Thursday, September 9, 2010

Parkour at Hillcrest High School (and beyond)

Parkour is receiving more and more media coverage and is quickly becoming widely recognised as a sporting discipline which is accessible to a wide range of fitness levels, including those with little or no sporting background.  If you’ve seen the V energy drink ads on TV which demonstrates a clever variation of parkour using ladders, or the feature on “Close Up”, then you might have some idea about the rapidly growing recognition and spread of parkour in New Zealand.

While there is a tendency in media to focus on the elite level of parkour, at Hillcrest High we are more focused on building a foundation of strength, skill, and mental toughness while enjoying physical exercise.  This enjoyment, coupled with the confidence that comes from knowing your own ability to develop seemingly amazing strength and skill, enables participants to easily engage in an active lifestyle that will benefit them for years to come.

One of the biggest benefits of taking parkour, in my opinion, is that it allows young people to develop self discipline in a surprisingly accessible manner.  At a time when it is difficult for “youngsters” to focus on something other than computers, Mp3 players, and TV; their attention is easily drawn to the spectacular display of parkour and the urge to imitate is strong.  Very quickly they realise that there is time and effort involved in becoming “good” at parkour, and that it is less about the spectacular display and more about the discipline and creativity required to build themselves into someone physically and mentally strong.

Supporting the spread of parkour in New Zealand is the recent formation of the New Zealand Parkour Association.  It has been a number of years in development and has now been launched to provide the parkour scene in New Zealand with some organisation and legitimacy.  You can have a look at the association at their website: where there is also a discussion forum to link up with local practitioners for organisation of trainings and events.  You are also able to tap into a wealth of parkour experience through this site as there are many practitioners with years of experience and the association has strong links with the well established Australian Parkour Association.

Opportunities for giving parkour a go (in a relatively controlled environment) during the rest of the year are classes at Hamilton City Gymnastics which run until the end of term 3 on a Friday evening, and regular training sessions after school.  School trainings are Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, are supervised by Mr and Mrs Hight, and all you need is active clothing and footwear you can jump comfortably in.  School sessions will continue into term four and will remain until the end of the year or as long as there is demand for the after school sessions.

Parents are welcome to come and watch their children training, or even to participate themselves.  We wish to encourage the development of parkour as a positive community activity and not just as a potentially negative outlet for disaffected youth, as it has been perceived by some.

For more information, feel free to check out the NZPA website given above, or email Mr Hight on

This is the third year running that parkour sessions have been run at Hillcrest High School.  This article was taken from my submission for Hillcrest High School's up and coming newsletter.