Learning parkour / freerunning
December 22, 2008 3:20 PM   Subscribe

I would like to learn parkour/freerunning. Where should I start?

Let me add that I am as uncoordinated as they come, so I seriously debated trying to get into a gymnastics class (though that'd be a little bit feminine, wouldn't it?). I took yoga for almost a year, but haven't gone since Spring of 2008. I also can do quite a few pullups/chinups and all that, so lifting my bodyweight won't be a problem.

There's no local parkour places in the area (Chicago) that I know of, so I'd like some alternate ways to train - certain types of martial arts, things I can do at home, etc.

Any advice would be awesome.
posted by phrakture to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Chicago Parkour Community?
posted by Lucinda at 4:21 PM on December 22, 2008

I'm aware of that page, but it is largely filled with broken links, dead forum threads, and is not really all that informative. I was hoping MeFi would be a more viable source.
posted by phrakture at 4:30 PM on December 22, 2008

I seriously debated trying to get into a gymnastics class (though that'd be a little bit feminine, wouldn't it?)

It wouldn't, no. There are male gymnasts, and their routines aren't of the prancing-while-twirling-a-ribbon variety.

A gymnastics class would probably teach you a lot of things that you could use in parkour. Balance, how to time flips correctly (so you don't end up like this), etc.
posted by CKmtl at 4:40 PM on December 22, 2008

Go to a gymnastics class, whether formal or informal! It's important to practise the basics first, especially how to fall safely, if this is something you're coming to new. Look around your local gymnasiums -- you want somewhere with a lot of soft mats. If you ask around, you may find there's a local PK/tricking group already using it for practise and joining them is the best place to start. Even if not, the practise is worth not cracking your head open on the concrete.
posted by Drexen at 4:50 PM on December 22, 2008

I joined a parkour group here a few years ago, and once a week we went to a gymnastics facility complete with foam pit and horses etc and practiced the more risky stuff in a controlled environment. It's great to get your confidence up when you know that if you slip you're not going to get hurt, at least to perfect technique.
posted by chrisbucks at 5:23 PM on December 22, 2008

I would recommend American Parkour - they've got some nice tutes.
posted by firei at 6:02 PM on December 22, 2008

Well, for that matter - any recommendations for non-ribbon-twirling gymnastics classes in Chicago?
posted by phrakture at 10:12 PM on December 22, 2008

This gymnastics forum thread suggests two places that have adult classes: Lakeshore Academy and Skyline Gymnastics (no website).
posted by CKmtl at 7:36 AM on December 23, 2008

In terms of preparing for parkour, and in light of your admitted lack of coordination, it might be worthwhile to enroll in tai chi classes. Tai Chi really helps develop balance, coordination and body awareness, though at a much slower pace. It also helps to develop the smaller, supportive musculature that might help you from injury once you begin parkour.
posted by pazoozoo at 7:40 AM on December 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

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