Parkour athletes jump, climb their way to fitness
BY ANNE STOKES
GOLD COUNTRY NEWS SERVICE
arkour, the innovativetrend that’s igniting the fitness world,gives practitioners a new perspective on getting inshape without the equip-ment, rules and competi-tion inherent in otherforms of athleticism.“Parkour is kind of whatI call ‘professional play-ground playing,’”explained instructorCorey Romines. “It’s func-tional fitness, too. You cando this anywhere, even ona park bench, handicaprails or walls, anything.Literally the world is yourplayground.”He said parkour hasthree different genres of exercise: running, climb-ing and jumping.Romines has been atraceur (as Parkour practi-tioners are called) for fourand a half years in addi-tion to having a martialarts background. Herecently opened Rocklin’sFree Flow Academy of Hybrid Arts to introduceothers to the sport safely.“I wanted to open thisplace up because there’s alot of crazy videos outthere that make parkourseem like it’s a crazy stuntthing,” he said. “And it’snot.”Traceuse EmeraldBarkley of Rocklin agrees.“I would say that it’s justas disciplined as martialarts,” she said. “You needto put a lot of hours intobasics and understanding how movement works inorder to do it properly. You can do anything poorly and flashy, but toreally get good at some-thing and to really under-stand your own move-ment is going to take a lotof time and discipline.”Traceur and instructor Alan Connealy of APEX Movement gym in Con-cord explained that thereis more to parkour thanmerely a creative form of fitness.“It incorporates criticalthinking, constant chal-lenge and natural move-ments,” he said. “Parkouris about overcoming obstacles; physical, men-tal and emotional (and)helps to create an under-standing of one’s self.”Parkour’s roots lie inGeorge Herbert’s “NaturalMethod,” developed inthe early 1900s, whichadvocated an obstaclecourse-style of physicaltraining . The methods of Herbert, a French navalofficer, became the basisof French military physi-cal education, referred toas “
parcour de combat-ants
.” From that influ-ence, French martial artistDavid Belle developed what is now known asparkour, shortening thename and taking the art of movement from thestreets of suburban Paristo the silver screens of Hollywood. One of themost recognizableinstances was the open-ing chase sequence in theJames Bond movie “Casi-no Royale,” featuring parkour legend SebastianFoucan.But despite the seem-ingly insane acrobaticstunts, as well as the pro-liferation of self-styledtraceurs online, there is amethod to such seeming madness.“Parkour can be dan-gerous if not practicedsmart,” Connealy said.“Utilizing proper progres-sion and allowing some-one to understand theirabilities is key to prevent-ing injury. Using propertechnique is also impor-tant in order to save thetraceur’s body. We don’trecommend jumping off of rooftops, but with allthe YouTube videos outthere, it is bound to hap-pen.”Despite her martial artsbackground, gym co-owner and traceuse ElleBeyer had to start withbaby steps the first timeshe tried it — litterally.She was just two monthsout after having herfourth child.“It’s basically progres-sions, just breaking itdown,” she explained.“My first day learning parkour, they had me justclimb up a little 3-foot wall on my own. And so Idid that 20 times before I was winded and I wasdone for the day. That’s where I started — every-one has to start some- where.”Fellow mom andtraceuse since August,Michelle Bertrand of Roseville started practic-ing parkour to keep up with her four kids. Although she admitsthat her kids, ages 8, 7 anda pair of 5-year-old twins,still bounce off the wallsat home, “now it’s a littlemore controlled andintentional, versus justclimbing walls and jump-ing over my couch. Wecome here and play tag and play chase. It’s a great way to keep in shape andkeep up with them. It’ssomething our wholefamily has started loving together.”
FREE FLOW ACADEMY OF HYBRID ARTS
1106 TinkerRoad, Unit 150, Rocklin
The world is your playground
ANNE STOKES • GOLD COUNTRY NEWS SERVICE
Jared Huber of Roseville, 11, a member of the FreeFlow Academy Demo Team, leaps over obstaclesduring a workout at the Rocklin gym.
ANNE STOKES • GOLD COUNTRY NEWS SERVICE
Parkour instructor Corey Romines and a few of hisstudents at the newly opened Free Flow Academygym in Rocklin.
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