We’ve received many excited tweets and messages about Blake Evitt’s intro to parkour class. Parkour is a powerful way to transcend your own boundaries while getting a great workout, so we expect an enthusiastic turnout for this one!
For those of us not yet familiar—what exactly is parkour, and how did you first get into it?
At its heart, parkour is essentially running, jumping, and climbing through an environment. Parkour incorporates movements and techniques from a wide variety of disciplines, and a number of “unique” techniques have developed over the years as well. While it may seem like a bunch of high-flying antics to the casual internet observer, the actual sport/discipline/art form of parkour is much more about functional movement, community, discipline, and overcoming physical and mental challenges. I started training in 2009 while on a research trip to Paris to interview the original French founders of the discipline. I was hooked after my first exposure to parkour, and have been training, traveling, and teaching ever since.
You’ve studied and taught parkour all over the world—do you have any fun stories to share with us?
I’ve spent a lot of time traveling for parkour over the last five years and I documented much of the first 2+ years (part of which was while I was on a Watson Fellowship studying parkour as an agent for positive social change) on my blog.
Part of learning parkour is training yourself to “see your environment in a new way.” How is this accomplished?
People are often very surprised by how much their perspective on the world changes very soon after starting parkour. It’s hard to fully appreciate until you’ve tried it, but since we look for obstacles and challenges all around us, the world essentially becomes a giant playground that is full of ways to experiment and play with movement.
Is there a minimum fitness level for this class?
No, this class is open to participants of all fitness levels and athletic backgrounds. Each of our classes is designed to accommodate a wide range of skill levels, from absolute beginners to experienced traceurs.
For those Skillshare attendees who may be on the fence (no pun intended) about taking your class because of safety concerns, let’s reassure them here and now that parkour won’t lead to injury if practiced with basic care and attention:
Parkour is actually very safe when taught by experienced instructors. Parkour is taught in a series of progressions in which participants master basic movements before moving on to more difficult techniques and challenges. This, along with the fact that there are no additional outside pressures on the participant (peer pressure, competition, other players, etc.), mean that the participant can progress at their own pace.
On the other hand, for those of us who are all “bring it on!”, where will students be able to continue their parkour practice locally?
We run 20-30 classes/week for all ages in the Boston Metro area, and a number of our classes are based in the Somerville area. Participants that would like to continue their training are welcome to join our regular classes.