Name: COMPÈRE Philippe
Age: 52 (1961)
Sport club or group: Sport’nat Esneux (formerly Centre Hebert Esneux – CHE)
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 !