You might be interested in learning the sport of parkour for a number of reasons. Perhaps you want to get in shape and you see it as an ideal way to attain the peak of physical fitness. Or maybe you saw some of the many videos of parkour pros on YouTube and you are keen to jump walls, backflip off buildings, and overcome any physical obstacle that dares to block your path. Maybe you’re a stunt actor training for a movie. But generally speaking, you probably view the pursuit of parkour as a solitary occupation, one in which you train tirelessly, like in a Rocky montage. But you might be surprised to learn that parkour was actually conceived as a group activity that was, in fact, taught to whole groups of students. So if you’re looking to get started with this high-octane sport, here are a few good reasons to join a club.
1. Buddy system. Injuries in parkour are not uncommon (what do you expect when you mix cardio, strength training, dynamic movement, gymnastics, and an urban sprawl into one sport?). In the beginning you’ll be happy to have someone to spot you as you attempt to hurdle obstacles, flip off ledges, and climb walls. And having company is always preferable to being alone when you find yourself in an accident or injury situation. It could just save your life.
2. Motivation. Training for parkour is not going to be easy. It is an intense sport that demands an extreme level of fitness and requires a high level of dedication to master. After a while, you might start to wonder why the heck you’re working so hard; it’s not like this is an internationally recognized sport that will land you a spot on an Olympic team. You can’t even really get paid for it if you get to what would be considered “pro” level. As a member of a club, you’ll interact with others who are working just as hard as you to reach the same goals. Plus, it’s just more fun to do any sport with friends.
3. Learn new tricks. At some point you’re going to reach the limit of what you can do on your own. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the expertise of others to fall back on? You’re bound to have members of the group at varying levels of knowledge and experience, as well as those who specialize in certain areas like running, climbing, or performing gymnastic feats (you might even end up with nutritionists or medical experts in the group – who knows?). In short, you’ll have more opportunities to learn and grow if you operate as part of a group.
4. Travel. Many parkour clubs like to travel together to different locales in order to find new terrain to traverse. This could be a great opportunity for you to practice your sport, see new places, and remain safe while doing so.
5. Challenge yourself. In any sport, you’re going to run out of ways to improve your skills if you’re always on your own. With a whole group to compete against, you can continue to challenge yourself and find ways to keep your activities fun.
Dana Kirsh writes for The Guestlist Club where you can find info on top London clubs like China White.