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Not familiar with Parkour? It’s “Freestyle Running” where essentially, nothing is ever in your way- you overcome every obstacle in your path. Maybe not leaping a tall building in a single bound, but scaling a 9-foot concrete wall? You betcha!

I’d learned about Parkour (freerunning) last summer (or maybe it was the summer before) and thought it seemed like an extreme sport. Only crazy people do that stuff! 2nd floor apartment balconies are no longer out of reach or secure- Parkour runners can scale walls and access those things like the rest of us can jump over a parking lot curb.

Parkour/Freerunning is catching on in the US (it originated in France) and I’m sure eventually we will see it in the Olympics (and not just as a demonstration during one of the ceremonies like it was for the 2012 Olympics).

Here’s a great video on exactly what Parkour is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMppD-bUNWo

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Last month I saw a Groupon for four 1-hour parkour classes for just $29 and thought WTH- let’s DO THIS! Well, not ME, but Trevor and Riley!

They had their first class Monday night and LOVED IT!  Trevor scaled a 7′ wall on his first try!

Here’s a link to the kids’ experience: http://youtu.be/_Dlk4SwByIU

Update:   Here’s some links to the rest of their classes:

Class #2: Tonight’s class was a split class.  Riley’s group did a lot of conditioning and Trevor’s group learned how to safely get down from a 6′ height using various techniques.  Halfway through class they switched instructors so that both kids had the same experience.

http://youtu.be/J4xfeGstmkg

Class #3:  The primary focus of this class was teaching the kids to be comfortable moving between obstacles (without stepping on the floor) and using various techniques to move from obstacle to obstacle, whether by stepping, jumping, or using their hands.  They also did another drill for jumping down from heights.

http://youtu.be/RGnHvXyG92Y

Class #4:   The primary focus was teaching the kids how to get up walls.  First using a slanted wall to teach the kids to ‘attack’ the wall by running at it, jumping onto it as high as possible and taking another step up for even more height. This wall was probably 10′ or 12′ high?  They weren’t expected to reach the top, just get as high as they can with just ‘stepping’ up it.  The slant makes it easier and not so intimidating, too!

The next lesson was using a slanted vault to teach the kids to ‘attack’ it as well, with the ultimate goal of getting over it without needing to step on the top.  Oh, and you have to do it hands free.  Only 2 people in the class (adult/teen) could do that, the rest of the group could usually land on top of it.

Finally, the instructor had the kids climb the straight walls, teaching them how to pull themselves up.  The key here is once you have your elbows up on the edge, keep your toes ‘in’ the wall and pull your body up (think push-up style) so that you end with straight arms / locked elbows, then put your foot up (not your knees) and step up.

I wasn’t able to video much because of how crowded the class was and how far away some of the lesson was, but here’s a short video clip that shows these techniques.

http://youtu.be/HCXSD7s3kcw