IN PHOTOS: Choose your own adventure at this Okanagan parkour gym | infonews
May 01, 2022 – 6:05 pm
The equipment at Ethos Parkour and Movement in Penticton is very different from what you will see in most gyms.
The wooden structures and obstacles of Ethos are meant to be climbed, jumped and rotated. The features are capable of challenging users of all ages and fitness levels.
“Octogenarians can still do parkour, it won’t be like what I’m doing,” head coach Luke Sabal said. “Just like five-year-olds, Parkour is whatever you choose to get from one point to another.”
Like many Ethos gym goers, Sabal smashes his way through platforms and features with Spiderman-like moves.
“As I go, it’s just muscle memory, it’s like no one else is there, you don’t think about anything – you just go.”
In choosing each route, Sabal makes his assessments and decides how he will take each step, jump and swing.
“It’s like having the whole formula on a calculator and just hitting enter.”
It is a personal sport that tests a person against their own athletic abilities.
“It’s nothing to do with anyone else, it’s all about you and how you decide to move – that movement that you can use given your own athletic ability and your own body type. .”
There are hurdles to overcome or cross, “and there’s no right or wrong way to do it,” he said.
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Before students can climb tall structures, they must first demonstrate their ability to fall safely, which can be taught by Sabal.
“We don’t just teach them how to jump a certain gap, we make sure they understand how to assess risk. What to do if your hands don’t grasp or you mess up and stumble. So they know all the different possibilities of what could go wrong.
The floors are padded to cushion any falls. And a corner, filled with giant cushions, is meant to cushion landings from higher heights.
Owners Michael and Heather Kleyn opened the doors to Ethos in early 2020.
“Parkour has always been my jam, my go-to sport,” Michael said. He became a parkour coach in 2010.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve loved running, jumping off rooftops doing flips – all kinds of crazy stuff.”
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Since parkour enthusiasts can challenge themselves with any maneuver they can imagine, Michael said building the structures in a parkour hall is a work of art.
“It’s kind of like a developing web,” he said. “We will stand in one place and I will see a line of motion, the way I would move around the gym.”
But from the same point A to point B, “Luke will see something completely different – he’ll do things that I’ve never even noticed.”
“That’s kind of the beauty of it,” Heather said. “There is no wrong way to do it. You train with a bunch of other people, but you compete against yourself.
She says parkour gyms allow people to explore their personal creativity.
“With this creative component, every gym is going to be awesome,” Heather said. “They are all different, they each have their own character.”
Parkour has given many local teens – from as far away as Osoyoos and the Similkameen – an unconventional way to be athletic.
“I hear parents all the time say their kids don’t fit into mainstream sports, they don’t care about anything else, but they love it,” Heather said.
For anyone interested in trying parkour, visit the Ethos website to see their class schedule and hours of operation.
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