Article by farang-mag.com
Aaron Hakala just dropped a video showcasing a beautiful mix of Freerunning and Circus skills. We always feel like combining and remixing is one of the biggest sources of creativity and after meeting him for the first time this year and hearing his story we felt like it would be nice to sit down for a little chat so you guys can understand what he is about and how is life and training looks like. Enjoy!
Except your videos there’s not much info on you out there, so let’s start with some basics: How old are you, where do you live and how does a typical day in your life look like?
I just turned 19 and at the moment I live in Stockholm, Sweden – where I’m also studying at the dance and circus university (DOCH).
Currently, a typical day in my life can be summed up with: “Practice, eat, sleep and repeat”. I pretty much spend 10-12 hours in school everyday, training and studying circus (which involves movement, discipline training, mime, dance, different kind of workshops and much more!).
Whenever I have free time available, I try to spend it on filming and developing new moves. Although it gets a bit hectic from time to time, I truly enjoy what I do.
In your videos we see you practice a lot in the gym and do circus-style acrobatics is that where you originally come from or did you jump into it with a Freerunning background?
It all started with freerunning. I started practicing right before high school and fell in love straight away! I wanted to spend all my time training and just getting better.
When the time came to enroll in a high school, I wanted to find a place where I could keep training and practicing freerunning. That’s when my mother found a high school specializing in circus. My first thought was: “Oh hell no! I aint doing that clown juggling shit on a unicycle!”
But after reading more about it, I realized that we’d get to train in a indoor gym and it instantly changed my mind; ”I can stand up with clowns juggling for a couple of hours everyday, if I get to train in a indoor gym!” It was perfect for training freerunning during the winter and an amazing place to try out new moves. Once my mind was made up, I went to the audition and I got in!
When high school started, my eyes opened up big time!
Circus wasn’t about clowns and juggling on a unicycle anymore or doing tricks with animals. That kind of circus is totally old school and traditional! This was New Circus: a varied mix of theatre, dance and extremely challenging disciplines such as teeterboard, dance-acrobatics, trampoline, russian bar etc. This ignited a spark in me, just like freerunning had previously done.
How do both, your circus training and Freerunning influence each other?
For me, circus and freerunning are very close and they definitely influence each other.Having experience from both fields helps me creatively and I often pick up things from one or the other and use it to create something unique.With that said, I also try to incorporate all kinds of different styles and disciplines into my routine.
The more you know – the cooler moves you’ll be able to do!
I feel like most people learn a new trick and then turn to the next one, you have so many variations of every movement. How do you come up with them?
Variation is necessary if you want to stand out!
If everyone would only learn the same ”basic” trick, be satisfied with it and move on to the next one – then everyone would have the same style, with only slight differences in their moves. Developing new tricks is very rewarding from a creative point of view. Once I know I am onto something, I enjoy exploring the limits of a trick to see where I can take it and how far I can push it!
Are there any Freerunners or athletes in general that inspire you?
I watch a lot of videos on YouTube by various athletes (amateurs & professionals) and I am equally inspired by everyone!
In the beginning, I only watched parkour & freerunning videos but eventually moved on to other stuff as well. I believe that all kind of movement can give you ideas and inspiration.
A lot of people have problems transitioning from doing a trick in the gym to taking it outside, what’s your number one advice on that?
You have to feel really comfortable with the trick!
My best advise is to do the trick many times over and learn it so well that you know you’ll be able to do it consistently and with 100% confidence. You can’t afford to hesitate when outside. The time for this transition always depends on the difficulty of the trick and on the athlete who is performing it.
As an example; before I was comfortable with a ”full in – full out” on a trampoline or a teeterboard, I had to do it in different “levels” or “steps”. Really low, really high, really fast, really slow and most importantly, crashing!
Of course crashing isn’t good if you hurt yourself, but you need to know what can happen when something goes wrong and how to handle yourself in that situation. Normally when something goes wrong, it is easy to panic and lose control. It is very important to know how to counter this and stay in control. After you have mastered all the different steps and know how to recover from unexpected situations; you will finally master the trick.
For instance; during my second run in the recent Air Wipp Challenge, I hit my toe on the floor after a 360 flick, which in turn made the take off for a 540 diveroll really difficult. But since I had spent a lot of time practicing the trick in different scenarios, I knew how to recover and still pull it off safely. Can’t say the same about the 360 flick to CAT, but that is a different story! It’s always hard to explain these kind of things in writing, but I hope you catch my drift!
Obviously the circus-world is something you are really immersed in and we have no idea what’s going on there. What is a circus-act or performance we should go and watch? Any links to videos that are amazing?
Well, the circus-world is very diverse and there is a lot of exciting stuff going on. Of course, most of the videos online do not include a whole show, but they at least give you a glimpse of what modern circus is about.
In my opinion, “new circus” is the most exciting style to watch. It’s new and it’s growing fast just like Parkour. Most often the old school and new school circus are blended together in shows and performances. There’s a great yearly circus festival in France called “Cirque de Demain” where you can check out some amazing circus acts!
Here are two examples of New Circus shows:
Since the video is kind of about the year of 2013, it would be nice to hear what your highlight of the year was at what you are looking forward to in 2014
2013 has been a very eventful year for me and I have spent most of my time with university studies and practicing circus. The highlight of the year though was definitely meeting all the cool people and athletes at the Air Wipp Challenge!
As for next year, my primary goal is to develop as an athlete and artist. Also I hope to travel a lot during my summer vacation and meet new people around the world!
That sound’s awesome, we really loved meeting you at the Airwipp Challange and you blew us away with your performance, especially for competing the first time. It’s safe to say all of us are excited what to future has in store for you.
If you Farangs out there feel like you want to see more, here are all the important links: