My sons Darius and Javen are obsessed with freerunning, or parkour as it is known. So when they came to visit me during Spring Break, I searched on the web for parkour in Austin and ran into Matthew Lee Willis through my surfing.
More on Matthew in a second, but what is parkour? And why are my sons and so many others obsessed with this rapidly growing movement?
If you aren’t familiar, it may be tough to explain. Parkour is like gymnastics without a gym, skateboarding without a skateboard, and rock climbing without gear, all rolled into one.
Visually, it is reminiscent of those fantastical moves that Jackie Chan does in the movies – where he bounces off walls and slides standing up down a rail, only to roll into action.
Check out this short video:
In short, parkour is the art of expressing yourself via physical acrobatics. The only limits are the farthest reaches of your imagination and your immediate surroundings.
In practical terms, parkour is about taking the world around you and making it into your own private obstacle course, taming the landscape to your vision and expressing it physically through vaulting, climbing, ground rolls, running, leaping and more.
It’s also great exercise that the current generation actually enjoys. My sons both have 6-pack abs, and they are 14 and 11!
When my boys came out to Austin for Spring Break, I took them to see Matthew Lee Willis and the fine folks at Texas Parkour Academy.
Matthew is a former gymnastics coach who has followed his own passion for parkour and has created an academy for those who want to get involved. He is Parkour Federation Certified, First Aid and CPR certified and – most importantly – truly interactive and great with his students.
The Texas Parkour Academy offers workshops, bootcamps, youth parkour and a wide assortment of parkour classes for any age group and ability level.
My boys both loved the Academy. At the end of their Spring Break, though I had taken them to Six Flags Fiesta Texas as well, they said they enjoyed the Texas Parkour Academy the most. I can’t recommend Matthew to you highly enough.
Go on and check it out. You can see all the classes offered by clicking HERE.
Austinot Eric asks:
What is your favorite way to get exercise outside of a traditional gym?