What is parkour?
Parkour is the discipline of overcoming obstacles, whether that be physical or mental, and aiming for self improvement. According to the Australian Parkour Association:
“Parkour is an attitude and training method for movement through any environment at speed. The concept is to overcome all physical and mental obstacles in your path by using your body and mind to run, climb, jump and vault. Parkour belongs to a family of movement disciplines, including L’art Du Deplacement and Freerunning.”
In practice, that means running, jumping, climbing, crawling, vaulting, rolling and more. Across any and all terrain you can find. While it may seem like a spectacle, for practitioners parkour is a mindful practice. Parkour is non-competitive by nature; it isn’t about who can jump the furthest or climb the fastest. Parkour is about overcoming obstacles and challenges, the nature of which are particular to you.
Parkour is a way to strengthen the body, mind and spirit:
We strengthen the body through physical challenges; exploring movement through a variety of situations; and building strength, stamina, flexibility and all physical capacities.
We strengthen the mind through approaching obstacles and problems in varied ways; and through facing challenges head on.
We strengthen the spirit through identifying, struggling with and overcoming challenges; through sitting with and understanding emotions like fear and frustration; though helping friends to do the same.
isn't that dangerous?
It may seem that, especially looking at YouTube videos, parkour is for adrenaline junkies. That couldn’t be further from the truth; our training focuses on longevity, developing good form, mental clarity and physical strength to minimise risk of injury.
We’re not going to tell you there is no risk of injury while training parkour. Any and all physical activities carry some amount of risk. (There’s also a helluva lot of risk involved in avoiding physical activities.) But we do know that parkour, practised intelligently and with humility, can be less dangerous compared to other activities (like netball, or football) for a number of reasons. As many variables as possible are under your own control: you can choose which risks to take on, which challenges you are capable of. There isn’t going to be another player slide into you out of nowhere, or your equipment break. We focus on longevity in our training - this means drilling small jumps, building up strength and muscle to protect the body, developing good habits and muscle memories. You won’t be pressured into doing anything you’re not comfortable with in an MinM class, and you won’t be training at height or in dangerous conditions.
A big part of parkour training is learning to understand risk, danger and fear, and the relationships between them. Parkour is about knowing your body what your limits are and improving gradually, not about making YouTube videos.
What equipment do I need to buy or Bring?
You don’t need to buy any special equipment. All you need is clothes you’re comfortable moving in, a trusty pair of runners, a big water bottle (and probably some sunscreen.)
It can be helpful to dress in layers when it’s cooler, because we’ll warm up quick. Regarding shoes, there’s no need to buy new ones. If you are anyway, or you have a few options to choose from, lighter shoes with thin soles will be best for parkour, as these allow for the most sensitivity and control. Be wary of any companies that try to sell you ‘parkour-specific’ gear. There are several out there that make nice trakky daks, and by all means buy them if you like them, but they are not at all necessary.
Regarding our other workshops and classes, generally all required equipment will be supplied for the duration of the event. If there is anything you need to bring with you, we’ll be sure to let you know on our website, in the booking confirmation and any other way we can.
How do i book into and/or pay for a class?
You can book into the class at www.melbinmotion.com/book-online, and pay online there too. You cal pay cash on the day, if need be, although we'd prefer to do all payments contactlessly.
We do require booking for all our classes, to maintain appropriate numbers and coach-to-student ratios. Some classes or workshops may require being paid for in full, to secure a place. We’ll make sure to indicate that on the website.
isn't Parkour Free? WHy should I pay for a class?
Parkour is absolutely free, and that’s one of the best things about it. We think you should be training outside, with your pals, for free, most of the time.
There is no need to come to parkour classes forever, or even at all, if you don’t want to. We provide classes and workshops to pass on all the information we have about good form to avoid cumulative injuries years down the line, efficient and relevant strength and conditioning practices, and the philosophies behind parkour training. We aim to structure our classes to give you as much information as you need to train for free, safely and intelligently. We don’t want you to come to parkour classes for the rest of your life, but we do want you to be moving and training for the rest of your life. We also aim to expose our students to a wide variety of training styles and approaches, from a wide variety of coaches/ people.
We recommend coming to parkour classes to learn some of our approaches to safety and longevity. But if you can’t, or don’t want to, that’s absolutely valid. We do recommend doing your research, and making sure you’re progressing safely. (We’ll have recommended resources for this available on our Melbourne In Motion Community Facebook group and website in the coming months.)
I CAN'T AFFORD TO COME TO CLASS EVERY WEEK. aRE THERE ALTERNATIVES?
There are several facebook groups you can join to meet up with other folk for jams and informal trainings, including ours, Melbourne in Motion Community, and the Melbourne Parkour Facebook group. That’s a great way to connect with other folk who want to train.
We also have a monthly jam - an informal way to train alongside our coaches and other community members. Keep an eye on our Facebook page.
I'm not fit enough for that...
Here’s a comment we hear a lot- “I’m not fit enough for doing that- I’ll spend some time in the gym before I give parkour a go”
There is no pre-requisite fitness level for any of our classes. And many of our coaches were unable to do a push up before they started parkour training.The best way to get fit is to jump in and do it, now! If you enjoy going to a gym, but all means, do that. But don’t let an imaginary standard of fitness or strength be a barrier to having a go, right now. All of our training is scalable for all levels of fitness, at the same rate of your progression. It’s also fun!
If you feel like you’re not fit enough at the moment, is it because going to the gym feels like a chore? Sod that for a game of soldiers - come and play with us!
i'm too old for that...
Nuh-uh! Parkour is for every body!
All of our training can be modified to suit your body and your needs, and we run Parkour Mature classes which have been developed specifically for older people. They are low impact and low intensity, with a focus on balance and functional skills .
It may seem like parkour is just for young, white, teenage boys - but we are committed to making a community for everybody, of all ages.
i HAVE AN INJURY. CAN I STILL TRAIN?
The breadth and diversity of parkour training means there will always be something you can train. Just be sure to let us know about your injury/s or niggles, in as much detail as you can, before any class you join in, and before any drills or activities that may exacerbate the problem.
That said, it’s important to listen to your body. There will clearly be times when a certain type of training is not possible for you. You shouldn't try to learn handstands two weeks after shoulder surgery, or hit your max jump with an ankle sprain, so realistic expectations are important. Your training may well need to change, and that’s okay! If the injury is only very new, or it has gotten worse recently, make sure you give it enough rest. If it flares up at certain times or during/ after certain activities, avoid those until you can see a relevant medical professional.
It’s also important to listen to your doctors or physios, (and not just Dr Google or pals you’ve asked for advice on Facebook). If they’ve told you to avoid impact, or running, or whatever it may be, please let us know in as much detail as you can (if you’re not comfortable discussing it at the beginning of class, send us a message and we can discuss it at a different time.) We aren’t doctors, and we won’t be able to give you medical advice, but we can work help you find a way to train around your injury.
i HAVE AN DISABILITY. CAN I STILL TRAIN?
Almost certainly! Again, parkour is a broad and varied discipline, and training for every person is different. We have coaches who are experienced in disability nursing, and we are all committed to making our classes accessible to as many people as possible.
Get in contact and let us know your needs and requirements, and we'll do everything we can to make our training accessible to you. We recognise that there may be cases where we just don't have the expertise needed- in that situation, we'll do what we can to find someone who does.
If you're part of a group with specific needs and would like a class tailored for your needs, please get in touch.
I have anxiety and/ or depression.
Can I still Train?
Yes! And training, exercise and movement can help alleviate anxiety and depression. Many of our coaching staff have anxiety and/or depression, so we understand how difficult it can be to come to class, to interact with people, to concentrate, etc, during an episode. We also understand how much movement can help (and that, in and of itself, it isn’t a cure.) You’ll never be pressured into anything at an MinM class, and if you feel that you need to step away at any point in a class, that’s okay!
If you feel it would help you, please let us know of any anxieties or effects or depression you may be experiencing, and how we can help you during a class. You can do that in person at the class, or by email to email@example.com.
I dunno - I’ve had some bad experiences in group fitness classes (like fatphobia, homophobia, body shaming, misogyny etc etc.) I feel pretty hesitant to join another one….Will MinM be different?
Look the easiest way to put this is; so have we. Our founding members are majority women, majority queer, several of us are people of colour. We created MinM because we experienced a lot of those things ourselves and we’d had enough. Lots of these problematic things are deeply ingrained in all of us, all of us have put in the work to undo these things, and we promise to continue to put lots of effort into overcoming culturally ingrained biases and bigotry.
That’s the environment we want to create and foster, and if there’s something happening in a class you’re in, that makes you uncomfortable, we want you to feel safe to let us know or to speak up and know we have your back.
I’m very focused in my training, and know what my goals are. What is the point of adding diversity of movement to my training?
It may not be what you’re interested in right now, and that’s okay. If you do have time, trying out different things can be a great way to refresh your regular training.
For one thing, learning something new may give you transferable skills that inform your regular training, whatever it may be. Time spent trying handstands could improve your body awareness or balance while training other sports.
And another, diversity of training also makes you more robust and resistant to training. When all of your training has you moving in the same way, it's easy to build up muscle imbalances and pathological movement patterns. Diversifying your training is the number one way to avoid overuse and imbalance issues.
Perhaps more importantly, it’s fun. We all know what it’s like to hit a plateau, or when training starts to feel a bit like a chore. And then there’s guilt on top of that.
If that’s you rn, having a go at something new can be a good way to shake those feelings away, and to reawaken joy and play and motivation.
I’m really interested in learning how to juggle knives in a one-armed handstand. When will you be running a workshop on that?
We put up all schedules workshops on our website as soon as we confirm them, and often put the word out about our projects before that; you can register interest for several workshops on our website, keep an eye on Facebook or Instagram, or via our mailing list.
Soooo, we don’t currently have any knife-juggling events planned, but you’re most welcome to send any ideas or suggestions, or join our Facebook group, Melbourne in Motion Community, and start a conversation.
Do you run classes for kids?