#PickUp series: Parkour
Love to live life on the edge? Get a grip on parkour!
Jumping between skyscraper ledges, balancing on roof tops and hanging on walls… Ever wondered what it’s like to re-enact those moves in blockbuster action movies? Youth.SG got our hands dirty (literally!) learning parkour at the Istana Park.
Parkour is actually a non-competitive sport, and is as safe as any other outdoor sport, as long as the practitioner is constantly mindful of their own and the public’s safety. To make sure we learnt the correct techniques, Youth.SG attended a parkour lesson with coach Ambry Nurhayati from Superfly Monkey Dragons.
Coach Ambry is really passionate about parkour, evident from the fact that she rushes to parkour lessons after her full-time job as a video editor. She has been in the parkour for about five years and gave us a comprehensive insight on parkour. Check out my session with her in this video!
1. Warm-ups and conditioning
We started the class with a quick jog around Istana Park. It is important to warm up and run on the balls of our feet so that we are quick in our movements.
Next, we had coordination training called “quadrupedal”. Using alternate palms and legs, the quadrupedal was like crawling, but without our knees touching the ground. It was challenging on the core muscles to keep my body parallel to the ground and not raising my waist.
2. Precision jumps
After training our core, we had Precision Jump training. We started off small by jumping on a low bench from a short distance.
The jumping technique is similar to a standing broad jump; We landed on the balls of our feet without noise. This exercise conditions our bodies to absorb our weight, hence we could not squat less than 90 degrees upon landing.
Afterwards, we did handstands: a good exercise to strengthen our arms and find our balance through shifting our body weight. Arm strength is useful when hanging on walls or having to pull oneself up when doing vaults.
Doing handstands against the wall may leave shoe stains on white-washed walls, and be considered vandalism. Thus it is a civic practice in Singapore to remove all traces of parkour activity and maintain the public facilities just as they originally were.
Next, we picked up the basic steps of parkour: step-off vaults and gate vaults. Step-off is simply climbing over the ledge using alternate hands and legs. It looks easy, but the proper way of doing it is to push ourselves up first before immediately swinging our legs over.
The gate vault was more advanced. We had to do a little cartwheel over the ledge by locking our hips on the ledge and shifting our body weight over.
We ended the class with a cool-off session which relieved the tension in our muscles (I still had major leg cramps the next day though). For our relaxation technique, we simply lied down on our back and closed our eyes.
To wrap up, the class was very enjoyable and our instructor was very knowledgeable about parkour. The small class size was great as the beginners’ safety was well-taken care of. I loved how the parkour class time was optimised such that we managed to cover several skills and techniques within just an hour.
As much as parkour is a good workout session, I feel that it also teaches us to overcome our fears of heights and falling.
P.S: Use comfortable long pants and light sports shoes with good rubber soles for friction.
Course: Parkour Beginner Lesson
Where: Parkour can happen anywhere! This includes parks, rooftops and void decks.
School: Superfly Monkey Dragons
Duration: 1 hour
This is part 2/4 of our #PickUp series. Stay tuned for the next episode!