do you manage to make the sessions interesting and challenging for participants with different physical conditions?

At Esneux, we have a very large panel, male and female… From (sometimes) very young kids (5 is the minimum, but we have 9-11 ones), up to “old” people such as Charles (81), and Francine (77), one of our most faithful followers, present almost every week whatever the weather !

It’s always a challenge for the instructor(s) in charge of the training because we never know who will be there… It’s hard to prepare a program in advance without knowing the number, ages and gender of the participants… We (instructor) always have to adapt ourself at the beginning of the training when we know all this. And the other very uncertain point is the weather… In Belgium, it is often difficult to know in advance what type of weather we will have to face… Would it rain or not, etc…

And this is important for the security (it can be very slippery in the forest when it rains, or after it).

Of course, we have a rough idea and a global plan of the lesson, whether it is on the parcours or in the nature… But we often have to change our plans when the training starts.

To try to solve part of the problem, I now decided that we will have a Doodle chart for each quarter ; this way, each participant will tell in advance when he will be there or not. We know that their will always be someone who will come without being “registered”, or the contrary, but at least, we will have a better view and some basis to prepare the training onto.

26. Do you know other groups around the world? Did you ever met or visited them for mutual trainings?

Yes, since long, we are in contact with other groups practicing Hebertism around the world.

At the beginning, it was only with our friends from France, from Nantes, and from Bordeaux mainly. Dominique and I, just married, we had the chance to spend twice one week in “La Brede” (south of Bordeaux), where we had Pierre Barron as coach ! With him, we discovered his 5 obstacles loops, built in the forest surrounding his vineyard (delicious organic wine also, Chateau Méric ! ;) ).

It’s also Pierrot (as we used to call him) who trained us how to use the perches, and also who imagined (and trained us how to organise it ourselves) the famous “Ball-Barr” or “Ballon-Barron”, a very exciting game based on the M.N. (Note : Pierre wrote a book describing the rules of his game).

When MovNat (r) was created, I was in contact (and still is, via FB) with Erwan LeCorre, but unfortunately, had no chance to participate in one of his training. I know that Jean Delandtsheer, one of our instructors, had this chance a few month ago. I suggest you to ask him is testimony.

It’s only since about 2 years that we got in contact with the Munich Tracers & Parkour in Germany, thanks to Nadja Hahn and Facebook.

Since then, and thanks to that, they came to visit us (twice already, as they are here again in Belgium this week of 12/09/13), but we definitely have to go and visit them soon also !

Also, thanks to Facebook again and the different groups, I got in contact with Italian fans ! ;) It was so nice to meet with Diego Carosso in Nantes for the 70th Anniversary of the Centre Hebert of Nantes !

And I am very excited to meet with other Italian fans visiting us… Tomorrow and Saturday.

Still thanks to Facebook and Internet, I discovered that Hebertism is even practiced in Indonesia !

I am sure they should still be many other people practicing M.N. around the world, without knowing that it is it, actually… This is why I strongly recommend the creation of Sport’nat Europe association, and many more communication on English based on M.N. and all it’s branches ! But I am also perfectly aware that this will take time and a lot of energy ! I am not sure that I will have that energy, but I strongly believe and hope that the young generation of M.N. fans will continue to maintain and even strengthen the legacy of M.N. !

27. Have you done something special for méthode naturelle by now, like coaching /monitoring training, translating books, making videos or webpages, organizing events etc.? What was your motivation?

Yes. Although the idea was not mine, I was the one who argued and proposed to change the name of our section to Sport’nat during the Board meeting of our Belgian association in 2012. Since then, I am in charge, by Christian Beugnier (President) of the operational aspects of this strategic change, with Aurore, our oldest daughter to assist me for the communication and marketing aspects (logo, flyers, websites, etc…). We first started by a long process to register the name for Belgium and Luxemburg. This done since January 2013. Now, we need to organise all the Com around it…

Together with Aurore, we are also preparing the new website of Sport’nat.

Other important point, Dominique and me are now official trainers of the federation.

It is surprising since we just finished our training as Instructors, but since the teams of instructors of the FBHY is getting old, Christian asked us to join the team, especially for the training of the 12 new instructors of the future new Center of Roisin (Border of France, near Dour). This new Center is under establishment by Claude Quinet, expert in Secure Tree climbing. With a team of 11 very motivated members, it was necessary to organise a new training session for them.

For this training, I set up what I called a (Sitellabus), a website centralising all information related to a training, similar to a syllabus of a course.

The URL of the Roisin training.

This training was extended to some more people who are interested into MN, and especially Sonia and her brother Francois Vanrysselberghe, who are planning eventually to create a new Center in Namur in 1-2 years. Sonia is currently having a physical education training in a High school in Namur, and she should be graduated next year. She is very motivated by Hebertism and took part already at some sessions of our training last year.

Back to the Roisin training, Dominique and me were responsible of the training session of last 22/06 in Esneux. This session was focusing on the course type “parcours”, parenting different type of parcours, with as a practice, taking part of our weekly course (on our parcours that WE of course). On the afternoon, we presented 2 families, Balance and jumping, then a practice session of rope jumping. Some pictures of this fantastic day here (TODO: seems to be not accessible atm).

For this day, we prepared, Dominique and me, a complete set of PowerPoint presentations (French :( ), accessible under this link under “notes de cours”.

All this is very exciting but takes a lot of time and energy !

With my very active profession, it’s hard to keep a good balance with all this, but if we want to maintain Sport’nat, and our Center of Esneux, we need to do all that.

28. Do you have any special diet?

We, at home, are eating as much organic food as possible.

Since about three years, I’m suffering from gout. Because of this, I had to adapt my diet and drink a lot more (water !). Now, I must be careful of everything I eat and drink, and some time, I can not practice Hebertism anymore because of my painful feet.

29. Are there any other sports you practice?

Not any more, some swimming…

30. Do you have any message to tell us?

Congratulations for the initiative of this questionnaire ! I look forward to read your feedback of all responses, and the result of your studies ! This questionnaire should continue to be answered in the future, as a kind of journal… But this should be done over a Blog or website dedicated to it, I think.

And of course, I wish you all lot of pleasure in practicing MN and Sport’nat !

Philippe COMPERE

Sport’nat Esneux

Interview with Nadja Hahn

Nadja HahnName: Nadja Hahn

Age: 28 (1985)

Country: Germany

City: Munich

Sport club: Forstenrieder Sport Club, Méthode Naturelle München

Position: Founder of Méthode Naturelle München, Coach

Contact: contact Nadja

Tell us about yourself

1. Please introduce yourself. What is your name, age, profession, where do you live, your hobbies etc.

Hi, I’m Nadja Hahn, 28, I was born in Russia and had been living there before I moved to Munich when I was 21. I study physics in a Master programme at Technical University of Munich. I love travelling around and making photos and videos, especially about MN and Parkour.

2. How long have you been doing Méthode Naturelle?

For two years now, since 2011.

3. When did you first hear about Méthode Naturelle? What raised your interest in it? Where or how did you learn it?

First time I heard about MN in 2008, when I started doing Parkour and was interested in its history. Thanks to Wikipedia I learned such standard keywords as “Georges Hébert”, “Martinique”, and “Raymond Belle”. Later on I even had a short look through the English translation of “Practical Guide of Physical Education” made by Gregg and Pilou. Someday I also watched Erwan le Corre’s “True to my nature” video. Like the majority of traceurs (parkour practicioners) I was pretty sure to know enough about MN, with a picture of “running naked through the woods” in my head, more or less.

4. What were your first steps in training? Is there any person, group or location that influenced you when beginning?

My beginning can be divided into three periods, each of them started with a journey to an experienced MN group.

It all began in 2010, when together with Johannes Mikulasch I started Munich Tracers, a project devoted to parkour and freerunning in Munich. Our webpage provided some general information, and in the short history about parkour Johannes linked Fédération belge d’hébertisme. He knew them via some traceurs from Stuttgart, who visited FBH some time before. Johannes suggested to visit FBH and have a look at the origin of parkour. At this time I was at the point where I could not identify myself with modern trends in parkour anymore; I gave up coaching of parkour in a gym and was not happy about the evolution of my weekly outdoor training for the beginners. So I just thought – why not?

We first went to Belgium in September 2011, we just wrote their president Christian Beugnier and he welcomed us. We participated in a small festival with a funny orienteering through a village, woods and fields, and local wine degustation every 2 km. After the run and a very friendly grill party, Christian showed us around the Hébert park in Thuin. It was just amazing! All that incredible obstacles in the woods! But the most impressive experience was the second training with the senior group in Val d’Heure, with its non-competitve friendly atmosphere, group exercises and games, amazing fitness and skills of the seniors!

Back to Munich, I changed my parkour basic training into a weekly MN training, based on what we learned during our trip to FBH. Johannes and I also started to collect information about MN in English and launched a webpage with it, methodenaturelle.de

The second period started after the second trip to Belgium in September 2012. This time we participated at five trainings in different centres, ranging from very intensive one-hour sessions in urban environment over the hiking through the woods to climbing trees and rocks. We enjoyed dozens of fantastic obstacles, learned new techniques and games. Surely we met many cool people!

All that enriched my understanding of method and helped me much to improve the lessons I was offering in Munich.

Finally, the third period started in May 2013 when we, now four people from Munich, went to France to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Centre Hebértiste in Nantes. That was a legendary gathering, with almost 100 people of all ages participating in obstacle courses, games and runs. With a party where we couldn’t stop singing, dancing and laughing. We were 30 people from other cities and countries, and no one stayed in a hotel, but at a guest family, everything was absolutely free.

I was overwhelmed by the “family”, “together” and “yes, we can” feeling there. Those were amazing days!

If the first trip gave me a general idea of what MN was about, the second provided me with understanding of the method, enriched with new techniques and exercises. But it was the third trip to Nantes where I got the real spirit of MN.

5. Can you say that méthode naturelle and all the training changed your life in some way?

Definitely.

In the beginning, it was Parkour that changed my life. I was training like crazy, the first two months up to 5 hours a day, I was high all the time. Parkour helped me out of a life crisis, it made me stronger, more confident, it taught me to stand up for what I am doing. I learned to go to the limits and push them further. Thanks to Parkour I began to see the world in 3D, explore new ways, feel detached from time and place, I learned to let loose. Well, Parkour set me free.

Later, MN made me even stronger. I started to work on my weak points: throwing, diving, and self-defence. Training all-weather outdoor made me way more resistant. I also became way more efficient in training.

Finally, thanks to MN I met many wonderful people! They shared awesome community spirit with me, they taught me new values in life. I learned to trust, to follow and to guide, to admit my own weak points and see strong ones in others.

I got friends one can win a war with.

MN made me a better person. It made me richer.

6. How would you describe in your own words what méthode naturelle is? What does méthode naturelle mean for you? What is your motivation? What do you love most about it?

When talking about MN, I have a picture of a firefighter in my mind, not of a half-naked person running through the woods or stretching somewhere on a nice sunny beach. The latter is also MN, but MN should not be reduced to it. “Natural method” is not about trees and rocks, it is about training method that is natural for humans.

MN is training hard, getting stronger, and being useful. It has to do with attitude to the fellow men, with integrity and dignity.

MN should not be idealized as some kind of philosophy full of esoterical stuff as going back to one’s nature, connecting with nature, paleodiet, exercise barefoot at any price, etc.

MN shouldn’t be exaggerated as well. It’s not about producing insane strong athletes with perfect techniques. No one is bad or unfit when doing MN, it’s true that MN is used by military, but it’s also designed for ordinary people to train and get better.

For me, MN is a spirit. It doesn’t matter what you can, how far you can jump, whether you have a video, and what do you wear. People are just happy you are here to train with them. If you travel around they offer you a bed, they take a day off and show you around, and they will never take money for training with you and sharing the experience. That is the spirit we had in Parkour in the beginning but lost sometime around 2010.

For my motivation, well I am doing MN because it just feels so good and right. I love the training sessions, I love MN people, I love the spirit. I also do lots of stuff such as writing texts for the website, making videos, organizing the trips, just because I want more people to be aware of MN. I don’t want let that fantastic philosophy die out! I want to preserve the existing knowledge and experience, and in some way to thank all my teachers who opened the wonderful world of MN to me.

Tell us more about your vision of Méthode Naturelle

7. How can you describe the evolution of méthode naturelle as you witnessed it? Why do you think it is not so popular any more as it was? How do you think méthode naturelle can get more popular again?

For me it’s a mystery what happend to MN at the end of the last century and why it was not popular anymore. Thank to Parkour that raised attention to MN, things have changed in the last few years.

MN is getting more popular, thanks to the Internet we can connect with new people and communities and share information. Every 3 month we discover a new training group somewhere around the world: Spain, Italy, New Zealand. The Facebook group is growing faster than ever before. Finally there are some videos on Youtube, a short translation of a book of Hebért in English is available, there are webpages and blogs on MN.

Another reason why MN is not so popular anymore is because modern society mixes up price and value. I am sure if we take 30€ per session there will be more people doing MN. People do not appreciate something build on enthusiasm anymore. They got used to pay for training, come and get it, go home and feel free. But you can’t buy the spirit, you can’t just go and get MN. It’s like health, harmonic family, or education, one can’t just buy and get MN, one has to earn it.

We should continue our job, stay true to our way, but collect more information in English, write texts, make more videos and photos, articles in newspapers and magazines. People will follow.

8. Méthode naturelle is over 100 years old. Do you think that it should be preserved for future generations? Do you think there is something to be added to or changed in the philosophy or training?

Well, on my opinion MN has everything a good training method must have. I don’t see a reason to make big changes. Well, one could adapt to the evolution of the modern society, for example training more in urban surroundings as it is where we spend almost all the time nowadays.

9. How do you see méthode naturelle in the future? What are you dreaming of?

My dream is a big Hébert training centre somewhere where rocks, city, woods and water meet. With both built and natural obstacles, and something like a big camping place around. So one could come for a week and have an awesome training. It should be affordable for everyone, just imaging a big worldwide gathering there!

10. Have you ever heard of parkour? What is your opinion about it?

I have been practicing parkour since 2008, and it changed my life, see question 5. Everything we know in parkour comes from MN, all its techniques, its philosophy and methods. But unfortunately there is almost no true parkour left anymore. Hard healthy training attitude is rare, the philosophy became just a shell with no content.

11. Why do you think parkour became so popular in the last 10 years? Do you think parkour practitioners have an adequate idea of what méthode naturelle is?

Parkour is very attractive for young people, and freerunning with all its acrobatic elements is even cooler. It costs nothing to get started and one can practice it alone and everywhere and anytime. It perfectly fits the freedom feeling of the new generation.

Movies, commercials and Red Bull played a big role in making parkour and freerunning popular. But the fame of parkour had it peak somewhere in 2010, it’s somehow worn out now.

Most traceurs have a wrong idea of MN. They image someone running naked through the woods. As I also believed before. Most traceurs have no idea of obstacle courses, the team spirit, and of the hard intensive training.

12. Is méthode naturelle a “sport for everyone” as stated by Georges Hébert? What do you think about the commercialisations of méthode naturelle like MovNat or other groups do it? How much does méthode naturelle cost you per year?

Yes, MN is and must stay sport for everyone. It’s not only for every fitness level and abilities, but it’s also for every budget. No one should be sorted out because he can’t afford training fees! For example, our training in Munich, 2 times a week, costs 75€ per year, and only 35€ for children and students. It’s the same in France and Belgium, not more than 100€ per year.

All true MN practitioners do it as hobby, no one makes a living from it. They will never take money from you if you visit them for a training. Because real MN spirit is all about altruism, and how can you teach people altruism if they have to pay you several hundred euros per workshop?

But I am very tolerant about this commercialisation topic and all this modern natural fitness hypes, as long as the founders don’t lie to others and to themselves. It’s actually a very good thing to see people go out for healthy and holistic training, and it’s their decision to pay for it, so why to be against it.

But on my opinion it is not correct to “invent” some “new” training system with a new catchy name, that is built to 90% on MN ideas and methods and give no credits to Georges Hébert. It just has something to do with integrity.

13. “Être fort pour être utile” is the motto of méthode naturelle. What do you think about it? Did méthode naturelle make you stronger? Have you ever had a situation where you used your strength and skills to help someone?

For me, the motto is in the first place about the reason and motivation for the training. Why do you go out for running? It’s a big difference between just training for marathon and training according to natural method. I want to be able to run in case of emergency, and climb over the wall, with a bag in my hand…

Then, MN is not only about skills, it’s also about mental strength, and the manly qualities such as commitment, courage, daring. MN is like a first aid course: hopefully you’ll never need it, but you are prepared, physically and mentally, for an emergency case.

Another point is, being strong to be useful doesn’t mean running around rescuing children from burning houses. It’s more about the attitude. For example, after the flood disaster in June 2013 our MN group helped with cleaning up in one village, and afterwards we organized a charity event similar to Move for Japan, where we just went out into the streets with freerunners and traceurs and made flips and jumps and called for donations. One could go donate blood all together, help out in an animal shelter, there are plenty of other examples how we can make the world a little better.

I could say it was MN training that saved my life one day. Philipp, from our MN group in Munich, and me, had an idea to jump on a small driving truck. It worked well for Philipp, but in the moment I jumped the driver accelerated, so I was apparently too short and on my way to fall badly, when Philipp grabbed my hand with the safe grip we had practiced so often in our MN training and pulled me safe up onto the platform.

14. Is méthode naturelle indeed free of any competition?

As we were in Nantes for the big jam, see question 4, we had a ralley in four teams. In each team there were small children and senior athletes as well. Was it competition? Yes. And no. It’s was about playing, but not about winning.

It may sound pathetic, but you never compare yourself to others, you beat the old yourself, becoming a little bit better every day, physically and mentally.

15. What advice would you give a beginner? Some books to read, places to visit?

No book or video can impart the spirit. Go out, visit guys training around the world. Go to Belgium to FBH, go to France to Nantes, they are amazing people! MN costs you nothing, so do invest money in travelling around!

Tell us about your trainings

16. + 17. How often do you practice méthode naturelle? Do weather conditions make a difference to you? Where do you train? Do you have any special location or do you just go out? Do you have access to any Hébertisme-parks and how often do you use them?

We don’t have any special Hébertisme parks here in Munich. To alternate the training, we hold our sessions at three different locations: in a forest that has a fitness trail, the olympic park with its variation of urban and natural obstacles (stones, trees, rails, walls, playgrounds with sand for ground combat), and on the river side, where we also have a kind of fitness complex.

The absence of Hébertisme park has it’s positive side as well: we must be very creative and explore the surroundings, so all our trainings are unique.

Two years ago, when I came up with MN in Munich, I offered one lessons per week, 2 hours on Saturday, now I added a one hour session on Tuesday as well. We began with two members, now we are over 20 members. Every lesson we have between 6 and 12 participants.

We train all the year outdoor no matter how the weather is.

18. Do you manage to train all 10 families during one training session? Or do you have special session for swimming etc.?

Most of the time we go through a standard lesson with walking, running, plateau warm-up, and then try to combine as many families as possible. In the last time we focus on group exercise and games, because they are the spirit of MN and also make so much fun!

We have a special swimming lesson once a month in a swimming pool (or lake in summer).

In winter, when it’s snowing or raining hard, we adjust our trainings by doing more running as usual, and omit for example quadrupedie.

19. Is self-defence as much important to you as other families? Don’t you have a feeling it is being neglected nowadays comparing to the meaning it had according to Georges Hébert?

One should practice every day for self-defence skills to work on instinct level. Héberts doctrine suppose more self-defence training as it is feasible for normal people who have an 8-hour job and family. The standard partner exercise and games in MN seem to be a good compromise, improving one’s reaction, coordination, self-control and estimation of the partner’s strength.

In Munich, we include these exercise in every session, together with distance control exercise, ground combat and from time to time some single self-defence techniques. Sure it’s not the same if one practices martial arts regularly, but summed up over the year, it’s better than nothing.

20. What clothes and shoes do you wear? Do you need any gear?

It doesn’t matter what you wear at all, the most important thing is that clothes can go dirty or damaged. None of us buys any special running clothing. Well, a light waterproof jacket might be useful in winter, but many people just bring something to change.

We wear simple running shoes, and try to train as much as possible barefoot in summer.

We use balls and frisbees for the throwing training. I wish we had some dry storage place so we could use ropes or sticks.

21. What do you think is special on your personal training? For example, do you make a lot of stretching, running, breathing techniques etc.?

When training for myself every day, I concentrate on running, swimming and parkour techniques. I include a lot of balancing, parkour strength exercises and stretching. And I love all these boring exercises one can do with things like power ball or thera band, because stabilisation is actually more important than one would suppose.

I also practice a lot of balance, I actually consider balance to be the crucial point. All the balance training pays off tenfold.

22. Georges Hébert developed a table with scores to control the results of the training. Do you use it?

Not really. I made some tests for swimming and running, but it would be good to do all of them and do them regularly. We are already planning an event where our MN group can go through most of the test and fill out the table.

23. Do you think méthode naturelle keeps you fit and healthy? How do you feel right before, during, and after a training session? Have you ever injured yourself when training méthode naturelle?

Sure it does. The regular training in sun, rain and snow, fresh air and all that dirt around made me really resistant.

I love the interplay of all muscles and joints and the overall fatigue after the training. It feels so healthy! I have never experienced someone getting injured during MN training. There is nothing to fail in MN, because the movements are really natural, and no competition with pushing the limits takes place.

24. What does a perfect training look like for you? What does/should it contain? What is mostly important for a good training?

Well, Hébert described the method of a good session very well: warm-up, alternation of families, rising intensity etc.

For me personally, a good session includes lots of group exercises and games.

25. Athletes of what ages / gender do you usually train with? How do you manage to make the sessions interesting and challenging for participants with different physical conditions?

Here in Munich we are between 16 and 48 years old, with the average age of around 32. We have very different skills and fitness levels, so three approaches help me to make the lessons interesting and challenging for everyone. The first one is a good pool on exercise that I learned during the trips to Belgium and France, and from the Hébert books. The next is to be observant and sensitive to the condition of every person. I suppose that comes with the experience, at some point you just start to feel the group.

And the last is, to always make clear that no one is judged based on his level or skills. For newcomers it’s often hard to believe that one can be just accepted as he is, without labelling based on the level or skills, because that is not what the modern society teaches us.

So I repeat again and again and set example that it is up to everyone to pass on some exercise and it’s totally o.k. if one just can’t do some technique.

Everyone has strong points, one just needs to find them out. We have a very friendly atmosphere, as everywhere in MN, with mutual cheering up.

But what you absolutely shouldn’t do as a coach is to try to meet everyone’s expectations. It’s not good, such people will jump off anyway sooner or later. So you might as well stay true to what you believe is right.

26. Do you know other groups around the world? Did you ever met or visited them for mutual trainings?

I have been three time to Belgium, see also question 4, where I trained with Fédération Belge d´Hébertisme (FBH), it’s a big organisation with several Hébert-centers around Brussels. They have terrific parks with the obstacles going up to 7 meters in the sky. I have visited centers in Visé, Waterloo, Liège, Val d’Heure, Esneux, Marche-en-Famenne, where we participated in regular lessons or were offered a private session. I trained with the president of FBH Christian Beugnier, Jean Delandtsheer, Jacques Detaille, Philippe Compere, Bernard Catala, with the pioneer of MN Charles Demele (82) and many other people!

In Belgium, we also visited the Sportclub Roska in Asse, it is a group of around 15 people to the north of Brussels, guided by Frank Mattens.

In Mai 2013 I went to Center Hébertisme Nantes in France for a big jam, where I met many amazing people, among them Geneviève Romsée, the vice-president of CHN, our coach and guest family Dominique and Anne Lemoin, the pioneer of MN Leon Hermans (86), people form MN centres of Bordeaux and Congo, and Diego Carosso from Torino in Italy, who is writing his thesis on MN. Amazing! I am very grateful to all these awesome people who showed me the wonderful world of MN and changed my life!

Our third trip to Belgium in September 2013 I did side by side with Diego Zarantonello and Davide Negro from the Boyscout Center in Vicenza in Italy.

My dream is to visit all the groups around the world someday!

27. Have you done something special for méthode naturelle by now, like coaching /monitoring training, translating books, making videos or webpages, organizing events etc.? What was your motivation?

I have launched MN training in Munich in 2011, then together with Johannes Mikulasch the webpage about MN www.methodenaturelle.de

I made several videos by now, and I have planned a lot for the future. I also like writing text about MN.

My motivation for all that is to spread the word about MN and by sharing my fascination make more people join our family.

28. Do you have any special diet?

I am vegetarian

29. Are there any other sports you practice?

Everything I do can be regarded as MN.

30. Do you have any message to tell us?

Stay true!

Interview with Diego Zarantonello

Diego ZarantanelloName: Diego Zarantonello

Age: 26 (1987)

Country: Italy

City: Vicenza

Sport club: Settore Specializzazioni of AGESCI (Principal Italian boy scout association)

Position: Chief Scout / Expert in Hebértisme

Page: Hebertismo Metodo Naturale

Tell us about yourself

1. Please introduce yourself

Hi, my name is Diego, I’m a 25 years old student of Strategic Environmental Management. I Live in Vicenza, in the north-east area of Italy.

My main interests are music (I play flatpicking guitar in a bluegrass band: Yee-haaa) and physical training. I think it is an effective way to a complete training: body and soul… I am also an educator in AGESCI, the main Italian boy-scout association!

3. When did you first hear about méthode naturelle? What raised your interest in it? Where or how did you learn it?

I came to methode naturelle in 1999, during the summer scout camp.

After 1970, the Italian scout association adopted the methode naturelle as its principal method of physical training thanks to Cesare Bedoni, one of the first Italian Scouts to be a student of Jean Hendrickx (Hebért centre of Brussels).

In these golden days the MN collected an enormous success with numerous physical training scout camp held throughout Italy! MN get the Italian name “Hebertismo”.

Like the scout movement, the main MN purpose is to be useful, and the essential aspect is the contact with the nature.

Nowadays MN is no longer known in the scout association… its only memory is the construction of a training route with pioneering techniques.

My mission is to regain is true essence and to spread it again with a modern taste!

4. What were your first steps in training? Is there any person, group or location that influenced you when beginning?

My first real start was in 2008 under the guide of Paolo Pigatto, a Master of the technique in the scout scope.

5. Can you say that méthode naturelle and all the training changed your life in some way?

Yes, they changed my life so far that I became more responsible of my physical and mental conditions, just with the use of the nature, my bodyweight, and the food I eat, without spending any money.

6. How would you describe in your own words what méthode naturelle is? What does méthode naturelle mean for you? What is your motivation? What do you love most about it?

I like the real essence of MN: the uselessness of machineries or artificial equipment to get a complete physical development!

I don’t agree with the modern trend to spend a lot of money to keep yourself in shape, when with a public park, some exercises, a proper nutrition and a little perseverance, one can obtain the same results.

MN is useful, essential, true, obvious, but not took for granted. Man is not more used to have a contact with nature, and MN helps us to discover it.

Tell us more about your vision of méthode naturelle

7. How can you describe the evolution of méthode naturelle as you witnessed it? Why do you think it is not so popular any more as it was? How do you think méthode naturelle can get more popular again?

The only things that make something popular are:

  • good merchandising
  • some good promo video on Youtube
  • a cool logo
  • a modern website
  • some muscled or good-looking models, and a captivating piece of music!

MN has nothing to do with this aspects! But people need those things… they don’t want an “old fashioned” method… Nowadays physical training is considered as a trend, not a need… =(

Now… I’m cool because I have a gym badge card and a gym bag, not because I can run ten miles through a forest without stopping!

8. Méthode naturelle is over 100 years old. Do you think that it should be preserved for future generations? Do you think there is something to be added to or changed in the philosophy or training?

We have to regain the motto of MN: be strong to be useful!

This is the only one reason we need to train! But it seems difficult nowadays to understand this concept: we don’t think of our next any more.

10. Have you ever heard of parkour? What is your opinion about it?

Francisco Amoros in 1830 said: “My approach and my exercises stop where the utility stops and starts the funambulism.”

I think parkour is a great way to apply MN in the urban environment but the meaning of the motto stops if the acrobatic aspect takes over.

11. Why do you think parkour became so popular in the last 10 years? Do you think parkour practitioners have an adequate idea of what méthode naturelle is?

Parkour is cool and acrobatic! (see aswer n°7)

12. Is méthode naturelle a “sport for everyone” as stated by Georges Hébert? What do you think about the commercialisations of méthode naturelle like MovNat or other groups do it? How much does méthode naturelle cost you per year?

I Think MovNat is a very good commercial operation (see answer n°7), BUT it is the most similar and pertinent (to MN) method we can find around. The purpose isn’t the original one (to be useful) but it is a good and healthy way of perceive the MN.

13. “Être fort pour être utile” is the motto of méthode naturelle. What do you think about it? Did méthode naturelle make you stronger? Have you ever had a situation where you used your strength and skills to help someone?

Ops.. I’ve already touched this points.

you can not ever know when the right moment to be useful to someone will come!

14. Is méthode naturelle indeed free of any competition?

Competition could be an effective vehicle to obtain some results.

Tell us about your trainings

16. How often do you practice méthode naturelle? Do weather conditions make a difference to you?

I train two or three days per week, but unfortunately there are not so many wild green places to use for practice where I live, so, I often use MN inside my home. I don’t like rainy days..

18. Do you manage to train all 10 families during one training session? Or do you have special session for swimming etc.?

I train the families the environment where I practice permit to train!

In the summer I train swimming… I don’t spend money for swimming pool in winter.

19. Is self-defence as much important to you as other families? Don’t you have a feeling it is being neglected nowadays comparing to the meaning it had according to Georges Hébert?

I use fight in my training session! Not just for self-defence but as vehicle to train other families and to train the strength and the endurance, courage and agility! What do you think about DANCE instead?? Shouldn’t it be the eleventh family??

21. What do you think is special on your personal training? For example, do you make a lot of stretching, running, breathing techniques etc.?

Food It’s the key.

22. Georges Hébert developed a table with scores to control the results of the training. Do you use it?

I don’t like it. It is useful if you train to obtain some kind of results or to see your progress.

I think if your goal is to be strong to be useful (and not to win some race), you could omit it, and enjoy your natural training session peacefully!

24. What does a perfect training look like for you? What does/should it contain? What is mostly important for a good training?

A good warm-up and motivation are the principal ingredients of the perfect training recipe.

25. Athletes of what ages / gender do you usually train with? How do you manage to make the sessions interesting and challenging for participants with different physical conditions?

I don’t force any one to do things they don’t want to do or they can’t do.. anyone can do the same things…everyone at different level of difficulty or speed or efficiency.

27. Have you done something special for méthode naturelle by now, like coaching /monitoring training, translating books, making videos or webpages, organizing events etc.? What was your motivation?

I hold several workshop in the scout environment, trying to spread this wonderful and sustainable method of training.

I have a facebook page and I wrote a couple of booklets about hebértism.

My motivation is to achieve scout main goal: to create a better world, creating good citizen ready to do their best to help others in any circumstances.

28. Do you have any special diet?

Yes, I use natural biologic food as often as I can, I avoid sweet things, I use bio-nutritional therapy concepts to equilibrating my diet and to associate foodstuffs.

I try to avoid medicines and drugs. I just use food to cure myself.

29. Are there any other sports you practice?

I practice Aikido.

A different idea of sport

Méthode Naturelle, also known as Hébertisme, is a training method involving many different disciplines of natural movement. It was essentially developed in the beginning of the 20th century by french naval officer Georges Hébert under the motto

“Être fort pour être utile” – Be strong to be useful

It imposes that one should be able to help oneself and others in situations of natural disaster or accident. That is the reason why méthode naturelle trainings also contain assistance and spotting techniques, carrying people, self-defence, games and group exercise.

The three components

The training is very comprehensive and covers the following fields:

The ten familiesphysical component: consisting of ten families: marching, running, leaping, climbing, carrying, throwing, balancing, self-defense, swimming and crawling (quadrupedalism)

moral component: will, courage, coolness, tenacity, helpfulness

energetic component: endurance, rapidness, strength, resistance

Concept outline

Natural development

Méthode naturelle shouldn’t be understood as restricted to training in nature. It rather refers to method or manner of training. It is simple, practical, appropriate to everyone and applicable everywhere.

It doesn’t require special installations or terrain, though it can be practiced in purpose-built course parks similar to keep-fit trails or military obstacle courses.

The main goal is to “make strong beings, with enhanced health, an energetic character, strong resistance and skills sufficient for any natural and practical exercise.”

Sport for everyone

Strong being is understood as a person who improved his own power to a degree near maximum. That implies adjusting the requirements and trainings to one’s constitution, age, gender, natural aptitude.

Freedom of choice and competition

For everyone can train at his own rate and compares his results not with others, but with own old ones, the risk of injury is minimized. Most méthode naturelle practitioners stay fit until very old age.

Recording the results

It is important to keep track of one’s improvement. Georges Hébert designed special score tables that allow to control wide range of achievements, such as high jump, run, weight throw, rope climb, dive underwater etc.

Complete improvement

It is important to work on all the components. “Why be a champion jumper if you cannot climb or swim?”

Running is the primary exercise. “Strength lives more in the heart and lungs than in the muscles.” Still, try to include several disciplines in one session.

Development of moral is a necessary part of training. It start with respect to fellow men and nature and goes over to courage, energy, commitment.

Outdoor training in all weathers is essential to develop resistance to cold and a good way to develop firmness and discipline.