I'd seen a documentary about it on TV many years ago while in the UK. Zenchai and I then watched a few videos and suddenly Zenchai was gripped - raring to go to the park to try out what he had seen.
So off we went. He was bouncing off trees and walls, jumping off of whatever he could find. That's basically what Parkour is about - creative body movement, using agility and your surroundings to get around at speed. Others describe it as obstacle course training, but I think it is more than that. It's probably a combination of free-running with - and while going over - obstacles.
The first session for children was free. Given Zenchai's track record for trying things and not wanting to stick with it, we were reluctant to splash out without him first giving it a go. I'm not one to make him do something he doesn't enjoy.
So one drizzly, grey Sunday morning I took him down. Zenchai is usually up early, but, typically, the one day I needed him up early he was fast asleep, completely zonked out. I had to wake him up, feed him and then help him get dressed in time to catch our bus.
We got there early, patiently waited outside and then, once inside, Zenchai was eager to fling himself at all the apparatus. I noticed a lot of the equipment was similar to what I use at CrossFit - box jumps, kettlebells, barbells, bands, pull-up bars etc. I had to reel Zenchai in after we entered the hall, but with other kids running around, I just let him loose.
Once the class started there were around another dozen children. The coach did brilliantly to keep them in some kind of order and maintain their interest. There was no real hanging around for them. The kids were always involved in either running or jumping or climbing. This was kid heaven!
Zenchai had one moment where he lost control. He got stuck in what looked like a chimney and didn't have the confidence to climb out and jump down. He screamed for help and the coach, calmly, tried to guide him out of the sticky situation.
I thought Zenchai would walk off, dispirited. But, despite the tears and obvious anguish, he went straight back into the action and enjoyed the rest of the session. He told me he'd "never" go into the chimney again, but I have a feeling he will conquer that fear fairly soon.
When the class was over some of the children hung around the play some more. Slowly, they disappeared. But one hour later Zenchai was still going - all by himself. He was watching the older practitioners and trying to copy them. Every time I suggested it was time to go, he replied, "No, I'm having too much fun."
His confidence was soaring after only one class. He was jumping on to boxes he at the start of the day wouldn't have attempted. He was jumping from box to box and scaling heights which would have ordinarily been too scary for him. On our way out of the building we jumped down the stairs instead of walking them!
To say it was all a success was an understatement. So we're signing him up for some more. Not only is it a fabulous place for Zenchai to get play time with other children his age, he also got to release a lot of boy energy, learn invaluable skills and grow his confidence.
Origins Parkour And Athletic Facility is located on the 3rd floor at 2655 Main Street, Vancouver. Children get 25 per cent off class rates.