To those who do it, parkour is the art of getting from one point to another – running, jumping, rolling, climbing, swinging and crawling. To those who don’t, it’s dangerous, madness even.

Parkour instructor Josh Douglas says he can teach anyone parkour regardless of fitness level, experience, ability or age.

“It’s accessible to everyone. It’s about playing, having fun and learning. It’s not about competition or who’s the best. It was designed to teach you how to move safely through your environment, not for dangerous stunts,” he says.

“For me it’s a fun way to enjoy fitness and it teaches beneficial values to kids like being strong and useful.”

Ipswich City Council is running a free two-hour beginner parkour workshop this Saturday, 9 December at Rotary Park, Bundamba. The workshop includes discussions, tips and tricks on various aspects of parkour and training. It will be suitable for all level of fitness for people over the age of 7, bookings are required and you can do that

Josh is based in Ipswich and has been training in parkour for the past five years.

“I was leaving competitive swimming and I wanted to do something enjoyable with my fitness. I looked around found a group in Brisbane, the Brisbane Parkour Association. I loved it right away, it was hard but awesome,” he says.

It’s an all-round sport that draws on your inner-child. If you walk down the footpath with a small child, they will instinctively want to jump and step on everything.

Josh says it’s a great sport for children and seniors alike.

“In Britain there is a lot of work with the elderly. Building and maintaining strength that we have been losing in our modern society. There is a lot of sitting and a lot less playing and exploring,” he says.

Parkour has military origins and was developed in an obstacle course environment. The forerunner of parkour was a French naval officer, Georges Hebert, who believed athletic skill must be combined with courage and altruism.

“The core of parkour is to reach or escape. To be able to move more freely through our environment. To solve the problems that some obstacles pose with movement that is often unconventional,” Josh says.

Parkour has become more mainstream after featuring in some big movies and also spread on the internet.

“People see the fancy stuff. However, they don’t see the years of conditioning through practising the movements, building up the tendons and muscles. They try something difficult without training and that’s when things go wrong,” he says.

“Join a class to learn the foundational elements, how to safely achieve the fundamentals, then you can go off and do your own training and exploring.”

If you want to see some elite level parkour, check out this movie scene from Casino Royale. If 8 minutes is too long watch it from about 3 minutes in.

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