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Parkour training London

Twenty minutes in to the two-hour class, I’m dripping with sweat. “This is going to be a long haul, ” I think, faintly amused by the glee on Jessie’s face as Leon tells the adults to line up against the wall in a wall-sit squat position – popular at this time of year as people prepare for ski holidays – while the children walk over, or crawl under, their knees. Now the weight of a small child is added to the exercise.

Ollie looks over at me, focuses on my bright red face and asks if I’d like some of his water. But there’s no time – we are already involved in the ''mat dragging’’ game, during which the kids sit on the mat and we have to drag them. Back and forth, over and over. And now to the main part of the class: about an hour spent using one’s body, creatively, to navigate various obstacles, from chairs, a small scaffold and to a vaulting horse. The idea is to follow a specific route demonstrated by Leon, and it is classic parkour, in which getting from A to B with the least appearance of effort, via the obstacles in one’s path, is the ultimate goal.

Taking on a balance bar Credit: Christopher Pledger

In the end the children just do whatever, wherever they want rather than traversing an adult’s path. I’m impressed by how confident they are when they balance on the beam and hang off the rails. “I want to do a backwards roll!” yells one. “Here! Look at me, Daddy!” yells another, as she twists herself into a pretzel shape without any hint of effort or discomfort.

It’s not all play, play and more play, however. As always with a group of kids in a room, there is conflict

It’s not all play, play and more play, however. As always with a group of kids in a room, there is conflict. At one point, Jessie sprints over to tell me that Ollie has “hurted a boy who is four and three quarters”. While I’m glad of the detail (he’s gone for a boy older than himself at least, which seems fair), Ollie is miffed that he’s been outed and sulks.

One somersault and a couple of jumps later and everyone is friends again. It seems we have more than just agility and a carefree attitude to learn from our children, I reflect. While the adults slump in corners during the designated break, the children are desperate to return to their little parkour playground. I’m infected by their enthusiasm and so make like a child. Who cares if I fall? A little bruised pride and quality time with two of my favourite people in the world is worth it.

I notice the other adults wear similar smiles to mine: half rictus grin (when can I stop pretending I’m not shattered?) and half genuine excitement (is this kind of unadulterated play actually allowed)? Yes, is the answer. Just let your little ones lead the way and start crawling like a lizard.

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Source: www.telegraph.co.uk
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