Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Southampton ParkourSoc, coming soon to a rooftop near you.
When we heard that a Parkour society was starting up, we had to find out more. The Soton Tab spoke to the President, Tunde Alao, to find out more about this extreme sport.
Describe parkour in a couple of sentences for those of us who’ve never tried it.
Parkour gives me a rush. It makes me feel free. I’m able to break away from the problems of daily life and see the world from another perspective. By using your body and the environment in unique ways, you are able to use the urban terrain to your advantage to explore otherwise difficult to access areas. In its purest form, Parkour allows you to travel from A to B in the shortest distance using all manner of techniques.
When did you first try parkour, and what got you into it?
A game called Mirrors Edge inspired me to duplicate the super human moves performed by the main character. I didn’t realise it was sport but after a year of a few scrapes and bruises I found there were other people out there doing it too, maybe with less tumbles.
Do you need any experience to join?
Of course not! I will be running sessions to teach members to perform the moves. My hope would be that even if you cannot do anything at the start, by training and watching, you would be able to master even some of the harder moves. I hope to recruit some experienced free runners to help supervise and train during the sessions.
What are the benefits of Parkour?
Parkour has some serious benefits, both physically and mentally. During Parkour, you use your whole body and lift your own weight for extended periods, giving you an intensive body-weight workout. The effect that can be had on the mind is also profound. You may have heard of the “runners high”? The “freerunner’s high” is the same thing, but with the addition that you have adrenaline kick in as well! I am a programmer, and I find that there is nothing better than to relax than being high above the city on a hard-to-reach rooftop, creating my next big thing.
Can we expect any injuries to members?
Naturally. As with any sport, injury can be expected. For beginners, they would be practicing with crash-mats before moving on to try the actual moves in the real world. I had to train for months with a mattress in our garden before I felt comfortable to try the real thing.
Are you planning any performances around campus/in Southampton?
I hadn’t thought about that, but it’s a gread idea! The beauty of free running is that it can be done anywhere.
What would a typical ParkourSoc Social involve?
Gaining all of the weight we have lost in sessions throughout the week! This could involve hardcore boozing, hotdog at Stag’s for the lighthearted. We will also explore the Parkour scene in other cities as much as possible.
If you would like to get involved with the Parkour Society, join their Facebook group .