Climbing The Walls, Parkour Style
When Sassy Editor, Kaya, asked me if I wanted to bring my children to a Parkour session that she and Sassy Mama Sofia were attending with their combined 5 kids I honestly thought I was going to have to stage an intervention. In case you haven’t heard of it, Parkour, or Freerunning, is a discipline that originated in France in the 1980s. It involves the participants moving through the urban environment using only their body, so by running, jumping, climbing etc. At its most extreme freerunners scale the outside of buildings and leap between roof tops. There’s a Parkour scene in the James Bond film Casino Royal which is incredible to watch but not something I imagined doing with my 8,6 and 4 year olds on a Thursday afternoon!
Kaya reassured me that she hadn’t, in fact, lost her mind and that a new custom built studio had opened in Al Quoz. Located in one of the warehouses of trendy arts hub Alserkal Avenue (the same one that’s home to fab new cafe Hapi), Parkour Dxb runs classes both for children and adults. Between us we had 8 (very excited) children aged from 3 to 8. The instructor Andrea started with a warm up which engaged the children immediately and had me breaking a sweat by the end of it.
She then got them to line up and watch while she demonstrated the first course. She told them that they wouldn’t be able to join in unless they paid attention and listened, and you know what? They did. They started off by climbing over blocks and walking along beams and then moved on to a more challenging route where they could ‘cat climb’ along the wall, leap between higher blocks and then up and over a specially designed climbing box.
Andrea was very mindful of the different ages of the children taking part and offered alternatives or assistance based on their ability. At the end of the session they took turns to repeat their favourite bit of the circuit while everyone else watched and then gave them a cheer. It was clear that they all felt a real sense of achievement and my 3 absolutely loved it. Lucas, age 8, wants to have his next birthday party there.
While Parkour is undoubtedly a great form of exercise, it is also a challenge for the mind. Participants develop self confidence, agility and creativity by overcoming obstacles both physical and mental. Most of all it’s a wonderful way for children (and adults) to safely test their limits while having fun.
If you have energetic little people at home – you know the kind who can’t resist leaping from all your furniture – then Parkour is the perfect activity for them to try. The older ones will feel cool, the younger ones just love the freedom of finally being allowed to leap all over everything – and the mamas can either get involved or sit in the awesome adjoining cafe, Hapi, and sip on one of the best lattes in town while the kids are in their session. We’ll most definitely be back!