James Scott from the mancunianmatters website reported on Evolve Gym in Manchester, UK.
To check out some of his article spotlighting their "Parkour Guru" Hung Dante click read more...
Parkour is blowing up in Manchester and Evolve Gym is at the forefront of teaching the discipline. 33-year-old Phillip Hanna of Evolve Gym believes the growth of parkour in Manchester is down to fitness benefits.
“It’s really taking off in Manchester, we’re at the forefront of the sport in the north of England and we’re getting more and more people joining each year,” he said. “The ethos of this centre is continuous improvement and personal development in all aspects of their lives and parkour provides an outlet for that.
“Parkour is something I’ve been interested in for a long time and I believe it’s a great way of strengthening and conditioning the body."
Evolve Gym have been running parkour classes for two years and are affiliated to Parkour UK, the national governing body for the discipline. It was originally developed as a non-competitive sport, but Phillip suggested the increasing interest in the discipline would naturally bring calls for a larger stage.
“I can definitely see it being an Olympic sport in the future,” he said. “I think for parkour to progress you need that competitive edge.” The traceurs range in age from 8-30 and are put through the paces by their teacher, 21-year-old Hung Dante from Cheetham Hill. Hung has taught parkour at Evolve for a year and has lots of experince. He worked as a stuntman on Skyfall and with Keanu Reeves on 47 Ronin.
“I was a big fan of Jackie Chan when I was growing up and I loved the way he used the environment around him in his fighting scenes. That’s what inspired me to train. Explained Hung. "It’s moving to see people conquer their fears and do things they never thought they’d be able to do,"
Despite calls for the spotlight on the sport to increase and for a competitive element to be introduced, Hung believes the discipline does not necessarily seek the attention.
“Some people see it as underground and want to keep it that way,” he said. “There are big events such as the Red Bull Parkour Competition but I think people don’t want to see it go mainstream.”
Kayvon Dehgan, a 28 year old from Withington has been practicing parkour and martial arts for the past 18 months, and is really enthusiastic.
“I love all physical movement,” said Kayvon. “I see parkour as making movement a discipline, or an art of movement." He also noted that "It’s great how you can accomplish things you never thought you could achieve.”
Kayvon also stressed the high-intensity nature of the sport, and the need to be mentally and physically prepared in order to develop as a traceur. “There are a lot of walls to get over and you need to rest and eat well to succeed,” said Kayvon. “To keep bringing out your potential and increasing your skills takes a lot of time and dedication, and you need to be fit and healthy.” Despite the high level of interest in the discipline in Manchester, Kayvon insisted London remains the epicentre and it can be tough to persuade others to join.
“It’s difficult with everyone’s private lives and work lives; I’ve got friends who I’ve been trying to get to come to parkour practise for ages.”
For more information on Evolve Gym visit www.evolvemanchester.com
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