Parkour to the People: Evasion Training Catches On in Oregon

Parkour, a non-competitive embodiment of sport, discipline, and philosophy, has been around for more than 20 years but manages to stay under the radar. While there is no official list of moves, parkour practitioners essentially move at speed from one location to another, redirecting body weight to navigate challenging obstacles. Area parkour enthusiasts, known as traceurs and traceuses, offer classes and workshops in hopes of building up the sport’s profile and possibly reaching communities like Corvallis.
Parkour draws heavily from the philosophy of overcoming obstacles—both mental and physical.

“Parkour was originally developed in France as evasion training, a way to escape from a bad situation,” said Corey Jones, who opened a gym called Parkour Infinity in the Salem/Keizer area last month. “If we come upon a problem in our life that may set us back, we train our minds to work through that problem in a positive way.

“Parkour teaches us that we have no limits physically, mentally, or emotionally,” he added.

The Beaverton gym, Revolution Parkour, offers classes and camps to help spread the ideas and practices of parkour’s founder David Belle, whose teachings have spanned the globe. Manager and instructor Matt Antis was introduced to parkour while attending Oregon State University and says practicing parkour has him in better shape at 28 than he was at 18. He said Parkour Revolution students range from age 7 to 65 and include extreme athletes as well as people who are just discovering how they like to move.
Jones, who is a friend of Antis, shares the goals of spreading the teachings and philosophy of parkour, and unearthing the parkour community in the area. Like many who take an interest in the sport, Jones said he learned parkour techniques by watching YouTube videos, and was attracted to it because of its similarities to how he’s played outside his whole life.

“As a kid I would climb on things and just run around playing on everything in my environment,” he said. “I still do the same thing now, but it has a name, and not just a name but a purpose.”

by Kerry Brown