Urban Acrobatics

You’ve seen them bounding up walls and hurtling across rooftops in the latest action film, maybe even streaking across town. The ordinary rules of physics don’t seem to apply to them, as if their hands have suction cups and their feet are shod in Go-Go Gadget sneakers — but, in fact, they don’t use any official equipment at all, just their agile bodies and fast-thinking minds. They’re practitioners of parkour, the art/sport of moving up, over and through the environment as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Want to try it yourself? You don’t need a love bite from a radioactive spider. Just attend the Denver classes of Colorado Parkour Academy, a ten-week program delineating the basics, from jumps and vaults to landing and rolling, that starts today at 11 a.m. at Gym Riki, 3333 South Tamarac Drive. Students are not only schooled in the fascinating philosophy of traceurs — practitioners of parkour — but are also guided through an intense physical fitness regimen. “It’s really unique, it’s something new and it’s getting more popular. It emphasizes natural types of fitness, the way our bodies are meant to be used,” explains co-instructor Ryan Ford, who’s also a member of Tribe, the U.S. professional parkour team. “We are not meant to use treadmills. We are meant to run over stuff, climb over stuff, crawl over stuff and interact with our environments.” Once you master the essentials, you can graduate to the intermediate class — where they teach you how to fly. Courses are $155 for ten weeks, or $20 for a one-time drop-in; for more information, go to www.coloradoparkour.com.
Starts: June 8. Daily, 2008

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Joel Warner is a former staff writer for Westword and International Business Times. He's also written for WIRED, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Bloomberg Businessweek, Popular Science, Slate, Grantland and many other publications. He's co-author of the 2014 book The Humor Code: A Global Search for What Makes Things Funny, published by Simon & Schuster.
Contact: Joel Warner