What’s to Love: “Functional Fitness” is a trendy term these days. What does it mean? I’m sure I could gather many definitions from practitioners, teachers, and students. To me, it means exercising in dynamic/non-linear ways like rolling, tumbling, climbing, twisting, turning, jumping, leaping, grasping, etc. Most importantly, the movements have to be done with a mindful intent on the technique. Oh yeah, it MUST be fun! It’s the type of fitness that makes you feel like a kid again. Revolution Parkour houses one of the first Parkour Academies in the country, and after experiencing a course first-hand with my son, I can certainly attest to the “having fun” aspect.
So, what exactly is “Parkour?” Before I toss out a definition, check-out this amazing video from the Revolution Parkour website. Don’t be too intimidated by the video. All of the clips are of a highly skilled “traceur” (i.e., a male who does Parkour) with highly technical moves and obstacles. This certainly will NOT be your experience inside the gym for a beginner’s class.
Wikipedia defines Parkour as “… a utilitarian discipline based upon the direct, successful, swift traversing of one’s surrounding environment via the practical application of techniques, based around the concept of self-preservation.” (source) David Belle who gets credit for coining the phrase defines Parkour as, “…fast efficient movement from one point to another.” (source) Sorting out if something is “Parkour” or not can be tricky.
“Revolution Parkour” located in Beaverton, Oregon provides an indoor space to practice Parkour skills with a focus on summer camps, skills-classes, fitness classes, open gym, free-running, and Parkour games. Explanations of the various formats and a schedule can be found here. What will Parkour look like inside the gym? Check-out the clip below from their website for an overview.
Here is a video clip I put together of our Beginner Class experience.
Overall, we had a wonderful experience at Revolution Parkour and cannot wait to go back for more classes! The facility was clean, the staff members were friendly and helpful, and the other members/participants were all kind, respectful, and helpful to newbies. I highly recommend this business, if you think it would appeal to you and/or your kids.
Caveats: Off 217…you’ll want to plan your trip carefully from Portland. We went to the evening Beginner’s Class at 7PM and the traffic was totally clear.
I suspect that it’s more likely that you’ll injure yourself before your kids hurt themselves. Kids have a knack for this style of workout and often understand their limits better than adults! Be careful and make sure the staff is aware that you’ve never tried Parkour. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before trying to conquer an obstacle.
Website: Revolution Parkour
Distance from Portland: Around 8 – 12 miles from Portland. Here is a link to the Google Map. Address/Phone: 5651 SW Arctic DR., Beaverton, OR – (503) 746-4785
Recommended Ages: Ages 7 and older are welcome. This is a great activity for almost any age, especially teenagers! I thought it was cool to be a 42 year old guy in a class with younger kids. Currently, the classes are split into ages 7 – 12, 13+, and open gym for 16+ years.
Parental Stress Factor: The staff is very concerned about safety and takes care in warming up properly. Obviously, this is a *potentially* dangerous activity and there are inherent risks involved, especially as your child moves to more difficult moves/obstacles.
Physical Difficulty: Very physical and increasingly difficult – it’s a great workout! There is a minimum level of fitness/dexterity/agility that is required for participation. However, I’m not the one to judge what that level is. If you’re concerned, call the facility and talk it over with a staff member.
I don’t want to discourage your child’s involvement, if they are not naturally athletic. This is the type of activity that can build confidence in kids. I also think it’s a good activity to do with your kids.
Family Fun Factor: Parkour is not for everyone. Obviously, the “Family Fun Factor” depends greatly on your family’s comfort level with physical activities. I know I would rate this high for my family. We had a blast here, and my son is already asking me when we can return.
Pet Friendly: N/A
Weather Considerations: Great indoor activity!
Insider Info: They have bottled water on the premises, but you’ll want to bring your own water bottle. As you can see in the last picture, they have a small retail area with Parkour gear that includes some books about Parkour. I had to hustle my son through this section, or he would have kept bothering me to buy something.
Family Tips: If you plan on staying more than an hour (e.g., Open Gym), you’ll want to bring along some snacks. Parkour is a demanding workout, and it’s so fun that you won’t realize how much you’re working your body until it’s too late. Make sure your kids are fueled-up and ready to go when they get to class.
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Rock Climbing at Smith Rock! on August 8th, 2009
Grand Central Bowling on August 13th, 2013
Opal Creek - Family Workshops on September 7th, 2009