World is a playground if you PARKOUR
New parkour gym opens tomorrow in Gresham; first class is free
Inside a Gresham warehouse Ryland Lanagan, 36, is training to become a superhero.
The kind capable of leaping over rooftops, back flipping off walls and scaling buildings, or even climbing through a window to retrieve your forgotten car keys.
According to the management of a new training facility in Gresham Revolution Parkour the French-inspired sport that involves running, jumping and vaulting over obstacles isnt as reckless as it may appear.
If you put in the time, you can do things that the average person hasnt found out they are capable of doing, said Lanagan, manager and trainer at Revolution Parkour.
He said the goal is to master the knowledge and training at the gym, then take it outside on the real course.
From 7-9 p.m. Saturday, June 28, Revolution Parkour celebrates its grand opening of a second location in Gresham with a free open gym for ages 7 and up. Those under 18 must have a waiver signed by their legal parent or guardian.
Developed in urban France in the late 1980s, parkour is the art of using your environment as an obstacle course. David Belle, a French actor, film choreographer and stunt coordinator, is considered the founder of parkour; its name is derived from parcours du combattant, an obstacle-course method of military training.
Parkour has gained popularity recently in the United States largely through film. Many enthusiasts aspire to the level of agility demonstrated in the opening chase scenes of District B13, a French action film starring Belle, and the James Bond movie Casino Royale with Sebastien Foucanin.
Army National Guard veteran Matt Antis, 30, started practicing parkour in college with a friend, Adam Dunlap, who in 2008 founded Oregons first parkour gym in Beaverton, called Revolution Parkour.
After Antis and his wife, Whitney, 27, married, the two decided to go into business together and in 2011 took on the Beaverton Revolution Parkour.
Before long people were driving all the way from East County to use it, so when the opportunity arose to open another gym in Gresham, they did.
Parkour may seem reckless to the untrained eye, the Antises said, but there is a mentality, philosophy and practice behind it, including respect for your body and the environment.
Their gym, nicknamed the Danger Room after the X-Mens training facility, includes a 13-foot-high spiraling structure called the labyrinth. This wooden structure is built to mock a city of rooftops, but with a foam pit.
Advanced participants will use the labyrinth, along with smaller vaults and equipment, to practice parkour techniques.
Free running also will be taught at the gym, which, like parkour, incorporates acrobatic movements like flips and twists, but focuses more on self-expression.
Hourlong classes will begin at Greshams Revolution Parkour on July 1.
Students can drop in for a class or register online at www.revolutionparkour.com/.
While parents may have reason to worry, Whitney Antis said there are fewer injuries that one might think.
A huge part is learning how to do the techniques safely, she said.
Participants are taught how to land safely and shoulder roll if they fall. Classes are also designated by level: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
Whitney said she has received calls from concerned parents who say their kids are jumping off things anyway, vaulting over couches, off the back deck and the like, so why not let them learn to do it safely?
Lanagan has been practicing parkour for six years. After he got out of the Army, he found parkour to be more exciting than working out a regular gym.
He says this kind of real jedi training can be used for utilitarian purposes (like retrieving car keys) or just for fun.
It changes your perception of the world, Lanagan said. It turns everything into a playground.
As a child of the 1980s who grew up playing outside, Lanagan, who has a son in the sixth grade, said he wants to inspire the next generation to be more active outdoors.
A community of people practicing parkour also has spread worldwide.
All you need is tennis shoes and knowledge of the techniques, Lanagan said.
Ready to parkour? Drop in at Saturdays opening at Revolution Parkour in Gresham, 1618 N.E. Eighth St., or register for your first class online free at www.revolutionparkour.com.JW_DISQUS_ADD_A_COMMENT