Obstacles are no match for people good at the growing sport of parkour. They jump over benches, back flip off of a wall, climb fences and run across ledges - all for fun.
A local business, the , 888 E. Belvidere – Suite 202, in Grayslake, holds Parkour Open Gym available every Friday night. The sessions are from 7-9 p.m. for $10 for kids ages 13 and above. It is a great facility for parkour given the spring floor, trampolines, mat walls, and objects to jump over.
To be able to do parkour, you need to be able to do the following exercises: hand-stand ups, push-ups, sit-ups, v-sit ups, holding a plank position, running, swimming and gymnastics.
Sean Kalinoski, 22, supervises the open gym and teaches people the fun of the sport. Patch stopped by recently to ask him about parkour:
Patch: How long have you done parkour? What age were you when you started?
Sean: I started five years ago when I was 17 years old and a senior in high school.
Patch: What are the most important exercises, in your opinion, to train properly to do parkour?
Sean: Basic moves that monkeys do like walking on hands and legs like a push-up crawl will help. You can use this move if there is no time to roll out of a stunt. Any general conditioning is good like push-ups, sit-ups, and that kind of thing.
Patch: How long did it take you to get your back-flip?
Sean: It took three weeks to get my back-flip and a month-and-a-half to get my wall flip. It was kind of backwards. Usually people get their wall flip first, but I was different in that I worked on my standing back-flip first.
Patch: How did you begin to train or learn how to do it?
Sean: I watched a lot of YouTube videos, then went to the local gym and worked on things like a normal vault, a lazy vault, simple vault, safety vault, dash vault, and the kong.
Patch: What are some of the most difficult tricks that you do?
Sean: The wall front flip, and kong vaults are things I’m working on now. I’d like to try more outdoor parkour moves to and not be afraid to fall. That’s a good lesson for every aspect of my life…not being afraid to fall.
Patch: Did you take gymnastics classes before starting to do parkour?
Sean: Nope. I never took a gymnastics class. It probably would have helped me out a lot if I had.
Patch: What are the ages of some of the youngest kids you know that do parkour?
Sean: I know a 9-year-old that does it.
Patch: Do you teach parkour, or are you just at the open gym a lot?
Sean: I’m a supervisor of the “open gym/parkour night” at Gymnastics Factory. I help spot kids while they do their tricks, and try to help teach them new things. But it’s not an instructional course. It’s just an open gym.
Patch: What are the ages of some of the oldest people you know who do parkour?
Sean: I do a lot of parkour downtown Chicago, and actually saw a 60 year old grandma at a “beginner jam” in the city!
Patch: I’ve seen you do flips off the big web-toy at a park nearby. Where are some of your favorite places to do parkour?
Sean: Downtown Chicago, and at U.I.C. campus and Grant Park are three of my favorite places. The city atmosphere is fun, and the police don’t mind as much as the suburban police who seem to frown on parkour.
Patch: Are there any safety tips you can talk about to help avoid injuries?
Sean: Common sense is the most important part. If you don’t feel ready to do a stunt, then DON’T try it! Confidence in yourself and knowing your limits is key.
Patch: What’s the best thing that parkour has added to your life?
Sean: I literally see the world as my playground, for example a bench, or electrical box, or fence are all things to use to do stunts off of. It has made me more aware of the world around me and wanting to keep it clean and make sure nothing in the environment gets damaged. Parkour has built up my confidence in all aspects of life.
Patch: How would you describe the “parkour community” of people who participate in the sport?
Sean: The are very helpful and kind to each other. They encourage everyone and are very non-judgmental. It’s a great group of people.
- Contact the at 847-223-1555 to confirm if the Open Gym/Parkour Night is being held on a particular Friday night.
- To see parkour in action, check out YouTube videos.