Learn to drive yourself up the wall
Leaping over skips, scurrying up walls and hurling yourself under fences as you run through the streets of London, parkour certainly embraces unparalleled freedom, creativity and spontaneity.
Parkour Generations, a renowned training school in London, offers indoor and outdoor classes for beginners and more advanced traceurs, as practitioners of the sport are named.
The unconventional sport involves participants attempting to negotiate obstacles in their path in the most efficient way, using skilful rolls and bounds. Precision, balance and spatial awareness are key.
Parkour is a non-competitive, physical discipline, which originates in France and has become increasingly popular in recent years. Eventually, with practice, your movements become more fluid and flexible to adapt to the environment. Experts say it uses the same strict discipline as age-old martial arts such as karate and taekwondo, and the constant rushes of adrenaline mean the sport never becomes dull.
Parkour Generations’ indoor class on Tuesday evenings makes use of soft gym apparatus, to allow you to perfect your moves and condition yourself before moving to trying it in the “real world.”
The classes use obstacles such as benches, vault boxes, and ropes to wrench the sense of adventure from even the not-so-sport-keen.
There are four or five instructors involved at every training session, who encourage participants to use their initiative to find effective ways of overcoming obstacles. You are inspired to look beyond the equipment and their obvious uses, and will be surprised how quickly you are running on walls and grabbing on to hidden ledges.
The instructors’ enthusiasm, crazy tricks and extreme suggestions make the two-hour class challenging but enjoyable.
Chris Sanders, a regular traceur, said: “The outdoor classes, in particular, allow you to look at your everyday environment in a different way. It is more difficult and scary to execute tricks outside though, and the indoor class provides security and an effective way to practice.”
Many participants in the class expressed surprise in the jumps and fluid sequences they were able to perform. I, for one, was quite chuffed with my backward leap.
The classes are all very popular, with an indoor academy on Mondays attracting around 40 people each week. This doesn’t make classes feel too crowded, but provides a lively and fun atmosphere.
Parkour Generations also offers outdoor classes on Friday from 7 - 8:30pm for £10, and indoor classes on Monday and Tuesday evenings for £5. Indoor classes take place at the Westminster Academy, 255 Harrow Road, W2 5EZ. For more information, visit www.parkourgenerations.com