Fitness: Parkour finds a home in east London
Fans of Parkour are set to descend on east London when a national hub for the discipline is unveiled.
The sport, which Parkour Generations director Dan Edwardes branded "functional fitness", typically combines jumping, climbing and running with the mental challenge of overcoming fear and restrictions while tackling an urban obstacle course.
Next month, all the action will happen indoors as the organisation opens the UK's first purpose-built facility within the Grade II listed Chainstore building at Trinity Buoy Wharf.
Dan said: "It's a huge step for Parkour. We have spent several months looking for a building that suits every aspect of our requirements and we have now found that.
"The centre has been designed to ensure we are able to offer a world-class Parkour experience and we are very much looking forward to welcoming the sport's entire community, including those new to the discipline, as well as fitness enthusiasts, over the coming months."
Architects, graphic designers and construction experts have teamed up with elite Parkour practitioners to transform the space and install apparatus to host daily classes, open training, youth academies, certifications and educational seminars.
Fitness and strength fans will be treated to a programme of classes, with a dedicated zone and separate multi-purpose workout space with Harlequin sprung flooring, offering an option for those who prefer a more flexible, drop-in experience.
Raised viewing platforms have been installed in the rafters as well as a health food cafe for onlookers.
Speaking to The Wharf last year, at the launch of a fresh set of outdoor classes in Canada Water, Dan said the French form of free running had surged in popularity since it was showcased during the opening scenes of Casino Royale.
The high intensity discipline burns fat, develops muscle tone and improves balance as well as having impressive visual appeal.
He said: "You probably haven't done this stuff since you were a kid. It reminds you of the things you naturally wanted to do, and were probably stopped from doing, at a young age.
"It's a way of training the body and mind through adapting to an environment."
■ Parkour practitioners will be able to sign up as members of the facility for unlimited use, or on a pay-as-you-go basis.
Go to parkourgenerations.com for more information.
Four Parkour facts
- The Parkour discipline was originally developed in France.
- Routines and movement were adapted from military obstacle training.
- The fitness form has soared in popularity after appearing in various films and music videos, including the opening scene of the James Bond epic Casino Royale and Madonna's Jump.
- Last year, champion free runner Tim Shieff was forced to play down criticism from Derby Police after he posted a video of him running high above the city's streets.