Story and Photos by Carl Patzel

Summer 2022

Parkour may sound like, well, a walk in the park.

But as you watch these modern-day superhero-like athletes defying gravity, vaulting over obstacles, concrete barriers and other three dimensional objects, this isn’t a casual afternoon stroll.

No cape crusaders screaming faster than a speeding bullet required, just a fearless pursuit of pulling off the incredible body manipulation movements which social media feasts on and makes movie goers gasp.

“This particular sport, other than object manipulation (soccer, basketball etc.), hits every single type of movement a human can do and it’s built around the best and most efficient way for the human body to move,” says Brody Atkin, head coach or parkour and freerunning at Airdrie Edge Gymnastics.

With over a decade of experience long time practitioners, Brody and brother Jared have authored Alberta’s Parkour Curriculum and Coaching Resources booklet with hopes the manual will be adopted Canada wide in the next couple of years.

“Not only is this exciting for all of us, and great for the sport, but it will also set up Airdrie and the surrounding area as a hub for parkour in Alberta and Canada.”

Spreading the word and growing the sport also prompted the parkour duo to host an invitational competition in early April.

Young boys and girls took to the course, flying over smaller obstacles and a goliath six-foot wall, attempting to not touch the floor in between. Picture a more refined child’s game of avoiding hot lava.

Enthusiastic expressions were plastered on their faces as they ducked, dove and vault through the free-running course.

In some aspects Brody equates parkour to becoming the best kid on the playground, flipping off monkey bars or leaping over steel pipes landing safely on their feet.

“That’s essentially what we are doing is becoming all those things we loved and playing games on the playground as a kid. As adults we’re just taking that further.”

Apart from instilling body awareness “pure movement” skills, and physical literacy – the art of building competence, motivation and confidence in one’s abilities – parkour prepares the athletes to evolve from the padded surfaces in the gymnastics club to concrete, steel and wood surfaces found in the real world.

In this realm, the urban environment becomes your playground.

“Because it can be trained on anything anywhere, anywhere in the world, we think parkour may become one of the biggest sports in the world,” says Jared.