Interview with Tim “Livewire” Shieff

Timothy “Livewire” Shieff is a Freerunning athlete who has recently been in the spotlight after he won the World Freerun Championships ’09. He’s also appeared in the MTV Ultimate Parkour Challenge alongside other well known athletes like Daniel Ilabaca and Ryan Doyle.

Tim graciously took the time (even though he’s been working hard, and fighting sleep deprivation) to answer some questions that my buddies  had for him. Here they are, for everyone to partake in.

Tim Shieff Speaks.

Prabu asks “In the midst of the most physically demanding move, what runs through your mind? How do you build mentally and physically towards something that is very dangerous?

Tim: Moves are only dangerous if your not ready to do them/dont have the abilitiy. Theres always a step before thats less dangerous so if your scared, work out what that step is and do that instead. Its all about progressing at a rate your comfortable with. Progress is the second most important thing in parkour, safety is first.

Terence asks “Were you naturally strong among boys of your age group when you were a child or did you have to work on it? What advice would you give those who are aren’t built too strong and want to be traceurs?

Tim: I was always a skinny kid not noticabely strong just had this strange ability to walk on my hands but that only ever gave me the role as class clown more then anything! I rarely ever do conditioning I just like to train movements that are safe and beneficial to you physically.

Tariq asks “Do you undergo any particular training for your famous upper body strength and the signature one hand-stand?

Tim: Nope just always enjoyed being on my hands. The key is to have fun with it and be playful so you don’t get bored.

Sandeep asks “Parkour is hard on one’s body, especially the joints. Do you have advice on joint care and recovery?

Tim: Don’t do anything that feels as though it may be damaging! There’s infinite things you can practise that will only make you stronger. You don’t need to do big jumps and drops to do parkour. In my videos you’ll notice I hardly ever do anything thats big impact, it’s not worth it.

Havish asks “I have seen most of the Traceurs not wearing Knee Braces, Elbow Pads etc… Would wearing the protective equipment hamper the ethics of Parkour? Or is it just to supress the personal FEAR?

Tim: Yes, if you feel you should be wearing protection then your not training within your boundaries or safely enough. You should only do things your comfortable doing in trainers, sweat pants and a tshirt. You should NEVER supress Fear, fear is a wonderful gift that stops us killing ourselves. Its just knowing what to be afraid of thats important, and thats what we learn through parkour.

Susheel asks “What drives you towards Parkour / Freerunning as a creative outlet? Does recognition, success and popularity figure in that, and where do you see Parkour and Freerunning taking you in the future?

Tim: Everyday I wake up to the nicest emails from people that appreciate my work which definately helps me keep going and wanting to put out more content. But as for training creativity alone plays a huge part as it keeps it fun and original so you never get bored! I dont know where it will take me but the path I’m on right now is the exact one I want to be on so I’mma keep following it, everyday is a blessing full of exciting prospects.

Tariq asks “What exactly is the tattoo on your back? I’ve never been able to get a clear picture of that.

Tim: Its of Atlas (the greek god) holding up the world, I know in the stories he held the sky up but you often see him pictured with the world on his shoulders, its just to represent how I feel sometimes. That and hes one of the strongest men in greek mythology, what better a role model?

Terence asks “What did it feel like, growing and developing under the shadows of greats like Daniel Ilabaca? Would your life be any different if you had not really met them at all?

Tim: I don’t know if it would be different or not but I am very grateful, he really is a great athlete, role model but above all human being, just being around him you feel his aura of confidence and precision.

Havish asks “Approximately how many hours a day or what kind of a routine would you suggest for Freerunnin (for guys who hardly find time besides their busy schedules. Considering the fact that work starts at 9 AM and that we are back home late in the evenin at 7.30 or so)

Tim: Sometimes less is more, the time we spend resting can be as important as the time we spend training, just make sure you train properly on the weekends!

Havish asks “I have a pair of Powerisers (Jumping Stilts) and would like to try Parkour with them. How do I do it?

Tim: You tell me! I’ve had a go on powerisers but would never try anything beyond running down the street in them.

Havish asks “What Vegetarian & Non-Vegetarian Diet would you suggest for Parkour enthusiasts?

Tim: I don’t follow a diet, I just listen to my body and think “I feel bad today, hmm what did I eat yesterday? I’ll try and avoid that in future.” Or the other way round.


This interview was originally published on the Chennai Parkour blog by Susheel Chandradhas it is reproduced here for everyone’s benefit.