Origins, Vancouver’s first parkour facility, to open September 10th

Vancouver’s first parkour facility, Origins, will open its doors to the public on September 10th after a long search for an indoor space to practice the unique discipline. After months of constructing the interior of the gym, with large wooden structures that simulate outdoor cityscapes, a sprung floor, foam pit, climbing wall, and monkey bars, the gym is ready for the first week of classes. The 10,000 square foot gym located at 2655 Main Street will host a number of group and private lessons for ages 5 and up, for beginners to the experienced.

Owner and coach Rene (aka “Res”) Scavington started practicing parkour about 10 years ago after his friends saw parkour on an episode of Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Since then, he has been a dedicated traceur (a parkour practitioner) and member of PKBC, British Columbia’s parkour community. When asked to describe the discipline, Scavington said,

“Parkour is basically overcoming obstacles. It’s going from one point and interacting with whatever comes in your way to get to another goal point [...]. It is not always going the quickest way, but finding ways to make it more challenging [...]. It’s all about developing a creative vision for what something [structural] can be used for.”

Parkour incorporates skills from gymnastics, track and field, and rock climbing. Outside of the gym, traceurs practice in public spaces such as “parks and open courtyards,” and Scavington encourages his students to be respectful of these spaces.

Some traceurs say parkour is more of a discipline than a sport because it does not involve teams, and until recently, it was not a competitive activity. Scavington is hesitant to to classify parkour as a sport, but says that “we almost have to call it that in order to get it more recognized.”

Parkour developed in France in the 1920’s, and later became a part of French military training. In the 1980’s, David Belle became known as the founder of parkour through his own practice, and by showcasing it in action films. Parkour is now practiced in many parts of the world, and Scavington envisions growing enthusiasm for the discipline in Vancouver. “Parkour really makes sense in Vancouver because people are already very outdoorsy,” says Scavington. And like other popular activities in Vancouver such as running and yoga, Scavington points out that parkour is also an “individual, self-focused discipline.”

Although there tend to be more males than females practicing parkour, Scavington predicts that more women will get involved in the near future, noting that parkour “is about self-challenge, self empowerment, and I think women are going to do it for the same reason they do yoga or martial arts.” A women’s class is offered at Origins on Wednesdays nights.

The Open House runs from September 10th-14th, and all classes during that time are free. Origins is located at 2655 Main st. on the third floor. Find the schedule and more at http://www.originsparkour.com/.

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