Get moving with parkour

Chelsea Powrie

Kids and adults alike around the South Okanagan are flipping — literally — for parkour, a creative athletic pastime that longtime practitioner Michael Kleyn says is a great way to stay fit in a fun, safe way. 

Kleyn started Ethos Parkour in Penticton seven months ago after undertaking similar ventures on Vancouver Island. Parkour involves tumbling, jumping and flipping to get over and around obstacles, simulated in a gym through mats and large wooden structures. 

"It's a lot of fun, it's a way of life really," Kleyn said.

He works closely with School District 67 in the South Okanagan, providing classes for kids. 

"Right now my biggest demographic is in the school system," Kleyn said. "The big push for me right now is the safety side, how to land, how to roll, how to fall. On the playground, kids are jumping and climbing anyways, so this is learning how to do things properly so you have longevity of sport."

Jacob, 10, is one of Kleyn's students, attending a weekly early evening class at the Penticton Community Centre. He got hooked on parkour in late fall 2018, and is proud of his progress.

"I like to do kongs over the vault, so you bring your legs through your arms while you're going over something," he explained. "It's fun knowing that I'm able to run and get over things well."

Kleyn has also used parkour to work with at-risk youth and children with autism. But it’s not just for kids.

"I've had everywhere from up to 55, 60 year olds in my class," he said.

He’s teaching about 125 students per week at recreation centres around the South Okanagan right now, but the goal is something more fixed.

"This is something we want to be permanent," Kleyn said, saying hauling all of the mats and equipment around is a lot of work. He envisions a parkour space and a regular workout area in a location in Penticton, and has already started training potential parkour teachers to join him there. 

For now though, Ethos Parkour is operating primarily through recreation and community centres, and is the only parkour instruction available in the South Okanagan. For more information on how to get involved, check the Penticton Community Centre recreation guide here or reach out to Ethos Parkour at [email protected] 

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