Indoor parkour lessons are now available at K2 Crawley. Obby reporter Nikki Cutler tried out a session to find out what it was all about.
When I met Drew Ratcliff for my one-to-one training session in the large gymnasium filled with trampolines, crash mats and vaults, I was all set to make a fool of myself by attempting some somersaults and back flips.
But as Drew took me through the importance of safety in the sport I quickly realised I had entered with a lot of misconceptions.
The name parkour comes from the phrase ‘parcours du combattant’, which is French for ‘obstacle course’ .
It is not the same as free running as I had thought. The aim of parkour is to get across obstacles quickly, efficiently, safely and fluidly while free running involves added stunts for flair.
Drew, 20, explained it was important to him to help people train safely as he attempted to teach himself parkour when he was aged 11 by running along roof tops and ended up falling through a roof.
After setting up a large soft crash mat, Drew demonstrated some vaults which are used to cross over raised structures.
I watched Drew as he vaulted and sailed through the air over the mat making it look like second nature.
I made my run up feeling assured that when I reached the mat I would fly across it with ease in the same elegant style.
Instead, I found myself freezing at the last second and stumbling headfirst onto the mat with a pathetic squeal.
Of course I jumped straight back up determined to master the move so I could look as good as Drew had or at least regain some pride.
Drew had to frequently remind me to ignore my instincts and believe in my own ability in order to overcome that urge to wimp out at the last minute.
The importance of self belief in this sport makes it a great confidence booster as there is no better feeling than walking out of a lesson knowing you have learnt to do something which you previously would have thought was impossible.
So anyone looking for a new indoor sport which combines fitness and strength with agility and skill as well as an added bonus of self confidence, this is the one to take up.
To find out more call contact Dave Downey on 01293 585367.