Parkour in Southend: Adapt and Overcome Ria February 11, 2015 Local News, Southend, Sports This article was written by Brad Moss from Southend Parkour. Southend Parkour is a community for movement, based in Southend-on-Sea. What is Parkour? Parkour is a movement practice to enable individuals to overcome obstacles using movement techniques and was developed in the 80’s and 90’s, by a group of young men in a small French town called Lisses. I won’t give a massive history lesson, but in short, this group created Parkour from their childhood games of chasing, running, jumping and challenging themselves and each other. Since around 2002, Parkour began to get more exposure in the UK, some accurately portraying the discipline’s ethos, some less so. As the interest has grown, the structure around Parkour and its practice has developed. In the UK alone, there are approximately 20 public and private Parkour training facilities and roughly 30 Level 2 certified coaches in the UK, eligible to coach the practice. This is a part of nationally recognised Parkour qualifications system, with ParkourUK, the national Governing Body on the cusp of further national backing. Parkour encourages movement and exploration, developing core skills which can be used in daily life. We are born to move and run and chase; Parkour builds and redevelops our natural ability to do so through practice and challenge. Parkour in Southend I am an ADAPT Level 2 Parkour/Freerunning Coach, recognised by Parkour UK, with over 10 years of Parkour training and coaching experience. Throughout practice, I have had many opportunities to travel appearing on Britain’s Got Talent, Inside Out and independent films; worked for companies such as Samsung, Nissan, Caterpillar and Wrangler and have coached all over the UK with my friends, growing up together through Parkour. Southend has given me an awful lot and from the outset of my professional development, having worked in the Youth Work sector for around a decade and almost as long as I’ve been practising Parkour, I’ve wanted to share the benefits of the practice with the very town that’s equipped me to travel, work and experience a lot of cool stuff. As much as sharing Parkour has been the aim and has naturally been a part of most conversations, ‘officially’ it had not been a legitimate option to coach due to the previous lack of recognition regarding its practice. Change in this case however, is good. I run www.SouthendParkour.com to give others the opportunity to learn Parkour. The current schedule of classes in Southend include a two hour Wednesday night outdoor class for adults and an hour and ten minutes junior and adult indoor class operating out of St Bernards High School on a Friday evening. Both indoor and outdoor classes equip students to improve functional fitness, learn Parkour techniques and related movement to develop core areas, such as running, jumping, climbing, rolling, crawling and landing. It’s not just about learning movement, Parkour develops confidence, self-sufficiency and above all else, experience to ensure safe and effective approaches to challenges faced, whether physical or mental. Many sources, particularly on the internet would suggest Parkour is all about flashy movement and jumping gaps at height; this is far from the reality of the discipline. Our classes work with all ability levels and genders and inspire your ability and capacity to move, prioritising function over fashion. This is something which in my opinion, is ignored too frequently and to our detriment within society as a whole. Our YouTube account aims to share the values of Parkour through the medium of film, sharing what we do and how/why we do it. I work with the view of “be strong and be useful”, a fundamental principle related to Parkour’s origins and history. We all move on a daily basis and to be better practiced in a wide range of movement is useful for daily life and for further situations we may face. The fitness culture is moving away from sport and into the mindset of function and purpose. Parkour is right on the front of this shift having been suggested the “future of fitness” in other articles. – At classes you can expect to try new things, be challenged and have plenty of fun in the process, learning skills which are useful to all. Being able to vault over a rail safely, or land well from a fall or slip could be the difference between being attacked/injured or being safe and able to carry on with your day. Through Parkour, we accept that everyone is unique, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, coaching works with each person as an individual, finding their way of moving effectively. As such, Parkour takes pride in being non-competitive, enjoying the journey together rather than focusing on the destination. In learning to vault, run and climb, we develop the skill to go out and seek further challenge and learning, being safe, confident and competent. Get involved! Southend Parkour Junior Classes People wanting to learn now have the opportunity to be guided and coached, learning safer and more effectively than we did ‘at the start’, continuing the growing practice of Parkour in both younger and older generations. Southend Parkour Adult Student Testimonial For more information about Southend Parkour and to book a class visit www.southendparkour.com, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.