Anyone who can single-handedly scale a 9-foot wall knows that parkour, also known as freerunning, is a grueling yet rewarding activity. Parkour, a made-up word similar to the French word for "course," involves running in an urban setting, and requires participants to go over, not around, any obstacle in their path by jumping, climbing or any means possible using only their bodies. Since Frenchman David Belle invented the extreme sport, parkour has become extremely popular thanks to commercials, Internet forums, homemade movies and one big-screen flick.
Week-long parkour day-camps for kids are available the Los Angeles area at Tempest Freerunning Academy (tempestacademy.com). The establishment claims to be the only existing academy solely dedicated to the freerunning sport. Their indoor facility features obstacles found in a typical urban setting, and coaches are professional athletes who have appeared in television commercials and live performances and compete in professional parkour events.
San Diego's United Sports Training Center (sdunitedsports.com) offers a summer parkour camp in July along with several other dance and gymnastics camps throughout the summer. Campers will learn sport-specific skill development from a professional coach. The center allows kids to produce videos of the skills they learn at camp with the option to upload a recording to YouTube so they can show off to family and friends.
In the Bay area, Crossfit Marin (crossfitmarin.com) in Corte Madera, California, offers a few summer camp options for parkour enthusiasts. A five-day parkour camp is scheduled for mid-July 2011, followed by Ninja camp, which includes two days each of parkour and gymnastics and ends with a custom made obstacle course on Friday. Crossfit Marin coaches promise to teach kids the skills and progressions they need to safely maneuver a parkour course. Children ages 6 and up are welcome to sign up.
Flip 2 It (flip2itsportscenter.com) in Roseville, California, offers summer camp for kids ages 3 and up. The gym offers two separate half-day parkour camps where children learn to run, vault, climb and roll. The strength and agility participants gain during the camp help to maintain the skills they practice during the school months. As experienced athletes, the coaches strive to teach camp participants to have fun and to respect the sport.
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