Parkour is hard to describe. Basically, it’s a holistic movement practice where people challenge themselves with obstacles. It involves running, jumping, crawling, climbing, vaulting, and all other instinctual movement patterns innate to human beings. If you ask people who practice it, it gets even more thoughtful. “Is it a sport? Or an art? Or a philosophy perhaps? Or maybe it is better termed a discipline?” asks Parkour Generations. “It has drawn on many sources, supped on inspiration from all over, and drunk from a hundred different cups as it has evolved – and by no means is this process over.” But if you’re thinking of signing your kids up to give it a try, you could just call it superhero training. Because that’s certainly what it looks like!
According to Dylan Johanson of Innate Movement Parkour in Kingston, parkour about self-mastery and confidence. In competitive sports, someone is always losing when someone else is winning. But because in parkour you’re only trying to be better than you were yesterday, Johanson believes it’s a healthy addition to a kid's development. “We are constantly testing ourselves and learning what we are capable of. Challenging oneself is at the heart of parkour, and facing and overcoming challenges on a regular basis builds character,” he says. “The practitioner learns that even the most difficult challenges can be solved, and we grow from the act of facing them directly.” Innate Movement Parkour is not teaching new skills, but rather helping people remember how to move naturally and to reclaim what it is to be human. Johanson says our bodies are designed to move in this way, but our modern lifestyle has us removed from the freedom this movement brings. Plus, he points out, it’s really fun!
Excited to find a local studio in Innate Movement Parkour, mom Robin Murphy says driving from Columbia County to Kingston to entertain her daughter’s new love of the sport is totally worth it. “The instructor is really wonderful, and works with the kids at their own level,” she says.
There’s a full line of kids, youth, teen, and adult classes, plus dedicated homeschool classes, workshops, and summer camps. Check them out online.