May 2017

Even though it sounds very new, my subject today actually has a long back-story. Whether it’s on buildings that would give tightrope walkers vertigo, or in your neighbourhood park, it can be done anywhere. Everywhere, if you’re experienced enough. Have you guessed what I’m talking about yet? Parkour.

What is parkour? I bet that a lot of you have heard about parkour or freerunning. If you haven’t, or are unsure what it is, then I will explain.

Parkour is a extreme sport in which you must use any weapon in your arsenal (your body doing special movements, basically) like vaults, wall runs and slides to get from point A to point B. Some athletes use it as a workout to train leg and arm muscles, along with muscle endurance and stamina.

“Parkour” is french for “free running”, and was first developed in France. Raymond Belle is said to have “invented” parkour, but it was really a group effort primarily lead by Raymond that developed the sport. His son David continued the sport in the late 1980’s, followed by Yamakasi, who has his own style that he teaches. In fact, parkour is really all about your preferences, not your teacher’s preferences. Go with what you feel comfortable with. Also, they don’t plan our routes beforehand, and they use the objects around them to get where they want to go.

So what is the difference between parkour and freerunning?  Not many people know that there is a slight difference. Parkour is getting from A to B in the most efficient way possible using any sort of movement or combination of moves. Scale walls with wall climbs, hurdle over obstacles using vaults, or head downwards using your roll to handle those far falls.

Freerunning, on the other hand, is using your environment to have fun; to show off using more stylish moves like flips and wall-pivot vertical spins, also called wall spins. It’s a cross between parkour and gymnastics, and looks AMAZING.

It takes the multiple years of getting parkour perfected, plus a few more years to learn and master the flips. But challenges are learning experiences too, so go ahead if you so desire! It’s all up to you.

Where can I go to learn parkour? Well… this one is tough, actually. There are a few parkour academies in the U.S., like the famous Tempest Parkour & Freerunning Academy, but not many here in Canada. But don’t worry, not all hope is lost!  OCR Academy here is the first obstacle training gym in Ottawa – and currently the only one.  I have been dying to go here, but I’ve had a lot to do, like this speech, for instance! If you ever want to learn about OCR Academy, then there is a website to explore to find out where it is, and you’re set for a visit!

Thank you, and have a great day!


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