Work is underway at a new parkour facility that was given the green light by Penticton city councillors Tuesday night.
Ethos Parkour owner Michael Kleyn said he’s hoping to have part of the new indoor parkour centre – much of which he’s building himself – open by either mid-January or the beginning of February.
Parkour involves running, jumping and other forms of movement through complex and most often urban environments. It’s said to have developed from military obstacle course training.
Councillors approved a three-year temporary permit for the 3,700-square-foot facility, which will offer a 12-metre parkour course and a variety of classes – including drop-in classes for strength conditioning, agility, movement and flow and parkour for all ages.
“I’ll have one class that’s strictly movement. It’s learning how to fall on the ground. It’s all core, body strength and conditioning,” Kleyn said, adding he’s taught children as young as five to adults in their 70s over the past 10 years in recreational centres across the province. He’s been teaching for two years in the South Okanagan, and is excited to have a more permanent space in the industrial area of Penticton.
“Every facility I work at, I have to have equipment,” Kleyn explained, adding in the past he was limited to working in buildings which provided storage. If there was no storage available, he would have to transport props between the facility and his home.
He also teaches after-school programs and gym classes, too, and doesn’t plan on stopping.
“It’s such a beneficial program for the community,” he said. “We’re going to continue committing to that.”
Kleyn began practising parkour 32 years ago as a teenager, and began working on his strength and agility through self-teaching, gymnastics classes and even during his time in the military.
“When parkour became actual parkour, that’s when I began training in specific movements,” he said. “You just learn to flow and move.”
Now, with his experience, Kleyn says teaching parkour is “teaching 21st Century kids … how to be ’80s kids” in a controlled and safe environment.
“It’s just getting off the sofa … and having fun,” he said. “It’s just exploring your surroundings, exploring what you can do physically, exploring what you can do mentally. It’s overcoming that mindset,” Kleyn said.
Ethos Parkour is located at 104-647 Okanagan Ave E. For more information, visit Kleyn’s Facebook page or call 250-918-8616.