You’ve seen it in movies or on TV or even just by accident at your local park: teens and young adults jumping off walls, trees or anything they can find…for fun. It’s called Parkour.
Twenty year old Brandon Handon says “I’ve been doing it for like five years now. I just kind of found it on YouTube and it looked cool.”
Since the ‘90’s there have been at least 10 Parkour movies and video games, starring actors like Channing Tatum and Taylor Lautner. So that is why it is popular among 20-sometings.
Parkour developed from French military training and is used today as exercise and a hobby. Parkour jumpers can be any age, but are mostly young adults. Some have just started the practice and some have been training for years. The Charlotte Parkour Crew meets at least once a week on the campus of UNC Charlotte and is open to anyone.
The goal is simply to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. And the more experience you have the more crazy jumps, vaults and wall runs you’ll add.
Training starts off like an organized gym class, with warm ups and group stunts. Then moves to a freestyle atmosphere where participants take turns when they feel inspired. They say it is organic.
Some of the stunts look dangerous but organizers say safety is the foundation, because “You can’t get anywhere fast if you have a broken leg, number one. Number two, this is a lifelong discipline. This is something that we’re always trying to improve ourselves day after day,” says Nick Faircloth, Charlotte Parkour Crew trainer.
Although safety is first, there have been some injuries. Different members show off their battle wounds and stories of their Parkour “fails.”
The Charlotte Parkour Crew also teach organized classes at different gyms around the area. As an exercise you work every part of your body and there is a lot of running. But it’s the social factor that is the big draw. Most of the crew, even the new members, are now best friends.
For more information visit www.charlotteparkour.com for the list of gyms and class schedules.